Friday, February 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Bambina!

Happy Birthday and WELCOME to our NEWEST BAMBINA!!!
Here's our (not so) little baby girl Gap. Luisa Kaye!!
She was a whopping 10.4oz, 20.5 inches! My wife's amazing! Baby Lu came out in under 10 minutes today at 2:17pm. It all happened so fast I couldn't even count as I was trying to pull out the video cam! Wendy and LULU are doing great! No complications. Luisa is pronounced: LU-EE-SA ( no z sound! S sound). Isella got to meet her little sister and then was singing, "Old MacDonald had a farm with a "Baby Lu."

Papa Gap!

In trying decide her name, one of our confirmations was this great little Italian restaurant we ate at in San Francisco! We took a picture to remember it .

We are all off the wall in love! There is nothing like seeing a baby created in the image of God come into the world. It's amazing. God was so present. I am overwhelmed. Thanks be to GOD!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Talk to the Hand

I've been playing around with this free iPhone application called Easyshot. I used it for Valentine's day and once in December, too. It's free and kind of fun. I took this picture recently of my hand and realized my hand was telling quite a story. Here's some of the highlights.

1-I'm a sloppy cook. Although I like to cook, I don't really make that much time to do it (Wendy's better), so when I do I rarely pay attention to recipes, go too fast, and don't watch what I'm doing. Hence, that shady spot represents burning myself twice in ten minutes.

2- I inherited my Dad's ginormous thumbs. Makes it very difficult for Texting (and using the easy shot application). Once people notice they often scoff....and then I smush them with it.

3-I am still wearing my orange yarn from summer in support of NOT FOR SALE and setting slaves free from human trafficking. I'm purposing not to just let this be a one time church theme, but a goal for my life. I'm sick to my stomach with the millions of people, many of them children, mistreated, used and abused for labor and sex.

4-I've always hated cancer and it's effects. But not until I've seen how it really working in my Uncle's life has it caused me to really actively fight through prayer about it. So now, I wear this yellow LIVESTRONG bracelet in honor of Daryl, and the millions of others, who are fighting and surviving cancer. Please pray for miraculous healing in his life as he still fights cancer's effects!
I talked with him today praising God that he's been survivor for almost a decade! I know it's God's grace so he could be a great husband to my aunt and father to my cousins.

5-The 5th observation is that I'm hairy, I blame my Italian genes. But if you look close you'll also see blue paint residue from my daughter. She's really a budding artist. I love being her dad.

6-You'll notice there is no # 6, but since this pic was minus a wedding ring since it was my right hand, I wanted my "hand story" to say something about marriage. I really love being married. I highly recommend it. It's a lot of work but so worth it. I am constantly sharpened and humbled. We are actually taking the LOVE DARE right now with our church. I'm so stoked to be married to Wendy in our 5th year this year and can't wait to add our 2nd Gap any minute (hopefully)!!!

Hands tell us a lot. Take a look at your hand. What does it say?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Ted Haggard, a former pastor who resigned after being caught in a sex scandal, appeared for his 1st ever interview a couple weeks ago since his scandal in 2006. Apparently HBO made a documentary of his life now and he's been on Oprah and Larry King to discuss it.

I watched some of his interviews with sadness and pity. I was also angry. Angry for the sin that he covered up and the lies that hurt so many people including his wife, family, and the church. I also was confused by some of the things he said and wondered where he truly is in relationship to God. I wondered had he truly, humbly, experienced God's love? I'll leave that up to God but it seemed obvious that he'd been hurt in the process of his discipline from the church. Ted once led thousands of people as a pastor, but never dealt or admitted his sin, past, tendencies, or ungodly behavior.

Ted admitted to being sexually abused as a child.
Ted admitted to using meth and seeing a prostitute.
Ted admitted to lying.
Ted admitted to still dealing with thoughts and tendencies.

At one point in watching these interviews I had to stop the TV and pray. I cried. I wept. I sat with Wendy saddened by the hurt, the sin, and the whole story. I empathized. I saw all of humanity in him, troubled, shamed, hurt and confused and I saw myself in him.. I was thankful as I cried. I was thankful for God's grace and healing in my life for blessing me with community and healthy relationships. I thanked God that I was able to be healed and experience freedom and I had been prevented from bringing pain and destruction to my life and the ones I love. At one time time years ago I was praying that God would heal me and make me whole "in the secret," so I wouldn't have to tell anyone my issues, my past, or my sin. But that's not how God works. God heals in community, for his glory, and so that others can find hope, too. We often won't let God heal us in His way and so we choose instead to be fake, like Ted, we choose to live a life of dishonesty and it ends up hurting others.. We won't be healed if we aren't willing to confess our sins and risk what people might think. James 5:16 even says that healing comes when we confess our sins and people pray for us. We must believe that God's love is enough and more important than what anyone thinks or says (so we don't hold back) so that we could truly see what responding to God would look like when we authentically experience God! For many reasons, but a couple come to mind. 1-For God's glory, 2-to prevent the pain caused in so many lives of unexposed, hidden sins and 3- so that we can actually experience the love and freedom God intended! I hope and pray that the church continues to be a place of freedom where people can share anything and receive grace, even pastors! I'm still fighting to believe and live this truth!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I got some new Dance Moves

We are still..... waiting..... for our Baby Gap to make her appearance. So I've been pre-preparing blogs so that when she does come I can have some to post. My NEW AND NEXT VLOG is coming out in a few weeks, updated with some new stuff. I've been looking for some new intro music and was recommended this song. I probably won't use it, cause I don't speak French and don't know what he's saying, but I may use some of the dance moves.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

God's plan A

I have kids on my mind, especially as we continue to wait for the birth of our 2nd child. I love being a dad. I love the thought of being able to cuddle, hold, pray, raise, and love my children, but I'm saddened with how many kids are deprived this basic care. I'm often consumed with the staggering number of orphans in the world. There are different statistics (Read 1 here and another here), but estimates are millions upon millions. How can this be? Why is this so? I feel a heavy urgency with this Biblical command in James 1:27. My hope and prayer is that the church, all of God's people, seriously consider adoption as God's plan A. This video was passed on to me by Janet O'Brien who works with PCC in School Aged Childcare. I was in tears at the end as she described her trip and the emptiness she saw in these Russian orphans' eyes. Some of the kids used by pedophiles, others children of prostitutes and drug dealers, most with no hope of adoption. God, we pray for your justice and compassion.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Blah Blah Blah.....

I'm a mouth.
According to 1 Peter 4 we are gifted as speakers or servers. Peter seems to say that the gifts of God are generally in two categories. Gifts of speaking like encouragement, wisdom, preaching, and teaching etc.. or gifts of serving like helps, mercy, administration, etc.

As a mouth I often have to speak a lot of hard things. Things I often wish I didn't have to say. Confrontation is hard, I need to learn to speak the truth in love more.

I appreciated Mark Driscoll's words on the tongue from a recent blog. We are accountable for what we say AND DON'T SAY. Did you ever think that some day when you stand before God we'll have to take account for every time we overlooked sin and didn't take God's word seriously enough to speak out or confront? I'm also aware more and more how we need to love people enough to say difficult things and not care about what people think. I was rebuked in such a huge way a few weeks ago by a fellow small group member. It was AWESOME. Through humble tears I was reminded to be like Jesus. I still have a lot of growing to do.

We also have to care for how we joke around with our words, too. Are we lifting people up or tearing them down? Are we wasting our words on non-eternal matters? Do we avoid deep, caring conversations and settle for fake/surface talk? I know I have and I'm convicted to speak and seek more of God's truth. I especially need this as a husband and as a father, let alone as a friend and pastor.

God fill my mouth!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day and Stress

Well, it's Valentine's day and it's still just the three of us. We are still waiting to add our third little lady any day now. We hope she arrives soon cause we are very ready! So, until then, I say Happy Heart's day to the two beauties in my life right now! I love you very much!
But speaking of adding our next little one, one of my friends, and fellow PCC staff member, explained how stress and kids relate in a growing family. He just had his 4th child two months ago and said the most stress happened when he had his 2nd, but it decreased as they continued to grow. He charted it out on a piece of paper like this:

Many people confirm this was true of their experience, too, so we are preparing for it to be a huge adjustment, but still very excited. And hopefully, by God's will, we can grow our family to four and beyond. Bring on the stress!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I seriously laughed out loud at this. This is Angjelah Johnson, a comedian who also happens to be a Christian and friend of some of our PCC friends (the Ibarras). I hope we can get her to come up to RWC and do some stand up. Enjoy.

Sometimes you just need to laugh. This has been go-to laughter invoking for me!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I'm a witness

Like I said in this last post, I am so ready for more of God's power and praying to see him move more. God's kingdom is breaking through into our life, into our world! Last month I personally witnessed two people physically healed by God's people through prayer. Here's a story of Rashelle, one of the women in our church family, who was healed during a time of prayer on our young adult retreat. She was jumping up and down on her ankle that had been in pain and unable to hold weight. All of us there witnessed it and broke out in applause and thanks to God. When I talked to Rashelle, a few days after to see how she was doing, she laughed and said, "I went running for the first time today and I'm wearing high heels right now." Awesome. And that's not the only story.

Meet Richard.

I'm telling ya, God wants his power to amaze people and display his love and glory.
Richard was healed when we were praying with Street Church. We prayed for anyone who had any physical pain to be healed in the group huddle. No one specifically asked for prayer, we just did. After we finished he came up and said it was as if God was speaking right to him as we prayed. He no longer had the the pain he was dealing with in his arm and in his leg. In his words he said, "I feel light [not heavy]."

Thursday, February 05, 2009

God is always here

I woke up one morning last week to my car wrapped in toilet paper and with shaving cream all over it. The "nice" thing was that the shaving cream spelled out encouraging things like "Man of God, God loves you," and "Man among wolves." So I had to make a visit to the car wash thanks to the midnight visit from some of the men (wolves-not that I'm naming names ROCKY & PORTILLO) in our young adult community.

The cool thing is God gave me a cool experience at the car wash. I took my daughter with me and it was a little scary for her. Those gas station car washes have those machines that you drive into and it goes back and forth washing, rinsing, and drying, etc. They can be loud and for a little almost two-year old, they can be scary. She was in the back seat saying, "Hold you, Papa." (Her words for: Hold me!). Since I couldn't get out of the car and go back there I just reached my hand back, cupped her cheek, and said, "Papa's here, I'll protect you." And for the whole five minutes she rested her head in my hand. It was so perfectly sweet. Her eyes darted back and forth watching the water pound the windows while I reminded her of my love and presence and in that moment God reminded me that's exactly what he does with me, even when I don't see him. He's always here.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Chris from Poland: Vlog Episode 6 TRT 3:26

This Vlog is a special one because I am reflecting with an old friend who started following Jesus with us in Redwood City. Chris (we call him:) Columbus now lives and serves in his home country of Poland. This was the guy I blogged about back in September (see it here). His story is one of God's power and truth to change a life and how truly living out God's design for relationships satisfies and blesses. The power of community!!