Romans 5:6

Love, even if it hurts - Jesus Christ

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

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.