Thursday, January 29, 2009

I Was Bored, Okay?

Give me a video camera, some editing software, and an evening at the apartment alone and this is what I'll come up with.

I'm not sure if I should be proud or ashamed. It started as a video blog (which is about 50% more vain than a regular blog) then evolved into a trailer for a video blog (which, if my calculations are correct, is only 25% more vain than the written blog.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Patriotic? Then Pray for the Church

I recently just finished reading an article in the Christian newspaper that I get called "What matters Most? Pray for the Church" by Chuck Colson. It was a great insight that I thought I'd share with my readership (how many of you are there, anyway?).

He starts off with "I do believe that Christians should pray for our nation. But first, we must pray for the church."
Living in Fallbrook, the most patriotic place I've ever been in my life, perhaps because we're neighbors of Camp Pendleton and know in person many of those who have seen firsthand the e
effects of war and the price of freedom, I've seen a side of the American people I didn't see in Simi Valley and Santa Clarita. Fallbrook First Baptist Church was one that, in its long church history, might have sung "America the Beautiful" on a Sunday morning-- I know for a fact that we have honored our country by singing patriotic songs in church in the past (My Country Tis Of Thee a few years back.) Many of the members of our church are Marines or ex-Marines. Two of our elders are ex-Marines. Last Sunday we said goodbye to our good friend Ray Ortiz, who will be in Iraq for the next 7 months. Our national pride is high; and we often pray for our country. Colson's article got me thinking: Do we pray as much for the American church?

Later on Colson makes a bolder statement: "We can't pray for our nation to be revived, to be saved, to receive God's mercy; we can't pray for our leaders to make wise decisions unless we first pray for the church...Our nation is in this crisis precisely because we've traded in a Christian worldview of work, thrift, savings, and prudence, and instead have embraced the false worldview of consumerism-- of leisure, debt, and instand gratification."

He's essentially saying that America's problems are hardly economical. A bad economy is the symptom of a much deeper problem: a society that has largely abandoned what most would call the cornerstone of Western Civilization-- a Christian world view. When it goes, its morality, work ethic, and discipline go along with it. This problem is not political, and cannot be addressed by political means. Of course it doesn't mean we must be passive, Christian politicians can still help America. But more powerful that Christian politicians is God's ordained means of propagating the gospel, the only cure to this economical disaster, which is the Church. Hence, Colson suggests before you pray for your country, and by all means pray for your country, pray for the Church.

Lastly, Colson writes, in a solemn tone, "...pray that we use this economic calamity as an opportunity to teach the culture what matters most-- a relationship with God. For if the Church continues to embrace the ways of the world, I don't see how America can maintain its place in the world-- much less survive in it."

Patriotic? Then start looking at America's problems as problems the Church needs to address, because I believe it's the only thing that can.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Check out this awesome Beatles article. Warning Beatles Fans: This Will Waste Your Time.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Readers are Leaders

President Bush and his Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff, Karl Rove, have a book reading contest. Very interesting. Goes to show you that the top dogs of anything, yes, even America, read. A lot.

So, who wants to challenge me?

The Lights Go On Every Once and a While

It's a fresh new year and during these kinds of times I'm prone to think about the past. I guess I'm a little late, most people get their fix of nostalgia on New Year's Eve as they ring in the New Year. I'm a nostalgia addict. I love thinking about the past as much as I can- anything to surface those hidden, forgotten memories that make life just a little more funny. One thing I think is a great way to do this- to capture some seemingly mundane moments and turn them into memories is to keep a book with you at all times, and write in it whenever a light goes on. I have a little black moleskine notebook (what it says on the cover makes it nearly impossible not to want. It says, "The Legendary Notebook of Van Gogh Matisse, Hemingway and Chatwin. It's history lies in its inside pocket." That, for me, said YOU NEED ONE. (I must admit, it also makes me feel more intelligent for some reason.)

Over 2008 I didn't use my moleskine as much as a would have liked. I wrote poems in it, one-liners that randomly entered my head, book lists, book ideas, quotes from books and people, and notes from sermons. This year I am going to make a concerted effort to have it with me at all times. And whenever the lights go on, I'm going to try and trap them inside my moleskine. The best part of these things is the looking back on it after its long been full. Pure nostalgia.

So now my prescription is a moleskine and a pencil on me at all times. Poised and ready to capture, because, believe it or not, the lights go on every once and a while.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Redirection Here We Come

As you know, a few months ago I received an invitation to go on a mission trip to Argentina with the church I grew up in, Grace Brethren Church of Simi Valley. I was invited to come along and get some experience in leading short term mission trips. After some prayer, Ashley and I decided that this would be a great way to gain some practical wisdom that we would be able to bring back to our church in Fallbrook and utilize there. We were very excited about the opportunity—we announced it in church and began raising support.

That was in October. Since then, it seems that the Lord has put up a stop sign. The trip has changed in such a way that it is no longer what we originally thought it was going to be, and because of the new circumstances, Ashley and I have decided not to be a part of the trip. For a week or so, there was much question about whether the trip was still going to happen. Just this week it was decided that the trip will go on as planned, but with a new set of leaders. Because our purpose was to learn from the original leadership, and the nature of our role on the trip has changed, we decided that we would rather use our resources on a mission with our church here in Fallbrook. As you probably know, this was not in my plans, but we are confident that the Lord is working here and is in the process of redirecting.

Speaking of redirecting, Fallbrook First Baptist is in the process of lining up a trip to Nicaragua in June. We believe that God is redirecting our focus from Argentina to Nicaragua. For those of you who graciously donated your money to the Argentina trip, there are a couple options for you. First, you can ask for your money back. We will be able to return to you the exact amount of money that you donated for the mission trip. Second, we can redirect your donation to the Nicaragua trip in June. If we don’t hear from you, we’ll assume that your wish is for your donation to be applied to Nicaragua.

We would greatly appreciate your prayers as we turn our attentions to Nicaragua. Thank you so much for your generous support.

This was the letter I had to send out to everyone who had donated money toward our Argentina mission trip. I figured I'd post it up here so that you would all know why I'm still in California come mid-January, for those of you who were aware of the trip. Continue in prayer!