Face to Face

I recently took on a new associate pastor position at church that has me doing a lot more administrating which means working with a lot of people I haven’t had much contact with until now. I am quickly finding out that email, twitter, yammer, even phone calling can never take the place of a sit down, face to face meeting. Something is lost when you don’t sit down with someone face to face. Communication suffers. Tone is lost in written form. Gestures and expressions are lost over the phone. Let’s all take time this week to sit down and really communicate with the members of our team rather than relying on technology to do our communicating for us. Who is with me?

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My New Dog!

Now introducing… Polly!
PollyOur friend Alicia rescued her from the pound a few weeks ago and found her a good home with us! She’s a mutt, we think she probably has some dachshund and some kind shepherd in her.

On another note, I know that to say I have been behind on my blogging is the understatement of the century! I have been a little overwhelmed with life over the last few months (new house, possible new job, craziness at work) and blogging fell of my priority list but I will be doing my best to get back in the blogging game. Be on the look out for new posts!

My Apartment Was On FIRE!!!

OK, so I know that I have really dropped the ball with the blogging thing but I just had to share this experience with you all. Hopefully this post will jump-start my blogging efforts again. 

So my wife Emily and I had a little “disagreement” on Monday night (I admit I was totally in the wrong). So to make it up to her and prove my undying love I decided to treat her to a little romantic dinner at home. I rushed home early from work to prepare for her arrival. Flowers… check, filet mignon… check, fine spanish wine… check, Barry White playing on the stereo (seriously)… check,  every sing candle in our apartment lit… check. As you may be guessing this is where things began to go horribly wrong.

As I was busy whipping up this incredible meal in the kitchen I began to smell the distinct odor of burning/melting plastic. I checked the oven, no plastic. I checked the stove top, no plastic. I checked the microwave, no plastic. Then I glanced over at our bedroom and noticed thick black smoke billowing from the top of the door and distinct orange glow coming from within. I leaped over the counter separating me from the door and burst into the room to find our $100 air purifier in flames! I picked it up, yanked the cord out of the wall and made a mad dash for the door. Before I even got half way down our stairs I tossed the burning hunk of plastic on the lawn and proceeded to stomp out the flames. 

A neighbor had seen the smoke and the glow and called the fire department so within 10 minutes there were 8 firemen poking around my house with thermal imagers to make sure there were no more smoldering embers. Then they used their super-mega-ultra gas powered blower fan to clear the remaining smoke out of our apartment. Thank you Temecula Fire Department!  

Apparently one of the many candles I lit had dripped wax into the air purifier causing it to ignite. I am blessed to have found it before the flames spread to the pile of clothes that were sitting 12″ away and that my wife wasn’t home to witness any of it. WHEW! Thank You God! Now all we have to worry about is cleaning up the thin layer of black soot covering EVERYTHING in our apartment! Pictures to follow…

My Macbook Woes

I bought my white Macbook when they first came out and I’ve had my fair share of issues with it. The CD/DVD drive (superdrive) will only burn select blank CD’s. The mouse track pad, mouse button, hand rest, and top casing have been stained a yellowish color from contact with my hands (which is apparently un-cleanable). But now is the granddaddy of them all, a CRACK in the top case just below the mouse button!photo-666.jpg

The thing still works fine but come on… I have plenty of friends who bought later versions of the macbook who have had none of these issues. Since I bought my macbook Apple has changed plastic vendors that supply the casing which alleviated the staining and cracking issues and updated the superdrive. I love my mac, I will never go back to a PC, but the lesson I learned (the hard way) is not to buy a product right as it is released. It is tempting to have the shiny new toy that no right as it is released but there are always bugs to be worked out, which is why I am waiting to buy an iphone. Anyone?

Word and Deed: The Difference Between Knowing and Doing

I was talking with my friend Mike today about the purpose of food. Food’s primary objective is not to give us pleasure, it is to nourish us. We all “know” that I guess, but how does that knowledge affect our actions? Does that knowledge affect the way we eat, how much we eat, what we eat, and how often we eat? For the majority of us the answer is NO. For most of us eating is motivated by pleasure to a certain degree, some more than others. We think “what sounds good?” when we are hungry rather than “what will provide the best nourishment possible for my body?”. That thought started my brain a-turnin’ and led me to this question.

Why don’t the things I know about the life Jesus promises if we follow him affect the things I do?

There are too many answers to that question to write in this post but the conclusion I came to is this: I am genuinely afraid of becoming a Christian who knows all the right theology and has read all the right books and has all the right degrees and knows all the right people and yet still lives life the same as everyone else. That scares me to death! 

Lord, please grant me the discipline to follow you in both word and deed so that my life may glorify you for everyone around me to see. Help me to put into practice the truths I learn about the life you designed me for.

Amen

Youth Of A Nation

My brother-in-law James has been reading the book The Present Future by Reggie McNeal. One quote he posted on his blog really stood out to me.        

“Church activity is a poor substitute for genuine spiritual vitality.”        

He is commenting on the statistic that “90 percent of kids active in high school youth groups do not attend church by the time they are sophomores in college. One-third of these will never return. They are not leaving because they have lost faith. They contend that the church no longer contributes to their spiritual development. In fact, they say, quite the opposite is true.”

I couldn’t agree more with Reggie on this. It is because we (the modern church) have reduced our concept of salvation down to mere forgiveness of sins. This sort of shallow thinking leads to shallow theology which is a shallow understanding of who God is and how we relate to him. As a product of his kind of thinking our young people grow up with a weak and shallow view of what it means to be a Christian, a “little Christ”. It’s no wonder we have such trouble retaining these young minds when they go off to college. To them their faith is little more than a free ticket to heaven and sitting through a boring sermon on Sunday morning. Their college professors are brilliant thinkers that are opening their minds up to a whole new world of ideas and possibilities. Now, because it is rooted in such shallow, sandy soil, their faith is rocked by every new idea that comes along. Eventually it is easier to just abandon it all together than continually fight to defend it. We tend to blame institutions of higher learning, especially the secular and liberal ones, for “corrupting” the minds of our youth but I think we are missing the point in a huge way. We are shifting the blame to anyone but ourselves.         

To the apostles and early Christians salvation was SO much more than a ticket to heaven and church on Sundays. It was the life that Christ modeled for us and demanded that we follow. Of course we are saved by grace when we believe, that is the foundation of our faith, but Jesus clearly says “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34). It’s not that he won’t let you be his disciple if you don’t, you just can’t. You can’t not do the things he commands and expect to be His disciple, the two are mutually exclusive. It’s like trying to paint a wall black using orange paint… it just won’t work.

Thoughts on our human responsibility

I stumbled onto this site today. The pictures are amazing and this quote from the photographer got me thinking.famine.jpg

“I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated.”

 

-James Nachtwey-

 God has entrusted his creation to us (Gen 1:26-27) and commanded us to love one another (Jn. 13:34) which explains the deep, nagging responsibility most of us feel when confronted with images like this. We know deep down that these things happened on our “watch”. I know that Genesis 1:26-27 refers to the primarily to our appointment to rule over animals but there are a host of other references to our responsibility to the poor and oppressed (Lk: 4:18), the needy (Mt. 25:35-36, Lk. 6:30), and to keep peace (Mt. 5:9). I challenge all of us (including and especially me) to take a long hard look at images like these and reflect for a moment on what we are doing as God’s appointed stewards of the planet to preserve and care for his creation.  

Worst Day Ever?

I got a call from work at 6:30 AM this morning letting me know we had an emergency at the winery so I got up and got dressed in record time. I get outside and start heading to my car, already grumpy from getting up early and leaving without coffee or breakfast, and I see this: 


parking_ticket-thumb.jpgA $325 parking ticket for parking in a handicap space! I know, what was I thinking parking in a handicap space right? To my defense I have lived in this apartment complex for over 2 years and I have never seen anyone park in that spot, handicap or not. I (as well as several of my friends) have parked in this space many times without consequence. Still a bad decision though, I know…. 

The trick will be getting through the rest of the day with a positive attitude. Gonna need some help from above on this one 🙂  

The “Easy Yoke”

So I have been reading a lot of Dallas WillardDallas Willard lately and there is this concept in his book The Spirit of the Disciplines about the “easy yoke” that Jesus describes in Matthew 11 that is just blowing my mind. The idea that following The Way of Christ, the narrow path, is somehow easy. It’s a nice thought but it frankly bewilders most of us to hear Him say that. How can it be easy?   We rarely experience the ease, lightness, and power of His Way. Instead we make our best attempts at leading a godly life patterned after Christ’s example yet all the while we struggle with ourselves to meet the incredibly high standards he sets for us along the way. 

… continue reading this entry.

Bloggist

Yeah I blog…. does that make me a bloggist?