Tuesday, December 18, 2007
This is totally real and it is ridiculously sad (sad because of the circumstances that I have to do it). I am seeing an acupuncturist right now weekly. I've had to go because since my crazy, five year long dental process, I've had lots of facial pain and muscle tension as a result. I've never had botox but I think I know what it feels like (poor Orange County Houswives--this plastic feeling stinks). I've had so many shots in my gums--my theory is that somehow it has caused tightness in the muscles or numbness in the nerves around my mouth, cheeks, and nose. It's nuts but sometimes just smiling and talking can hurt my facial muscles or make them feel or tight and unnatural (or like the Joker my smile just awkwardly sticks). In my therapy I sit there for hours with (about 20) pins in my face hoping for some relief. I admit I was VERY leary when acupuncture was prescribed. Can I even do this as a Christian? Isn't acupuncture NEW AGE??? I'm sure some of you were thinking that, too. Or least you should be wondering.
Well after researching it, I realized something. Just because we Westerners do medicine the way we do (prescriptions, surgeries, etc) doesn't make Easterners and the way they practice health wrong. It is just different. God works in the states and overseas remember. God is bigger than than my box he has been reminding me of this a lot lately. It has taught me to valuate and exercise cautions with my pre-conceived ideas. It's not like they are chanting or channeling spirits by any means and needless to say if they were I'd be out of there. Sure they use the word "Chi" when talking about releasing and circulating energy-but you'd find that in a karate dojo, too, and Christians practice Martial Arts and we don't burn them at the stake. I'm OK with this. It's not mystical in any way. I feared seeing Buddha statues and YIN/YANG symbols everywhere, but I found neither, thankfully or else I wouldn't feel comfortable being there.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acupunture (for more info)
Although, I haven't felt a ton of results, I have little relief and I'm open for any way God wants to bring a miracle. I also am not able to go as much as they suggest (3x a week which they say would be better)--but I have felt some relief after a long session (like the one pictured). And the great thing is that it is completely free. Working with our Street Church (www.street-church.com) I got connected to a free clinic given by professionals who volunteer their time. It is also a great way for me to meet others who are on the street and invite them to be a part of our church on the street. So God IS providing (so that it only costs me TIME) and working in the midst of this craziness somehow. One other cool thing is this older Vietnamese lady -Lan Anh--who is so sweet, humble, and generous. She has taken such good care of me and just like Jesus, one time, (because they encourage you to take your shoes off) she put my sock on my size 11, nasty foot, because I got cold and I couldn't reach it with all my pins. She bent down and said, "Here, let me do it, you just relax." Of course that was easy for her to say, but I tried, and watched her as she served me in that humble way. Totally awesome. As I sit there I often pray for her, my healing and the healing of others who I know are in chronic pain, and those around me. It is so humbling as I look around the room and see many others coming for treatment--many of them with no place to live--and here I am free-loading. I love that I am no better than any of them and I could just as well be on the street, too, but by God's grace I have enough to live and provide for my family. As I sit there I look at each individual and think about the stories behind each face. So, just like in the dentist office, I am trying to see that where ever God puts me, I am there for a reason.
Every time you come or go, Lan and Denise give everyone a big hug. As I do, I pass God's love on to them and say the typical, "God bless you," but I am trying to be intentional that when I hug them I pray God's love over them. And I am also praying and waiting for the time I can have conversations that will point people toward him. Although it's hard to talk when your lips are pinned together but I'm working on it. God use me--through and even in my pain.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Wendy is in Portland right now and coming home tomorrow (She had a play date with her friends)! Isella and I had a great time and lots to do this weekend. Isella helped me finish my final Seminary paper, visit some friends, go grocery shopping and make the rounds at two different parties. Thanks to the my inlaws, I also was able to join the second and third leg of our Young Adults' Christmas Party. What was awesome about this progressive event(three places traveled to for food, fun, and games) was that things went right along schedule and I wasn't even needed. I just got to show up and have fun. I am so thankful to have some really great leaders and mentors paving the way in our community. Thanks to Glenn and Jenn, Ruby and Leo, and all the guys at the Fallon House. I love seeing how we have become such a close community that the guests who were brought tonight were welcomed and loved. I had to show up late and leave early because of dad duty, but I was stoked that I saw God at work within the group! I love being a pastor to this crew!
Thursday, December 06, 2007
With a baby, it takes longer to do everything. What once took one day or a few hours stretched into a three day process. Good thing we started in November (wink wink). Isn't true that we are prone to spend lots of time "decorating," trimming the tree, shopping, and hanging lights so much that we feel tired, drained, and empty! We spend ourselves prioritizing the outside while neglecting the inside. The real truth of Christmas IS LIGHT and sometimes we miss it. We spend time putting on and putting up the lights all around our house and fail to experience the light in our life and heart. That's at least what I feel sometimes at Christmas and periodically in life.
One of the best illustrations of this is Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation--one of my all time favorite Christmas movies. It is a classic. Clark buys thousands of lights to string up on his house practically breaking his back with no success.`Meanwhile he is going crazy and his family is falling apart inside the house! Sound familiar? The analogy plays out practically in how we spend our time and in the condition of our heart!
Sigh. Just today, I was driving to class, running late, tired after a long night of paper writing, feeling bad that I didn't have good quality time with my wife and daughter this morning and I dropped my peanut butter and jelly bagel sandwich in the car (Another bad sign that I am running an unhealthy pace is when I am eating a meal in the car). It seemed to bounce like a pinball on three different places in the car before landing on my final project and then my bag. It was just to be expected. "Ridiculously typical," I thought. This all just happen in 10 minutes from leaving my house to get to Seminary. I prayed and then I cried. Oh, God, please help me! I'm just over this. Over feeling rushed and worrying about my performance. See, I am caught between the tension of doing good work in my seminary class and arriving on time--well prepared--with taking car of myself, being filled with God's love and having quality time with my family and maintaining the ministry entrusted to me.
Somehow I pulled it together, I remembered that life is more than our "present sufferings" (as if these are REAL "sufferings" comparatively) and I am made for eternity. So I must have this perspective. In class, one woman presented her project using a song titled, "I'll carry you." With lyrics like: "When you can't go another mile..." It was touched. I was at peace for the moment.
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.
I am a child of God. I will live like one and believe the truth. (I need this as I still have one more 10 pager to write and some reading journals to complete).
Philippans 4: 4-9
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
I pray we rest in God. Take deep breaths, stop the running around, the search for significance is found in nothing and no one but God and his love for us!
Peace on Earth and all people, whom his favor rests!
This is Merry Christmas!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Trade as One is a Fair Trade organization that exists to change lives the lives of the global poor by supplying products that give them jobs while bringing more meaning to oue lives as believers. We believe that by meeting each others' needs through the vehicle of trade we create a powerful and sustainable way to change our world for good. The organizations we source our products from work with the poorest of the poor, the abused, trafficked and those suffering from HIV / AIDS. We are proud of both the work that they do and the quality of the products they make.
As much as I am frustrated by the commercialism of Christmas by American Culture--I think if you are going to buy gifts this Christmas--and I'm sure many of us will, lets put money toward causes that will touch the lives of those who need it. Not just make others richer to buy more cars and houses, but enable others able to EAT! I've met Nathan. He's a totally humble guy who is very passionate about helping others and freeing people from the oppression of poverty! Nathan will also be here to speak at our Compassion and Justice classes at 11am and 4pm.
We partner closely with churches because we believe that the Christian faith is a powerful motivator to see a world take shape that more closely reflects God's intentions for it. Trade as One aims to be a vehicle for faith and values to be turned into action.
The Trade As One Story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G29zbXwuHZo
Nathan George, Founder (lives in Cupertino!)
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Our church had a great day of serving and partnering with the community. Schools, habitat for humanity, and some families were blessed this past weekend.
Listen to what the principals say about partnership with the church. I love that in being like Christ we are truly being a community TO the community. I love being able to know by name, and hopefully know in person someday, people who are serving and working in our community. Three schools were impacted this weekend. I love our church!
As I watched yesterday unfold, I am reminded of my love for community. Specifically, this RWC community. We/I really like living here in RWC. Despite the outrageous cost of living, I enjoy so much about this beautiful Climate best by government test area!
One of my favorite things is to walk into a cafe, restaurant, or grocery store--whatever--and know the person behind the counter. It's a small town feeling to be known by name, I know. But although we live in a city of 75,000 people, there is still a way to experience community in such a way. It just takes getting to know the people of our community. Names are huge! When someone remembers my name I feel good and I want others to be remembered, too! And this shows care and in a small way this is how I can be like Jesus. It seems like nothing, but over time I can see how really awesome relationships develop!
I just got back from La Tartine, and tonight, whoa...Wendy was asleep when I got home and I had to wake her to talk with her. God is just at work in people's lives!
If I were to write a book on community I'd start simple baby steps like introducing yourself to the people you live by, work with, school, gym, etc. Frequent the same restaurants and gas stations. Go in the same check out lane for groceries and say thanks to the lady checking your groceries. Make a habit of getting the name of your mail carrier. My guy is Eli, he's a really cool guy. Sometimes if I'm home during the day, I'll hear him lift up our mailbox lid and just make a point to say hi. Start with names and being thankful for the ways they serve you (like our local heroes: teachers, police/fire, etc. Then once we have a relationship we can show our love by serving and helping meet any needs they have. This in essence is our Beautiful day.
Ahhh. Ok. I'm just thankful for all this great stuff! It's a great time to send a THANK YOU note! I think I'm gonna do that this week!
I'm gonna write some notes to service people! (Like "my" baristas and those who are assisting in my dental work. I've been there so much I've gotten in good with the hygienists!)
Anyone else want to join me? Who are you thankful for? Write a note and give some words.
Here's to a great week of being thankful!!!
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Summary from Wikipedia:
The film focuses on the issues of the commercialization of Christmas, materialism, the over-consumption in American culture, globalization, and the business practices of large corporations, as well as their economic and cultural effects on American society, as seen through the prism of activist/performance artist Bill Talen, who goes by the alias of "Reverend Billy," and his troupe of activists, whose street theater performances take the form of a church choir called "The Church of Stop Shopping," that sings anti-shopping and anti-corporate songs. The film follows Billy and his choir as they take a cross-country trip in the month prior to Christmas 2005, and spread their message against what they perceive as the evils of patronizing the retail outlets of several different large corporate chains.
This film releases this week!
Monday, November 12, 2007
I celebrated three years of Marriage with Wendy! November 12th is our anniversary. I love this woman so much. I choose and want to give her my best and I feel intimately close to her. Marriage is an amazing and complex thing. The Bible says that people who get married have lots of problems, and it is true. But Marriage is a gift from God and these problems become challenges that sharpen and make us more humble, the way God intended us to live! I love my wife and I am a better man because of her! I love sharing all the FLAMES of love with her! Thanks to God!
We celebrated in many ways--a night out, coffee, encouraging and praying for each other but at night we went to San Francisco joined by others from PCC to hear Rob Bell. This is what I took away:
You don't have to live like this.
You don't have to earn God's love.
You don't have to burn out to feel good.
You don't have to beat yourself up to pay for your shame.
You don't have to pay for your own sins.
You don't have to live like this.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
This article was published in PCC's monthly newsletter THE BRIDGE!
If you would have asked me five months ago, if I would ever consider becoming a Christian, I wouldn't have given it a second thought. The answer would have been "No," right away. It is amazing, though, how much God loves each of us and can change your view on him in an instant. It all started about a year ago. I had a very comfortable, well paying management position in a local video game store. I had consistent funds and hardly any work. And then God threw a curve ball at me. He gave me a two day window to drop my retail career and become a carpenter. I had never swung a hammer in my life.
I was so scared to quit and fail and be left jobless. However, I made the switch and it has worked out beautifully. God was beckoning me and I was unknowingly answering his call.
During a Christmas party my boss was hosting, I was introduced to Jeff Smith, one of the pastors of PCC Church. God put Jeff in my path to bring me to him and I missed the sign. I thought nothing of it. Life continued as normal until seven months later. We were short on work and were about to lose out on a few weeks pay due to no jobs. My boss finds us a job in which he knows there is no profit margin, but it will keep us busy. We get to the new job site and I realize that I know the owner of the business we were to work at. His name was Jeff Smith, one of the pastors of PCC Church.
God introduced us the first time to no avail, yet in my time of need, brought us back together. God was saying,"Alright, I can't be any more obvious than this Chris". The next few weeks were filled with countless other signs and feelings that God was imparting on my life. I finally came to my senses and talked with Jeff. I asked where I could go to learn more about this "God".
He sent me to Tony Gapastione and the Sunday at 6 crew.
I began attending Wednesday night small groups. That lead to Sundays. I was hot for God and he was hot for me. From the moment I stepped foot on the Peninsula Covenant Church campus, I was instantly held tight by God's love shining bright through each person I came into contact with. Every person was heart warming and open. I felt at home, like a home I should have been in all along. God's greatest work with me came the first week of August this year at Hot Water Weekend trip that was being put on by the young adults.
That weekend made me feel so spiritually alive. God and I had a conversation that weekend. I asked him to show himself to me in any way and he did. That weekend, I asked the Lord to come into my life and allow me to follow in Jesus's footsteps.
It has been blessing upon blessing since then.
If it wasn't for God's extreme love for each of us, then I wouldn't be here now telling you about my story. It is indescribable how much God loves us. The determination He has when one of his creations in need is amazing.
This short journey I have lived, and will continue to live, has been incredible. I am excited that I was asked to tell my story because I know how much a good story of a walk can renew faith, build new relationships and praise God all in one.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I personally had a very encouraging time. The rooms this year were to use the theme of Sanctuary for inspiration. Each room was different. Our room invited the sojourner into creation to contemplate, reflect, and pray. Everything (besides the images projected on the wall and the "response leaves") was real.
The 12 by 12 room was covered completely in grass, acorns, pine cones, and plants. As you walked in you were transported to a different place. It smelled just like being on a hike to me. The PCC Young Adults' team lugged in huge rocks and a ginormous log for people to sit on. And most awe-inspiring was the tree. It was a tree made up of real leaves, branches and trunk and was assembled in the room with other random tree parts. But when you were in the room looking like it, it seemed like it had always been there.
Then one by one the tree filled up with colorful leaves of hope. People were invited to write out hopes on yellow and red leaves and stick them on the tree or step on their troubles and release them away. It was a very hopeful image as the green tree came to life with hopeful color. Like the tree of life that brings healing to the nations in Revelation. At the end of the night, there was not a single leaf left. Every one had been used in this experiential activity.
The night also had some other creative rooms there were a part of the event, too, and lots of encouraging words, a touching documentary about street children in Costa Rica, and prophetic words of wisdom and exhortation. For me, God spoke to me about the need to rest, find my identity in being his son ( a recurring issue with me) and not how much or what I can do for him. One other great element of the event was that we were truly God's unified and diversified people. All colors and styles were represented! That's the way God created us to be. All together and different!
The PCC team was busy cleaning up their art at midnight when I left. All I could think was how very grateful and thankful I was for all their time and energy poured out into this project. One of the million reasons why I love being a part of our church community. People working together, being creative, and taking ownership!
Friday, October 26, 2007
For those of you far away from our communitiy--pray for our event this Saturday night. Art, experience, film, music, and poetry in our annual event called HALLOWED. Those of you local, I really recommend this year's event. It's acoustic music, poetry, art and a more relaxed vibe as the theme is SANCTUARY. I just helped out with the installation of the room tonight and the PCC team is doing an amazing job. The director of the event told me that he is always impressed with the hard work and dedication from PCC. It made me very proud of the team. Thanks to:
David, Jeff, Steve, Aftan, Chris, Mia, Peter, Drew, Daniel, and Matt for giving time to lead and serve in this project.
Want more info? www.xpfactor.org
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Some of us unfortunately know that cheesy 80's song, "The Great Adventure." Steven Curtis Chapman's pop theme song of the Christian Culture was super popular 15-20 years ago and touted lyrics like--"We got a trail to blaze through the wild blue yonder of God's amazing grace."
Honestly--it still shows up in certain venues (yes--even ours) But the song, in my opinion, is anything but cool. Back then it had Christians going hog wild at concerts raising hands in worship and Sunday mornings--and now kids choirs and their adult leaders are miming the moves of a wild western horseback rider. OK, maybe it's a little fun, and I admit I've thrown an invisible lasso once or twice.
But I still can't ignore the face that life--life with God is a great adventure.
You never know what is going to happen when you are open to God and following Jesus.
Last Sunday night quite a different night for me. I returned home to my wife with lots of Stories. Wendy usually can't come to La Tartine after Sunday at 6 because our daughter needs to get to bed, so I come home and try to download the specifics hour by hour. This Sunday was quite a unique experience. I love meeting new people and we had some come for the first time which brought some cool conversations. But there were also priceless moments of laughter and also sadness. But in summary, God was at work and I loved it. Here's a few bullet points what what I experienced.
Sipping luscious espresso drinks and eating scrumptious pastries
Connecting with new and extravagant people.
Mexican Hat dancing in the middle of the Cafe (Alex D. you are a champ!).
Praying on the court house steps until almost midnight.
I love it.
Saddle up your horses.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Seems odd that the next post after thinking about hunger and fasting would be this EXTRA LARGE can of TUNA. We had to bust out the camera phone while shopping at Costco today. Which, by the way, is a whole new way of life. We have now created a "pantry" in our garage to house the multiple boxes of Ziploc bags, diced tomatoes, and a 36 pack of Diet Pepsi for my DP loving wife. But this is how families make it on a budget. We are in a whole new playing field here.
But back to the Bulk issues. Is this hilarious or what? Maybe it's just ludicrous (nice word huh?) or sad. Do we really need a can of Tuna this big? 4+ lbs of Tuna in one can? Don't get me wrong. I LOVE TUNA, much to the chagrin of my wife (who gags at the smell of some of my favorite foods). I'm just afraid of wasting any food cause there is so much I feel a "good pressure" to use it all.
Thanks to this Costco sized can we could feed our whole neighborhood Tuna Casserole and still have leftovers. But hey, I'm still gonna shop there and still gonna eat the food they sell. Thanks to Costco, I practically ate lunch today as we walked around. I had corn and lobster chowder, dried mangoes, granola bars, spinach ravioli, orange chicken and pumpkin pie. Now they were all bite sized, but I felt pretty satisfied after those bites! I went back for seconds a few times, too. I was thinking about my homeless friends today as I snacked and shopped. This would be a goldmine for them. Just get a Costco card and come at lunch time to eat for free.
Only in America.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Watch these videos.
I went with out my cereal this morning. No toast, no fruit, nothing. Big deal. Millions of people could only dream of such delicacies where they are just common, easily attainable items for me. I'm embarrassed because my heart is not completely joyful about giving up food, but I know I want to do this as a discipline. I decided to try just drinking liquids today and that doesn't include espresso drinks. Fasting is one of the more uncommon spiritual disciplines discussed and encouraged in the church today but still important. Read Isaiah 58. Beautiful and compelling truth that God wants us to care about the needs of the world and to pray for an end to injustice and hunger. Today and tomorrow millions of people are standing up to make a statement. Portions of these people are fasting and praying that poverty would end, that the world's vast resources could be shared.
Try it for a meal, or just try it for an hour. Stand up. Stand up and pray during your lunch hour. At dinner as you gather with your family stand up and pray that hunger and poverty could end in our lifetime. Go without dessert at dinner or coffee at breakfast. Share this video with your friends, your co-workers, your roommates, and your kids. Talk about it for a minute. Just one small change and make a difference. This video below is very clever.
Monday, October 08, 2007
Isella was so fun on this trip. Lots of laughing and smiling. One challenge we had was (besides lugging a million things like portable cribs, strollers, and beach toys everywhere) Maui's time difference is three hours behind us. So Isella's internal clock was way off. She'd wake up at 4:30am because it was really 7:30 am Cali time.
This is obviously not an ideal time to get up on vacation. The first day I sucked it up and took the morning shift, since Wendy takes EVERY other shift, it was the least I could do for my beautiful hard-working wife. The cool thing is that getting up so early gave me some great advantages. I got great daddy daughter time with isella, we got to walk in the fresh Hawaiian air every morning, we got to hang out at a great little coffee shop. And every morning I would get to have some Chai Tea or a White Mocha while I read God's word and journaled. Ah, if life were always that simple. AND we also met Abigail.
Abigail was sweeping the parking lot of a little strip mall with a bar, nail salon, and Internet cafe (which I only drank coffee from and never hit the keypad!). We became friends at 5am the first morning we strolled down the sidewalk as the day awakened. We saw each other every day after. She would work sweeping 5 days a week from 4:30am to 7:30am as an extra side job to provide for her family. She actually lived in San Francisco for awhile. English was her second language and Spanish her first so we bantered a little in Spanish, too. Even though I was "on vacation" from my "job"--so weird that I need a vacation from being a pastor--But I wasn't on vacation from my role as God's son, his servant, and instrument of his love. So I saw Abigail as one of God's loved ones that both Isella and I could be Jesus to with love and friendliness.
I think God used isella more than me. All she has to do is smile and people seem to respond. I loved being able to share that time with her. It excited me to think that God had given me this beautiful daughter to train up in his ways and help shape her identity and purpose in God's kingdom. I hope she grows up with a strong sense of her calling and giftedness and I am praying for that almost daily. I keep a journal for Isella, too, so that day we met Abigail I wrote an entry to Isella about the importance of knowing, loving, and serving all of those God has put us around. Abigail was one of those and we will now never forget her.
So, although I could have stayed in Maui a lot longer it was time to come home. And man, it's like the season changed in one week of us being away. All of a sudden it is a little frosty and pumpkin patches and orange string lights have popped up all around.
This awesome Church building (below) was in Lahaina. Just looking at it stirred excitement for me. Especially the day when a rainbow appeared behind it. I wondered if some saw this proclamation of Jesus' return as scary or maddening. "Quick everyone look busy," as one bumper sticker put it. My prayer will be that this TRUTH of Jesus' return will bring HOPE for all people because they know who He truly is and how much he loves the world.
SEE YOU ALL FRIDAY FOR THE DEEP AT THE FALLON HOUSE.
LA TARTINE WAS AWESOME LAST NIGHT.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
So with that I wanted to encourage you to come to Sunday at 6 and hang out at La Tartine afterwards. I have to tell you some cool news that happened last Sunday we had a sweet time at the cafe. We had an impromptu music session and the owners, Andrew and Monique, were stoked to have quality music and people hanging out in their place. God is at work there. I humbly ask that we as a community take the opportunity to love those that are serving us by 1-making an effort to hang out at La Tartine every week, 2-introducing yourself to the owners, baristas, and all of new people who have joined our community and 3-making good use of the time in the cafe by REALLY getting to know people with good conversations and initiating prayer with each other. One of my favorite things to see is people praying together afterward outside of the cafe in the parking lot or on the sidewalk. I love that.
PCC's Compassion and Justice Learning Community starts SUNDAY Sept.30th. Each week we will interact with the Bible, literature, and audio/visual media focus on significant local and global issues. We hope to engage compassion and justice issues intentionally and strategically through unique experiences. Our Purpose is to build a community of believers who are interested in learning together, discussing together, praying together, and humbly serving together as we demonstrate the love of Jesus to the least of these in Redwood City and beyond. We desire to live out our Christian mandate to LOVE GOD and LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR.
You can choose to participate in one of the following learning communities:
11am which meets in room 22B (fellowship center)
4pm which meets in Fireside Room.
In our first meeting we will be reviewing the following:
Purpose of C&J Learning Community
We will also share a dynamic video and have time to reflect on Isaiah 58.
For more information check out the C&J blog at http://compassionandjustice.blogspot.com
Please bring a Bible, journal and pen to each class. The book fee is $35.
Also today is the day some of our PCC friends (David Bromberg, Kirsten Devlin, Matt Nightingale to name a few) are taking of on their East Euro mission. Watch their trip and pray by checking in on this site:
If you are on our mailing list, you should be receiving our calendar for October and November this week. There are significant dates and events for you to know. A coaching workshop at PCC 10/5-6. A date change for the Deep. It’s on Friday, now, October 12th at the Fallon House. A Bible Trivia night on Saturday October 20th. And Hallowed in San Jose Saturday October 27th-anteractive, art, music, film and poetry.
See you soon,
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Just got back home this week from a great conference in Dallas. It was great to learn and getaway, but also great to be home! There's no place like home!
I had a great time with LEADNOW, an organization geared toward twenty and thirty somethings and leadership of our generation. The above video is a snippet from last year's event--(I already bought tickets for next year)--but it gives you the general feel to the experience I had! I had a good time of refreshing in my personal relationship with God and some affirmations of what is already happening in our are ministry. Here are some take-aways that affirmed and challenged me!
-Create (less programs) and be creative (with art, music, space, film, etc)
-Tell Good stories. There is no easy 1,2,3 answer to the Christian life. It's hard, messy, and like growing a tree. Jesus is not a product we can sell with an infomercial. Bullet points do not always have an impact. Christian candy like testaments, christian t-shirts, and screaming on a bullhorn don't ALWAYS work either. My responsibility is to be in relationship with people.
--Technology is good I should use it but be careful that it doesn't take me away from actually interfacing and communicating with people.
--Love people everywhere, know them, hang out, pray and get out of the Christian Bubble. I should know my neighbors, baristas, the poor and downcast in my community. I should be willing to dialog with people who are different and disagree with me. Christianity is not meant to be a debate.
--Create a place where people can be real--and elevate a culture that welcomes questioning and confession.
--Invite, Anoint, train, partner, and discipline leaders to lead.
--Major on God--and the core truths (don't waste time and petty arguments that aren't fundamental--and don't be self-righteously judgemental with those who disagree.
--LOVE GOD AND LOVE PEOPLE
Earth shattering revelations? Not completely but challenging nonetheless. Hopefully if you are around me and this great community God has called us to, you will also be a part of living these things out!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
The real truth is that whether we are husbands, wives, mothers or fathers-it doesn't really matter. It's just being God's creation that does. What I love about God is that he created each one of us to be whole emotionally and to experience the full range of emotions in healthy ways. We "feel" because we "believe." I well up (or cry lets be honest) because I believe my family is a great gift that I enjoy and I believe they love me and make my life better. I feel because of what I believe. And just think how great we "feel" when we truly believe God loves us! Think on that for a while. Read God's word. You and me are created and loved by God. We are in relationship with God. Just being human (created by God) entitles us the opportunity to experience the depth of love and all the gooey craziness that comes when we have feelings as a result. If you are reading this, I hope that you are engaging in the opportunity to feel what God wants you to feel as a result of believing and letting him in to live in you. I hope you, too, are getting all gooey and sappy when you catch a glimpse of a picture or hear a song that reminds you of God and his love for you. Read John 14. (Jesus said those who love him will be loved back by him and his father and that they will LIVE IN US!) He is thinking of you, loving you, and ever present with you all day long wherever you are (Psalm 139).
My wife made this as a blog post for our family's blog and it was so cute I had to pass it on to our community!
A few of my favorite things by Isella Rose
I love reading a good book...
standing up (ok, with a little help)...
watching the world around me...
having a good laugh...
gnawing on things...
wiggling my legs...
exersaucin' (thanks for the loan, Natalie Stewart!)
....and snuggling with my daddy.
More to come as I grow...
Sunday, September 16, 2007
My 3rd anniversary! We will be celebrating by going to San Francisco.
Stories. God. Relevance.
Wanna come? Get your tickets by clicking here:
ROB BELL TICKETS!
INVITE YOUR FRIENDS. THE TOPIC WILL BE GREAT FOR THEM.
Monday, September 10, 2007
I sometimes get random acting jobs. Last weekend I had a "live performance" gig. It was sponsored the the BRAVO! CLUB, a young Opera appreciation club. They really want the "young people" to come out to the Opera. Well, last night was San Francisco's fall premiere of SAMPSON AND DELILAH of all things and they hired actors for a faux film set for the Opening Night Pre-Show Gala. It was quite a show of tuxedos, diamonds, red carpet, fancy hoers devours, the whole nine yards. We had to entertain hundreds of people as they mingled and drank their champagne so they wouldn't get bored waiting for the Opera to start. It was actually a lot of fun!
I played the famous movie maker Cecil B. DeMille (Ten Commandments, Ben Hur, Sunset Boulevard). It was definitely an act of God that I got cast because if you google DeMille, you'll see I look NOTHING like him. But turns out he was a Christian and a very influential man in Hollywood. In fact, by God's providence I got a piece of mail from the Hollywood Prayer network this very week with a quote from Demille himself. Totally God-ronic. It was like God was giving me a great gift! I felt honored to play this man and get this opportunity. AND I had fun and got to improvise with the crowd and was stoked to get some food for my creative hunger!
"I have found the greatest power in the world is the power of prayer"
Cecil B. DeMille
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
After Sunday at 6 HEAD OUT to HANG OUT in downtown Redwood City.
La Tartine is a new cafe opened right in the heart of our great city. It's perfectly located by burritos, pizza, and movies! The perfect hang out! Right across from Century 20 with free validated parking off of middlefield! I have connected with owners-Andrew and Monique and they welcomed us to come and hang out every Sunday night. They even said we could bring in some live music sometime. So after Sunday at 6 this fall bring yourself and your friends to hang out and connect with others over some good java--make friendships and grow other relationships!
This must be more than just drinking coffee. Cause life (and our times of being community) is more than that! It's about listening and asking questions. It's about bringing people to the table who have never been before, and helping them (spiritually speaking and physically speaking) get a drink! It's about praying together and caring for people as Jesus did. Being good news. Some great new people are coming to our community in search of connection. Connection with people and with God! I am seeing that we have fantastic opportunities right now! I hope that we can all engage in God's best for us!
Friday, August 31, 2007
This event happened last year and will happen again this year. This video chronicles our journey in 2006! If anyone is interested in being a part of this event, see more info below, attend the meeting on Wed. night Sept. 5th.
Location: Mission City Coffeehouse
2221 The Alameda, Santa Clara, CA 95050 US
When: Wednesday, September 5, 7:30PM
Please join us for our second planning meeting for the 2007 Hallowed event, A Sanctuary for the Soul. We will be discussing the vision for each of the lead artists in relation to the theme, as well as the charity we have chosen to support this year.
Hallowed will take place Saturday, 10/27/2007 at The Oasis in downtown San Jose. We will have a more unplugged vibe this year and I am looking for 6 artists to create an installation space with their team, as well as spoken word artists/poets and documentary filmmakers with content addressing social justice issues.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
This is what I want to be about.
1-Live into your identity in Christ and grow in your relationship with God as your Father. You were made to be in relationship with God, your creator, who made you for intimate communion as his child through Jesus Christ and to be made like him. You will never be disappointed with spending your life understanding God's love. Your beliefs will affect your behavior. Your life and beliefs are shaped by reading God’s word, the Bible, and taking time to pray and relate to him. Read any and all books about God’s love and the roles of the Trinity. Talk about it with humble, trustworthy, Biblically-rooted people, mediate on the Bible’s truths and examine how your family of origin has affected you and your understanding of God as Father. Seek to live in God’s forgiveness, and extend it to others. God really loves & likes you. John 15. Eph 1-3. Col 3:16. Make the time to love God and let him Love you.
2- Live your life passionately, as worship and with purpose. Develop (and utilize) your prayer life, purpose, and spiritual gifts. In love, God created you to be satisfied with himself and with a specific purpose to help usher in his kingdom. This means you must listen to him in order to live this out. Be an active part of God’s church filling your “part” of the body and living out your role. Read, study, and meet with people who live this out. Pray without ceasing. Study biblical prayers. What can you learn from them? Then make sure you can teach others. Read up on spiritual gifts. What are yours? How do your passions, hobbies and skills work together to advance God’s kingdom? Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Col 3: 17, 23, Eph 4, 1 Peter 4. Commit to worshipping with others. Be mentored and mentor others. (Worship is not just about music, it’s your lifestyle. Do everything as worship and be holy ad God is holy.) 1 Peter 1-2.
3-Live into God’s design for healthy masculinity/femininity and practice godly relationships. Study the roles that God has given to men and women and live in purity. Learn all that you can about sexuality and healthy relationships. Be single and pure, and if you want to be married, live like it now in your purity and roles as men and women. (When/if you are married, then prioritize your family above all else. Your spouse (family) is your first ministry.) I believe that when men and women truly live out their God given roles, it affects all of society. When these roles are dysfunctional, weak, or lacking power, it contributes to the breakdown of the family, society, and our world. Ephesians 5, 1 Peter 3, Proverbs 31.
4-Practice authenticity, be honest about your brokenness, live in forgiveness and seek reconciliation. Are you honest about your issues? Have you confessed your sin and found help? Are you free from bitterness toward all the people in your life? Find people with whom to share your story and prioritize living in God-centered community. Care more about what God thinks of you than what people think about you. Check your emotions. God created you with them and they are good. Live life with trustworthy, close people who you can share anything with yet depend on encouragement and accountability! Seek to get over your pain from the past with God’s power and love and live free. The lamest choice in life is the choice to be fake, to live in unforgiveness or in fear of what people think, to compartmentalize life, or to choose to believe or live lies. Do you need counseling? Get it. There is no shame in that! James 5:16, Hebrews 10:24-25
5-Live a missionary life where ever you are...wherever you physically live, live/serve as God has made you. We are called to live like Jesus and love others. Bless others, know and love your neighbors and those who work and serve around you. What has God called YOU to do? What is your mission? Don’t be anybody but who you are, and do this in a way that impacts and influences our world. Ministry is not just for those who are paid by the church—we all can live lives of ministry. Love/serve others: Our workplaces, neighborhoods, communities, etc. are our mission fields. Matt 5:16.
6- Give, save, and manage money as God’s steward. All you have comes from God. How you spend your money is worship. Your spending and giving is a reflection of your heart and character. If not wisely planned and budgeted, money can be very dangerous and have negative implications on your whole life. Get a spending plan and spend less than you make. Prioritize and budget giving to God’s purposes and the Church. Spend more on others than yourself. Seek simplicity. Your credit card statement/checkbook reflects your heart for God. Avoid debt, materialism, and closets full of clothes and stuff. Matt 6:19-24, 1 Tim 6:10.
7-Take care of the least of these. Jesus was concerned for the outcast, sick, and socially estranged. Christians need to be concerned and broken for the poor, orphaned, widowed, sick, and imprisoned. Do not take God’s word lightly we must not neglect the poor, widowed, and oprhans. Read the Bible and see how often God takes up the cause of the alien and stranger. Consider adoption, simple living, and radical sacrifice so that you can give to and serve in God’s purposes? Do you know a homeless person in your area? Take her to lunch. Invite him over to your warm house. Pray for the 163 million orphans in the world. Start and/or partner with ministries that make a difference for these causes. To know God is to love the poor. To follow Jesus is to live a life of sharing with those in need. Prov. 14:21&31, 19:17, Jer 22:19, Matt 25:31-46.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I am currently writing from Dallas Texas where I am participating in an amazing workshop on COMPASSION AND JUSTICE.
(Here's me listening intently)
I HIGHLY encourage that you read through the following blog EXTERNALLY FOCUSED LINK and read through the posts, look at the artistic note taking pictures, and eventually LISTEN to the MP3s of the main sessions.
HERE'S SOME AH-HA THOUGHTS SO FAR.
The closer we come to knowing and loving God, the more we will want to love people his ways.
We cannot truly follow Jesus without finding ourselves caring for the poor.
If all we offer are lots of Bible Study groups, times of prayer and singing and no one is seeking to show compassion and justice, care for the poor, or help the lowly as a result, these Bible study groups and prayer times are not truly transforming us. When we are truly transformed this will be evident.
When we are truly transformed we really become RUINED for God's purposes.
Living in the Kingdom of God means that we are living a life of giving and sharing not hording and building for ourselves.
MATTHEW 25 IS SERIOUS. There are lots of scripture where God calls us to care for the poor. Do we take this to heart? Seriously?
Quote: "When we say we worship Jesus but all we do is shop, we've made Jesus and idol. If we worship Jesus then we serve the poor." This was spoken in the context of raising children, too. Our kids will learn how to live out their faith if they see their parents living out this faith and being generous to the poor.
The good news for the poor means that they will receieve physical help! The will receieve food and shelter not just a spiritual change. And when we encounter Jesus and his love and his model, we will want to help people physically. That's they the church in Acts was all about helping others and sharing.
Ministry of Money website
Which one of these locations looks like where you do your shopping?
Ok, got to get to my discussion group. More later.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
This awesome artistic event is coming again. See pictures below from the previous years. If you would like to attend this event please try and make this meeting in San Jose. I am at a conference this week and cannot make it! Art for God! I love it!
Location: Mission City Coffeehouse
2221 The Alameda, Santa Clara, CA 95050 US
When: Wednesday, August 22, 7:30PM
Hallowed is approaching quickly in the next 2 1/2 months. This year we will utilize Hallowed as a fundraising outreach to a charity (to be announced) that services the poor and needy.
This year's theme is A Sanctuary for the Soul and will take place Saturday, 10/27/2007 at The Oasis in downtown San Jose. We will have a more unplugged vibe this year and I am looking for 6 artists to create an installation space with their team, as well as spoken word artists/poets and documentary filmmakers with content addressing social justice issues.
We will have our first planning meeting this Wednesday, Aug. 22nd at Mission City Coffeehouse. Please call Jonathon at the above number if you are available.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Here's a little video recap of this truly awe-inspiring weekend at Lake Don Pedro. Our 8th annual trip. God moved in so many ways. People came to know him, others found themselves growing, people were baptized, and we had great food, fun, and sweet times of prayer in this community. It's times like these that I am reminded of how blessed I am to live the life that I live (a gift from God) and how important it is to live in community and do life together by praying and sharing our stories.
ALSO--WE WELCOME CURTIS ASHFORD AND CHRIS "SHOE" INTO GOD'S FAMILY!
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.