Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy HOLYween

Be innocent of Evil.
Romans 16:19-20.

If you are in the Redwood City area celebrate 10/31 Saturday Night 8pm PCC Worship center.

Be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Albeit cheesy--My daughter loves singing this song.
She loves yelling, "Underneath your feet!"
And the great part--IT'S TRUTH.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ernest Love

Based on PCC's iLove series, here's today's piece from the devotional book.
Armed with sanitizer bottles, I went to Africa to help orphans and share God’s love. Briefed on cultural expectations and safety issues, we were warned to never drink the water or eat village food. We were supplied with “safe food” that we would eat out of the children’s sight. I was happy to oblige if it meant keeping my stomach free from “issues.”
Matapila, a Malawian village with a feeding center, hosted kids who walked miles for their only meal of the day. One little boy attached himself to me, with no shared language (other than laughter). Ernest held my hand in line, swung my wallet chain around, and played tic-tac-toe in the dirt with me as he ate.

Many times he offered to share his food with me. I always politely shrugged it off because I wasn’t about to steal food from an orphan nor did I want a slow, agonizing death by food poisoning.
One day, after I turned down his offer of a little potato, he got up to speak to a translator. She translated for me: “Ernest is concerned about you. He says you must be hungry because he hasn’t seen you eat all week. He wants to share his potatoes.”
What? He’s concerned for me? Crazy thoughts raced through my head. When was the last time Ernest washed his hands? Would this be my last meal? Could I somehow fake chew but not swallow? Lord, help me!
Earnest waited, looking at me with compassion in his eyes, holding out his dirty little hand with one small potato. Time stood still. Then it hit me. This little orphan was showing me the full extent of his love, the un-sanitized version. He sacrificed his only meal of the day. I held back tears. I took that no-frills potato and ate it. He was beaming. We sat there silent, both chewing (and swallowing). It was an amazing moment. Sitting right next to Ernest felt like I was sitting right next to Jesus.

Questions to Consider What fears (or sanitary issues) hold me back from loving others? Who is God calling me to love?

Prayer Abba Father, thank you for showing me love through Jesus and his sacrifice. Help me love others. Help me to see loving others as a way for me to love you and help me to be loved by you through others, even ones that would surprise me or that I might normally avoid.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Am I secure in your love?
In life and in death,
I express my pain
and the bain
Of what I think my existence may be
With another missed opportunity
To brag on myself,
Displaying my trophies on a shelf
striving to dot all the i's on my agenda ..
Whether in love, friendship, or work
The hostility
of unmet expectations and dreams
Tears me at the seams,
Oh, Father forgive me..these schemes
They reveal my lack of understanding your love
And my position, in YOU, with YOU
Regardless of push gone to shove
You are the one who always will Be
Still and forever a mystery
YET you make yourself known to me
Open these blind eyes to see
I'm your creation, subject of your love…
forgiven and free
Father, shepherd, healer, artist, lover, husband, and creator
Empty me of all that’s not you
Secure me, surround me, fulfill your plans in me
That I might be a lover like you, a worshiper of
Fully Secure...
Now, IN you,
I'm able
to give and live
real life not just a fable
Face to the street,
humbled at your feet,
with my heart to the city,
this contrite heart you will not despise..
….i love.
Because. You. first .loved. me.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Metal detector encourager

Anyone who's been through airports knows how taxing, stressful, and sometimes just plain lame getting to your plane can be. There's check in, those luggage tag things, security, delays, screaming kids (sometimes their mine), and you fill in the blank. There's more than enough to make airport users lose their sanity. Take my experience this week where I was chastised by some rubber glove wearing TSA lady who verbally slapped me on the knuckles. Like the nun Meryl Streep played in Doubt, she held up my zip lock bag for my toiletries and tisk-tisked me because it wasn't the right size. Really? Come on.

But here's a tale of one TSA guy who chooses to tell a different story for the hurried business travelers and burned out tourists.

A TSA security guard, stopped me through the metal detector as I handed him my ID and boarding pass. He held up my documents, looked at my name and then looked me in the eyes.

TSA Guy: Anthony, do you know that your name means highly favored by the Lord?
Me: Uh, ya. I think I knew it was something like that. Thank you.

I'll admit I was in my own little "get to my gate," world. I didn't expect that. I had to do a double take. I knew my name meant something like priceless or praiseworthy, but the way he said it jolted me awake. It was like God was reminding me of his love for me, that God was in that mundane moment that I might have written off. I needed that. And then I eavesdropped on the guy behind me whose name was named Joshua.

TSA Guy: Joshua. Do you know what your name means?
Joshua; Uh..No. Um..What?

TSA Guy: It means God saves. Like Yeshua...Jesus. It's the same meaning as Jesus.
Joshua: Oh, ok, wow..thank you.

Then I watched this TSA guy stop every person and do the same thing. He looked at their documents and told them the meaning of their name, with a genuine, warm smile. It was like he was on a mission. Here's a pic I tried to sneak with my cell phone. He's in the blue, blurry shirt.

It really was incredible. Affirming people's value through their name, the one thing he could make personal. Names are meant to be significant and to see this guy making it his goal in his job to encourage people, (in a not so encouraging place), is very commendable. So incredible that I had meet him. His name was Jeff and I was sorry I couldn't return the same favor he extended to me, but I at least wanted to really thank and affirm him. I told him what he was doing was awesome and I had never experienced anything like that before. Then I wrote down my blog address and told him I would write about him in the next couple days. I will remember this guy and continue to tell his story. So Colorado Springs Jeff, TSA guy, if you are reading this:: Thanks for making a difference in my day. God is using you. You deserve a promotion. I'll pray for that! I hope more people take their jobs as seriously as you do and find ways to make a difference in peoples lives. You are intentionally brightening people's days. Intentionality doesn't have to be big, it just has to be intentional.

And, Jeff, TSA guy? Could you.. maybe.. train others to be as friendly as you? It would revolutionize airports around the world. World travel would never be the same. And maybe could you take your skills to the DMV? *and sorry if I broke any laws by taking your picture. It was all in the name of telling a good story.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Back from Colorado Springs.

Just got back from a great few days gathering with leaders from around the country who are a part of our denomination the ECC. Loved our time talking, wrestling, and praying through the future. We got to stay in this great retreat center by the Navigators called Glen Eyrie. The grounds have a castle here's the view.

Discussion and idea sharing.
Reporting on ministries serving and teaching young adults around the country.
Closing out our time in prayer. God, please lead us.
reflecting, not hiking, and horse poop...

...and what every tourist does when they visit the Garden of the gods, beautiful place with crazy rock formations.

Friday, October 09, 2009

an ignorant, foolish, or silly person

I recently tried out Scrabble for a few rounds. Humbling for me since I played my wife Wendy and she beat me... blindfolded. Normally, I would avoid games that take intellectual left brain skill (ie: I hate Trivia Pursuit), cause I opt for games where I can act and just make a fool of my right brained self. That kind of competition I can do! But I wanted to play Scrabble out of shear desire to try and feel smart---- it didn't work. There's quite a distinction between "feeling" smart and "being" smart. (That was pretty profound, huh? Maybe I AM smart).

On the serious side, I've realized that when it comes to my mind--I'm definitely not a "scholar."(among other things). I''ll never be the tweed-coat clad theologian pastor puffing a pipe and sitting next to the fireplace deliberating on the profundities (now there's a good scrabble word) of Biblical interpretation. I'm not much for heady conversations. Don't get me wrong-I like details, information, and "knowing" all I can about the Good News but I lean more toward the touchy feely side of the Gospel. God's story is a fact--that we choose to believe but I also believe we must choose to feel the Good News, too. I might not be able to debate systematic theology and get an A (after all read this:) cause what, (or who), I really know is Jesus, the love of God, and his Spirit-empowered, world-changing story of hope. You'd think that would be enough, but honestly... I sometimes have to fight to believe this---the truth that this--God's love and his transforming power in my life--is enough. You see, a lot my brokenness (on-going and from the past) enslaves me to comparisons.

I have no plaques, degrees, or scholarly achievements from any prestigious places hanging on my office wall. I probably never will even if I do finally attain my Masters one day. In fact, not only do I lack lots of intellectual credentials, I'm void in a lot of areas: For instance:

I had to ask someone one time what the acronym MLB stood for, which goes to show that I'm not in the know at all when it comes to sports. Admittedly, I often feel small when conversations come up and I can't contribute stats, college football projections, or any pertinent info on baseball, basketball..not even ping-pong is on my radar. Your Grandma could beat me.
I pretty much know nothing about mortgages, escrow, stocks and/or bonds. Although I wish I had the ability to play the market and own a house, I'm just happy that God provides just enough for our little family..check to check.

If I pick up a hammer or screwdriver--beware!! Run for the hills and protect your children. I suck dirt at fixing things and couldn't build a block, let alone a house. My wife's had to accept that the bar for my handyman skills is low and she's just happy when I'm able to change a light bulb, or fold up our double stroller (-think sumo wrestling). When I attempt to fix stuff my thumbs end up paying for it. Besides have you seen my thumbs?

Sorry to all my gamer friends but as for video games you won't want to pick me for your team. I can't join in on that past time, I'd rather go to the dentist than play video games.

This list could go on. Things in this world that I just don't know, won't ever know, and realistically don't ever want to learn.

This is when I realized I'm a simpleton and I'm OK with it.

This post is not about self loathing. It's actually about self acceptance. God really spoke love to me this as I was coming to terms with my limitations...which are actually not limitations but specific freedoms which increase my ability to be who God created me to be. I'm growing more and more in my understanding of God's full love and complete acceptance of me and who I am. That I'm a man, made in his image, capable of leading and living passionately for him and also leading my wife and kids by his power and love. And when I stand before him one day he will not be judging me on how on my knowledge of sports history stats or the makes and models of cars.

What matters is knowing HIM, loving him and loving others! Whew!

So with what I know..I will fight. With what I am passionate about. I will live a life of worship and I will (try) not to compare myself to others. I will resolve to know Jesus! I will choose to love God and seek to serve others with His love and power. That's what makes us truly wise.

If you feel like me, Please read:
1 Corinthians 2

We need to be eloquently well spoken, intellectually knowledeble or put together to be used by God. We just need to know God, be ourselves, and let Him work through us. God can even use a simpleton.