Wednesday, May 27, 2009


It's both weird and beautiful to be in the desert and see it so lush.


As I have walked around in an extremely nice resort in the Palm Springs Valley for the last 2 days, it is a little disturbing outside. We are in a desert Oasis due to the modern ability to pipe in massive quantities of water to create vacation destinations. There are places all around the world that don't have water to drink and even our state is complaining about a water shortage and we evidently still have enough water and money to pump into the desert for water features and lush green massive golf courses so the rich can have a beautiful playground in what would otherwise be a barren landscape. It's really crazy, and perhaps even wrong.


On the flipside, it shows the power and beauty of water. When you take a place that is literally void of plant life and you pump into it water, you get beauty. Water is powerful like that. It has a MASSIVE influence and ability to change lives and landscapes.

Need proof? Try this view of the valley from the top. The hills and main expanse that are predominately brown are "natural", the green belt in the middle is what happens when water is "piped in".

So, why do a dry soul, a human body, and a barren landscape all cry out for water? This is why:

This is also why, in the (not all that different) desert landscape that is Israel, the Psalmist used the imagery like this:
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you, I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. - Psalm 63:1
Oh God, may we seek you like water in a desert landscape and may we manage our use of the physical water you have given to us as an act of worship.



Couple of times a year I get the chance to teach in our "main service" at journey. It's always hard to find the time to do it with all the other ministry stuff going on and the extra prep it requires, but it is something I enjoy doing for several reasons:

  1. I just enjoy it.
  2. It helps student ministries to have a voice in the "big church".
  3. If I don't tank it, it increases confidence that our ministry is worth sending a student to.
  4. It stretches me.
Anyway, last Sunday was the last time I got to take my turn at bat in the main service and without any commentary on it, here's the link if you wanna give it a listen... but you'll need some imagination and some time, cuz the visuals from the message will not be there and well... I opened my trap for 48 minutes.

Here's the link if you got an hour to kill.



Memorial Day started with bill paying.  Yuck.

But then we went to the park for a photo shoot with Sarah Tolson in the clothes we bought for the family in Africa.  Super excited about seeing those pics.... but I don't have them yet.

In the meantime.  I can show you the ones that followed as we headed to the Hammonds (whom we have been bonded with forever as we adopted our kids together and journeyed to Africa and back for the month of January) for a good ol fashion pool party.   Becky and Billy started taking swimming lessons last week and I cannot believe how much they have changed in 3 months.   From deathly scared of dogs, animals, and water to diving straight into the deep stuff and greeting strange dogs. 

Anyway, good weather, laziness, and good friends and family makes for a good day to celebrate the lives of those who have died to create the country I call home and has given me so much of the privileges I have. 
Here's some pics of the day. 


Saturday, May 23, 2009


My cup is overflowing with joy and blessing. I have zero room to gripe.

A year ago, I had no idea who Becky and Billy even were. The honest truth is they were nameless and faceless children on the planet for us. Today, they have been in our home for 3 months and yet they are very very much a part of our lives and very much our children. They are healthy, learning to swim, love their family, and are a joy to get to know and parent. I am so thankful that God even lets me do this. It is a crazy blessing to parent all 5 of our kids- in the good and the not so good times.

But today was definitely ridiculously good.

We had family come from all over the state to meet them and enjoy them with us. Some local friends who have been a part of the adoption process joined us too.

Some highlights of our day were

  • Having some friends dress up as "Dora and Diego", the theme of our party.

  • Having friends pray over our family as we did a formal dedication of them to the Lord today along with friends and family as part of our "tribe".

  • And just a general all around blessing of watching two kids have the greatest day ever. they just had so much fun and were so excited that their birthday was here. They have been counting down the days for the last 24. Oh boy was there some anticipation in the air... which speakin of air... here they are getting some air way up high on a totally fun inflatable we rented for today.



Jake was "Jack" in Jack and the bean stalk in his 1st grade school play this week. He is such a clown and definitely NOT shy.

But the crowning jewel in his show was when he was singing his solo and the CD player totally died. Jake just looked over at the lady and just kept on going, singing the entire rest of his song acapella.

Everyone applauded and shannon and I cried. He was such the little man.

YEAH FOR JAKE or Jack or whoever....







Sunday, May 17, 2009


Hey berrytribe blog crew. 

Hook our middle school queen up at Journey.  Christina and her husband Ian bought their first house a while back and it has a BAGILLION weeds and they have NO lawn tools.  So they seriously need your help.


Well, they entered a contest by LOWES to win lawn equipment and they are in the finals.  You can go here and vote by giving them a thumbs up.   GO NOW!!   Go often because you can go a bunch of times. Hit vote at the top of the page and then scroll to the video that has a couple and a big ol black great dane standing in front of their house.  THEN GIVE IT A BIG OL THUMBS UP.  It looks like this: 


Thursday, May 14, 2009


Ok... so we are doing this big ol massive community service thingy on Saturday at Journey. This is the 3rd year. this year there is a slight twist from previous years. Here's what this one should be:

  • 14 homes of yard work all over the county by 4 teams of guys.
  • 8 hours of car washing on campus from 7-3.
  • 1500000000 million things to be sold in a Swap Meet from 7-3 on campus.
But... planning and doing this thing has reminded me of some stuff when it comes to youth ministry:
  1. Every event I do means that I become some crazy mix of administrator/ accountant/ facility coordinator/ travel agent/ phone caller/ taxi man/ insurance agent/ prayer warrior.
  2. If the event is 8 hours long, it will take 80 hours of prep to do it right.
  3. Phone calls, phone calls, texts, reminders, more texts, e-mails, phone calls, and more texts, and a plane writing in the sky is what it will take to get students and staff there.
  4. Someone will cancel at some ridiculous hour.
  5. Someone will likely just randomly show up and say they have always been on the list.
  6. For every 3 who sign up, 1 won't be able to go- for one of 14.3 reasons. I could list them all, but I've got more of #3 to do.
  7. The event can easily take the place of the people. It is totally possible to complete- even a "succesful details event"- that was relationally a total wash if I don't force the details to the back burner and remember that in the end, that stuff is only worth it if it prepares for relationship.
  8. I secretly day dream of what an event would be like with a full time admin. I've never had one of those. If you have, I might kill you in your sleep and take your job.
  9. Without the help of others, everything I do would end up stupid.
  10. I will say, "Man I can't wait for this to be over... all the way up to the event start." 2 days after the event, I'll forget #1-9 and think of all the good stuff that happened and decide to tweak it a little and then do it again.
Oh my... this church used junk swap meet thing might be worse than the church over nighter. I have 2 friends who do it and gave me the low down and well, yeah... they make LOTS of money. So I got their learnings and planned it out and stuff based on their experience and mine. BUT, after this is over... I might consider surgery with a blunt rusty object before doing this one again if it doesn't make TONS of money.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Ok.... so I've seen this on like 4 blogs already, so I'm way late to the party, but I laugh out loud every time I hear it.

So, in case you haven't heard this interview.... put down your coffee, so you don't spit it out, and watch it.


Monday, May 11, 2009


Oh.. and before I forget.  Every Wednesday night for like 4 years now Stacie has been our sitter so Shannon could get a night off and our boys could have someone fun to hang with while I've been leading small groups and stuff.  She has been there for everything, so we just call her Super Stacie. But Stacie just graduated from college, so we might be in trouble next year.  But in her honor, we made Super Stacie suits for her graduation party.

So.... if you wanna nerf war.  Maybe you better pray Super Stacie ain't around:)

Jake's pose totally kills me in this one.  He is such a clown.



I came home to from seminary this evening to find the fort has been fortified. Evidently my family challenges your family to an all out war.




OK.... so I wrote this post several days ago.  I let it marinate.  After hearing more about this yet again today, I think I'm ready to post it.  So here goes.

There are times when I want to carry duct tape for mouths.  There have been times when I wished I'd had a roll for my own mouth or typing fingers... I'm trying hard not to let this be one of those.

But I'm part mad, part bewildered, and part something I'm not sure what to call... maybe just basically in a funk over this so I'm going to say so. 

I got another e-mail the other day claiming that Miss California's comments against gay marriage are to be heralded and the consequential posting of half naked pictures of her are an attempt to dethrone her by the left wing world.  This, I am told, is therefore a great reason for Christians to unite against this horrible social ill.

Christianity today reports that in her interview with Miles McPherson- her pastor at the Rock here in San Diego- following the controversy, Miles said this is evidence of "Christian church being punked."

Are you kidding me?  Do you really think the "left wing media" is the real problem here?  I think we punked ourselves.  Notice the use of "we".  I think this bothers me so much because my faith is not an "us" and "them" thing to me.  But either way, this is ridiculous.

I think somewhere, somehow, too many people broke the mirror in front of them. 

I wish "christians" would at the very least think, reflect, and process before opening their mouth or hitting the send button.

Here's a few things I wish more christians were pondering:

  1. Would you like to see your church host this beauty pageant?  If you did host a pageant for beautiful, and evidently god-fearing women, would you include a high heel clad, waterproof bra and underwear strut down the stage in the middle of it?  Really?
  2. Do words now speak louder than actions? 
  3. If you care so much about marriage, let me ask, "what are you doing to help the failing or struggling ones in your own church to succeed?" 
  4. Are we going to embrace this pageant as a place of Godliness and truth?  If so, do we as a church have any grounds for standing against the constant barrage of "sexual images of our culture" that degrade women and influence the teens I work with daily?
  5. If you think homosexual marriages are wrong... how do you feel about divorce among believers, or "married" fathers who sire children and then don't raise them, or heterosexual couples who don't see marriage as a priorty anyway, or porn that streams through homes like water... or any number of other social trends that are on the rise?  Why don't we hear the church getting upset and forming rally's and stuff about the whole set of family and marrital problems we experience today?
  6. When you're defending the covenant of marriage, have you considered that your voice might be ringing void in the street because the track record of "christian" heterosexual marriages is so ridiculously bad? 
  7. If it's time for righteous anger, maybe we should put up the mirror in front of us before we go casting stones? 

If you want to hear what others are saying, here's some other stuff I found in the process of writing this:
  • If you want to hear another concerned christian response you can read this.
  • If you want to read what the secular world is really saying, read this and the comments too, but brace yourself.
  •  Oh... and for one more, here's latest of which I posted two quotes from- paranthetical remarks and all:
"The organizers of the pageant say that the Miss USA runner-up violated her contract by lobbying for an anti-gay-marriage group and posing in her underwear (but not at the same time!)"

"Prejean claims the photos -- they show her in pink lace underpants, hands strategically covering her chest -- were taken when she was 17 (that makes it all right then!), and that yes, sometimes models model underwear.  But another pageant organizer claims that the photos were taken far more recently, after Prejean's breast enhancement surgery (paid for by the Miss California organization!)"

And finally a few clarifiers
  • nope, I don't think homosexuality can be supported Biblically.
  • nope, I don't think heterosexuality is the key to a God honoring marriage.  
  • yep, I think homosexuality is a hot button issue today that is not the subject nor central concern of the Biblical teaching or of Jesus' life.  
  • yep, I think christians spend way too much time telling others where they went wrong and not near enough time figuring out where we have. 
  • nope, it doesn't matter to me one bit if Carrie Prejean keeps or loses the title of Miss California or Miss USA runner up or any of that. 
  • nope, I don't want to be the poster child for Christianity.  And I don't think Carrie should be either.  yep, I have parts of my life that I don't think would fall under the category of, "Welp, I did that while intentionally following Jesus."
  • yep, I think all future interviews on this subject by conservative talk show hosts and churches should be done in bikinis and speedos, regardless of your size or shape.
  • yep, this is where my main problem lies- I'm tired of Christians making the front page news for accusations that point outward without any statement of inward examination first- I wish that was just because it's been edited that way... but that's not the whole truth. 

ok... now I'm going to duct tape my fingers...


Sunday, May 10, 2009


Today we spent the afternoon with our kids in celebration of mom's day.   It was incredibly special for us due to the fact that we had 2 new ones to call Shannon mommy for the first time on an official Mom's Day. 

I asked Shannon what she wanted to do several weeks ago and she said, "Let's go to Subway, get some sandwiches and go to the park in Coronado."   Then last weekend we figured out that it was the red bull air race weekend, so we decided to brave the parking craziness and give it a try anyway... and we were so glad we did.  So fun. 

So we had some lunch and hung out in the sunshine that San Diego is famous for.

Watched the air show, which has crazy fast acrobatics from some amazing pilots and with the San Diego skyline in the background.  It rivaled the Blue Angels for me... and that's saying a lot cuz I love watching them.

And took some mom's day pics.



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