Monday, January 28, 2008

Saturday was the first wedding from our YWAM Modesto community. John and Rhiannon, along with family and friends put so much work into the day to make it special. The word special really falls short. Magical is better but still not quite there.

There is so much mundane preparation that goes into a wedding. The busyness can eat up your ability to see what's really going on. Here they are, just kids really. They barely knew each other for two years and most of that time was spent doing separate YWAM training. Not much money and no real natural reason they should have met. But they came together around compassion and community. They bumped into each other while walking toward Jesus.

So after everything is in place, the women have run around checking and double checking and the men have been careful to do what the women say. The crowd gathers, the ladies sparkle, the men are resolved, the music plays and transformation happens. No longer a kid with no money, but a king backed by the men of God at his side and coming into his own. No longer a girl, but a queen, untouched by time like some sort of immortal beauty from Tolkien's world. We cheer at the coronation. They turn to us and bless us. For a day, our lost nobility shines. They are gracious to share kind words with their guests and we toast their union and bask in their grace.

And whether we realize it or not, we cry because we are hungry for the ultimate wedding to come. The king will rise to take his own, the glorious bride without spot or wrinkle will shine in his light, resplendent in traditional dress, tribal markings and henna designs. He will say "I do" with a voice like rushing water and she will respond in a thousand different tongues. We will come together around ultimate compassion and participate in ultimate community. We will be truly known. We will truly rest. And together, we will make a home.

And then we dance.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Wow...I actually took an internet quiz.

This was kinda's funny, they're right! My religious roots are Weslyan!

What's your theological worldview?
created with
You scored as Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan

You are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You believe that God's grace enables you to choose to believe in him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us. You are influenced heavly by John Wesley and the Methodists.

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan




Neo orthodox


Roman Catholic




Reformed Evangelical


Classical Liberal




Modern Liberal


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Loving your neighbor

We must make every effort to rid ourselves of thoughts, speech and acts that do not allow others to be wonderfully complex, beautiful and in process with their Creator. This is a step on the path to loving your neighbor as yourself.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Excellent article

I was reading my friend Beth's blog today and she linked to a great article about the North American church's unnecessary fascination with "Excellence". Click here to read.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Gratitude is the ground floor

Journaling is a good way to track your spiritual life. I recommend it to every one that is seriously wanting to develop in their own discipleship. It may not be the answer for every one but it sure has helped me. Here are a few of the positives...

-If you find concentration in prayer difficult, the act of writing can focus your thoughts. While quiet contemplation is something to be desired and growing in our lives, writing can be a means to that end. It doesn't have to be flowery, just honest and as private as you want it to be.

-It creates an automatic chronicle of your spiritual life and the ways that God is speaking to and leading you. It is very beneficial for review. It can also be a way to help you remember those things you discern God challenging you to work on.

-Prayerful journaling can help you process your life instead of blindly existing in it. It's a way to help you make sense of what's happening day to day, ask questions about the hard stuff and remember the things that shouldn't just fade away.

In a "new years resolution-y" kind of way, I wanted to be a bit more faithful to journaling. So I began January with a new journal and I have been writing in it a little each day. But I started to feel that pressure already to really write and get a lot out of it. Just in the first few days of the year, my new resolve became more like an assignment that I HAD to do.

Then I remembered some really good advise that I have heard from a few sources (one of them was Oprah but let's not get into it and the other was a course I took called Space for God...awesome!) about keeping a gratitude journal. To intentionally sit down in the evening and list at least five things you are grateful for that are specific to that day.

It's best to not make them general things like checking off a foregone list...wife, kids, place to live, friends, food. But to be as specific as possible. For instance, here's mine from today and obviously, in my own journal, these things are way more specific but you'll get the idea...these are all things I experienced, noticed or thought about today.

"I'm grateful for...

-The way Stella dances in our musical worship times at church. It reminds me of how I long for freedom like not care what others think and just naturally respond to God.

-For a lazy afternoon with family and the game of 'Clue' that Sam won and all the fun we had with Grandma finding out she actually committed the crime in the lounge with the wrench.

-For the way I see community happening right in front of me...friends gathering to pray for one another through difficult times, friends supporting and encouraging a young couple about to be married, friends giving to each other out of their poverty, friends getting together and laughing their heads off.

-For quiet time

-For my hilarious boys, Joshua's quick wit and Sam's silly heart. They're killing me lately."

This has revolutionized my journaling time. I feel silly keeping a diary, just chronicling the events of the day in the order they happened. But to look back on my day through the lens of gratitude helps me see God's hand even in more difficult times.

A good friend once told me that before all the proper theological thinking, before all the stuff we think makes us good Christians, before it all, there is gratitude. It is the way we come to God. It's our first step in moving toward God. If for nothing else, for the gift that we have that we could not have given ourselves, life. When we realize that all we are and all we have is grace, the most fitting response is thankfulness. Gratitude is the ground floor of our relationship to God. It's the way in.

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name." Psalm 100:4

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Family day pictures...

Monday, Stella had a doctors appointment to check on her repaired palate. All is well. We decided to make a day of it but high tailed it out of the city as soon as we could. We headed for the ocean. On the way, we stopped at the boy's idea of heaven...a KFC/Taco Bell hybrid. Here they are munching on the greasy variety...

Josh really loves KFC.

Next we stopped at the ole "Sea Bowl", the coolest bowling alley I've ever been to and with an ocean view!

And with perfect form...

We heart Sea Bowl!

Then it was off to Pigeon Point Lighthouse to see if we could spot some whales...

We didn't see any but there were some Sea Lions hanging out...

Then we watched the sun set at Bean Hollow beach. At the lighthouse, there was a banner hanging up in the little museum that said something like, "if there's magic left on our planet, it's in the sea" I believe it.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

You say you want a resolution...

Did you know that if you read (starting today) four chapters of the Bible a day (not including Psalm can read that one by itself) you will finish it before next Christmas?

Some suggestions...

*Don't feel like you have to read it in the order it's in but do stick with one book at a time. If you want, read 3 chapters of a book and one Psalm...this will last a little less than half a year. Proverbs would work too but only for a month.

*The best advise I ever heard about which translation to use is from an old preacher in Florida, "The best Bible to read is the Bible you read". Most translations have their strong points and weaknesses but unless you're planning on brushing up your ancient Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew, get one you understand and I would suggest a Bible that is unencumbered by lots of stuff around the margins written by other people telling you how you should think about it. Don't read a study Bible. Study a study Bible. Read a plain 'ol Bible.

*Respond. Ask God to speak to you through His Word and He will. Write down insights He gives you while reading. Write down questions you have about things that don't seem to make sense. Write out prayers of response.

Do you have some Bible reading thoughts? Post a comment...