Thursday, May 24, 2007


A LIVING AND SERVING COMMUNITY. That's what we are. That's what we are striving to be. We are the Church! Our hope is that although we do have certain gathering points this summer that we strive to live life together loving God and loving others and making disciples.


Every Sunday night: A time to celebrate! Starts June 10th!
4:30-Grill out, lawn games, hang time
6-Sunday at 6 worship gathering
8pm-Mercy Cafe-coffee, open mic, music, games, hang out

This is a great and casual time to invite friends.

Wednesdays-New summer care groups!
A time to grow, pray, and celebrate
Starting June 13th at 7pm every week for the summer. Room 301 near the PCCC bym and Bayview room at PCC. We'll have potlucks every week so that we can eat together, a time of teaching, and then small groups (same gender) meet to pray, study the Bible, and share stories. We will be giving options for each group to determine their focus but since our PCC summer theme if RISKING IT ALL and we’ll be studying the book of Esther, we also have the option of reading through SHANE CLAIBORNE’S NEW BOOK: The irresistible revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical. We have the books available for you at a cost of $10, and you can also download the book for $12.99 on Itunes. See his website at

Monthly Worship Gatherings in Homes:The Deep:
A time to grow and a time to pray in homes
Saturday June 16th-location TBA
Saturday July 14th-location TBA

Monthly Discipleship teaching times.
These monthly times were started as an effort to discuss theology and apply God's word to our lives so that we can live missional lives that honor God and help us grow. June 1st at 7pm is our first one for the summer. It will happen at our (The Gapastione) home. If you would like to come email me ASAP. Other summer DATES TBA and will be announced through an EVITE.

Street Church
A time to pray, grow, and serve
time to pray, grow, and celebrate
August 10-12 at Lake Don Pedro. Wake Boarding, Wave-runners, camping, etc. EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION IS $90 before July 15th. After it goes up to $115.
Register ASAP by calling 650.364.3604 and talking to Kirsten or fill out the form and turn it in to Tony or Intern Christina Preston

and developing friendships. We meet in Menlo Park behind Cafe Barrone at 9pm.

Hot Water Weekend:
A time to pray, grow, and celebrate
August 10-12 at Lake Don Pedro. Wake Boarding, Wave-runners, camping, etc. EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION IS $90 before July 15th. After it goes up to $115.
Register ASAP by calling 650.364.3604 and talking to Kirsten or fill out the form and turn it in to Tony or Intern Christina Preston.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A gift from Wayne is a gift from God

Tuesday nights=Street Church.

The Church is God's people and no walls are necessary. I am a stickler for language. Did you know we can't GO to church or attend church. At least God never intended for it to be that way. He intended for us to BE (A PART OF) THE CHURCH which includes us interacting intimately with the people who make up the church and patnering togeher to build God's family. No consumer worshipping, necessary or fancy schmancy building, no just coming and sitting in a pew to listen or be entertained by watching one or two people preach/sing, but so much more! God wants us to be the church by having relationships, helping others find Jesus AND get their daily needs met, praying together, taking care of the poor, and doing life together. Ok, off my soap-box.
So every Tuesday I am a part of the church that meets on the street. I gather with my friends at a bus stop for dinner, conversation, prayer, and some Bible teaching and dialogue. I love it. For six years I have been able to create amazing relationships and see God do some amazing life change. Tonight was a reminder that God gifts me through this Church , too.

After the night was over and I was heading to my car, when Wayne called me over to the bench where he was sorting his plastic bottle and aluminum cans for recycling. A little background on Wayne. When we first started Street Church, Wayne would come for the food and leave. At one time he wouldn't accept being called any one's friend because he didn't have any friends nor did he want to be any one's friend. Hugging Wayne was like hugging a pole, he wouldn't move or physically respond. Sometimes it seemed that he would even scoff at or efforts to share the Bible and God's love with others talk. Over the years God has done an amazing thing in Wayne, he has warmed up more than ever, never misses a prayer time (even has initiated it) or a hug, and one Christmas he even sang Silent Night out loud for all of us IN GERMAN. I love this guy.

All this to say that tonight when he called me over he said this:

"I have a gift for you. Well, it's not really for you, but for Isella. I found this stocking in the garbage by Big 5, it looks brand new and I thought it would be great for Isella's first Christmas, even though I know that getting presents isn't what Christmas is about I just wanted to give it to you for her."

The crazy thing is this isn't the first time I've received a gift from one of my friends who happens to be homeless.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hope for the Homeless

Today was a beautiful and amazing event sponsored by the San Mateo county where we live. From 9am-3pm today Red Morton Community Center (pictured below) was filled with 100 local volunteers (8 from PCC/Street Church) and 150 poor and homeless friends from our community.

"Clients" were able to receive haircuts (look for David Kyle's new do), register for DMV IDs, apply for shelters, receive government aid, bus passes, dental/medical and mental health care, massages, showers, bike repair, food stamps, clothing vouchers, and even pet care culminating at lunch with a big BBQ! Many of our friends from Street Church were there thanks to being picked up and shuttled over. I was able to pray with some people and also explain to a county leader why we wanted to join their efforts. "We are part of a church that wants to do more than just sit in a building. Jesus came to serve us and we want to follow him by serving others. That's why we want to help."

This was truly a beautiful day for me. And I was so proud watching God's people serve in such a way and also develop relationships with those who work for the county. The link below explains our county's initiative to end homelessness in our area.


God was at work and we were able to join him.

Thanks to all who came and supported this effort.

Don't forget this Saturday is PCC's Beautiful day. Those not going to the Gothold wedding are encouraged to serve at Roosevelt Elementary School in Redwood City all day Saturday May 19th! Also, Street Church is every Tuesday and Thursday night in Menlo Park at 9pm.

Internal, Eternal Ache

"Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you you will say, 'I find no pleasure in them.'"
Ecclesiastes 12:1
A personal thought process from last night that I journaled.

It's 4am and I had just finished feeding isella. I laid in bed unable to fall back asleep. This is odd because I feel exhausted (in so many ways). This day brought a few disappointments. My poor wife is still not feeling good and still feeling pain (more than I think she should be), although she is home from the hospital. We had to cancel our family trip to Texas for my step-brother's graudation. Which is the right decision but I sorely let go of the plane ticket investment. On this same day I feel overhwhelmed with other issues: I didn't receive a hoped for salary increase, I am playing catch up and overwhelmed with work as I enter one of the busiest seasons of my year, and I still am dealing with my crazy-making dental issues. I lay there with all these things taking over my mind. I wanted to forget them and go to sleep. That wasn't happening. I also was nagged by the aching thought of an email that I was a week overdue for a response. It's sad, but that was the final motivating factor that got me out of bed. I made my way to to our computer and formulated my email. I did grab my journal on my way knowing that I needed to spend some time thinking and praying. Trying to compose my thoughts and words at such an early hour wasn't easy. Playing my itunes eased my angst. While listening, Carrie Underwood's cover song, "I'll stand by you," came up in my playlist. Even now as I type this I have it on repeat. It was perfect. I needed these words to touch me. I got on my knees and curled up on the floor. The lyrics washed over me like God's very words to me. (Look it up on itunes. It was featured on American Idol a month ago).

Carrie Underwood I'll Stand By You Lyrics
[acoustic version of The Pretenders' classic]

Oh, why you look so sad? Tears are in your eyes
Come on and come to me now.
Don't be ashamed to cry, let me see you through
Cause I've seen the dark side too.
When the night falls on you, you don't know what to do,
Nothing you confess could make me love you less
I'll stand by you, I'll stand by you, I won't let nobody hurt you,
I'll stand by you.
So, if you're mad get mad, don't hold it all inside,
Come on and talk to me now.
And hey, what you got to hide? I get angry too
But I'm alot like you.
When you're standing at the crossroads, don't know which path to choose,
Let me come along, cause even if your wrong
I'll stand by you, I'll stand by you, I won't let nobody hurt you,
I'll stand by you.
Take me in into your darkest hour, and I'll never desert you.
I'll stand by you.
And when, when the night falls on you baby, you're feeling all alone,
You won't be on your own, I'll stand by you. I'll stand by you, won't let nobody hurt you. I'll stand by you
Take me in into your darkest hour and I'll never desert you
I'll stand by you. ooooh, I'll stand by you. I'll stand by you.

I knew God was wooing me to him. He drew me close for the sake of being close. He didn't say that all these things were going to work out the way I wanted them to or even change for that matter. I was to come to God and pour them out, cry them out and shout them all out to him. How quickly I had forgotten his words to me in the hospital just a week ago. What matters is Him, his love, his satisfaction. No salary increase, or busy-free, easy-going schedule, "perfect American dream," or even a health-filled challenged free life will fully bring me the pleasure and fulfillment that I am looking for in this eternal, internal ache. We were not made to be fully content by what we can achieve, eat, earn, or create on our own.

The scene in the movie Garden State came to mind tonight. The main Characters Sam and Andrew (played by Zach Braff and Natalie Portman) stand atop a huge rock quarry overlooking a huge ravine in the rain. It's been a trying, painful journey for them and in response they just scream into the darkness of large abyss. It's a beautifully messy picture of our generation's struggle for find meaning amidst strife and frustration.

It's like Ecclesiastes. Someone would say that life is meaningless with all it's unanswered issues, cyclical wanderings, and unfair situations. The reality I see in life and in Ecclesiastes is that there truly sometimes is no answer. God is silent all too often. Our sorrow and misery can seem unaccounted for and things can seem unfair, but we have a choice. We can believe there is no point to all of it, or we can choose to continue to Honor God and keep his commandments EVEN when things don't make sense or seem meaningless. According to Ecclesiastes we are to enjoy life while we can, and enjoy the things that are enjoyable and when they are not, we are only able to conclude that we must continue to follow and obey God. Regardless of how we feel about it, that's all we have. It's a wonderfully real, raw, vulnerable, and messy commentary on life.

Like the song and like God's word, we are invited to get mad and express our deep emotions and release our stress to him. There is no fear in truly being human. Even in writing this I am feeling free.

The Christian fallacy is that because God's word says he have a plan, he has ordained all the days of our life, and he will work everything out for the good of those who loves him--that our life will be free from pain and full of everything we want. It simply isn't true. I confess, I struggle with this. I buy into the lie that God is supposed to make my life like the American dream when he wants to make my life like Jesus. And what do we have in Jesus? Humility and suffering as he lives his life in peace, kindness, and selflessness. This is crazy. Why do I think that God wants me to have a high profile life where I live luxuriously pain free? My savior and my God had nothing that was attractive about him. He was despised and had no where to live. I am so humbled.

God forgive me. Forgive me. Wash over me. I give you my disappointments, comparisons, anger, and hopelessness. I will continue to obey you. I will continue to do your will regardless of how I feel.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Wendy's Recovery update

Wendy is still in the hospital recovering. Things are going OK. It's hard but we see God with us. I have been able to spend good time with her, even snuggling in bed to watch a movie last night. I totally attribute this to people's prayers which have brought such peace and strength and tangible offerings of help that have freed me up. Last night the nurses brought in a big TV/DVD. I felt like we were in a college dorm still dating and being checked on by dorm moms or RA's. I new the time would come to an end and when I had to go home I was all weepy. Again, I appreciate and love my wife and miss her being home with me. AND I am so thankful she'll soon be home and we wont have to part ways.

Good things we are experiencing:

She IS able to breastfeed. A lactation consultant looked up each and every antibiotic to ensure it would be OK! She spent about an hour doing so out of her own time.

My prof from my Thursday night Seminary class excused me from class and she and the class sent emails and prayers. It freed me up to spend good time with Wendy.

We are befriending and enjoying the relationships with nurses.

She is in her room alone as a courtesy so we can bring isella in and stay for longer periods.

Isella is just amazing. She is flexible and calm and I am loving being her dad. Grandparents are also getting great time with her an learning the ropes.

God, still, is good.


For Wendy's' temp to stay normal and for this day to bring great strides in her health. She's having to take straight up potassium that she described as "drinking pure salt." Since it wasn't going down to easy, they mixed it with jello. Appetizing huh? Salty jello..

Saturday I have Seminary all day, this class not so easy to get out of since it only meets 5 times the whole semester. The first class I left early from because Wendy was having contractions! :) Pray for smooth orchestrating all the events of the day.

and pray that I continue passing the DAD test as I do the late night feedings and the "dressing" in the morning. It's a lot of pressure when I bring isella to the hospital HOPING to hear Wendy say, "Oh, she looks cute, Nice outfit choice." It's like the yearning to hear: "Well done, good and faithful servant!" :)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Consider it pure joy...

Whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
James 1: 1-3

My wife Wendy's appendix ruptured sometime yesterday the surgeon said. Thankfully they were able to remove it, clean the toxins, and stabilize her. The say they'll want to keep her 4-5 days to monitor her recovery :(. Please pray for this because this will be challenging. I want what's best for her and I know God will work it out.

Although it's very frustrating that they sent her home yesterday saying it was a bladder infection, I am simply happy to have my wife. I was with her from 5pm until they took her into surgery at 7:45pm. She came out around 9:50pm and I finally saw her at 10pm. (What was so cool is that typical marriage vow popped in my head when I saw her.."I vow to love you in SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH."). It was another way God spoke to me about my role as her husband and loving her.

Those two hours of waiting gave me much time to pray, read, and journal. So here are my not-so put together musings. Beware this is like a journal entry:

My thoughts raced with anger, sadness, gratefulness, worry, frustration, and overwhelming helplessness. Although I wanted to know WHY God had allowed this to happen right now, I realized that's always the wrong question. I needed to trust God was doing something for his purposes. I was scared, too, and God reminded me that he loves Wendy more than I do. I even felt like he told me the same about isella. I was concerned that she might get confused with having the bottle so much and not breast-feeding (normally Wendy feeds her every 3 hours and the bottle has only been like 5 times since she's been born). God reminded me that again he LOVES ISELLA MORE THAN I EVER COULD. He, too, (like I am trying to teach her) has a purpose for her life which he started at her conception. This was also a cool thought for me. As I lay on the floor in the waiting room, I, Ultimately-I was reminded that no material thing would make me happy in that moment. Someone could have come in and offered me a million dollars, or a movie role in some huge film and it wouldn't have made me happy without having my best friend/my wife in my life! I couldn't care less if we ever owned a house or got another new car.At that moment I didn't want a bunch of new clothes, nor care if my name was ever attributed to anything historic, not even an upgrade to a Treo would do it :)--because nothing could fill me up like the good gifts God has given me. His love and faithfulness was what I needed and all i wanted was my wife to be well and for my family to together. If I could only have this same simple, non-comparing, self-less, God-centered attitude for the other 90% of my life. Needless to say, I spent much time being humbled in the past 24 hours about the condition of my heart. There's just one of many reasons why God allowed this. Perhaps, in my busy life of work, seminary, working out, parenting, etc--I just needed to have solo face time with God.

I clung to Isaiah 41.(Although God is talking to Israel in this passage)--I was comforted that he doesn't want us to fear and that he helps and cares for his loved ones. I rest in that.

BTW-Huge thanks to my great in-laws who had a crash course of baby-sitting isella fpr SEVEN HOURS which included two feedings, a bath, naps, play time, soothing and swaddling. They passed the test with flying colors proving that we definitely can go out for LONG dates starting after Wendy's recovery!

Also- I am thankful for the HUGE outpouring of help and prayers from my family and from our community. I know that things will work out this week and I will be taking you up on your offerings from your voice mails and text messages. I truly love our community and being a part of God's family.

I just had to process all of this for my own benefit. And so when Wendy returns she can know what was in my head. She likes that! I love her so much and miss her presence in this house right now.

I'm tired and tonight I'm Mr. Mom. I've got a few hours to nap.

God is good.


Local friends if you do want to visit call me first. She's gonna be very weak. She has had to fast from even water since she went in at 10am yesterday.

Friday, May 04, 2007

PCC's Beautiful day 2

This week in YA news:

I can't tell you HOW PROUD AND GRATEFUL I am for our community. Wednesday night you should have experienced the combination of high schoolers, turn-tables by DJ Alex, Little Miss Sunshine, Post-it notes, and a mixer that had sweaty people playing "air twister." It was a great night of communicating about what it means to be the body of Christ. The church is God's people. We don't go to or attend Church..WE ARE THE CHURCH. Our community of college students and young adults joined the High School students in an attempt to make some good connections. It was a good start to what I hope is a strong and continued relationship with them. Thanks to all who made that night possible.

Sunday at 6 team potluck at 4pm. If you are interested in serving in some way, please join us in the basement of the worship center.

This Sunday we will determine after Sunday at 6 where we want to go to dinner.