Tuesday, January 30, 2007

345,000 AT 16 CENTS EA. = DEATH?

TIME MAGAZINE posted this statistic in it's "numbers" section of this weeks magazine on the feb. 5, 2007 edition:

345,000= number of people worldwide who died of measles in 2005, down 60% from 1999, beating a goal set by the United Nations.

16 cents= cost of measles vaccine which is often unaffordable in the 3rd World without underwriting from charities and foreign governments.

DO THE MATH.... this amounts to less that $55,200. THIS MAKES ME WANT TO SCREAM!

How do I reconcile this statistic with this text in 1 John?

The fact that someone could die for lack of 16 cents is asinine on numerous levels... Regardless of whether foreign governments are to blame or not... surely there are believers with material posessions within reach of all of these people. Where in the world can I send 16 dollars to save 100 people's lives?


Monday, January 29, 2007


This episode of 24 was kinda non-climatic. All I have is a bunch of questions. But only one seems to matter.

What will become of TOM and how will KAREN HAYES get her job back? Maybe that's 2 questions.

Oh... and I'm a little bummed that next week's pre-view scenes already showed me how Jack gets uncaught and that he's already back to torturing his brother. That was a bummer. I'm also bored with the president's sister's boss' plot. I could be totally fine if they left this out of the show all together.



Per my previous post... it looks as though Tyler escaped. However, I heaved from 7pm to midnight on Saturday. I survived teaching on Sunday. Then I slept all day Sunday afternoon. Now I feel like I worked out my puke muscles something intense. I can't laugh without it hurting. It's been like that for a day and a half now.

3 cheers for no puking.



Just went to a friend's house in El Cajon to talk with her family and chat about her serving in our High School Ministry. On my way there I saw this lot:

Which someone evidently thought was worth spending a lot of time and money to make for this view of the trailer park below and the valley/mountains beyond:

GO FIGURE. I love the mountains... it's just a long way off and if I had this lot, I'd have to plan for a huge "ball fund" for all the ones that we be lost by my kids into the abyss below. I wonder what this view is really worth$$ ?



That's how many drink combinations this article from TIME says starbucks has. They also want to give you any one of those in 3 minutes or less cuz any longer, and you'll bolt. 2 thoughts:

  1. Good luck with that. They say they miss the goal 60% of the time.
  2. 3 cheers for American's patience. We suck at that. Most of the world knows that. Some of the world capitalizes on that.



Well, Shannon and I are going on a cruise in the end of February and into March. It's been 2 years in the making and is with some old friends from Nor Cal. We're going on the Grand Princess on the "Western Caribbean Cruise". It's 25 days away.

Here's our itinerary:

  • DAY 0: Fly to Galveston and hang out in the city for a day.
  • DAY 1: Board and leave from Galviston in the evening.
  • DAY 2: At sea.
  • DAY 3: Port at Costa Maya, Mexico.
  • DAY 4: Port at Roatan, Honduras.
  • DAY 5: Port at Belize.
  • DAY 6: Port at Cozumel, Mexico.
  • DAY 7: At sea.
  • DAY 8: Disembark the ship back in Galviston, fly back to SD.
Here's our plans so far:
  • One day at sea, shannon and I are having breakfast on the deck and getting a couples massage. This will be my first ever massage. I hope it's by a big strong hungarian chick who beats on me until all my bad karma comes out of my muscles and releases into my body so I can pee it out later.
  • One night we're going to splurge and eat at some 17 course.. yep 17 courses... of Italian food. It comes highly recommended to taste it all, and finish none of it. Ok... but I'm having some wine.
  • We are set to eat dinner every night at the 8:30pm slot. We have 2 dress up nights where I have to wear a black suit.
  • We're going snorkeling in Cozumel... we board a small boat and go snorkeling in some reef and then they drop us off at a private beach for a while. All 8 of us are going together with the other people who sign up for this "excursion". Should be fun. I bought a water-proof case for my digital camera so I can take some cool pics underwater. Oh won't that be fun.
  • While we're in Costa Maya we're thinking of going on a 4x4 drive to a beach excursion thingy.
  • Keep your receipts. Check them against your final bill. Sometimes stuff gets charged to the wrong room.
  • Bring your own bottled water on board from port stops cuz it's cheaper and cuz you can.
  • Ask the concierge on board for advice, they're a wealth of port information.
  • Room service is free- enjoy it.
  • If you buy a glass of wine, buy the bottle and have them cork it for you. They'll hold onto it and bring it to you anywhere on the ship. It's cheaper this way too.




I love to read Scot's blog. But this post is what bugs me most about my education at the higher level. I know he's just asking a question, but at the core, I think at least 50% of what my professors care about is who said what first and the flow of an idea being sited like some kind of genetic history.

It's just my opinion- which you may only quote if you cite it properly using only the specific quoting method MY syllabus requires.... APA is not going to work. And I personally just don't think whoever "Turabian" is, that he or she should not be able to make up his or her own method to torture students.... So my method involves saying this: "I found this on Brian Berry's blog post dated _____ and called "________". Or you can skip it all together... cuz evidently all the Bible writers did. If they wrote today, I think they ALL- every last stinkin one of them would have been fired from Academics for not citing their sources, plagiarism, and stealing some of their ideas from other cultures and not saying so. I mean Luke gets away with one statement about the integrity of his research and the purity of his intentions and then bammo... he's good. And he's one of the few who actually bothered to even tell us he was the specific author in the first place. I mean, can you imagine what would happen if I turned in an anonymous history paper without a bibliography today and then said it was Holy Spirit inspired. HA. Now that's awesome. I think the Holy Spirit would get fired too.

SIDE NOTE: Here's my public thank you to the way Rob Bell did his Bibliography and End notes in his book "Velvet Elvis". Thank you for doing so in a way that is readable, personal, makes sense, and is genuine.



Sunday, January 28, 2007


Well, for a while we have been planning on going for a family bike ride- actually just ever since we brought home a bike for Shannon at Christmas. Anyway, Shannon's cousin Kyle was in town and I was all set to borrow a bike from a friend for him and well, then TJ starting hurling on Friday night. So, Shannon stayed home with TJ on Saturday and then Kyle, myself, Jake, and Tyler went on a bike ride. We started at Mission beach and rode up the coast 2 miles to Pacific Beach where we had breakfast at Konos. Jake and Tyler had pancakes and Kyle and I had breakfast burrito #1 with Kono Potatoes. Good choices all around. Then we rode back to PB together. Come and visit and bring your bike and we'll re-enact it for you. Hopefully, this time, minus the puking and with the whole family.

Here's the photo op:


Saturday, January 27, 2007


SUNDAY: Jake pukes in his sleep while napping and doesn't wake up. No one else heard it, not even his brother who sleeps above him. We threw away his pillow and had to shower the kid and wash his carpet.

MONDAY: Jake skips school, does fine all day, and pukes after dinner.

TUESDAY: Jake skips school, does fine all day again and pukes after dinner.

WEDNESDAY: Jakes skips school and stops puking. Shannon pukes all evening and spends half the night in the bathroom making various contributions to the porcelain queen.

THURSDAY: family puke break.

FRIDAY:- TJ goes to sleep and wakes up in the middle of the night puking. All over the carpet. I get up and wash the floor. TJ vomits most of the day.

SATURDAY: TJ stops puking. 5:15pm I go drive to Coronado to have dinner with our adult volunteers from youth group. 6:35 we're seated. 6:55 I excuse myself and tell everyone I don't think I can stay and have to drive home. So I do, with a trash bucket ready, my left hand on the window lever, and praying like crazy that my stomach holds on til I get home. 7:31pm I run upstairs and bow down and puke my guts out- more technically I puked my kono's breakfast burrito #1. Such a shame. Maybe I should have spewed all over the stairs to keep the carpet cleaning tradition alive.

SUNDAY: I'm supposed to teach in high school. Maybe on Jonah evidently. Puke report to come.


Thursday, January 25, 2007


There are some things that only black people can say. Some things that only women can say. Some things that only people in the gay community can say. Etc... They are the constructive things. Because sometimes... you can't critique from the outside without appearing a bigot- no matter how pure your intentions, they are immediately changed to false, because you are not one of them.

In this regard, I have been troubled ever since last Sunday that much of the hype about the coming superbowl has surrounded the skin color of the coaches. But I don't share their skin color. I have been equally bothered by all the hype surrounding the skin color and gender of presidential hopefuls. But I am not a woman, or black, or hispanic. I am a white male and so on several subjects, my voice is mute.

Then, today I was reading a blog by my friend Jackson, and he linked to this article at ESPN. It's a black guy writing about two black coaches. It's an amazing article on the faith, integrity, and character. But it's the conclusion I really enjoyed. Here's how Michael Smith, a senior sports writer for ESPN's, finishes this article:

Regarding a coaching matchup between friends and former colleagues, these are the kinds of things we should be talking about exclusively leading up to the game, the class way in which Dungy and Smith lead their respective organizations. Not something as trivial as Dungy and Smith's skin color. It seems as if every day we hear about players getting arrested or being involved in some embarrassing incident -- and failing as role models. When Dungy walks away from coaching he likely will devote more of his time to the prison ministry about which he's so passionate. He and Smith are examples of what a strong man is. Never mind what they look like. They're the perfect people to represent not just the African-American community but the NFL community.

On Jan. 15, the nation celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We could honor his dream by celebrating Dungy's and Smith's achievements not because of the color of their skin, but the content of their character.

There's a lot of talk about hoping for a day when black coaches in the Super Bowl won't be a big deal, when we won't find it necessary to refer to a coach as a "black coach" (or any person by their race, for that matter).

What's wrong with that day being today? Dungy and Smith have made history, and we happily acknowledge it. As for our practice of categorizing NFL head coaches, let's make that history, too.




Today, my wife and I taught in MOPS (mothers of pre-schoolers) about parenting. This was a first for me. I have not been in a room of nothing but 60 women... um ever.

Well anyway, it was a good time with them, but the culture shock for me were these 2 things:

1. They start off by sharing "children" stories to laugh at the silly things their kids do and say. No big deal. Except that almost all of these stories today were about feminine products and body parts questioned by their small male children. My favorite was some lady who took her kid bra shopping. When the toddler saw all the bras and mannequins and such, he announced, "Look mommy, it's like boobieland." This kid is clearly revealing his cards a little too early in life. As the only one in the room without "boobies", these stories make you wonder what realm I just entered.

2. They also ask this question to start off every meeting. "Um, does anyone want to announce a pregnancy... doing your part to keep MOPS going?" This was really weird. One lady then actually stood up, they all clapped and gave her a prize and had her pick a blue or pink bootee out of a bin over her head to predict it's gender. I think this was nice and sweet, just something I've never experienced. Can you imagine if I stood on stage in my high school group and asked, "Hey, I was just wondering as we kick off our next dating series, anybody want to announce they're pregnant? If so, we have a prize for you." I guess context really does matter.

I'm blessed to have 3 boys. My poor wife must be feeling my pain everyday. The momentary baptism into girlland was enough to make me thank Jesus for my boys.



We're in a weekend series in our high school group called "Oops, I did it again." It's on changing our bad habits and is based on the 12 steps to recovery. This week of the series is titled, "An ounce of humility goes a long way" and we're talking about steps 7 and 8.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

In our high school service planning meeting, my students suggested this video by The All-American Rejects and it's called "Dirty Little Secret". I don't know much about this band, but what they've done in this video is both scary and brilliant. After watching it, I wished I'd titled this series. "My Dirty Little Secret". You can see it here off u-tube.

You can also buy the video on itunes to use as a discussion piece with your own small group if you teach a high school Bible Study or maybe lead a parent one.

I think it's an amazingly true image of hurting teens today. I think it would work awesome in the CORE this year, which we're hosting and is on "Helping Hurting Kids".

I hope and pray that this video helps to inspire students this weekend to confess, return, embrace, and connect with God and a genuine community that deals with it's own short comings honestly and humbly.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007


My wife informed me that today is my dogs 1 year old birthday. Who knows this kind of stuff? She said it was on the adoption papers we got from the previous owners. I said, you remember the dogs birthday? She evidently does. He even got presents from the kids today- new toys to carry around the house.



WARNING.. this post is about hour 5 of this season's day 6 of 24. So, if you haven't watched it and plan to... just skip it.

I have but 2 thoughts after tonight.

#1. Jack's family feud was a random plot twist. I think the brady bunch would have been an even bigger hit if they showed them torturing one another with grocery bags over their sibling's heads while tied to chairs with shoe laces to find out where Alice hid the cookies. At the very least, that should have made the movie remake. And the previews of next week at the end evidently show that the family feud is anything but over. Now Jack and Joseph have something in common. Evidently, both of their brothers sold them to foreigners to have them spend time in jail and expected them to be dead. I wonder if Jack will be as forgiving as Joseph or will he kill them like Curtis?

#2. Does the white house really have a fully operational "bunker" way down underground? Do they have big concrete garage doors that slam shut with high tech televisions and the ability to get satelites to take pictures for them and make their own oxygen with enough food and water to last till a nuclear fall out clears? I want to know if that part is true- or just some twisted plot.

#3. Ok I lied, I have a third thought: Here's the cheesiest line/scene of the night:
  • "Jack, I thought you quit."
  • (nuclear cloud in the background while jack is on the roof and just saved a helicopter pilot's life who was not well enough to get out of the aircraft on his own, but well enough to climb off the roof to go find his family)
  • Jack responds: "No. Not after this. Send a car to come get me."
We already knew Jack was coming back. At least it could have been more genuine. Last time we saw him he was morning the fact that he just shot his best friend to save a terrorist. Now he's back in the game with one line. "No. Not after this". Evidently the blast from the big bomb cleared his previously confused head too.


Monday, January 22, 2007


I can't believe this. But I just broke through a wisdom tooth in my mouth. I'm almost 35 and I'm stinkin teething. Next I'll break out in acne just for fun and maybe I'll have my voice go all high pitched in mid sentence. I thought hair was supposed to start growing out my ears. What's up with new teeth?

I guess I should find a dentist. I don't have dental insurance- maybe I should just let it come in. They call them wisdom teeth I assume for a reason. Maybe I'm getting smarter.

That sentence makes me feel dumber though.



Welp, a blog for parents and a myspace for students.

We'll see if we get any mileage out of either one.



Well, based on our parenting seminar last weekend, I got good feedback from parents wanting a blog for them.

So, I finally got the first version up and running. It has the latest info from our weekend service for high school, upcoming events, links they might use, and eventually I'll start answering some of the questions they turned in on it. Hopefully it will be a sweet resource for encouraging parents and increasing our lines of communication. Now, I have to let them know that it's up. That would probably help I bet.

If you want to be among the first to check it out, click here.

I have a meeting with a student later today, and we're creating a myspace with similar stuff for the students.


Saturday, January 20, 2007


Here's 3 tests to see how well you do- if you happen to enjoy the quiz thingy. Warning: could cause you to want to read your Bible more... or if you get enough right... you might decide you could stop I suppose.



Just got this weeks TIME magazine in the mail with a cover article on the brain. In it, it says that:

"There are 100 billion neurons in the human brain. Additional supporting tissue brings the total cell count to 1 Trillion."
1 TRILLION. Know what amazes me more than that? It is that somehow, these same scientists, will say these billions of neurons all talk by the process of random chance at the heart of evolution. And we know they start developing connections with one another prior to birth and keep going well into the late teens and early twenties at the earliest. If you ask me, my faith is pretty small when I say, there must be a Creator. My hats off to those who can believe it happened by accident. From sperm and egg to 100 billion neurons in the brain alone, happening every day in births all around the world virtually every second....

I say the evolutionist is clearly more faithful than I am.

ohh... keep reading... here's more stats from the article:
"125 million visual receptors in each eye."

"6000 out of 30000 of the body's genes are expressed only in the brain."

"750 Millileters of blood flow through the brain every minute; the volume is equivalent to nearly 1.6 pints."

"60% of a baby's energy is consumed by the brain. Compared to 20-25% of an adult brain." (I'm sure there's a great joke in here, if only I could divert more energy to my brain.)

"100% of our brain is used. It's a long-discredited myth that we take advantage of only 10%."

"75% of the brain consists of water." (who knew? Where do we put 100 billion neurons in 25% of the mass. That's crazy)
And a quote from Woody Allen:
"I don't want to ahcieve immortality through my work. I want to to achieve it by not dying."
Interestingly enough- our Creator has a thing to say about that prospect too- when the sheer amazing numbers cause you to realize your own immortality, turning to the creator is a great first step. My advice- for what it's worth- don't waste your life by waiting to experience eternal life at death. Embrace it today and let those neurons worship the creator, instead of the created.



Jake from the bathroom: Mom, can you help me wipe my bottom?

Mom: NO.

Jake: But I got poop in my underwear.

Mom: Deal with it.

Jake: All by myself.

Mom: Yep.

Mom to Dad: You're going to have to help him.

Dad to Mom: I already wiped his butt once today.

Mom to Dad: I wipe it way more than you do.

Mom to Jake: Um, how did you get poop in your underwear?

Jake: I had a really big toot (family word for fart) and it just came out too.

Dad to Mom: I hate it when that happens.

I was so excited to finally get the last kid past stroller age and out of diapers. Now, I can't wait till the last one can wipe on his own.


Thursday, January 18, 2007


My oldest son, TJ and I are meeting on Thursday after school/early evening to read the gospel of Luke together. We're like 4ish meetings into it. He gets a caramel apple cider from Starbucks. I get a hazelnut americano. We pick a table. He reads- cuz the kid LOVES to read. I stop him every once in a while to ask him what he read, why Luke recorded it like that, and what it means and stuff.

Today, we were reading the story of Jesus' Temptation. We talked about a lot of stuff, but after the Devil offers Jesus anything he wants in the world if he'd only worship the devil, I asked TJ this:
Can the Devil really give Jesus this world? Does he own it or does God?
That started this exchange:

TJ: Um, no, God is in charge.

Me: Are you sure?


Then how come some people do bad things?

You mean like the kid who put graffiti all over the boys bathroom at school?

Yeah, like that. Was that something that serves God or that God did?


Oh... so then God's not in charge of all things in this world?

(TJ looks really confused at me here)

(I'm kinda stuck myself... I've asked a question I don't really know how to explain to a 9 year old. I'm asking God, how am I going to explain the dichotomy in Scripture that God is more powerful that the devil, but allows a measure of autonomy to him in this world? I'm not even sure I understand this) So I tried this:

Who is in charge of your room?

Um, I am.

Well, what if you wanted to put a big hole in the wall so you could spy on people in the park? Could you do that?


Why not?

Cause you wouldn't let me.

But I thought you were in charge of your room?

Well, no. You and Mom are.

Well, which is it?

Both I guess. (eyes look up and he smiles) Oh.. I get it. Like God is really in charge but he sorta let's the devil have his way sometimes, even though ultimately God is in charge. Kinda like you and mom let me make some choices in my room like where I keep my toys and stuff, but really, I can only do what you let me- cuz it's your house.

Right. (I think)

Phew.... wrestling with theology with my kid scares me. I hope I don't screw him up too bad.



Saw this on Marko's blog.

You can play Deal or No Deal online from NBC for fun. And check this bonus... there's no cloned women holding the suitcases sending more messages than money.

I tried it. My best of 4 rapid tries at it was $274,525 with a suitcase of $50.

If only if it wasn't pretend.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007


this scenario happens in my life from time to time:

  • I send an e-mail or a phone call to a friend.
  • No response. Like for a while.
  • I send an another e-mail or a phone call.
  • No response. Like for a longer time.
  • I wait. I think. I wonder.
  • I send a final flare in the air
  • No response...
Now, the mind game begins:
  1. Bet they're mad a me.
  2. No they're not. You dork. They never got your e-mail. Your e-mail system sucks.
  3. Bet I did something wrong.
  4. No, they probably are just busy. There is more to life than your calls.
  5. Maybe they never got the message.
  6. Maybe my friend lost my number.
  7. Bet they're mad at me.
  8. They hate me.
  9. Maybe they never talk to me again.
  10. Maybe I should call again.
  11. Maybe they'll yell at me if I do.
  12. I'm over-reacting. I'm like a high school drama queen. Someone slap me.
  13. I wish I could just see them so I could ask them face to face.
  14. I think they hate me.
  15. Yep. They must hate me.
  16. .... I'd like to think about something else... but my brain is stupid.



This post by Scott McKnight is worth taking the time to do. Good stuff for thinking about why you believe what you believe and what of it is based on culture and what is not. I asked a few of my own questions in this previous post.



Here's an interesting read in time magazine this week on the politics of 24.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007


The producers of 24 believe this years season is a little too real and hope it wakes up America to the possibility of a real nuke. Evidently it's not all as crazy as it sounds and they think they are even prepared to take whatever flack that comes from the possibility of the events of 24 being used as real ideas... since they are real possibilities anyway. There's an article in this weeks Newsweek entitled 'We're Going to Get Hit' where the outgoing State Department of Terror Coordinator from the CIA says this is inevitable. It's not a matter of if, but when in his eyes.

I have no idea what of this is right or wrong or true or false or politically motivated jargon or whatever. Regardless, I have 2 responses:

  1. I can't bury my head in the sand and hope the world gets better on it's own. It won't. I think of the quote that, "all it takes for evil to prevail in the world, is for good people to do nothing." I don't know that I qualify as "good people"... but I'll do my best to make the world a better place.

  2. Our world needs redemption. I feel for my kids. I can't fathom the world my grandkids might live in. I need to pray more.



It’s so dang dry in the air down here that I think there’s static electricity in everything. Every time I get out of car, no matter what I touch before, on the way out or otherwise, I get shocked.

Last night, my dog shocked me in the foot when he stood up off the carpet and walked by.

On Friday night, after church I kindly leaned over to kiss my wife and got shocked on the lips. All sorts of electric puns are here being omitted.

If only I could make it happen on command, I could have some fun with this. It'd be like junior high all over again.



While sitting on the can today I noticed my boxers were made in Indonesia. I think that's weird. I don't know if I'll ever go to Indonesia, but evidently my underwear have been there. If I go there, I'm going to have to find the factory and thank them kindly.

This random thought started a body search. Here's what else I found:

  • my shoes and pants: Made in China
  • my hat: Made in Bangledesh and Patented by the European Union- go figure.
  • my long sleeve shirt: Made in Pakistan
  • my short sleeve I'm wearing under it (it's a cold day): Made in Madagascar
  • my cell phone: made in Korea
  1. I'm a walking representative of the U.N.
  2. Do we actually make anything in this country?



I struggle as a dreamer. I see stuff that could and should be. I see it in my house. I see it in my kids. I see it in almost everyone. I believe in potential in people to the core of my being. So much so, that at times it's really burned me. I'll love and give and help people till I end up upside down myself. I'm the guy who is at risk of drowning while trying to save the guy I'm sure could swim if he just had a hand.

I believe it is the heart of God. I love 1 Corinthians 1 and the reminder that not many of us were of much value to the world when he chose us. I think God's greatest miracle is to take my (insert your own word for feces here) and turn it into fertilizer for His Kingdom work. I love watching God do that in my youth ministry. I think it's half the reason I do my job.

I choose to believe it's within me too. I want to believe God is not done with me and my best contributions to his Kingdom work are still to come. But sometimes, I try and prove it. So I try and pry or kick open new doors of opportunity. I was talking with a friend last night and about the future and about jobs and such and we were talking about how he was thinking of prying doors of opportunity open. He said he was going to try a few. I said I think I'm done doing that. He said he had a big pry bar. I said, "Me to, but it always seems to pop open the sewer."

When I felt like God called me to move from my last church, I asked God where and tried to do my part. I put together a resume, responded to job leads I thought fit me, even put together a plan and had two preliminary vision meetings on planting a church with some friends. Finally, after over a year of dreaming and prying and all the doors shutting in my face... I told God I wasn't moving unless he did first. No joke, that was on a Friday. On Sunday, there were 3 job offers on my voice mail.

Since being here in San Diego, I've been asked to teach seminars at 2 conferences in LA. Both of which were God doors. Within the last month, I've had 2 conversations with friends in ministry, just to check in. Both times, it resulted in an opportunity offered to me as a communicator that I was humbled and honored by, but did not ask for or even see it coming. Both times I left asking God... "What was that about?" How come all his blessings seem to blindside me?

I think I've come to the conclusion that this is how he rolls- at least with me. It's like I can look and dream and pray, but if I open my mouth- someone closes the window shades. If I shut up, serve, listen, and seek.... he opens the doors. Some days it makes me want to scream. Other days , when I'm sane, it reminds me that He really is in control.

My youth pastor said this to me probably a thousand times as an intern: "Brian, you provide the depth, and let God provide the breadth of your ministry". It's taken me over a dozen years to believe him.

I'm a slow learner evidently.


Monday, January 15, 2007


Ok... so 24 hours 3 and 4 are now under my belt... and I can't believe Jack killed Curtis. I also can't believe it jacked him up so bad he puked, pulled out his hair, and tried to quit. I'm not going to eat anything before 24 again. I almost puked. Now Jack is McGyver, Night Rider, Chuck Norris, and Clark Kent all rolled into one- Clark cuz like any good superhero/human... he might be enough of a human to puke, but he'd never cry.

Me? I would have puked, pulled my hair out, quit, and cried.

(Side note: How long did he have to be prepped for each episode? His new scars from being beaten in China must have taken some hollywood time to put on each day.)

And the nuke... holey stinkin moley. They can't drop a nuke in episode 4. What's left? By the end of hour 5 half the world will be dead and CTU will have to relocate to submarine off China's coast. This is ridiculous.

Oh... and by way of confession. I was so stickin stressed by the middle of the second hour that I actually caught my self leaning back, feet tucked under my arms, and wanting to cover my eyes in the fetal position or something. Now I'm so wired I can't even sleep. I think I might have to start watching these dumb shows in the morning or something.

Plus... I keep thinking that I should be checking on my kids, building a bomb shelter in the back yard, and working on my
"I-could-kill-you-in-a-second-if-I-wanted-to" attitude. That would really help me with kids in youth group who text message the world while sitting in my youth service and ignoring my incredibly brilliant words direct from God through my mouth. The nerve. I bet Jack could silence them with a look. He could also upload their picture from a satelite, e-mail it to their mom, and text message a link to their FBI file, all while still preaching the message. Maybe Jack is part Jedi too now that I think of it.



24 is the only TV show I follow so I was excited for it to start.

I realized last night, however, after the first death on the new 24 season came by the mouth of Jack Bauer ( Side bar: I still can't believe he bit a guy to death and then spit out a mouth full of blood. That was the grossest thing ever shown on TV. Way grosser than Justin showing us Janet's Superbowl boobage) ... anyway, I realized while watching this episode that he is like McGyver, Night Rider, and Chuck Norris all rolled into one. I can hardly wait to see what the 20 somethings do with this character in 20 years from now... I think re-runs will be hysterical. Gotta go watch episode 2 now... I dvr'd it to save on commercials. I can't handle the suspense while I sit there waiting to see what happens next.



It is stinkin cold here. Like below freezing at night. I have either lost for forever or just for the winter, all 5 hibiscus plants I had, two banana palms, 2 king palms, and several other smaller ones. If so, this cold is costing me a bunch. Not to mention that I thought I didn't need a coat anymore except in the snow..... which if it's going to be this cold here it should at least rain so it can snow in San Diego. I need a snowball fight with my kids and we definitely need a snowman.


Saturday, January 13, 2007


Today was a great day at our church. We had 80-90 parents of teens show up for a day of training- that was beyond our wildest expectation. Josh and I gave a brief overview of our student ministries philosophy as it relates to parents. Then Ed Noble, our teaching pastor and a former youth pastor of 20+ years, shared his thoughts and learnings. Finally, Kurt Johnston from Saddleback's middle school ministry and a mentor of Josh's gave some of his learnings as a parent. We then took questions and answers as a panel while the crowd ate lunch. It was very encouraging as a pastor and a parent to see such a full house come to better themselves as parents. I found myself trying to soak up the learnings from these two men and this crowd who are farther down the road than I in the parenting process.

All 3 sessions: Kurt, Ed, and Josh and I's were prepared independently of one another. So, as we heard the 3 talks become one seminar, it was great to see some trends emerge. They were clearly Spirit led. I tried to weld them in my brain and be a learner.

Here were my top learnings/reminders in the process of parenting.
  • TODAY: Treasure the moments of childhood. They'll be gone before I know it. Be thankful my boys still want to play with me. Someday that may change. I came home and was bombarded by requests to "come wrestle and jump on the trampoline." It was like God was saying, "are you going to do this or not?" I dropped my bags and went to wrestling.
  • FORGIVE: Myself and my kids. I'm not perfect. My kids aren't perfect. We all need forgiveness. I need this daily.
  • PRIORITIES: Some hills are not worth dying on. As a parent, it's critical I fight for the issues that Jesus would die on and let the rest go.
  • EMBRACE THE PROCESS: There are no parenting formulas. There are no guarantees. There are only people (adults and children) on a crazy process of becoming who God has made us to be. That road to Christ-likeness is up and down and side to side and forwards and backwards. It's complicated and simple and complex and ugly and beautiful. It's a process. Some days I'll feel like I'm on top of the world. Some days I'll feel like a failure. Either way. I'm in process and so are my kids.
I am a parent. I thank God for this privilege, responsibility, joy, and scary endeavour he has called me to.



Ever feel like you have been talking to God all day and then you go to church, and he talks back?

Yeah well, that was my Friday. I talked to God all day about bills, about money, and about my dreams. I complained. I made a list for him of all the things I would change if i could. I told him I know I'm rich on the scale of the world, but that day I didn't feel rich. I told God I liked nice things. I thought it seemed like an okay thing to enjoy.

I even wondered if:
  • I wondered if Jesus ever gave one of the disciples a nice present.
  • Like, did he ever buy a new fishing net?
  • Did he ever take the disciples to a nice dinner overlooking the Sea of Galilee where they splurged on fish they didn't normally eat?
  • Did he spring for new sandals or enjoy the feel of a new pair on his feet over the feel of an older, worn out pair?
  • As a craftsman, did he enjoy a new tool now and then?
Then, I went to church on Friday night like we always do.

I walk into the service feeling poor, wondering about stuff and money and whatever... in a conversation I had with God all day still fresh on my brain, and wouldn't you know it, the message was about money. He reminded me of several key texts where Jesus cautions that money will run your world if you let it. He reminded me of the places where Jesus calls us to choose what will be Lord: Him or our money. The house of God is not big enough for both. Neither is my heart.

However, I'm guilty. I let my stuff consume me and distract me. I daydream. Sometimes I envy others. I occasionally believe the lie that if I had just a little more, that it'd be all I'd ever want. In the middle of the service, a friend of mine who is "richer than me" leaned over and, feeling as guilty as I was at that moment, said he had to repent. I just looked back and said, "get in line". I felt like a spoiled rotten kid, whining to God that my cell phone's not new enough, my grass not green enough, my kitchen not nice enough... yatta yatta.

Ed said greed was a "permissible" sin in the church today. He said Jim and Tammy Baker were a good example of this. Their ministry "falling out" was not due to greed, even though they were very well known for an overly lavish lifestyle almost daily. Instead, they were "ruined" when Jim had one sexual failure with another woman and got caught. Our society is sickly twisted and in love with things and money. Ed said we live in a society of "more". I think sometimes my brain ends up swimming in that society when it should be looking for higher ground.

Here's some quotes that rocked me:
"Money is a false God from which we must turn if we are going to be a Christ Follower."
"It's time to awaken to the fact that conformity to a sick culture is sick." -Richard Foster
He suggested a 4 fold means of attack to kick greed in the head:
  1. Frugality: Proverbs 27:3
  2. Generosity: Proverbs 11:25
  3. Simplicity: 1 Timothy 6:6-8
  4. Sabbath: Mark 2:27
I didn't see that last one coming. Ed suggested that one great way to kick money in the head is to take a break every week from the process of trying to earn a living. It's a way to say to money, you are not my God, and no matter what profit I could get from today, you are not going to satisfy. I will rest here and be content. I needed to hear that. I need to rest.

Am I content? I'm trying. I'm trusting. Some days I'm more content than others. Every day, if I'm honest with myself, I confess that I'm rich and God has already blessed me beyond all I could ever ask for, ever dreamed would happen, and certainly more than I ever deserved.

I repent of wealth and am eager to spend eternity absent the influence and distraction of mammon. I truly yearn for it- at the core, even if in the day to day it distracts me and lies to me from time to time. Until then, I'll keep trying to give generously, live simply, and walk humbly with my God.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007


My Old Testament professor says that I'm supposed to understand that a lot of what shocks me in the Old Testament (massive animal sacrifices, hand to hand combat to take the land and demolish people groups, polygamy, etc) was all "fairly normal" in the greater ANE or Ancient Near East Culture they lived in. Even if I buy this argument, it still begs a bigger question for me. Like this one:
If it was "normal" and permissible for the Old Testament Kings to have a harem of personal hookers and wives because it was the norm of the A.N.E. culture, but none-the-less was not God's design for them, what is the parallel to that in my Western American culture today?
  • Is it how I spend money?
  • Is it how I treat people?
  • Is it what I believe about the church?
  • Is it the way I treat or don't treat the environment?
  • Is it what I believe about personal or collective freedom?
  • Is it how I let certain groups and individuals influence me?
  • Is it the habits I permit and even feed in my own life?

These questions keep me up at night...


Tuesday, January 09, 2007


OK... so this post will be accused as being about ego, pride, and credit... so I'm going to go all the way. I HAD AN IDEA THAT HAS BEEN DEAMED GOOD BY POWERFUL PEOPLE!! Go figure. I'm famous now or something. However, it is totally under the radar. So, I'm claiming it. YES. I should be paid $2.50 in royalties from everyone who steals or uses this idea. It's that good.


1999ish. I realized I'm an "out-of-sight-out-of-mind-guy" and I needed a way to put my entire calendar in front of me so I could plan intelligently. I looked around for options, but couldn't find one I liked or could afford. So I dreamed up an 4 foot by 8 foot magnetic white board divided up into 12 months with tape and magnetic numbers and such.

2000ish. The other 2 members of the student ministries pastoral team that I worked with made a similiar one out of their whiteboards, just like mine but only 9 months, leaving 25% of their board available for brain storming.

2005ish. I took a new job in San Diego and was not allowed to take my whiteboard with me. I had learned my lesson though.. and decided that I wanted to be able to adjust it, 3 months at a time and rotate boards. So I had the facilities team (with Max's help) make me four custom boards before I arrived.

late 2006ish. The junior high pastor here, Josh, got wise and decided to have the facilities team make his own set. He then posted this blog post about it where he gives me some props for it and pictured them in his office.

later 2006ish. Saddleback's junior high pastor, Kurt (a mentor of Josh's), gets wise to this info from Josh's post and decides to make them into single months and implement them in their junior high department.

later still in 2006ish. Saddleback used their new creation in this Tip from the Trenches video where they make some lame attempt at recognition by calling me a "youth pastor in San Diego".


So far, as I figure it: Dave Money, Doug Boyd, Nate Glaze, Dusty White, Joel Enyart, Josh Treece, Kurt Johnson, and anyone who actually does this after seeing the above video all owe me $2.50 for my idea fee. I'll also take it in exchange for a Hazelnut Americano if you are in the area.



I confess. I just screamed in my office. I yelled YIPPEEE. Wow. Apple finally did it. They finally made my dreams come true and integrated the ipod, a phone, and a pda. I wanted a new phone that did this so bad. I currently carry all 3 devices to make this happen- soon I will be down to one. YES!!! They even put a camera in it, but I don't care. I'm so excited I can't believe it. I hope Jesus will forgive me... cuz this must make me some kinda materialistic pig. I guess I'll go repent... and try to put it out of mind for several months since it doesn't come out until June and it's on Cingular... which means I'm gonna have to do some work to get this gig. My church pays for my cell phone since it's used for ministry like 90% of the time, but we're on Verizon. Oh... happy happy day. You can read the keynote address here if you are as FIRED UP as I am. Double good news... my contract with Verizon is up in February... I'm going month to month till June.


Monday, January 08, 2007


Recently, a guy named Richard Dawkins has joined some reason debate caused by the Intelligent Design voice of the president and others and made some noise in the press with a discourse against religion- all religion -called "The God Delusion". It, along with a few other books on the subject, caused the front cover of Time magazine to issue an article entitled, "God vs. Science" on Nov. 5 of last year. The most interesting quote inside from my perspective is this one:
Most Americans occupy the middle ground: we want it all. We want to cheer on science's strides and still humble ourselves on the Sabbath. We want access to both MRIs and miracles. We want debates about issues like stem cells without conceding that the positions are so intrinsically inimical as to make discussion fruitless. And to balance formidable standard bearers like Dawkins, we seek those who possess religious conviction but also scientific achievements to credibly argue the widespread hope that science and God are in harmony--that, indeed, science is of God.
Additionally... a friend of mine forwarded me this book review by H. Allen Orr. If you like reading about the philosophical and scientific community's ideas on faith and religion, then this review will take you some time to read but will be worth it. It's a well written, thorough, insightful, and intelligently read review of this New York Times best selling work (currently number 6 and 15 weeks long on the list). His examination of many traditional arguments for and against God based on what has been done in God's name through history and the probability issues regarding his existence is worth the read all by itself. Maybe next time you get called on these issues by a skeptic, you might have a few intelligently skeptical questions of your own to ask in response.

As a believer, I think God must be smiling. Be it by pessimism or by passion, his existence and character is still pondered. Oh how we all need grace.


Thursday, January 04, 2007


On our way to go snowboarding, we stopped in Lodi for java at Starbucks. While going through the drive through a friend of mine starts laughing. I asked what was so funny. He points to the right where we can see there is a house that has clearly been there for years. However, their front door now opens up 50 feet from the drive through window of a brand new Starbucks. We have a mutual friend, Sarah, who we're pretty sure would figure a way to get the stuff piped into her tap water if her house was this close. I snapped a few pics so you can check it out for yourself:



Well, from Dec. 26th though January 2nd, we went to visit some family and friends in our old stomping grounds in Northern California.

The highlights were:
  • Several lunches, cups of coffee, deep discussions, and simple laughs with old friends dating back as far as my high school days
  • A run with my Dog through my old stomping grounds of cross-country training
  • Breakfast with Mom, time with family, and seeing my sister and her family from Oregon
  • Buying new pants- I lost 2 inches on my waist in the last 4 months. Yippee.
  • A day of snowboarding.
  • Tyler's 7th birthday and bowling for the first time in years. Shannon beat me. She thinks people should know that. Now you are in the know.
  • Watched my first Pay Per View ultimate fighting championship at a friends house- that thing is crazy and it's even more nuts listening to it in commentary from 4 off duty and 1 on duty police officer.
  • Caught a couple of movies
  • Spent New Years Eve with friends/family in SF- the first time we've been childless for that celebration in years.
Here's some pictures. As always, click on them and they get bigger if you want a closer view:



Welp, just got my SDGE bill. My contribution to the holiday season decor by leaving my lights on from dark to 11pm for 3 weeks for the enjoyment of my family and neighbors cost me an extra $100 in electricity. I can't imagine what it must be costing the people whose houses make it in the paper as "worth" going to check out. What does it cost that guy who makes it in the national news and starts setting up in October? Must be a load of benjamins. If I ran SDGE, I think I'd put an add in the paper telling people how to get to those houses that are on display and run some kind of contest to see who can do the best light job of those who didn't do one last year. As it is, they must look to December with exceeding joy.

I wonder what my new gas fire pit will cost me this spring/summer?



One of my favorite bands has officially been declared MSN's band of the year for 2006. Very very cool. I love seeing these guys in concert, listening to their tunes, watching David smile and hearing his heart as he leads. If you don't have their music in your playlist, you should change that- even if they are now officially "discovered by the media". Read the bands official reaction here.



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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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