Saturday, May 31, 2008



Anyone wanna fly somewhere with Southwest Airlines by July 21, 2008? I had a flight that I tried to make to Idaho last October but I had to cancel due to all the San Diego fires. I just figured out that I have to spend the money on Southwest by July 21 of this year or I loose it. With our Uganda trip coming, not only am I no where near a place that Southwest flies, but I can't really afford to be losing money at this stage either.

My parents were just here- which would have been perfect.... but I was stupid and forgot and anyway-- you can fly from anywhere to anywhere Southwest travels. I have $285.20 worth of credit I'll sell to the highest bidder.

Wanna get away? Do you need a vacation?

Talk to me friends. If you or someone you know is planning on flying, I could sure use the help and I'm willing to take a loss to keep from losing the whole credit. What's it worth to you?

Comment or e-mail me if you're up for it.


Friday, May 30, 2008



  • FINANCIAL BLESSINGS!!! Several friends, some I haven't heard from in years, who either read my blog or got a letter from my family in the mail have sent in some serious mula to help the funding of our uganda missions trip in about 6 weeks from now. We still have a LONG way to go, but WOW.... I'm so thankful for those who are helping me invest financially in this partnership with God and my family!!!! I praise God for all who are supporting us in so many ways. I'm praying that this is a life altering experience and brings HUGE amounts of encouragement to all those who even remotely are touched by this- those on our team, in my family, stateside praying and supporting, kids and families in Uganda, and so much more.
  • KAISER IS HOOKING US UP! Ok... so for all the ranting people do about their HMO, I will say that once Kaiser paid me back for what I thought was a crazy charge once, they have delivered my 3 kids, took the appendix out of my wife, and stitched us up a time or two. Well, now they are PAYING FOR ALL MY SHOTS and malaria meds!!! I don't even have to pay a co-pay. This is saving me hundreds of dollars. Like probably at least a thousand dollars for the 5 of us. Whoo hooo. That's such a huge blessing.
Thank you friends, Kaiser, and Jesus.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I blogged about my distaste for traditional offices and working from home in the past. It's not because I don't think there is an appropriate time and place for offices or for alone time to prep for something or to "really crank a few things out" or even to telecommute to work in your pajamas. But it is because I think there's a price tag that comes with it.

I just got the monthly leadership e-mail from Patrick Lencioni which never seems to disappoint me. I always read almost instantly, and usually several times, because it always is good.

This month is no exception.

Listen to what he says about office space design. I think it's very interesting about how he believes that work spaces shape us and our thinking. This is not the first time I've heard this and Hybels actually harped on it some at the last Leadership Summit regarding motivating employees by giving them spaces they enjoy being in.

I really noticed the change from the "cubicle land" I lived in for most of my 11 years in Nor Cal to the boxed in offices we have as the norm at Journey. I think it hurts us in some ways. Not having a true staff lounge hurts a church our size too I think. No one even eats together on campus because unless you want to sit on the files, the fridge and microwave are not exactly in a gathering place.

Maybe there are other ways to combat this besides blowing up the physical walls in our buildings, but I'd sure love to do that in our student ministries department. If I ever get a chance to design a student ministry office space from scratch, I guarantee I will lobby hard for it- maybe I'll even lobby for the slides Lencioni says we don't need... or at least a zipline.

Here's why Lencioni says we should consider it:
The biggest problem with traditional office space is what it suggests about the importance of individual versus collective work. By placing greater emphasis on privacy than openness and collaboration, companies unconsciously encourage people to see their work as being primarily individual. Whether we‘re talking about line employees in cubicles or senior executives in walled offices, workers are almost trained to seek out greater separation and space.

On first glance, this might seem understandable, even natural. Human beings crave their own territory, or according to Maslow, shelter. But is that something we want to honor at work? In some cases, the answer is ‘yes’. A few professions certainly lend themselves to individual focus and privacy and separation. But outside of writers and inventors and monks, not many come to mind.

Most jobs, and especially those that revolve around leadership, are social by nature and should be done in groups. Which means that the higher you go up the food chain within an organization, the more true this should be. And yet, the higher a manager rises in most organizations the more likely he or she is to be allocated an office, suggesting that his or her job is primarily about doing isolated thinking or planning. Or perhaps communicating via e-mail.

So, am I suggesting a radical departure from tradition, one in which executives sit in big, open areas with their teams, going into private rooms only on occasions when it is necessary? Well, I guess I am. Frankly, I don‘t see a better option. Until leaders are forced to interact with one another as a rule rather than an exception, they will continue to under-communicate and under-collaborate, creating cascading problems throughout the rest of the organizations they manage.

What I‘m not suggesting, however, is the creation of funky offices with coffee bars or ping pong tables or spiral slides that connect one floor to another. Those are gimmicks which don‘t address the real problem created by too much privacy and separation. Neither am I suggesting that restructuring our offices become some sort of protest against hierarchy. The reason to move away from closed offices to more open designs is not about aesthetics or rebellion against authority. It is simply about creating an environment of where communication and teamwork have the best chance to thrive.

(OH.. and since I can't find this article online... here's the addendum he put at the bottom: P.S. In the spirit of full disclosure, I must acknowledge that I do have an office. However, I rarely use it for anything other than private conversations and occasional writing projects. Usually I choose to sit at a little round table in the middle of the large room where most of my colleagues sit, where I can talk to them and see and hear what’s going on in the office. Others do use my office when they have a need for privacy or quiet. And though my desire to sit at that little round table is certainly a result of my appreciation for teamwork, I must admit that my other motivation is that I am a raging extrovert, and I really like interacting w ith my colleagues.)


Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Today was Tyler's final field trip for his second grade year. We went to the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla. I'd never been there before. It's kinda small compared to a lot of other aquariums I've been too, but I really loved the portion dedicated to animals that can camouflage themselves. God is crazy creative in what he created. I always amazed at how science can say this fish has "evolved" to look like a piece of kelp. Check out the one that sits on the ground looking like a grumpy piece of coral. Crazy I tell you. It's crazy.

Here's our bonding photo collages. I love how God made crazy fish and my crazy kids. Thanks Ty.


Saturday, May 24, 2008


If you happen to be a friend of our teaching pastor, Ed Noble, or perhaps you are interested in stalking him silently on the internet. Well, then I have good news for you.

Ed is finally blogging a few times a week.


Friday, May 23, 2008


Harbor Island Drive has sorta become my new favorite spot to steal some alone time.

A couple weeks ago, Shannon had to work and so she asked me if I could take her mom and Gary to the airport. It was a Tuesday and I had a midterm for my evangelism class that night. Add to it the fact that I was borderline burnt out on ministry from a crazy few months of seemingly non-stop church life and I decided to take my books and computer with me and spend the day out of the office studying in a different environment. So I dropped them off around 12:30pm and it was such an amazing day that I chose to just sit in my car on Harbor Island Drive near the airport. I rolled down all the windows, pushed the passenger seat all the way back, got out a deli sandwich I bought and some java and read, memorized (uh crammed), and studied for my test. One of the few times however that I could ever honestly say studying was actually refreshing. Here's the view out my window that explains why.

Tonight my parents were set to come into SD airport around 8pm. However their flight was like 2 hours delayed. So rather than drive home after church to have to drive back again, I decided to go straight back to harbor island drive and read in my car. But the city lights were beautiful after our day of rain, so I jumped out and snapped a few pics before reading to the map light for an hour or so.

Next time I think I'm going here to run the boardwalk to seaport village and back.


Thursday, May 22, 2008


I can't for the life of me ever seem to get my e-mail in box to live at less than 50. What ever did I do when youth ministry didn't have e-mail. Now I don't delete or file an e-mail that still has something I need to do with it. So they sit there, screaming, "You better do something about me!"

If it gets over a 100 deep, I stay up as long as it takes to beat it down to the 60's or 70's. I hate the big pile in my in box. I know some people- my dad shall remain nameless- who like keeping like 5000 e-mails in their in box. I would stab myself in the eye with the edge of my laptop out of sheer frustration.

Maybe that's why my weekend prep gets pushed back so far sometimes. I should just shut e-mail off. Whoever decided this was going to save me time, yeah... they were lying.



I don't know if this is normal for most people, but it's abnormal for me. My Sunday service prep is done.

I seem to live in the tyranny of the urgent and that often means that some of my weekend prep inevitably gets pushed to the later part of the week and into the weekend to get ready. I'm not proud of it, but it's been a pattern for me for too long.

Well, this week I declared I was gonna finish my stuff for the weekend first. So, for the first time in a very long time, my outlines are printed, my powerpoint is done, my message is completed, the video clips are cued, and my Sunday is ready. Like I could preach tomorrow and be good to go.

Man that feels good.



Tonight at church one of our leaders said I might enjoy this.

I was thinking about getting a vespa or maybe riding my bike to work at least once a week to save on gas and stuff, but now maybe I'll have to rethink it. Surely this thing is the happy medium I've been looking for.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Yesterday I spent the day with TJ at Disneyland. He was SOOO excited that he made advanced band and that meant that he got to go to Disneyland and play a score of music behind the clips of an actual Disney animation film for fun.

We arrived at what will be TJ's new school next year- Hillsdale Middle School- and met up with the band and piled into 2 tour buses. A few hours later we arrived at the land of all things Disney.

TJ and I hung with two of his buddies and their parents almost all day. Upon arrival we hit up Space Mountain, some lunch, and Star Tours. They then went back stage to do their music score, but only some of the parents were allowed to go. I'm not sure how they made the picks, but I didn't get to go. That kinda bummed me out. But oh well. Maybe in a future year.

Anyway, I spent my 2 hours alone drinking coffee and reading a book I kept hearing about- a novel called "The Shack". Yeah, not exactly a book you should read on a park bench in the "happiest place on earth". (Definitely don't read it while camping with small children!) By the time I stopped in chapter 5, I had cried several times and cussed under my breath at least twice. I even sorta knew where the plot was going, but I found myself both wanting to and hating to turn the pages.

Anyway, about 2:45pm TJ and company exited the back stage area and we headed out to hit it some more rides. One parent had nabbed us some fast passes while the kids were back stage, so in the afternoon we hit The Pirates of the Caribbean, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Buzz Lightyear, and The Matterhorn all the while stopping here and there for a Disney pin trading/buying extravaganza with TJ's graduation money before finally heading home on the bus.


Friday, May 16, 2008


That's how long it took me to get home. I went the same route until I came to Avacado. I was debating it and and I decided that if I went up the hill instead of straight on Chase, I could shave off like a half mile or so and then go down hill for a long time and it would be worth it.

Well, I made it all the way up this ridiculous hill, but I'm not sure if my thighs will yell at me tomorrow. I shaved 10 minutes off my get home time, even though it's more up hill than going there. I think part of it was because I didn't care how much I sweat on the way home and part might be because I left like 20lbs of backpack at work on the way home too.

We'll see when the next time I can ride to work is. I think Thursday and Friday are my only days I can, because I have class and small groups on Tuesday and Wednesday nights and I don't want to ride home at like 10pm. But I'll definitely do it again soon.



That's how long it took me to ride my cruiser to Cosmos Cafe today. I rode to school with the kids and then left there at like 7:50 and arrived in La Mesa in time for a really nice free breakfast of quiche, potatoes, fruit, and coffee. Guess I better do some more riding. I only walked like 50 yards at the top of one hill by Grossmont High- mostly cuz my butt was made at me.

Oh... and while I was there, some legit bike riding dude arrived in one of those spandex outfits with shaved legs and a bike that is so thin that it disappears if you look at it in certain angles. Yeah, he rode to work from Oceanside. He left at like 5:40 am. And I thought my butt hurt.


Thursday, May 15, 2008



Wednesday, May 14, 2008


There are two comments/questions that I have received lately that have caused me to scratch my head. They are two sides of the same coin. I think they just come with the territory of pastor, but sometimes I think there might be something more to it. I'm really not sure what it all means or quite how I should respond.

THE COMMENT: "Yeah, but you have to understand this is your job." This is always said by a volunteer who feels like too much is being asked of them. It usually is due to some kind of miscommunication and unintended guilt they feel. But regardless of why it is said, it always makes me wish I could quit my job and volunteer. I hate being told I'm paid to do what I do. It has an element of truth to it. But for one reason or another, it really really bugs me.

THE QUESTION: "What do you do for a living?" This is a natural question as people get to know one another. However, recently it's come from people who attend our church. I'm not sure very many people at Journey have any idea what a pastor does or why it could possibly amount to a full-time job. Or at the very least, they don't know why the youth ministry needs one. I think we are invisible to too many people.


Adidas Ad

I wear lots of adidas.

I have adidas shoes, jackets, shorts, jerseys, hats. It's almost all I wear when playing or coaching soccer. I think it's the only brand I'm pretty faithful to. Well, maybe Milwaukee power tools.

But anyway, I thought this commercial I saw on Ian's site was just too hysterical and the fact that it was a song written about God who literally does not believe in the impossible is a little ironic too.



Well, for a while now I've been trying to talk myself into biking to work. Problem is it it's takes me like 15 minutes to drive there using freeways. If I take the streets, there are lots of hills and if I take the safest route where I will be least likely to get hit by a car, I'm thinking it's going to take me like 45 minutes to an hour on my new cruiser bike. I think. I'm not sprinting the whole way on a road bike with spandex.

Anyway, yesterday, while studying for a mid-term, I sat in a coffee shop in the morning and saw a sign saying that Friday was ride your bike to work day. So, I mapquested it and found out it's 9 miles. Took me forever to figure out how to make it choose the route I wanted. Hence the four points of destination I had to enter to get to my work.

Then today, when I got my coffee, I told the coffee shop owner that I was biking to work on Friday, and he said, "You get a free breakfast!" Wow. So what's another half mile? Now I'm definitely trying it. Friday I think I'm going to ride bikes with the boys to school and then I'm biking to work. Then I'm celebrating with java and a breakfast bowl at Cosmos. Weather man says it's supposed to hit 97 in El Cajon on Friday. Hopefully I'll be out early enough to beat the heat.

Maybe I can convince my wife to join me. Wish me luck.



Shannon's mom has been in town all this week and then for the weekend, Gary joined us too.

I had to head in early Sunday morning to get ready for our student service. But in my absence, the boys woke up early with grandpa and made the mom and grandma breakfast. The boys had made a happy mother's day banner and "secretly" bought all the supplies for breakfast the day before. I say "secretly" because the fridge was chocked full with enough bacon and eggs and sausage to feed 12 moms, but maybe my boys thought they'd be really hungry.

Anyway, after breakfast, the rest of the clan joined me at church and then we went home for family pictures on the lawn.

Then we loaded up the bikes and went to Mission beach to take the grandma and grandpa on their first seaside bike ride here in SD, something that has become a family favorite for us. We rented 2 more cruisers and rode to PB where we had mochas at this coffee shop that serves like 40 different varieties and tops them off with chocolate whipped cream.

Then we rode down to south mission and then went to Red Lobster for dinner- per the request of grandma who held nothing back and had some kinda seafood feast I think. Lobster, crab, shrimp, fish and probably kelp or something. So fun.

3 cheers for moms and grandmas. So wish we could have spent it with all who hold that title in our family, but we take what we can get.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I'm blessed to be at a church that does not do fund raisers. But when we did our church building program last year, we decided that for the next 3 years, we'd commit to helping our church increase funds to the building fund by serving our congregation and community through meeting some basic needs. This year, we combined the jobs with some jobs we had lined up for our Uganda trip too and added a night of childcare. So, on May 10th, the day before mother's day, we performed the mother of all mother's day gifts with a serving day we call "Help us, Help you" and here's what it amounted to this year:

  • 22 adults - college or older
  • 63 middle school and high school students
Serving on:
  • 5 car wash teams going to 12 locations to wash 26 cars and 1 RV
  • 2 house cleaning teams going to 5 locations to clean toilets and wash windows
  • 11 yard work teams serving in 20 separate locations where we busted our back sides pulling weeds and doing dump runs and chopping down bushes
  • 40 kids for childcare
Which resulted in:
  • $2883 for the church building fund
  • $2117 for the Uganda team.
  • or a grand total of $5000 exactly. Not bad for a days work.


Friday, May 09, 2008


Alright blog readers. The static gurus say that about 380ish people hit this blog up every week for a quick read, usually clicking around for less than 2 minutes before bouncing onto other things in your internet world. But I'm calling on you for help now.

Perhaps you are a friend from my old youth ministry or my current one. You might be family. You might even be a coworker in ministry somewhere around the world. You could be a friend who just loves to see my latest family picture collages. Or maybe you are just a stranger who landed here by mistake and you love this amazing blog so much that you keep coming back to find out what will happen next in my crazy family life.

But regardless of who you are, if this blog is making a difference in your life through what your read or if you just enjoy watching my family and adventures through the internet: I NEED YOUR HELP. So hook a brother up and please read the whole post you skimmers!!


If you regularly read this blog, the you know that this last January marked the beginning of a new phase in my family's world when my sister and her family moved to Uganda for a 2-3 year missions trip with an organization called EMI. As a result, we decided that one of the big ways we could support them was to bring our family to visit and encourage and serve with them. So we decided several months back to go this summer.

But since I work everyday as a youth pastor, it just didn’t seem to make any sense to go all the way to Africa and not take some of my students to experience this kind of life-changing opportunity. So long story short, from July 12-25th 2008 all five of the Berry’s, 11 high school students, and 4 adults will be going to Jinja, Uganda to serve the poor. We will be working with the first and largest orphanage (Welcome Home) for children ages birth to 6 years of age in this city.

Their mission is two fold:
  • Physically, they exist to care for the children of Uganda who are orphans, sick, dying, abused, abandoned, or neglected who have no chance of survival without intervention. The cool thing is, they even help families start local businesses so they can be self-sustaining and feed the children whom they really try to return to their families. They are not just putting a band aid on poverty, they are trying to solve it all together and they are making great progress in this community. Also, they will pay for the medical expenses of any child from their program all the way up to the age of 12, even after they've been returned to their family- so no child dies due to an inability to pay for medical expenses. So cool.
  • Spiritually, they desire to provide a loving life-giving environment to give each child a healthy secure foundation for life teaching them God’s love for them. They also partner with local churches and God is making a difference in and through them.
It is going to be a great privilege to learn from and partner with an organization that works hand in hand to change the world, one child and family at a time. Here's what our family and team will be doing while we are there:
  • Helping with some basic building maintenance and cleaning.
  • Help care for, play with, and encourage the nearly 60 children and almost that many local staff as well that call this their home and ministry.
  • Help with teaching these young lives a spiritual foundation through crafts and stories from the Bible along with the aide of a local church.
  • Travel into the surrounding villages and communities to help the orphanage increase its influence and presence in the community as a positive place for children and families in need.
  • Take over much needed supplies for the everyday operations of the orphanage too.
This will be a life changing chance for those on this trip, many of whom (including our own children) are young enough that it could shape the very way they view the world and even how they choose to one day live their adult lives. We sure hope so.

Finally, after we send the high school team back to the U.S. with our adult team members, our family will be staying for another 10 days to visit with Brian’s parents and the Crawfords in Kampala, Uganda as we experience this new life together. (We will even do a 3 day safari grandma and grandpa are sponsoring in murchison falls!) Oh, and we are stoked to be able to take our kids in early August to a village where we sponsor Geofrey, a child with World Vision. How cool will that be for our kids to meet a child we pray for and send money to regularly, half way around the world. I think that alone will change their young lives for forever.

In order to do this missions trip , we are deep in the process of raising our portion of the support for this team, which is $4000 per team member. (ONLY THE ORPHANAGE MISSIONS PORTION. The stuff in the paragraph above is being covered by our family and is NOT included in this cost. The only cross over expense is the obvious fact that we are saving airfaire by not flying over once to be with family and a second time to be with a team from our student ministries.) Anyway, you read that right. It’s about a 20 grand investment for our part as a family and ministry. Holy Moley.

So, as is the tradition of many a Christian through the centuries, we are sending letters to seek the support of friends and family and in our current technology world, I'm blogging about it.

We are also doing various side jobs and providing several services around our community, selling a bunch of stuff in garage sales, and even our family is doing some intense door to door community recycling to create added income with our boys. It all adds up to result in a life changing opportunity for our team, our family, and those we will be serving in Uganda this summer.


If you want to pray it up for us, you can keep checking this blog for updates and this one we created just for that purpose. That would be extremely appreciated and really helpful. I'm a HUGE fan of your prayer support. So please add our whole team to your prayer life.

Also, you can contribute a tax deductible donation to our team on our behalf as a sign of how deeply this blog makes your life so much better :). (380 readers could really add up fast you know) Seriously, we'll send you a thank you letter and a picture from us in Uganda after the trip and you'd be helping us change the world, one kid at a time.

So, if you feel so able, send a check in any amount made out to Journey Community Church (just write Uganda in the memo section. No need to put my name there). Then send it to the following address. We'll record it, thank God for it, and send you a receipt after our trip. Make sure your name and address so I can send you some love.
  • Journey Community Church.
  • c/o Brian Berry (UGANDA FUND)
  • 8363 Center Drive, Suite 6c.
  • La Mesa, Ca. 91942

blogging for Jesus and trying to change the world with my family,

Brian C. Berry


Thursday, May 08, 2008


Isn't it weird that in a culture that prides itself on freedom, so many of us daily fight to free ourselves from the bondage that capitalism often creates.

If that thought resonates with you, then you'll enjoy another great article by Patrick Lencioni this month. They haven't yet posted the whole thing to his website, but I'll tease you with part of what he e-mailed earlier last month to those who subscribe:

The Danger of More Shiny New Things

I‘m sure it‘s natural for people to be fascinated with acquiring new things. Whether we‘re talking about physical possessions like homes or cars or toys, or more conceptual assets like knowledge or technology or business strategies, we seem to highly value what we don‘t have, especially when it is novel.

I suppose this is understandable—even good—in a society that values progress and innovation. However, there is a cost to overemphasizing and over-valuing all things new, a cost that goes beyond obvious concerns about greed and over-consumption. When we are in constant pursuit of acquiring more of the latest and greatest, we usually diminish or dilute the power of what we already have.

My twin boys turn ten years old this month, and as I ponder what gift to give them, I realize that what they probably need more than anything is more time to play with the things they already have, things they haven‘t begun to fully use or enjoy. Giving them something new may not make them much happier, and may actually cause them distress. You‘ve seen this dilemma on Christmas morning as your children sit in the midst of their own FAO Schwartz store, slipping into a toy-overload coma, overwhelmed by the choices they have and seemingly unable to process it all. If you‘re like me, you probably chastised yourself and vowed to your spouse that “next year we should give them just ONE present.”

This same phenomenon affects us as leaders of organizations too. But rather than toys, the objects of our desire usually involve knowledge or information. Most leaders I work with grow bored easily, and are in constant pursuit of strategies, ideas, trends—even employees—that will somehow transform their organizations. Unfortunately, they haven‘t come close to fully tapping the strategies, ideas, trends or employees that they already have, and yet they discard those untapped assets in exchange for new ones.

On a personal level, I‘ve experienced this phenomenon too. I‘ve recently come to the conclusion that I should stop reading so many new books and magazine articles. Instead, I should go retrieve the top ten books and articles that I‘ve already read, and start re-reading them again and again. After all, I‘ve forgotten most of what I‘ve learned in those books, and I‘m certainly not using or tapping into more than a fraction of what they have to offer. Instead, I‘m pursuing more and more new material, which only crowds out the space in my brain to recall and put to use the tried and true goodness of what I‘ve already learned.

Why do we do this? Perhaps we want to stay current. Or we don‘t want to feel out of touch. But I think it is based more in pride of knowing things than in real pursuit of excellence, integrity and discipline.



Last night, one of our small group leaders, who is a professional photographer and takes a lot of pictures here at journey as a service to our community of faith, brought me this picture he took of my wife and kids.

It was taken one Sunday for Mother's Day here at Journey a few weeks ago. I'm not sure I've ever seen a better pic of the berrytribe. I asked for him to get me a huge mounted copy for my office.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008


  1. I live in the suburbs.
  2. I'm white.
  3. I own a large car, sometimes called an SUV.
  4. I do not have my own garden where I grow corn in my backyard or the empty lot next to my house.
  5. I've never lived in the city.
  6. I spend more money on my families groceries than I do on groceries in other parts of the world
  7. Did I mention I live in the suburbs where my wife and 3 kids and I go to hide from the problems in the real world.
  8. Because I have not sold my house in the suburbs to move into the city where the truly Godly people live.
  9. I sponsor a child in Uganda through World Vision, so I can pretend I care.
  10. I do missions trips and work with the poor only in brief manageable stints so I can make myself feel good and then go home to my safe suburb.

Where is this post coming from? It's in part how I felt after reading Shane Claiborne's Irresistible Revolution about a year ago when he speaks of finally meeting a "real Christian" who actually believed Jesus and truly sold all he had and lived among the poor in Calcutta. It's also how I felt after stumbling onto this blog today.

The real truth is I've been wrestling with what it means to love God and serve people, especially in the area of finances for a while now. We actually even spent all our small group time today talking about how we cannot claim to be Godly and then not give a rip about those who are less fortunate than we are. We talked about how to do this practically today and what it was like to live under the constant tension between enjoying the things God's given me and not doing so at the expense of not serving the needy. I really don't want to be American Christian who hides behind luxuries and throws a bone to the Lazarus' of the world.

But I'm tired of reading stuff- satirical or otherwise- that implies or outright states that Godliness comes from those who live in the city. I think it smells of elitism and legalism under the disguise of piety and faith.



Another article posted to Simply Youth Minstry's site today. I wrote it about a month ago in the middle of a time when life in ministry was causing me to find myself in a serious state of disarray.

We had taken into our home a former teen from one of my small groups who had hit some very tough roads. His life started kinda tough by being basically abandoned by his drug addicted parents when he was 8. Since then, he had been into drugs, alcohol, and women and then had his whole life turned upside down with a major tragedy several months ago that left him suicidal and confused. This eventually led to him being kicked out one night in a fight with his relatives and he called my cell with nowhere to go. Shannon and I took him in and he lived with us for the next 6 weeks before he left, in a rather messy state, with a lot of unfinished work to be done. As much as I wanted to help him "clean up his life", it is a messy process to help people. Messy for me. Messy for them. Messy.

He was- and still is- knee deep in rebuilding his life spiritually, emotionally, mentally, relationally, physically, and every other kind of "ally" you can think of. This meant helping him do everything from file his taxes, learn to do laundry, get a job, fix some stuff with the court and get a drivers license, get some clothes, open a bank account, get a counselor, get a car and a bike, clean up his myspace, and a bunch of other stuff.

But it was messy.

So in the middle of that time, I wrote this article which posted today.

SIDE NOTE: it's been interesting writing these articles cuz a professional editor reads them and "fixes them". So every time one posts to the internet, I pull up my "original article" to see what was changed and what mess I made he had to fix. I hope I'm becoming a better writer because of it. I'm trying to learn to self correct so the editor gets to just say, "post it." He doesn't make a ton of writing changes as it is, but some have more than others.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008


For what seems like forever, I've wanted to join the CORE team from Youth Specialties. Initially it was because of a pitch I heard at the National Youth Workers Convention where Mike Yaconelli said they were going to be creating a 3 year curriculum called the CORE and then training teachers from those who went to all three years. But in the coming years, the Core went through some changes and that plan never really panned out. I'd pretty much decided that it would probably not be a reality for me, so I let it go and moved onto other things. Then about 6 weeks ago I got an e-mail asking me if I'd like to "test" and be considered for joining the team.

I sat at my desk shocked. I didn't know whether to believe it or not.

Then last Saturday, I co-taught (or tested) the Core with Crystal Kirgiss in Los Angeles and it went really good and I had so much fun. After Crystal's review was given, I got another e-mail today officially asking me to join the team for a year of teaching the material. If that all goes good, then I'd be on the team indefinitely.

Today I asked my senior pastor if I could do this in light of the Friday's I'd miss from church as I traveled to teaching locations and he gave me the OK assuming I didn't miss too many Sundays. Shannon and I talked and prayed it over too. We were trying to consider the commitment, which involves about 6 Saturdays a year, and some pre-trip training days and such. Ultimately, I think we decided that our family could do this and that this was an opportunity I didn't want to pass up. I think I will end up passing on a lot of other possible speaking engagements instead.

So, I'm gonna say yes. I think this means I'm almost officially a part of the CORE team. That's gonna take some getting used to. I'm still not sure it's not a dream. I think I'll wait until my picture is alongside the others before I really believe it.



A few weeks ago TJ won an award for Student of the Year at his school and landed himself a $50 cash prize. He was nominated by the 5th grade teachers and the principal at his school to win the award. It was sponsored by the local Masons Lodge who pass out this honor to one kid from every school in the county. So last week, on back to school night, we swung by the Masons Lodge to watch some old dude dressed up all weird hand TJ a certificate and $50. TJ was so shocked and so surprised. We then cruised over to catch the end of back to school night at their elementary school. TJ got to show his award to the principal who was so excited for him.

Yesterday, TJ and I went to the bank cuz he decided that he wanted to open up his first savings account with the money. So, his first $50 is now in the bank. We'll see how long it stays there or what gets added to it in the weeks/months to come.



"Good luck with that." That's what my wife said after we watched The Bourne Ultimatum last night and she knew that I had to write a message on the movie this week in our God at the Movies Series. Actually she said, "Good luck with that. Why don't you make the students who chose that movie write the message."

I can see where she is coming from cuz there's not a ton of dialogue in this film and much of what is there is chopped up or even whispered, so finding the right clips will be some work, but I've got some good notes.

I think I'll go along the lines of dealing with our past, searching to find our true identity in Christ, and probably touch on forgiveness. I think we should teach students how to defend yourself with your bare hands, how to make a fake passport, and how to survive a massive car crash almost completely unscathed too.

Hopefully it won't feel like a big stretch, but instead a God-sized Ah Ha moment. Not exactly your classic mother's day message though for sure!


Sunday, May 04, 2008


The internal speakers on my Mac died this week. Suck. I have no time to get this fixed. I'm soundless unless I have ear buds or external speakers plugged in. Bummer.

My 150 GB hard drive is almost full. Everyday I have to dump something to keep space available. It think I'll have to delete some big thing I don't use often and just keep a back up somewhere else. But the boy scout in me is certain that I'll end up somewhere and surely need what I don't have with me. Oh well.



I'm not much of a TV or movie watcher. But one of the traditions here at journey is to do a series of messages called "God at the Movies." Several years ago the main service did it for the adults and it went over so well, that it's become a tradition that has spilled over into other ministries on the campus too. It's different movies, but the same concept. We take hollywood films and use them as the stage from which we go searching for God. Basically, we look to see where we can find an intersection of God in the frames of the cinema.... it's really pretty cool. So, we polled our student leadership team, and of the 5 movies they'd picked, I only had seen one- I am legend. So between high school and main, I've got lots of movies to catch up on.

Here's the line up for high school which we kicked of this morning- went super good with a live cover of the song "Anyone Else But You" by the Moldy Peaches. So good.

May 4: JUNO





The movies I need to watch for main I just found out have some overlap, so that's gonna save me some movie time.

May 18: JUNO

May 25: 3:10 TO YUMA



June 22: I AM LEGEND




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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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