Romans 5:6

Love, even if it hurts - Jesus Christ

Dec 30, 2009

Life = Christ

Life is like eating artichokes, you have got to go through so much to get so little.


Life... is like a grapefruit. It's orange and squishy, and has a few pips in it, and some folks have half a one for breakfast.

What is life like? You know what I mean. Is it like a box of chocolates? Is like a boulder, when you get it rolling, if you can get it rolling, you can’t stop it? Can we, like fruit pickers, pluck an image out of the great blue yonder and then define all of life by that one image. Unless that image is the sky that you are grabbing at, I say no. I have given it (life's definition) a lot of thought and I must conclude that life by its very definition has no definition; instead, it is a gift. Yet, by making that statement I am again relegating the definition of life to another object. But maybe this one parable is the true one that defines fully the concept of life.

Life is something that is given outside of your control. Even with contraceptives and abortion running around like rabid pack animals, life is still not in our control. Life is something you do not deserve. I must confess that I am looking at this situation through the binoculars of the existence of God and therefore must conclude that we did not deserve life and very well could have been left unmade. The fact that God desired to create us shows a type of understanding, pain and love I can never and will never understand.

I cannot push to the side or deny the way that this world portrays life. I know I should not be as surprised as I am but I must confess it is ridiculous. One of the definitions of ridiculous is having a frivolous attitude. The way that we allow public opinion to determine our values on life, death and the right to it is shocking. Even when God was pushed to define for us what life, true life, really means, he said it in a way that still crumbles my soul. "Life is Christ," and with that one statement more purpose, direction and peace flowed from the mouth of truth than all the words of wisdom, poetry, and science man has created.

Dec 29, 2009

Choose to smile


Have you ever felt like if the world was smiling, you wouldn't, just to spite them? I'm not saying that I am in such a pessimistic attitude; I'm just asking the question. Now I have been tempted to do just that, refuse to smile that is, and succumb to the constant negative. Recently I have heard of fellow ministers (both paid and not) and have noticed myself being bombarded by the oppressive influence of pessimism and hardship of the soul and mind. One perspective popular held to, is that this must mean we are doing something right, or else evil would be unwarranted. I somewhat agree with that and even acknowledge that suffering accompanies a closer relationship with God. Taking on the mantle of spiritual leadership opens us up to depression and hardship and we often forget to smile.

I was recently having a conversation with someone who was being very harsh with their criticism and remarks of both the leadership and direction of the church, and through his eyes I would have to agree with him. On my way out he said something to me that really stuck, "however bad they may be, I hope that you can keep up you enthusiasm." that made think of how I must come across to these people and how, as a whole, we ministers must always show a face of encouragement and general enthusiasm to the congregation. I did not expect the heavy weight that would be put on my emotional and spiritual back when I took this job. I have now adjusted and I not only accept but I also love the growth I have seen in myself because of it. I don’t think we must be charismatic, the world all ready has too much of that. However, we must remind ourselves to just smile. I challenge you to smile when you are with the church, when you are in elders/deacons meetings, when you are teaching/participating in small groups. Furthermore, when you do jump over the cliff and take the leap showing others that you choose to smile instead of cry, try mean it!

Dec 22, 2009

Redemption thoughts


Are we redeemable? If you were to point that question at God you would get a most resounding affirmative. I mean look at all God has done to redeem us from ourselves. He has done and is doing absolutely everything within his own limits (human choice that is) to bring man back into a saving, permanent, and healthy relationship with himself. God has gone so far as to send his son, knowing what we would do to him once he got here, to live among us frail humans and eventually give his life to pay the ransom for our own. The bible is full of amazing stories showing us at our worst and God making the best out of those situations. In the end, I still ask are we redeemable? I want to say no, truthfully, because of all we have done to each other. Our society is so self destructive, petty and to put it simply, dirty. I’m not making this statement standing far off looking at the earth with purer-than-thou vision. I am saying this standing chin deep in all my filth with no way to get out. In the end I am confronted with the same truth, it is not how we see ourselves but how God sees us. The amazing ways Jesus teaches us is manifested best through his teachings on love. Jesus asks us to love one another, not because of others love towards us, but because of God’s love towards us. Jesus does not leave the connecting tissue between us faulty humans unenforced; instead, he connects this truth with himself. Remembering all that Jesus did in the name of this love suffering, living, healing, dying, crying, walking, and hurting, he did this through the hands and feet of a purpose caused by God. All because of God’s love for his son which he so graciously shared with us. Praise God in the highest that he sees us through the eyes of compassion, redemption and love. I pray that we might do the same to each other. That we look through the eyes of a suffering servant to see the pure soul that God intended us to be. In the words of Mother Teresa we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts.

Dec 16, 2009

Thoughts of one before God

Here is a shot at poetry

My soul dismays at the sight of righteousness

In terms of good and well, I stand in foul

In terms of life and vitality, I walk in fields of death

In terms of purpose and transparency, I exist on levels of decay

When standing face to face with the mint, I find the original unbearable

When called to be perfect, I crumble under pressure and rejection

When called to effect, I am disabled by the affect I have

After the structure of a warrior, I succumb to the element of a coward

Built to be redeemable, I am most to be disposed

Because when you recognize the facts, miracles, chances and opportunities

you are faced with the same reality, I am and always will be, man.

Dec 11, 2009

My torn and bleeding heart


I feel like my heart is tearing between long term ministry and the parents immediate view of the several years their children will spend in the "youth group". I want to provide a wide range of spiritually centered programs and events but I do not want to compromise my ministry with activities for the sake of keep kids there. I want to give my full focus to all aspects of every age group, but I feel myself turning into one enormous eye with no hands to work out what I see. I want to plan long down the road but I get snagged on branches in front of my feet. I want to create an environment where people are needed throughout their spiritual and physical growth within the kingdom of God. I feel like I'm about to explode with all the ideas, plans, visions and wants for the youth of this county let alone this small community of believers.
I knew going into this whole ministry 'thing' that it would be hard to convey the "big picture" to people and yet still keep their patience and attention through the years. I'm hurt by people's lack of vision and shortsighted view of the kingdom. I'm not angery at the church of my Christ nor am I frustrated per say with how things are going, maybe this post is in some way a plea for ideas and help.

Dec 10, 2009

The continuing, not so short, story of Thomas and Klara.





Thomas blinked rapidly from the glare coming from the gold locket he gave to Klara that morning. Somehow knowing exactly how much time had past Thomas quickly stood up, throwing crumbs, silverware and paper to the wind. Birds slowly began chirping as if annoyed with the disturbance being made of their otherwise peaceful Sunday afternoon. Thomas knew that he was all ready late for the counsel meeting and Edgar would be waiting for him steaming as usual. "Honey I told you to wake me up in a half hour", Thomas tried to keep the annoyance out of his voice but failed. Klara was just stirring, also having fell asleep with him. What started out as a quiet pick nick in the meadow turned into a cat nap lasting for several hours. Thomas scanned his surroundings for threats and possibly anomalies. "Anomalies, who thinks like that? Capitan James T Kirk maybe, but surely not me, right?" Sense his recent encounter on key and the injection of the mites, Thomas was beginning to see everything like a computer. Everything was calculated and projected, discrepancies were dealt with and factored out. He knew the by now the mites have embedded themselves deep in his brain stem and spinal cord, speeding up reflexes, fine tuning his central nervous system and organizing his brain like some massive external hard drive. Allready he could feel the very "presence" of wireless signals, communications, cell phone, video and satellite feeds buzzed around his head like an annoying fly. Thomas slowly ran his hands through his rough shoulder length hair, smoothing out the knots growing in his neck. "I feel like I'm becoming a machine, I run when others call and I do what I'm told without question." The reason Thomas was so tired was because last night he had spent the whole evening with the king's counsel trying to adjust supply lines and the figure the amount of protection needed. Apparently pirates have been attacking spice ships jumping in and out before the hired protector vessels could even respond. It took several hours just trying to reassure the spice guild that the Guardian's would now assume their protection. "What is the point of all of this if I cannot enjoy being human? I mean I cant just give up on life just because of my duties." Urging Thomas to come back down to earth Klara rose on one elbow and moved a strand of hair away from Thomas' face. Klara girlishly planted a kiss on Thomas' cheek "I don't know what you do Mr. Mystery, but your with me right now. So right now I own you, but what I hope is that your mind might come along with it," Klara looked off into the mountains that rose high above the meadow. "I have told you about those mountains?" Klara had Thomas' full attention now, Thomas wished that he could command people's attention as easily as she could control his. "No I don't think you have ever told me," Thomas felt a sting of pain at the reminder that he could never tell her what exactly he did or who he was for fear of the knowledge destroying all they have made together.
"Once there were was bluster berry farmer," don't laugh this is a good story with a quick apology Klara continued," anyway, he loved his wife but she she could not conceive a child. every time a ship came into the city he would go and try and find a remedy from some far off part of the country to cure his wife. for years he would travel to and fro from city to city searching for a remedy. Finally there came a day when he traveled so far that he did not come back and for weeks the wife worried about her husband and sent letters to the cities searching for him. Finally, succumbed with intense grief, for she thought her husband had died on the long road to the city, she died. The next day the husband came home to find his love dead and he was tempted to end his own life just then. However, the farmer knew how much his wife loved life and with tears in his eyes the farmer buried her in his fields where her soul could give birth to Bluster berry plants year after year; and the farmer's field grew and grew until it took up most of the earth. When the farmer was old and gray and he was about to die, a young man asked him "what did you learn from all your years old man?" he answered, remembering all his hapy years with his wife, "I learned that you'll lose everything you have searching for something you've had the entire time." the old farmer died that night and the young man, being a son of a friend, buried him in the middle of his field. After many years a great mountain range grew out of the ground and gave shade to the fields of bluster berry farms. and the old farmer and his wife were reunited and all was well."

Trying to joke but failing miserably Thomas asked, "what are you trying to tell me?"
Holding up his chin Klara looked deep into his eyes, "You're going to lose me if you keep trying to make ways to keep me."
"Does she know?" thought Thomas, "thats impossible, I've been so good keeping this a secret from her." The side of Thomas that wanted to stay here and give up everything said, "your going to have to tell her someday, I mean come on, your about to be in a lottery to marry somebody else. Even if you don't marry this princess your going to leave this planet within 36 hours, what are you going to do then, send a card?"
"I love you Thomas," Klara said softly, she must have noticed the internal struggle going on inside of him.
"I love you too Klara." Thomas could feel the lid closing around his heart knowing the full impact of the promise he just made to her. He could hear the roar of disagreement rising from the counsel floor. Somewhere deep inside he realized that the Guardian King, the most powerful man on 15 planets, just proclaimed his undying love for a common woman and nobody back home will be happy about this. But on the outside he couldn't stop smiling.

Dec 9, 2009

Slow dance

We're goin down
and you can see it too
We're goin down
and you know that we're doomed
my dear
we're slow dancing in a burnin room
-John Mayer

I was listening to this song last night and it got me thinking as to what type of relationship we have with the world that wraps around us so tightly. In a class I was teaching on Wednesday a girl asked me how you can not be friends with the world. We had just been reading out of James where it says that if you have a friendship with the world then you have an enemy with God. It was hard for me to draw a line in the sand for her because even I have become so blurred in my perception of God and of the world. At first i wanted to tell her that the world cannot be the main influence in her life, then I wanted to tell her friendship with the world means to attach yourself to the world therefore you must have no attachment here. In the end I told her that the closer you get to God the harder it is going to be for you and the world to be friends. I feel like my own Christian walk is like slow dancing to fast music. I'm constantly off beat and stumbling over my own feet, do you know what I mean? Is it God that gives us the dance floor and the music we dance to given by the world? What is to truly be a friend to God and yet not be in a difficult relationship with the world I must live in today? I look at Abraham who was actually called a friend of God. I can imagine him showing up at God's birthday parties, having guy nights together, you know? Doing all the things friends do together. However, when I look at his life I see only one thing that clearly separates him from everybody else; he unquestionably, irrevocably, undeniably cast his lot with God instead of the world he lived in. From giving Lot the first choice of the land, to leaving Ur and Haran, to sacrificing his own son; Abraham's trust in God was not just seen in his prayers and words but also through his actions towards others outside his tent. Are you slow dancing in a burning room? do you want to take in every second of life while refusing to accept the truth that the room you’re in, that this world around us is quickly going to be destroyed? Just imagine what it would be like to be in heaven and see God smile at you and then in a smooth voice call you his friend.

Dec 4, 2009

Story of Jacob


“Master your son has heard of your illness and has hastened to visit you,” with a curt bow the servant exited the tent and walked across the dusty clearing and disappeared behind another tent.

“Good” replied the tired old man

Jacob had never felt so tired in his whole life. The last few days have been long haunting. Faintly he remembered the long journey he made from Beersheba to Paddan-Aram; however, he had the incentive of an angry brother to drive him quickly through the country. He remembered the confusion of the dream but the vivid imagery would forever be seared in his memory. The sound of the angel’s heavy breathing as they climbed the latter up and down and up and down again. The sight of heaven and the look of the ladder descending to earth, all so real and yet unreal at the same time. If only I knew the full meaning and depth behind the vow I made.

In a meadow, a world away, a much younger man was on his knees apparently out of breath and showing the marks and bruises of someone much older than himself. “God” the trembling lips were not confident or loud; instead the voice was sacred and tired. One would think that when talking to God you should stand and yell your request to God like he might be deaf in one ear or something. This man could not summon the strength to stand let alone look in the direction of heaven. “If…. if you help on this path that I am on and you deliver me safely to my destination, God?” Could he even make a request to God at this point? Would God listen to a deceiver a liar a sinner? Loneliness and despair invaded Jacob’s heart and began marching death and depression around his mind and heart. Invisible roots and vines began to ensnare and trap him, around and around weaving into his skin, his clothing, his eyes and mouth. “Please bring me back God, bring me back in peace.” Peace was not what he was feeling; peace was the exact opposite of what was in him. Fear of his brother finding him, and at any moment rushing from under the shade or those trees and killing him like some wounded animal. Could it be that bad, I do deserve whatever hatred he must have for me, I deserve to die here and now. I deserve to be forgotten for what I have done to my brother, my father. Almost in a whisper “Then you will be my LORD God and I,” could I actually uphold my end of this covenant? Then again I will most likely not see the morning, “I will be your man.” Peace. Nothing but quiet was the response. Even the birds and wind, with their silence, recognized the power and grace of the covenant that was struck just then. Jacob found no resistance when he lifted his head, no vines ensnaring him. Nothing was heard but the sound of heart beating against his chest; every thump..thump….thump was a reassurance that God not only listened but he accepted. It wasn’t till years later that Jacob realized that it was in God’s acceptance that the truly hard trials awaited.

Dec 1, 2009

Time as a Tornado


It's amazing that another year has pass and gone with the same speed as teenager riding a shopping cart down a hill in a Wal Mart parking lot. It is even more striking that this year, like no other year, has gone by like a tornado; changing everything about me and my relationship with everybody. I feel like Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt in the last scene of twister, where they are holding on to the pipe that happens to be anchored to the core of the earth while everything around them is destroyed. All of the elements in a tornado, when docile are unseen, unnoticed and not dangerous but when stirred they become violent and threatening. Time when it goes, goes often unnoticed but when you try and hold on gets violent and threatening. not because of its nature but because of your stance towards it; like a picture that in one position looks like a young girl and when you turn it upside down it becomes a picture of an old woman. this last year was my first year I have ever spent attached to another person in an intimate relationship, marriage. All I know thus far is that I know nothing about what it means to love as God loves me. My wife loves with an immense intensity, towards myself, our family and strangers. This gives me such a small glimpse of what God means to love others, not because of how they love you but because of how God loves you. Do we hold on to time like a lifeline from a sinking ship? Do we have a death grip on a cord that should ensure our safety, but in reality it ensures our destruction? I love what this last year has given me, my wife, my job, my ministry, and as I look forward, as we all look forward to this coming year; smile, for God loves you with an unbearable love. A love that is strong, merciful, compassionate, and full.

Nov 19, 2009

Indestructible bubbles


What has been your experience with small groups or life transformation groups (LTG)? What have been your trouble and your rewards? How do your small groups or LTGs differ from the rest? Looking at where the church has been and some of the decisions that it has made in order to adapt and survive, I wonder where small group’s stand? Are small groups the future of the churches of Christ? Will they be the main ministries and avenues for the church to reach the un-churched? I have seen small groups take on many forms and many directions but they seem to be here to stay. I feel that small groups can serve a very important role in our congregation’s ability to remain relevant and personal. It is becoming more and more common that families are constructing bubbles around their homes and personal lives. These bubbles are constructed so thoroughly that they are becoming harder and harder to bust. For the sake of fellowship and personal interaction these bubbles must be taken down and I believe small groups do just the thing. We must stop living our lives so independently from each other that we become embarrassed when we invite one another into each other’s homes. I believe that small groups remind us that we are a part of bigger family and that we hold responsibility to the greater body of Christ. However, we must continue to be challenging and very much real with one another. as both leaders and learners we have to push our comfort zones, challenge our presuppositions of the bible, and merge with one another in our love and passion for the community in which we live in.

Nov 17, 2009

cybernetic zombies

Why do we as men love action and fighting movies so? I mean when I think of all of my favorite movies, most if not all of them are action movies. The closest I could come to a romantic movie that made my top ten was Pearl Harbor with Kate Beckinsale and Ben Affleck. I love the idea of old school, knights in shining armor rescuing his beautiful love interest from mystical dragons of the past to cybernetic zombies sent from the future. Some of the things that God has built in us men continue to surprises me more and more; we as man actually want to be a man. Not just a man for mans sake, but to be a man for the sake of our wives and for the sake of our God. I always thought that leadership required dominance and therefore to be a man meant to be above or over everything and everybody. Instead, I am finding that leadership and dominance are not connected and it is submission and humility that are bedfellows and it is they that should become our shields and helmets. With the heart of love, courage, and understanding we have nothing to fear, no flying dragon terminator zombie from the past can stand between us and the man God wants us to be.

I'll be smiling in 2013









Well I guess I might as well jump on the 2012 band wagon before all of the seats are taken up. In as little words as possible the movie 2012 was like every other end of the word story Hollywood has ever come up with. What strikes home with me is that one woman’s sister here in Simi Valley believed that she received a vision from God telling her to sell everything and move to Jerusalem because Jesus is coming back soon. I wonder if we go through these violent cycles because we feel that we do have an expiration date. I read an article a while ago about Y2K and the author said that every generation on earth has believed at one point that the world would end during their time. Yet the world continues to spin and defy all the prophets and seers expectations. The movie it’s self was very entertaining, I mean come on how awesome is it to watch all of Southern California slide off into the ocean. The acting was horrible absolutely awful, but what do you expect when every five minutes one of the characters has to say goodbye to their child for an additional ten minutes of tearful agony. All in all I am so glad that trust in God, though it is hard and lifelong, helps us to realize that God is in control of both the earth and our future.

Nov 13, 2009

Adventures of coffee


I love coffee, in fact I love the feeling I get when I drink coffee, especially on a cold day. Is there anything better than sitting on a porch hearing the cold rain beat helplessly on the roof while drinking a hot cup of smooth caffeinated beverage? The coffee almost acts as a protective ward against the cold as if it was the cold itself you are fighting against. When you are frigid and icy, drink a warm soothing coffee and feel the spidery web of heat and comfort spread throughout your ice clogged pipelines piercing every crook and cranny in your body. Feel the furnace of contentment hitch on your internal subway system bringing with it the satisfaction of energy and renewed purpose to all your cells.

I remember when I was a child attending bible camp up in the high Sierra Nevada’s, I loved the mornings. The dew covered everything like frosted icing, capturing trees and benches in its magical spell. I remember waking up and seeing my own breath escaping from the cracks of my sleeping bag like a dragon’s breathe billowing from a deep cave below the earth. If I got out of bed I believed that the cold would get me and all the warmth I had worked all night to accumulate would all be lost on the frozen tundra of the morning. Putting my fear aside I leaped from my bunk and as quickly as could I gather all my warm clothing and wrapped them around me like a protective cloak against the bitter winter chill I knew was awaiting for me outside the door. Slowly I walked from the cabin to the cafeteria, capturing as much as I could of the wintry scenery being laid down before me. When I entered the building I saw several adults standing around a mystical, power enduing liquid dispenser that they couldn’t seem to pull themselves away from. I, being the young intrepid boy, was too embarrassed to enter their fellowship, so I stood in the shadows and waited for the warmth to return to me. However, as silent as I tried to be one woman saw me alone on the bench shivering in my 13 layers of thanksgiving patterned sweaters, my step dads XX2 long sleeve shirts, old sweats and my long johns, she gathered me under her arms and ushered me into the magical ring of adults. Though I could hear the laughing being held under their breath I was more entranced by the container on the table. What is? What does it taste like? Nasty, bitter, sweet, tasty? Will it is give me bad breath or make me smell better? I didn’t feel the cup that she pushed into my hands, I didn’t feel here push the cup to my lips and spill the contents into my open mouth. However, I felt, no I experienced the taste of my first cup of warm, delicate, delicious coffee. I could feel my insides begin to waken and turn, I could hear the motors in my head begin to spin and whirl and forever after that moment I knew nothing would ever be the same.

Nov 11, 2009

Save us from ourselves


I have recently finished reading through the Sci-fi trilogy by C. S. Lewis, beginning with “Out of the Silent Planet”, “Perelandra”, and His Hideous Strength”, and I must say it was quite different than what I expected. To go further, I really don’t know what I did expect when I began this very complicated but very inspiring novel. The first two books are astonishing in their following story of Ransom; both if you’re reading them together or if you’re reading them individually. The third book, however, was too often over my head in it analogies and storytelling. Through most of the book I had to reread the cover to make sure I was not reading Lord of the Rings. His Hideous Strength was awesome in its truths about marriage and especially how God views the relationships between man and wife and everybody else.

Especially the second book, “Perelandra”, caught my interest out of the three. This book introduces Ransom to the world of Perelandra (Venus) in its infancy, without sin and without corruption. Just like the Garden of Eden there are two and only two people created on this world, the King and the Queen. What I appreciated the most about this book is how the author was able to describe the quality and innocence of the inhabitants on the planet, which was focused exclusively through Ransoms interaction with the Queen, sense the King is not to be found. In this world Ransom finds out just what Earth is missing out on and just how much humanity has lost when it fell into sin. Not only is there no shame in his nakedness nor any hint of lust for the Queen (she's naked too), but there is perpetual youth found in living in a pure and innocent environment. The author associates the very fact that we age so fast and our life seems so small to what sin and temptation has done to us. Ransom spends several months with the Queen trying to figure out why he was sent there, when a space craft enters their paradise bringing with it the embodiment of evil and temptation. Ransom is proven inadequate in fighting against such cruel logic and deadly sin, and no matter how “right” his arguments or how desperate his pleas become for the queen to stop listening to the tempter, the Queen continues to listen. This simple truth is powerful it actually frightening to me. All the time, do I feel like I have no power to overcome evil in other people’s lives, let alone my own. The Devil our accuser does such marvelous job in making us feel incredibly insufficient in defending ourselves or our God. However, God does not see us through our own eyes, thank God, he sees us through his eyes, through which we become more than capable, instead, we become conquerors. Finally Ransom understands that the only way for the woman to have a chance at remaining free he would have to physically destroy the tempter. Again this is an awesome truth because for all of the tempter’s eloquent use of word and his demonic aura, he is still limited to worldly barriers whereas God is not so limited. This is something that we MUST remind ourselves, the world is limited, temporal, and finite and it is God that is limitless and omnipotent. If we were left to our own devices, well... we've seen what we are capable of doing under our own devices. What I learned from this book and what i have learned from C.S. Lewis so far is that God has done everything, he has given everything, he is willing to spend the most and travel the furthest in order to save us from ourselves.

Nov 6, 2009

Hard not to Hate


It seems so impossible that so much hate can consolidate on such a small planet. It is a wonder that we have allowed ourselves to continue existing for so long let alone making God destroying us yet again. I wonder what life was like for Noah when he read the papers and watch the “news”, did he feel like killing himself because of the lack of hope or lack love or lack compassion. I know those things (hope, love, compassion) exist but it hurts to know that the average person does not get the chance to hear those things. I wonder if Noah was close to insanity by the time he got on the ark. I wonder if he ran up the passage way to get on the ark as soon as he could because he could no longer take it. I see a wave of destructive, bigots, racists, emotionally charged people willing to eat each other alive willing to tear at one another’s throats because of what their “righteous” beliefs compel them to. I hate the fact that others represent my Christ so wrongfully and so full of judgmental hate. I hate that people call for tolerance and then threaten anybody’s views that contradicts their own.

It is so hard not to hate, almost impossible to refuse destruction in a self destructive world. Sometimes the power and the hate in this present reality overwhelm me and allow me no glimpse of the world I am being pulled to. Like somebody being pulled out of a sinking ship, I feel the freezing water cover my whole body; I can actually see the icy grips of rage and apocalypse drag me down. The only warmth I feel is from the hand that is firmly and tightly pulling me, dragging me, ripping me from the gallows of animosity and from the depth frigid apathy. Truly, it is amazing how something can seem so impossibly warm when the whole body has become numb from the cold.

Nov 3, 2009

If it could cure cancer


How important is singing to you? How often do you just do it? Do you do it only when you are in the shower or at church? Singing, to me, is how I get spiritually fed. There is nothing I love more than being able to express my thoughts, prayers, blessings and praise to my God through the voice God has given me. To hear that same praise that is escaping my own mouth and also the mouths of all my brothers and sisters, to know that we are saying the same God-pleasing words, encourages me to no end. Even on a completely non spiritual level, scientific studies have proven that those who sing have a lower heart rate, decreased blood pressure and greatly reduced stress levels. It seems then that God created us to sing not only to bless him and others but also to bless ourselves. I remember when I was young in the youth group and this girl started coming to classes and bible studies. She befriended everybody almost immediately, she had, and has now, the most beautiful spirit about her, she was a born servant and an amazing encourager, the only problem with her was she could not carry a tune if it could cure cancer. She would be the first to tell you that too; however, it never stopped her from proclaiming her love for her God, no matter how many people she carried off tune. To see the heart of someone so willing to praise God regardless of how she sounds to others or how others think of her singing; it is both humbling and greatly reaffirming. It humbles us in how we think others hear us when only God is listening, and it affirms our God’s love in hearing us just praising him with what we have. If any of you has ever met Tara Pipes, to say that she has a poor voice is the last thing, if ever, that you would notice in a worship experience with her. The fact that God wants to hear us is such a blessing, is such a great task that we must throw down our assumption of what we sound like and presuppositions of what is culturally acceptable.

I believe that we should become like sunflowers. We should adapt, twist, and turn with the direction of the sun (double meaning, get it?) not because we can or should but because me must to survive. Praising God throughout the day and night, lifting your face in his direction. It frightens me so much that some youth groups have stopped singing for fear of actually repelling people; instead, singing should be that which draws the people to the family. Not because it sounds good, but because the man dying of thirst needs water to survive so does the human soul need words to praise the God that created all things.

Oct 28, 2009

The Wild Things are Everywhere

Not only did I just watch this movie but wife just purchase this book for me on my birthday. I remember reading this as a child amazed at the imagination of the author. Every child would love to be king of their own world, in charge of other monsters, demanding their respect and submission. However, as the inevitable happened, and I grew up I come closer to understanding the truth and the sadness in this story. Are we raising a generation that after finding no love, attention, instruction, or respect, they must create their own world in order to satisfy thier desire for friendship, authority and love? Must we create our own friends and community in order to experience a real community? Are we so incapable of connecting with our own family that we must adopt the world to fill that void? If anything this movie reminds me how hard childhood was, not like I was raised in a slum or a third world nation, but I remember the gaping hole of loneliness that would just drive me crazy until I created my own world to play and feel accepted in. Week after week I see (I work next to a junior high) that the wild things have not disappeared or have been removed they are now everywhere. Teenager after teenager (who are now become young adults) are asking the same question, what is community? What does a "real love" even feel like? What is my family and what makes up my family? Questions that long ago answered themselves but now go unanswered and the world does not even try. But again what I hate the most about the world is what I love the most about God, the world cannot know what community, friendship, love and respect is; the world only sees the perverted slightly skewed look of those things. Yet, God not only knows those things but he has given authority to his body, his church, his people to BE those things to each other and to offer THAT to individuals of the world. The greatest form of success is to produce and maintain in each other an actual community, our little part of the kingdom, a real thriving nurturing compassionate…..pile.

Oct 24, 2009

The Power of Fellowship


I am continually amazed that God calls us to fellowship with one another for the purpose of building and strengthening not only the church but also the Kingdom of God. It is such a small thing that we so often take this amazing gift for granted. And it is a gift, a good gift given by our father who not only loves us but deeply cares for our spiritual and physical well being. I wonder how we would expand the kingdom without the vital role that fellowship plays. Fellowship being more than just “hanging out”, or playing games; it is the core to our connection with one another through our common savior. This is the key, the one truth, and it gives our “hanging out” and game playing validation on a spiritual level. And that is where I believe fellowship has its full impact. There is something to being just a simple companion and friend to somebody else for the only reason that they share the same common goal and God, as you. And because you share that truth there is a connection that can and does exist between you that is not found in the natural world. I am at this College advance with 24 other people that I would never know let alone fellowship with if not for the Christ that entangles us. Fellowship is pure, bright, and completely filling. It is something that can charge the soul for a whole year and it is something that consumes you entirely, it is a deadly infection and a gracious cure, it a sore problem to have and relieving solution to come across.

Oct 23, 2009

Bewteen Heaven and Earth there is Nevada City, CA


Right now I am up in beautiful Grass Valley, CA having mocha with my wife at the broad street bistro. The greatest theme I see around me is how great and loving God is to me a simple person. I know that God loves me just like I know that my mom loves me. He has to, you know he is your dad; it's kind of his job. But now I feel that God not only loves me but he also likes me, like your best friend likes you. This is a concept that strikes me hard because if God likes me he then wants the best for me in the simple small things and not only in the bigger picture type of things. If this article is confusing you I am truly sorry because I wish to convey this amazing truth and it is simply escaping me. To put it as simple as I can, God likes me and right now I see that all around me. The warming sun is out bathing the lazy clouds in light and trees are swaying to a breeze I can feel but I cannot see. People are laughing around me, my stomach is full and I have the companionship of the greatest person in my life right next to me reading under the shade of big oak tree.

Oct 22, 2009

Terms of Success


What is your goal or what is your vision that once accomplished you would then declare success. I imagined success being a mighty hill that I would have to climb or a river I must cross though the current is to strong. I want success to be unreachable, something I can look at and then despair because of the impossibility of it yet strive on because of sheer courage. I love the cliché movies that start with a ragtag group of athletes and then they throw in a messed up coach that teaches them life lessons; by the end you have the most elite team ever seen on the face of the planet. We love insurmountable odds, innumerable foes, and impossible terrain; however, in real life we neglect to celebrate the small goals and the small victories that with the grace and power of God we have accomplished. I challenge us to set those high and dangerous goals, make your visions as great as the stars themselves, come on, we worship the God that created those stars. Let us remind ourselves that it was God who said that he would never deny us anything. I also challenge us to not take the small goals and the small visions for granted.

Oct 20, 2009

Hit or miss






Man this weekend was awesome. On Friday we had our first everyone’s Birthday Party for Everyone. Sense a lot of our birthdays fall during the fall months any ways we decided to celebrate every body’s birthday. Everyone brought a cheap gift and we had a gift exchange. It was awesome because we had this in a non-members home and we were able to introduce the family to our group. Before the gift exchange happened I was introduced to 3 Guinea pigs and a dog that is not only the size of my step dad but also looks a lot like him.

On Sunday I took 4 guys to the Santa Paula Area wide youth devotional which I spoke at that was both encouraging and a growing experience for me. My general definition of a devotional is a time where we can spend a lot of time singing, like 45 minutes at least, and then have a short encouraging thought to challenge everyone. Here, a devotional means a party with random singing, crazy activities and then a lesson (I wrote down the words to the songs they were singing and then read it back to them in the form of a poem). God has taught me that most devotionals will always be a hit or miss, especially when doing it with different youth groups. Again, it was encouraging to be around that many diverse youth groups and youth workers.

All in all it was a blast but I have never been more excited about the work week. On Thursday we leave for Grass Valley and then Tahoe for the Grass Valley college advance. God bless you and know that he has blessed me more than I deserve.

Oct 16, 2009

The IPhone and Christ


Has technology killed the youth group? For the last several years in and among youth group around the country I get this overwhelming feeling the technology is crippling our youth group’s ability to be relational. First, I must say that technology in itself is neutral and therefore not the boogie man that we should be scared of and throwing our stones at. Our fear of challenging people to step out of their protective IPod clad cone of silence, this is the true enemy. I wonder what problems Jesus would pick at if he were here today. I wonder if our senseless use of abortion, our greedy government, or our inability to connect with others would be the topic of Jesus’ parables. Satan is doing a good job isolating everybody even though we are constantly surrounded with people at work, at school and even church. When we put on our noise proof, relationship retarding headphones in and live our days completely detached from people and reality, we are dissolving any chance to build and grown beyond our own minds. To grow, it is so important that we listen and hear what everyone has to say. It is important that we view life not as a volume switch that we can just turn up when we want to shut off; instead, view life as an art work with contrasting colors and beautiful images that if alone it would mean nothing but together it means everything.

Oct 14, 2009


Sometimes, I have poor expectations of Jesus and what he can actually do for me and to me. What I mean by that is I put Jesus in a box of my own design and then treat him like he is only capable of doing what I ask him to do. As most of us do, when those expectations are not met we blame God for not being there or not loving us as much as he promised he would. Jesus is great, not only because of all the insight, the miracles, or the teachings he gave, Jesus is great because is the Son of God. He will constantly blow through all of our boxes that we put him in and he will always out do everything we can possible hope or imagine. In the case of the story of Lazarus we find out that God will never fit our molds. Jesus challenges them, and through them he challenges us, about their view of death and life and then he exposes their expectations of resurrection, miracles, and the Glory of God. I don’t know how you see God or what you believe God is capable of doing. What I do know is that God is great and his son is the most important person to grace this earth. Jesus, in the here and now, is able to transform, he has the capability to save, and he is willing that everybody comes to the knowledge of the God who sent him. Here are some quotes that do better than I in conveying the simple greatness of Jesus Christ.


"Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander the Great, Caesar, Mohammed, and Napoleon; without science and learning, He shed more light on things human and divine than all philosophers and scholars combined; without the eloquence of school, He spoke such words of life as were never spoken before or since, and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet; without writing a single line, He set more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art, and songs of praise than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times." —Philip Schaff

"I know men; and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between him and every person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him." —Napoleon Bonaparte

"Jesus painted no pictures. Yet some of the greatest paintings of Raphael, Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci received their inspiration from Him. Jesus wrote no poetry; but Dante, Milton, and scores of the world's greatest poets were inspired by Him. Jesus composed no music; but Haydn, Handel, Beethoven, Bach, and Mendelssohn reached their highest perfection in the symphonies and oratorios they composed in His praise. Every sphere of human greatness has been influenced by this humble carpenter of Nazareth!" —Henry Ward Beecher

Oct 13, 2009

God loves you in spite of you


There is nothing that you can do that will make God love you less. I use the word “make” because we try to make God prove himself wrong in his love towards us. I don’t know if it’s human nature or just the nature of sin in this world. It almost like we cannot believe that God loves us this much. What I don’t get is that life is hard, at times unbearably so, and yet we try our best to spurn the one person that loves us the most. I have recently watched the Nooma video that said as much. At first I thought that we would openly rejoice to the idea that a loving deity/friend/brother would dedicate himself to us like that. Instead, we fight for the sake of our own pride, our own ability to navigate our lives. Maybe the real problem is lost control or maybe the accountability we might be giving up if we were to accept this amazing unbelievably gracious gift.

However we package the gift, the contents, the truth remains unmoving and unshakably the same. No matter how hard you try, no matter how stubborn the heart; there is nothing that you can do that will make God love you any less.

Oct 9, 2009

Ignorance killed the chicken

People confuse tolerance and respect with acceptance. As a worker in the body of Christ I am challenged daily with proving what I believe to others around me. The more I do this the more people around accept my faith as their own which can be a very big problem. I want to challenge all people to figure this stuff out. I recently asked a group of people what would happen to them if Jesus came back tonight? As i expected I got a lot of "I don't knows", and "I hope this or that". I then asked what would happen to you if Mohammed came back or if Buddha decided to return again. We live in a land of apathy and are currently experiencing the emergence of a is-there-a-truth nation that is completely ok with going through their entire life riding this imaginary religious fence of indecision. The reality of it(thank you Chris Johnson) is that no one lives or acts as if there is no truth; we all know that there is something that is going to happen to us after we die. This is where I get really piffed, people continue to live in ignorance of other religions including their own. I pray that we as workers and teachers in the body of Christ can encourage the people we teach to gather information for themselves. May we be so bold as to teach and to learn how to feed ourselves. I hope people will know of Christ because of the proof and evidence they have discovered.

Ventura Youth Forum

http://venturachurchofchrist.org/mp3/YouthForum09/Vta%20YF%2010-3-09%20Joe%20Tipps.mp3

Oct 8, 2009

When your crazy you just might be teaching Junior High


Before we get into this you must know that I do not hate Jr. highers, actually, I rather adore them. I mean Jr. high was that one time in all of our lives that we all experienced changes, both of our bodies and our personality. The awkward zits the breaking voices, the crazy wardrobe choices, and of course our ridiculous hair styles, how could we not look back on those times without misty eyes. Now that I have grown up and moved onto the advanced stages of teenage hood and young adultville I have found out that Jr. Highers are crazy. Trying to command the attention of just three 7 and 8 graders makes stopping a hurricane with a portable fan feel like origami. I feel like I’m trying to herd goldfish through an invisible hoop whilst jumping through a life size Chinese finger catcher that just so happens to be on fire. Again I must tell you that I do not hate preteens and their entire psycho anti maturity death rays that they seem to have, rather I appreciate them differently that you might expect from a youth worker. I know that for generations many churches have mixed the Jr. high with the High schoolers hoping that with the help of the older more mature people might have an effect on their younger peers. I have learned however that if you mix these two age groups the maturity level does not level out on the high school level. Instead, the maturity level limits right above the 8th grade level. So I ask for your prayers and your recommendations for a mild yet long lasting sedative. God bless.

Oct 2, 2009

Family, Friends, and Enemies



Tomorrow I am speaking at my first youth rally here in SoCal. To tell you the truth I am rather nervous but very excited to once again be in front of teens sharing the word of God. Ever sense I decided that I wanted to be a missionary I always wondered what should be the perfect balance between nervous, confidence and downright fear of what you are about to say? So many preachers have told me that after year and years of doing this they still fill the nervous twitch every time they step up to the plate (pulpit). Every time I get the twitch and the stomach lurch I feel a wave of humility come over me. However, I do feel that the more I prepare the more confident I am but no matter how long I study I still get the bug in the pit of my stomach. I wonder if Jeremiah ever got nervous, or if Isaiah had to throw up before one of his orations in front of the nation, or if Amos passed out 1 or 2 times before he got out his message before the rulers of Israel. If anything what I appreciate the most about preaching and sharing thoughts about scripture with the body of Christ, it is the constant reminder that not only am I human but so is the friends and family that I’m speaking to. I pray that we all find confidence in God’s message; also, I hope that we never forget our humanity and the humanity of our family, our friends and our enemies that we speak to.

Sep 28, 2009

Revival





On Saturday, I had the extreme privilege of spending the day with my amazing sister and brother in-law at Pismo beach in southern California. Sense living in Texas for 3 years I hope to take any excuse to spend any time at the beach or any large body of water for that matter. It was quite refreshing to “get away” and spend time with my wife just having fun. I have been here in Simi Valley for 2 months now and it feels like I have been here a lifetime. I absolutely love the mission work here, it is challenging, it is important and it is rewarding. Thank you for your prayers and thoughts.

Sep 23, 2009

Somewhere between frustration and joy there is Coldplay


Youth work is interactive. What I mean is that if you wanted to you could quite easily disconnect from the actual problems these people are suffering with and just stick to the class prep and activities, and none would be the wiser. To rephrase it better, youth work must be interactive. I am finding more and more teens surprised that someone spiritual would actually want to know what is happening in their life and then apply Christ in an healing way. I must admit I believed that I would be most frustrated with the people’s lack of faith or lack of understanding; however, what frustrates me the most is people’s infectious apathy for everything. Life no longer contains real viable joy; it now only contains momentary happy events that sustain you from one smiling picture to the next. As I am sitting in Starbucks I want to scream at the top of my lungs, IS THIS ALL YOU WANT? IS THIS WHAT LIFE IS TO YOU? I wish I had the ability to fix people like the song by Coldplay. I see so many families, people, friends, children, sons, and daughters hoping that someone will give them a magic serum that would fix all their problems. And it breaks my heart that the one thing that could is the one thing they will not accept.

Sep 16, 2009

Sep 15, 2009

ministry pains (literal)


Today I have burned through day light laying in bad recovering from a sprained ankle. As horrible as that is I am thankful that I put myself in the position so that was possible. One of the hardest parts of full time ministry is making yourself open. You don’t want to open yourself to be used as a tool but you do want to make yourself approachable and useable. Finding the balance is hard but necessary. Another aspect of this is that the more you make yourself open the more likely you will be hurt for fear of inadequacy or keeping the pain of ministry inside. I wish I could give some insightful scripture or a smart encouraging note, but I can’t. Ministry is worth the pain and worth the time. Keeping yourself open and keeping yourself available to the opportunities that God opens up is essential to ministry. I pray that you find the harvest field and I pray that you always stay alert to the needs of the people around you.

Sep 14, 2009


God, as always, shows me on a weekly basis just how much he is capable of doing through the smallest of means. On Sunday nights, Natalie and I are attempting to start a college group because in the past this has been a hard spot for the church to keep consistent. So we have advertized and personally approached people for the last three weeks in order to gather a following and to encourage excitement once again for a college program. From the start we have had 3 come one night, 4 will decide to attend another night. Last night only one came; now it's easy to be dissuaded and turned off to the whole thing because only one person decided to come. However, last night was one of the most powerful studies I have ever been a part of. If more people would have come I doubt that the truthfulness we shared and the life that we discussed could have happened. God is good because he challenged me to decide if something was worth doing if he only brings one person. I want the red sea to be parted and the dead to be raised in front of my eyes, but when the real miracles of lives changing and lies are revealed, I wonder if God is working. To God, he is used to splitting seas and healing the sick and stopping the sun, but I underestimate God’s love and dedication to the one who is in need of reassurance and desires the support of a brother and sister.

Sep 9, 2009

Truth

ALBERT EINSTEIN:

-The ideals which have lighted me on my way and time after time given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. . . . The ordinary objects of human endeavour -- property, outward success, luxury -- have always seemed to me contemptible.

-Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.


What is truth that we should cling to it so desperately? Wouldn’t it be better for us if truth was like clay and each person could mold what they wanted to see and believe? Imagine, if you will, the very truth you created become living and breathing and made its own decisions. What if that truth denied your existence or worse denied your authority. Jesus, in the book of John, makes a crazy statement that if you abide (live) in him then you will know truth and truth will set you free. I have often wondered what truth will set me free from. Can it set me free from sin, guilt, hate, angry? Will truth help me become a better husband, father, son, minister? To really understand this statement you must read it in the context of what Jesus was saying. In John 8:24 Jesus is trying his best to convince the Jews that he is the One in whom they must believe in order to be saved. These Jews were living in a lie perpetuated by their belief that it is because of their connection to Abraham that is going to save them and not because of the Messiah’s redemptive work. Now remember, Jesus is in the minority telling the majority that they are wrong and that he is the truth. On Sunday mornings we have been going through the Old Testament account of Noah and his family. In that story we see the same dilemma, Noah is preaching the truth (minority) and no one (majority) is accepting anything he has to say. So again I ask what about truth set Noah free or set you and I free? The answer is everything. Truth sets you free from absolutely everything, because truth is not something that you can create, manipulate or destroy. In John 14:6 Jesus shows how it sets us free, it is because he IS truth. As difficult as truth can be to except it still is truth. The reason we cling to Christ as the standard of truth so desperately is because without it we are lost. Truth, The Truth gives us purpose, direction, and a foundation to base our life, morals, and consequences on. If you are tired of the lies that the world is telling you, I pray that you find and search for Truth. I pray that we as the Body of Christ never cease to show and teach Truth through our lives, our families and our message.

Sep 8, 2009

Noah's dilemma


I underestimate the story of Noah on a daily basis. Sense childhood I have been fed this fluffy story of smiling animals entering a giant sail boat with a radiant Noah looking down from the upper deck. There is no sign of people around watching, waiting to see if he’s right or not. We don’t see any tormenting and name calling or any sign at all that Noah was having a hard time with building a boat he knew could only fit the animals and his family. Noah didn’t get any floor plans with hundreds of rooms, just the three for his son’s families and his own. I could only imagine the frustration cloud Noah’s face as he tried for 120 years to save his people, only be laughed at. I wonder if Noah actually wanted to be saved, after he gets off the ark one of his first actions is to get so drunk he passes out naked. Is it because of gladness to have survived or because they were the only ones to survive. I wonder what was worse, the one on the ground watching the ark float away or the one on the deck watching all the people doing the same. Through all of this I must remember the living nightmare God must have been enduring, to watch all of his creation destroyed. I have been sorry for many things that I have done in my life. However, to be God and to be sorry for his creation is something to big for me to grasp. I challenge you to look at this story as an actually, living story of pain, suffering and salvation.

You are not alone


Noah lived in a society so bad that God found no other option than to destroy every man and everything man ever came into contact with. We believe that today we live in such a society. However, we have each other to cling to when the tide of angst, death, and apathy crash against our lives and our homes. Noah had only his family amidst a sea of hate, destruction and sin. We can stand together in our proclaiming of God’s love and judgment. Noah had no one when he was sent preaching to a world of people calling him a liar. I often underestimate the aloneness that Noah must have been going through as he was building the ark. As he tried to convince his family, his friends, and his neighbors that life would soon end for them if they did not get on the ark themselves. Remember that Noah had to convince the people around him that the ark, His ark, was the only acceptable escape route. It would have been easy to justify hog tying people and dragging them into the ark, with some help from the lions and tigers of course. Then as the destruction rains down, watch the realization hit their face that he were right and they were wrong. Sometimes we feel like we are the only ones that have the truth and the entire world is against us saying we are the lairs and sinners. Truth becomes relative to the people trying to justify their lives and facts and proofs become obscure and hard to read. However dark the world gets or how deep this culture might dig we are not merely speaking our own opinions or our own truths. If that were so the world would be right and we are to be pitied above all others. Instead, we speak the truths of God, because truth is not relative. It is exact, it’s painful at times and it hurts. I wonder if Noah was ever tempted to tell other people to build their own ark or their own boat. The truth is we have the ability to change the outcome of people’s destinies. Jesus Christ does not provide for us (mankind) many ways to survive the wrath of God. Actually, like Noah we have only the one to tell through our actions, our lives, and our message to this community. If we tell no one destruction will still come. May you remember Noah when you feel alone, when you believe that you are the only one and no other is by your side. I pray that we all discover that if our culture is against us, and if God is the only one behind us. When the whole world come crashing down around us and everything we know is proved to be false, when the world tells us we are wrong that we are inadequate, always remember that God is God and he is always enough.

Sep 4, 2009

Holy Crap?! (Redux)


In the view and very presence of God something must change. It seems that the very nature of God demands that you cannot remain the same after you have come in contact with the one who created you. In Ex. 3:5 Moses was commanded to take off his shoes when he approached the "holy" burning bush. In the presence of God even the dirt around the bush became holy ground and therefore worthy of respect. In the presence of God Jacob became Israel, Rehab found salvation, Joseph found purpose, and when Abram's faith accounted him righteous he became Abraham. When people came in contact with Jesus or his apostles they were forever changed, some for the worse and others for the better. In Corinthians Paul calls Christ a fragrance, for some it will be bitter and for others it will be sweet.which ever sent you smell, as soon as it touches you, you will then and there be forced with the decision to react painfully or joyfully. Either reaction will change your destiny forever. For those effected positively by the fragrance a change in environment is noticed and new title and a new role in life is given. This title and role is simply called Holiness. When coming in contact with God the "thing" that changes in you is the environment of being unholy or holy. Holiness is not a thing you can touch, never was. Holiness is a purpose given to things by God. It is a new direction in which your life was originally meant to go. We live our lives going in the wrong direction and being in the dark for so long. When people came into contact with God or an angel; it makes sense that they believed they would soon die. Living as unholy has become not only accepted but expected and therefore being holy is foreign and to be shunned by the non believer (sssshhhhuuuunnnnn). Holiness is not a halo, or a glowing aura that gives you +4 to caste time. Holiness is the quality of reality in view of the eternal, having a spiritual purpose alongside a physical direction with an attitude of following God.

Rules



I hated rules when I was in High School, especially the ones that the teachers never explained to us. What made it worse for me was coming home and finding out that my mother has been adding rules of her own while I was away. We live in a society of rules and laws that seem to govern everything that we do from paying tax to how you should ride your bike, from how to pay your bills to how you spend your money. right now I’m taking this course through our church called financial peace university in which we are learning all the rules that come with credit, debit, and having a lack of it. Knowing that our world is based on rules, regulations and how-things-are-done mentality, we in youth work neglect setting up any type of structure or consistency for our teens. On our first Sunday with the youth of the Simi Valley Family, Natalie and I laid down some ground rules for how we will be doing things here at "church". The feedback I got back from teens and parents alike is utter shock. No other minister they have had, had such tenacity as to lay down rules for "church". Inconsistency and lying down no guide or common law in a class room can and will spell certain failure for any ministry and especially for youth work. I beg you if you are a youth worker or want to be a youth worker, begin your work by laying down some foundation for which the teens in the ministry can begin to build their own faith on.

Aug 6, 2009

Future #2

“no, no this is impossible. The… the key can’t be moved.” As if Thomas was made of venom, Bristol backed away from him tripping over the axe which seconds earlier was going to be used to end this war, but now can only serve as a inanimate stumbling object.

“You claim to hold all wisdom and to know all mysteries, when will you ever learn that it’s impossible. We live in the impossible.”

The once surrounded and soon to be defeated house guard was now the spear head of a new offensive which just so happened to be the Key itself. The Key, planet size mass, moved with surprising speed through the outer pickets of the asteroid’s defensive belt surrounding the conclaves massive mechanically augmented planetary home. Kinetic cannons and gravity drive projectors roared to life as salvo after salvo from the Key’s gun placements turned the conclave ships into space scrap metal.

Thomas’ neuroreciver started to pick up the crackle of the guards fast running data ship which must have broke free of the battle to find proof of their Kings continued existence. They must know by now that porting their king would prove too impossible through all the layers of interference the conclave was using to surround the palace.

“It was you wasn’t it?” more of a statement than a question.

“It was always us,” now with his back to Thomas, Bristol looked through the main palace window to get a complete grasp of the situation unfolding before his eyes

“You sent the tracker, you killed…”, Thomas couldn’t complete the sentence

“He was my brother you know. He killed me as much as I killed him.” Retorted Bristol.

“HOW can you say that? You turned his creation into…, looking around the gargantuan expanse around him , ‘into this. How many planets? How many innocent peoples” Thomas stomach lurched.

“No one is innocent Thomas. I hope I’m not the only person to tell you that during your life. Remember your precious savior is a part of this machine. When we were younger we created, we conceived something amazing. We marveled at the ability we stumbled onto. We gave life to inanimate things Thomas. Who can boast of such things? How were we to know that it would acclimate to machines first? I will not lie to you, we took the cowardly avenue and evacuated on the first transports off the planet. We were amazed at how fast it adapted.”

“You marveled? It killed millions in a matter of days. The shadows and the elders had to completely destroy the planet to eradicate the infestation.” Thomas was ready to vomit no realizing all of the cover ups and lies.

“Have the elders ever giving you a single shred of truth in your life. Of course they sent their dreaded planet killer here and they tried but we had already become too strong for them. That was when this body came back. I wanted to be a part of this again.” Spreading his arms wide as if accepting a lover back from a long separation.

“I gave them a way to survive the destructive holocaust of the killers onslaught. “

“You found a way through the gravity didn’t you?”

“Yes. We knew it would only work once but we it would work and here we have been on Kurocov rebuilding, arming, readying ourselves for the time when we would break our bonds and destroy the First Ones.“

“But I burst your bubble to early right?”

“It’s of no matter now,” waving his arms almost apologetically

At that instant Thomas disappeared then seconds later the Key and with it every Guardian ship including the damaged, disappeared.

Bristol bowed his head, his shadow gave the impression of a samurai bowing in respect to a equal.

"Master?" Asked the planets inquisition routines, "what is your prompt?"

“We move.” After several seconds of computation and several milliseconds of internal debate, ”Earth”