Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wake Up Church

God is definitely speaking to us who are a part of PCC (as well as the Church world-wide).
Listen to guest speaker J.P. Moreland who spoke on the Kingdom of God. I sat there listening last night just amazed. This is the timing of God. I had no idea what he would be talking about when I arrived at the gathering. But in divine timing, God reminded and revealed there is more.


GOD WON'T RELENT until he has it all. This song has been on REPEAT this week.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

My Twin Brother Ronnie

I haven't been in a Denny's in a couple years. When I was single I used to go every other Tuesday with my friend Ronnie after our Street Church gathering. This week I was pleasantly surprised to find out our local Redwood City Denny's has been majorly upgraded as I relived the past on Tuesday Night. That's a good thing because I remember years ago the table tops were just as nasty as the bathrooms. I wonder if the healthy safety board intervened or something, because it was quite dangerous to your health to indulge in a little Moons Over My Hammy (my favorite), back then. But now, with their extreme make-over Denny's edition they went a little Starbucks/Cafe-ish. I liked the lights and even the bathrooms were more than decent.
But my favorite part of Denny's this week was hanging with Ronnie. I've known him for almost 11 years, as long as I've been in in Redwood City. Ronnie is 38 years old. He can be found screaming his head off at a Giant's game as well as in the front row of a Brittany Spears' concert. He's a Special Olympiad who swims, golfs, and plays basketball. Ronnie sometimes has the most amazing memory usually bringing up embarrassing my most moments and things I wished he'd forget I said. And other times he takes my "advice" out of context and I wince as he recounts what he thinks he heard me say, that he usually already passes on to five people. I get a phone call from Ronnie almost every day, sometimes twice a day and sometimes he leave messages on my home, cell, and my office line-just to report about his day or ask for some one's phone number. But sometimes he calls and prays for me and my family on my voicemail. Amazing. Ronnie is a gift! He has some mental disabilities but this doesn't stop him from being completely unique, fearfully and wonderfully made, created by God. He often refers to me as his, "Twin Brother," when he introduces me to someone. As I sat across from him, giving into one of my tempestuously tempting vices: seasoned Fries with ranch dressing, I thanked God for putting Ronnie in my life. I really do enjoy him. God's used him to teach me me a lot of patience ( a lot), compassion, and also child-like faith and simplicity. Although there are times when my heart breaks for some of his challenges that he's gone through, and other times I am on the floor laughing. Here's a quote from our Denny's conversation:
Ronnie: Don't take this the wrong way, Tony, but you're lucky to be married to Wendy.

Me: Why would I take that the wrong way?

Ronnie: I just didn't want you to think I was mackin' on your wife.

Me: No worries, I take that as a compliment. My wife's hot, I know!

Ronnie: Ya, that's what I meant, I just didn't want to say it out loud.

Ronnie also said, "Let's make sure to tell the waitress that God loves her after the meal." He did. And then he asked me how to say it in Spanish, and he tried that, too. I totally enjoy this guy.

Worship is not just music and shouldn't be a product

Much like my "DON'T GO TO CHURCH," soapbox, the misuse of the word WORSHIP affects me the same way. I apprecaite this video.

Seek God for the City (for Worship from every nation)

I've been using this awesome prayer guide during the season of Lent. Today's reading inspired me. I found myself yelling out loud, "YES! YES GOD, BRING IT!"
Read these scriptures.
Psalm 22:27-28
John 4:23

For citywide worship events to draw together believers from many churches as never before,
that extravagant worship of God would resound through the city, and
that the Father would find what his is seeking: many new worshipers in our city!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Our New Family Logo

Thanks to friend and graphic designer GLENN WONG!

In Memory of the OPD officers

Remembering those Policemen who were shot just across the bay.

Praying for their families.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I have a two year old.

We are really experiencing Psalm 127:3 today!

My daughter Isella turned TWO today. Cupcakes, a train ride, friends and nieghors, butterfly tattoos, Koi Fish, park playing, and total beautiful sweetness. We are so thankful God gifted us with this little girl. She is growing up, learning so much, and helping us to become the people/parents God wants us to be. God is teaching me so much being a dad. There's nothing like being a parent to learn about the true love God intended. So many times as I am holding her, praying, and singing with her that God reminds me that his love for me (and her) is millions of times more deep, high, wide, and unconditional. Beautiful. 

Spent some time at a new fave place for us in San Mateo. The Japanese Gardens where they feed the Koi fish daily at 11am and 3pm.

I love being a dad.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

Cash Crash Newsflash: God is in the recession

It seems that God is always teaching me to trust him, especially in the area of money. I have family and friends who also, some with out jobs, are facing some huge financial challenges in this time. It's hitting a lot of people. Currently, our church has cut 10% of it's 2009-2010 budget and there will be no staff raises, not even a cost of living increase until possibly June 2010. Personally, I wonder how with two kids, one income, a failing economy, and lots of out of pocket dental bills we will make ends meet. I am tempted to worry, but when I stop and remember who my God is, I worry no more. This week we received a bill for $1100 for a new dental mouth guardthat I have to wear to help treat my TMJ pain. YIKES. This was not good news. I asked the dentist for an extension until April 1st and she was graceful to say yes. Then within 24 hours God provided 20% through the generous giving of others, who just felt prompted by God to give with no knowledge of our financial need! Talk about eye-opening and awe-inspiring. God is a provider. Why do we worry when God says he will provide when we seek him, abide, and live life in his Kingdom! If I'm really going to claim that I'm a Christ follower, I need to claim Mathew 6:25-33 and really live it. So, I'm trusting that either through a tax return or some other cool way God will cover this (and finally bring healing to this crazy pain in my mouth someday!)

For more thoughts on God in this challenging economic time read John Piper's blog.

Here's a snippet of what he says:

Some of) God’s Purposes in This Recession
Now what are some of God’s purposes in this recession? I will mention five:

1. He intends for this recession to expose hidden sin and so bring us to repentance and cleansing.

2. He intends to wake us up to the constant and desperate condition of the developing world where there is always and only recession of the worst kind.

3. He intends to relocate the roots of our joy in his grace rather than in our goods, in his mercy rather than our money, in his worth rather than our wealth.

4. He intends to advance his saving mission in the world—the spread of the gospel and the growth of his church—precisely at a time when human resources are least able to support it. This is how he guards his glory.

5. He intends for the church to care for its hurting members and to grow in the gift of love.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

nose, mouth, eyes, ears

I'm a pizza snob so this is in no way an endoresement for Pizza Hut, just four different ways to experience pizza and it made me laugh.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Marriage is hard

Every wedding I officiate I include those three words: Marriage is hard. It's a biblical concept. Paul told the Corinthians, "Those who marry will have problems." Anyone who thinks "Happily Ever After," doesn't take work, isn't living in reality. That's why right after I say those three words I remind each couple that with God's power and two people committed to God and each other, the hard work becomes a blessing and a sweet reward of deep friendship and life-long companionship. Just like no one becomes holy by accident, no marriage becomes good with out major work, communication, forgiveness, prayer, and commitment on a regular basis!

A couple weeks ago we had guest speakers join our gatherings and speak on marriage.
Wendy and I both were very encouraged. I really encourage all married couples to listen. I think those single and wanting to be married would benefit from listing, too. Enjoy Paul and Virgina Friesen as they encourage married couples to work hard and singles to have a realistic picture of marriage.! These are three different talks that build on one another. Click and listen!


Keeping Hot part 1

Keeping Hot Part 2

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Daddy's Girls

Don't listen to the Bachelor

I have no concept of time right now. I joke around and ask Wendy (ala LOST), "When are we?" We are very sleep deprived. In writing this post I'm barely sure what day it is, let alone when I noticed, but it seemed loads of people were updating their facebook status last week in response to the Bachelor. Some were mad, others wrote it off as staged, and still some ranted how ridiculous it was. I was intrigued. What happened? Thanks to YOUTUBE here's what I found!

To be honest, I think these types of relationship reality shows are not only cheesy, but crap. Crap. They don't encourage God's design therefore can add to difficulty people have in making good relationship decisions. Could these shows be like Harlequin romance novels? They perpetuate wrong expectations and encourage Hollywood-type fantasies (some sexual) that are not possible in the "real world." Since these are some of the very lies I BOUGHT into myself back in the day, I am speaking from experience. Here's a quote from the Bachelor after he dumped the 1st woman he was engaged to:

"I can't control my head. I wish I could control what I was feeling. If I could control my heart and my head, in a second I would do that."

Somebody needs to tell the Bachelor: YES YOU CAN! This was one of the truths that set me free. LOVE IS NOT JUST A FEELING (like this definition). Love is a choice to serve, bless, enjoy, cheer on and partner with another person for their betterment- even at the sacrifice of your own "feelings." The writers of Love Dare say we must LEAD OUR HEART and not let our heart lead us since our heart can deceive us. If we just live life to "feel good" we might miss and avoid some great gifts God wants to bless us with in relationships. One of the greatest thoughts I had about a week and a half ago was watching my wife birth our 2nd child. As I watched I "felt" such love, appreciation, and attraction for her. I was so glad I didn't walk away from Wendy back in the day because I didn't "feel" a constant emotional-love- high. I had to learn love takes commitment when I was used to walking out as soon as feelings went away or things got tough. I vowed to love Wendy regardless of how I feel and I'm so thankful she CHOOSES to love me in the same way--cause believe me the way I am (selfish, rude and smelly--see this post for more on that-which are only a few of reasons) can potentially affect Wendy's feelings, but she loves me by choice. (Which also brings feelings of love, too!). That's what wedding day Vows are all about.

Finally, public TV I think is crossing the line with the amount of sexual situations/skin they show--that hot tub scene as shown on this talk show seems totally inappropriate. Watching that stuff makes me stumble and definitely isn't good for me to watch if I want to keep my thoughts pure and honor my marriage.. Hebrews 13:4. I'm bummed thinking about how many tweens, teens, and twenties types watch these shows are left feeling lonely, unloved, and worthless in comparison. God--we need you. Thank you that your design is the best and most satisfying.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Pastor Martyred in Illinois

A pastor was speaking to his church family this past Sunday morning (in my home state btw) and was shot dead. I was chilled when I read this this story. It just reminds me that one CAN be martyred here in the USA for speaking for and about God. See video here. I'm praying for these mourners (pictured here outside their church building) and especially the family of the pastor.

Marc Driscoll asks some good questions as a result of this on his blog.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Thank you God for creating Bono

If you aren't listening to U2's new album, I highly suggest it! I have many faves (Stand Up), but Magnificent, for me, is a beautiful love song to God, the Magnificent.

Magnificent I was born I was born to be with you

In this space and time After that and ever after I haven't had a clue Only to break rhyme

This foolishness can leave a heart black and blue

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love can heal such a scar

I was born I was born to sing for you I didn't have a choice but to lift you up

And sing whatever song you wanted me to I give you back my voice

From the womb my first cry, it was a joyful noise...

Only love, only love can leave such a mark

But only love, only love can heal such a scar

Justified till we die, you and I will magnify
The Magnificent Magnificent

Only love, only love can leave such a mark

But only love, only love unites our hearts
Justified till we die, you and I will magnify The Magnificent Magnificent Magnificent

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Green Book Reflection Pg. 139

Fully immersed in this world, Christians belong to no world. Instead, while teased by each hope and every vision, they know them to be only hints of the new heaven and the new earth rooted in divine promises. And our yearning to become lost in God only intensifies our tears over the thought of leaving this life. Christian existence is a joyful nonsense. In a culture of seal-realization, the Christian's call is to renounce self; in the face of noise, silence is the preference, in a world of competition, the Christian's declaration is that the winners will be losers and the losers winners; in a culture is whose economy is intent on consumption, the Christian insists on simplicity; in culture structured by possessions, the Christian insists upon a high standard of life; and at every point, the Christian exposes the emptiness of fullness for the sake of the gospel's fullness of emptiness.
-Paul. W. Jones (The Art of Spiritual Direction as quoted in A GUIDE TO PRAYER FOR ALL THOSE WHO SEEK GOD).

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Africa and Owies

As I have late shift nights (holding our baby so my wife can sleep during feedings) I am spending lots of time reading blogs, catching up on movies, or facebooking--with one hand. I saw this video today and was inspired.

I pray for Africa a lot. I've only been there once and it was amazing. I hope to go back one day with my family. I've also been teaching my 2 year old daughter through pictures about the water issues that that most of Africa faces. I've told her that African kids have "owies" in their tummies because they have dirty water and then we pray for them. She is consumed with people and their "owies." So now when she brings up Africa she says, "Kids have owies," and then we pray for God to HEAL! Right? Like I blogged before, we as the church need to believe this and do something. This video reminded me that God want to heal the sick AND simply change my life in surrender and freedom from materialism--willing to use all that I have for him