Saturday, June 27, 2009


For almost 12 weeks we've been talking about a retreat we do for students to train them in their faith and stretch their connection with God to a new normal.  It's called OGN and it's next week. 

Every week since Easter I've been telling students to sign up.  We passed out sign up sheets.  We have had custom fliers on every table.  We printed it on our summer calendars.   I mention it during every teaching message as an application point.  We have done promo videos and blog posts and twitter updates and it's in every weekend program in the announcement section and you name it. 

Here's a typical phone convo with a regular teen who attends every weekend in our ministry:

Me: Hey, how's summer treating you?

HS student:  Alright.

Me: Gonna do anything sweet?

HS student: Um, I dunno.  I think we're going camping sometime.

Me: Have you thought about OGN?

HS student:  Yeah, but I don't have the money.

Me: Yeah, things are crazy right now for everyone.  Is there anything I can do to help?  Have you talked to your parents about how much you could pay?  Maybe we can work out a payment plan or something.

HS student:  No.  They told me I could have this surfboard I want or go to OGN.

Me: Oh.... 

HS student: When is it anyway? 

Me: (IF I COULD SCREAM MY THOUGHTS THEY WOULD SAY:  ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!!!!?  I HAVE DONE EVERYTHING SHORT OF PIN A NOTE TO YOUR SHIRT!!!!)   Instead I say, "It's next week. We're leaving Tuesday and be back the following Monday. "

HS student: Oh man.  Yeah I'm in summer school.  I can't go.

Me: Got it. Sounds like tons of fun.  See you Sunday.

HS student: Ok.  late.

then I ponder if I should quit my job cuz I clearly suck at it or just do announcements naked... but then again... they'd be taking pics with their phones to post on the internet and not listening to me and then I'd lose my job anyway and then I'd have my house repossessed and then we'd live in our parents garage with 5 kids and a dog and...

... guess maybe I'll duct tape fliers to shirts on the way out the door.  


Friday, June 26, 2009


I had a friend e-mail me an article today that I wrote a year ago called "evaluation time." He asked if I wanted to comment again on it since a couple of people had commented on the site. I think he was just doing some website house cleaning.

You can read the article here.

It's about 3 questions that Shannon and I spent asking ourselves over our last anniversary. Interestingly enough, they have stuck for us and are not just the subject of some random article I wrote. I'd like to write a book on them someday. Maybe I will. I dunno. That's a whole other blog post and a dream that I have to be more intentional about.

Anyway, we spent Thursday morning- our "real" 15 year anniversary enjoying some java and breakfast and having a conversation about some of the good and the not so good of the previous months.

Conclusion: It's WAY EASIER to live your life with the wrong priorities than it is the right ones.

I want to tell you this. My priorities are:

  1. Be a God fearing man who is mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually present and healthy.
  2. Be a Great Husband and love my wife unconditionally.
  3. Be a Great Dad and love and lead my kids towards maturity and adulthood.
  4. Be a Great Youth Pastor and help my students to understand, own, and live out a life-changing faith in Jesus.
I will even tell you that order matters and that they build on each other. Break the layer above and whatever you do below it falls apart or is nullified.

But regardless, it's also super easy to live life backwards.
  • Ministry has high demands and is always ready to be first if I let it.
  • My marriage can so easily become an environment for raising kids. If I'm not extremely intentional, my kids demands can waaaay outweigh the needs of my marriage. (see the now famous Jon and Kate as the most recent "exhibit A" for this)
  • My marriage can become my third priority, and the idea that "the best thing I can do for my kids is love the mom" is evasive. The love fades and we become roommates instead of friends and lovers.
  • My own health and needs can seem selfish, and instead of being the resource from which I am a healthy contributor to all other relationships, it becomes so deprived that I suck at everything else.
So... I dunno much. But I do know that in another 15 years from now, the priority order will still be the same and life will still be easier to live backwards and hopefully, I'll be better at keeping the order straight.

If I am... it's cuz I asked 3 questions often. How are you? How are we? How is our family?



Shannon and I escaped away for 3 days to Coronado Island to celebrate 15 years.  Shannon said it's called a "staycation" cuz we didn't "vacate" too far, but it was far enough for me.   So amazing that we live in a place where we can "staycate".

We daydream of someday living in a house by the beach where the beach cruiser and the local coffee shop are the daily norms.   This week we added some more layers to that dream and stayed in a beautiful 2 story home on Coronado Island just blocks from the pacific and the world famous Del.  It was pretty amazing to say the least.  Coronado is definitely beautiful.  So blessed to have friends in high places.  We never could afford to get away without them.

Only rule I had:  I'm not moving the car for 3 days.  It was walking and biking only.

So even we saw some dolphins playing on the beach.

We ate, we slept, we walked, we dreamed, we talked.  It was a great 3 days to cap off 15 years of love and friendship and family and funk... yep.  we are funky too  :)   

you can hit the rest of the pics up on facebook.


Saturday, June 20, 2009


Last wednesday, we took our students to the beach. I know. It is tough. But someone's got to do it.

10:00am. Intern arrives at beach to "pit sit" (babysit a beach fire pit so we have one that night) Pit sitting is the most critical and sacrificial job for the youth group bonfire.

10:15am. Second intern and I go to Costco to get supplies.

11:15am. Dumpster dive at lumber yard for firewood.

3:00pm. Drive to get java and then to the beach and set up.

5:00-9:00pm. Roast some dogs, hang with students, makes smores, take pictures, talk, and laugh. (click on the big crab pic to see it blowing bubbles :)

10:00pm. Home.



Look at what they did to my pretty little girl in great grandma delma's clip on jewelry.

And look at what they inspired in my youngest boys....

and look at Jake.  This kid is way too natural at girl dress up.  This kid kills me.


Thursday, June 18, 2009


I can now find you.

If you steal my backpack with my iphone in it. I can find you.

If you hijack my car, better hope I didn't leave my phone in the glove box.

CHECK IT. THIS NOW MAKES MY IPHONE A PERSONAL FBI ITEM per apple's latest software update announcement.

Find My iPhone and Remote Wipe. With the new Find My iPhone web app on you can locate your lost iPhone on a map and display a message on its screen to help someone return it. If you think you've misplaced your iPhone nearby, have it play a sound even when it is set to silent mode. And if your iPhone cannot be recovered, you can use Remote Wipe to permanently erase its data and protect your privacy.

Now, I just want to know if I can personalize the message that shows up on the screen if you jack it. Like maybe to say "I see you and if you don't return this phone, the cops are gonna cuff you in 10... 9... 8... 7....."

Or if I buy one for my kids in their teenage years, then can I track them and then send a message saying "you're late" or for my daughter "I will always love you more than that schmuck who is dating you." Oh the possibilities are endless. And my kids will hate me.

But until then. DON'T JACK WITH MY IPHONE.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Band events are not boring. Band events are not boring. Band events are not boring.

Say it with me people.

"Band events are not boring."

TJ and I have decided we might get a fever right before the next awards ceremony. It's like a graduation ceremony only with instruments and stuff. He even says the school events are boring.

BUT, before you say I don't care or that my kid hates band and we force him or something, know this- he likes it and is good at it! :)

here are some other facts you should know:
  • I went to the concerts and the awards ceremony last week. Which is seriously saying something.
  • My kid is the man and can play a couple of instruments (trumpet, trombone and some piano and stuff) and read music. Which says way more.
  • He won the award for the greatest servant. Yep, the one most likely to serve his peers and teachers and help out without being asked. That's simply amazing!!! Yeah for TJ. So proud of my band helper kid.
  • Becky and Billy got through the awards gig looking through pics on my iphone. Tyler made it through cuddling with his mom.


Friday, June 12, 2009


Just found out that facebook now lets you set a user name instead of assigning you some random assortment of letters and asterisks and punctuation and such after the facebook web address.

I chose "briancberry".  What a shocker.  So now you can find me:

I think that's kinda cool, and pretty streamlined if you're searching for me.



Today was the annual "Dad's n Donuts" at our local elementary school.  I think they want us all fat and slow.  But, my kids showed up at my bedside this morning at 6:45 to tell me we need to go NOW!

So today I went with all 5 kids.  TJ bummed a ride for a free donut and Becky and Billy didn't miss out either, even though it's really only where Tyler and Jake are attending right now.

The event is 600 donuts, hot chocolate, starbucks coffee, and OJ.

Great way to start out the day :)

I asked Billy:  "Billy, today is dad's n donuts.  Which is better, Dad's or donuts?"

Billy said: "Daddy".

I said, "That's right.  Your donut is gone, but your Daddy is still here." 

As I looked around, I wondered how many kids at this school don't come to Dad's n Donuts cuz Dad is no where to be found.  I was both blessed by the presence of the Dad's that are there and mourning for the kids who would come for donuts in search of a Dad.

Here's Billy sporting his new shades he scored yesterday with some birthday money!  Ha... so fun.


Thursday, June 11, 2009


Ok, so on my way to work I listed to the Jeff and Jer showgram on 94.1 on weekday mornings. (sometimes using the iheart radio free app on my iphone too) Occasionally I find out stuff that is intriguing, especially their own stories of life and change. Tommy (like the producer or something) shared a testimony of life change once that was amazing. Jeff recently did the same when he got "re-married" and caught everyone off guard cuz no one knew he had gotten a divorce. His integration of faith and family and reality and pain and hurt and hopes and dreams caused me to sit in my car and listen for like 20 minutes in the parking lot at work one morning.

But, I think I listen mostly cuz I think they are funny!

Here's three things they talked about on the air and then put on their website that we're interesting and a few that I found hysterical.

NAVY SEAL AD: This ad from the navy seals is awesome. I had a whole Navy Seal read-a-thon period of my life where I read all kinds of stuff about them and their "hell week" training here in San Diego. I even got lucky and watched part of it in the bay one night while shannon and I had dinner in coronado when they were training shortly after moving here. So, I'm kind of a Navy Seal junkie. Sorta. Maybe one of my kids will be a Navy Seal. If so, do yourself a favor and don't jack with them. They are legit. So is this ad. (Click on it to make it bigger)

BUG BIOLOGY: Then today they talked about these pics of "bug reproductive biology". Oh man, super funny, especially of the look on that second dragon fly face. I wasn't sure what was more interesting to me... these crazy bug acts or the fact that someone out there is a bug reproductive photographer.

DEMOTIVATOR POSTERS: Lastly, I've seen tons of demotivator posters and even bought one of the original despair company calendars that started the whole trend, but these two made me laugh out loud. Try not to hate me for the stuff that I find funny.



I entered a photo contest for non-pros. Cost was $5 a pic so I tried two. I dunno. People from all over the world can put in pics and the grand prize is $2000 or a brand new Canon 5d Mark II camera.

I have no idea if I'd score the grand prize, but here's the two photos I threw in the bucket. They just extended the deadline for entries another 2 days. So all you photo peeps, throw something in the mix and win it. :) The categories are people, children, animals, architecture, beauty, and landscape.

This one I creatively titled: "African Bugs"

This one "Becky on the Nile"

Wish me (and Becky) luck!


Monday, June 08, 2009


If you wanna read the New Testament in the next 12 weeks with me, then you can step up to the challenge with some students in Encounter and I.

I met with a student last week to talk about faith and calling and goals and stuff and he said that he wanted to read through the New Testament 3x this summer.

I asked, "Do you have a plan as to how you're going to do that?"
He said, "No, not really."

So I decided to help him out and create a way for him to read it through just once in twelve weeks and publish it for all our students last weekend in our weekend program. I figured 3x was a little ambitious for most, so I made a plan for just 1x and figured that if he wanted to go hog wild and triple it, he could.

So, wanna join in the fun?

If so, just say so in the comments and do this:

Goal: each of the next 12 weeks, read about 4 chapters a day for six days.
you get to skip 1 day a week just cuz life happens
or use it to catch up cuz you read slow :)

Result: you’ll have done it in just under 12 weeks.
if you start today with this reading plan, you’ll be done on Wed., august 26th.

you can also download a pdf of it here.

day 1 Matt 1-4
day 2 Matt 2-8
day 3 Matt 9-12
day 4 Matt 13-16
day 5 Matt 17-20
day 6 Matt 21-24

day 1 John 5-8
day 2 John 9-12
day 3 John 13-16
day 4 John 17-21
day 5 Acts 1-4
day 6 Acts 5-8

day 1 1cor 13-16
day 2 2cor 1-4
day 3 2cor 5-8
day 4 2cor 9-13
day 5 Gal 1-3
day 6 Gal 4-6

day 1 James 1-3
day 2 James 4-5
day 3 1Pe 1-2
day 4 1Pe 3-5
day 5 2Pe 1-3
day 6 1Jo 1-3

day 1 Matt 25-28
day 2 Mark 1-4
day 3 Mark 5-8
day 4 Mark 9-12
day 5 Mark 13-16
day 6 Luke 1-4

day 1 Acts 9-12
day 2 Acts 13-16
day 3 Acts 17-20
day 4 Acts 21-24
day 5 Acts 25-28
day 6 Rom 1-4

day 1 Eph 1-3
day 2 Eph 4-6
day 3 Phil 1-4
day 4 Col 1-4
day 5 1th 1-5
day 6 2th 1-3

day 1 1Jo 4-5 & 2Jo
day 2 3Jo and Jude
day 3 Rev 1-3
day 4 Rev 4-6
day 5 Rev 7-9
day 6 Rev 10-12

day 1 Luke 5-8
day 2 Luke 9-12
day 3 Luke 13-16
day 4 Luke 17-20
day 5 Luke 21-24
day 6 John 1-4

day 1 Rom 5-8
day 2 Rom 9-12
day 3 Rom 13-16
day 4 1cor 1-4
day 5 1cor 5-8
day 6 1cor 9-12

day 1 1ti 1-3
day 2 2ti 4-6
day 3 Tit. & Phil.
day 4 Heb. 1-4
day 5 Heb. 5-8
day 6 Heb. 9-13

day 1 Rev 13-15
day 2 Rev 16-18
day 3 Rev 19-22



My family likes to go to the fair. Yes, it's lame and yes it's the same every year and yes we go see the pigs and the sheep and the rabbits and the plants and even the lame table settings people submit. And yes, I even have been known to buy some wonder product. The kitchen pots I've used for cooking for the last 10 years are a fair going purchase. So is my cool modee collapsible giant ladder thing. Maybe this year I'll score some knives that cut glass and tomatoes but turn to butter on human skin. :)

So, needless to say we're on the San Diego County Fair e-mail list and the latest e-mail is trying to tempt me to going to $2 Tuesdays on June 16 (you have to buy the tickets at Albertsons) so i can try the following food items:

  • chocolate-covered bacon strips
  • the giant Big T Texas Tenderloin sandwich
  • deep-fried green beans
  • grilled asparagus
  • oatmeal-cookie chicken sandwiches
  • bread pudding
  • hot dog stuffed in a zucchini called a Zucchini Weeni.

Yep. don't even act like the chocolate covered bacon didn't make you gag and hold your arteries in fear. And you know you laughed outloud that somene has to scream....

"Step right up and get your Zucchini Weeni!"


Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Jake is a crazy kid. He has more energy and zeal for life than like 12 kids and he also has made a huge sacrifice in the last 6 months. When we adopted two younger siblings, Jake had to give up his proud status as the youngest brother. This has meant that Dad time and Jake's needs are a little higher these days so, I made sure to swing by his 1st grade field trip to Sea World today.

I couldn't be there all day, but I made it for about an hour.... long enough to catch some pics and see the bat rays, the moray eels, the sea stars, the turtles, and the aquarium with Jake before they headed to lunch.

So here's some pictures of a crazy hour with a crazy kid....

Oh, and yes... I did take time to stop and smell the roses as we walked too. I half think just looking at the plants in theme parks and the zoo and stuff are worth the entry fee all by themselves.



I've had the privilege of working with some of the greatest people as a youth pastor.  I could go on and on about a lot of people, but of my four years here in San Diego, there has been just one who has clearly been through the storm the closest with me. 

Sarah and I have cried together, laughed together, broke a sweat working on projects way past closing time together, counseled students together, had coffee, lunches, solved problems, and traveled to two foreign countries together just as a quick starter list.  She has truly been like a sister to me and a great friend/comrade in ministry.

Saturday was her wedding day and it was a joy to watch.  She married Daniel, another mutual friend on our staff at Journey who I've spent less time with in youth ministry, but have just as deep a respect for nonetheless.   Anyway, in the threat of rain on a misty day on the coast of San Diego and in a friends backyard later that night, the two of them chose to start their lives together before family and friends. 

Their story is a roller coaster of love and despair and hope and faith that made the day all that much more special.  It was such a great day to watch and such a wonderful thing to see God's redemptive work pictured in this young married couple.

I had lots to do before the wedding and didn't bring my camera out of the car, but I did snap some at the wedding rehersal as Shannon directed things a few nights before and then I busted it out again at a smaller reception they held afterwards. 

So three cheers for friends in love and here's some photos as a toast to a long life filled with great risks and wonderful stories of God sightings as you daily love one another. 

here's some from the rehearsal:

and here's some from the hundreds of candles that lit up the walk ways and tables at the reception:

and here's some of the two lover friends on their big day, saying thank you to parents and saying hello to a new life together:



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

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