Monday, June 13, 2011

On Top of a Mountain

One of the highlights of being back in Cali this summer has been the opportunity to get out camping and hiking at elevation! The Midwest is fun and I enjoy getting out to Forest Park and state parks around, but they do not have much going on for getting up above everything and looking out over it. On Saturday morning, after a great night at an Angels game with Alan, I went with the college group from Friends Church Yorba Linda (where my brother-in-law serves as pastor) to hike up Mount Baldy. In just a 45 minute drive from Orange we were at 6,000 feet positioned to hike 4 miles and climb another 4,000 to get to the top of the mountain. I got excited to see snow at the top that I would hike to and got excited for the view I would see on the summit.

After a couple hours hiking with Nick Alvarez and pushing my legs on the climb I reached the top and felt a great sense of joy and satisfaction in the climb and the view from up there. The marine layer, or June gloom, covered the LA area with a couple peaks sticking out through it and the eastern mountain range shining clearly. Here's a shot of Krista, Aaron, and I at the top.

The trail was steep and the way down a bit painful, but it was awesome to get up high and get a perspective on everything below. The last couple weeks at Harbor have been a chance for me to get away and get a big picture view of what I have learned over the last couple years at Covenant and where God is leading me. My meetings with the various site pastors of Harbor, have been excellent and their questions have helped me reflect on my strengths, gifts, and vision for ministry. Just this morning I had a great conversation with an old friend from Cal Poly, Danny Kim, and he encouraged me a lot as we talked about Strengths Finder and what is important for me in being effective and content in ministry. We also talked about the need to fit volunteers within the church with the areas of leadership and positions they take. The conversation was extremely encouraging and I am thankful for the time with Danny and even the opportunity to be in San Diego serving with Harbor.

This came after a triple header of Harbor services yesterday with meetings or updates at each, Harbor Mira Mesa, Harbor North County, and Harbor Uptown...lots of Harbor, lots of processing, and lots of driving along the beach between them!

2 weeks in and loving Harbor and San Diego!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Settling in to SD

I'm already to day 5 in San Diego (though I was in the OC yesterday for Memorial Day) and it's been a fun last few days. Here's what I've been doing:

-Dinner with Steven and his fam (pastor of Harbor Uptown & Downtown)
-Friday night meeting of a Campus Ministry @ UCSD with the name of Little Spark
-Ultimate Frisbee in Balboa Park
-Strolling the Beach at La Jolla
-Visiting Harbor Chula Vista for their Sunday AM service
-Lunch with Russ and his fam (pastor of Harbor Chula Vista)
-1st Sunday evening service at Harbor Uptown
-Memorial Day in Cypress (BBQ @ Ted & Randa's, disc golf with Austin & Scott and they beat me, Tri-tip NERTS and Chris Tomlin bowling video () with Mom, Dad, Krista, & Aaron)

This morning I left my parents house around 6am to try and beat traffic on the way back down to SD and got back in time to hang out at Ocean Beach and Sunset Cliffs. While there I was offered weed twice within 100 yards of cops, watched the pelicans dive in to catch fish, people fishing off the peer, surfers thrashing, and then stood for close to an hour watching, listening, and feeling the the waves crashing against the rocks and the ocean mist blowing against my face. I could have stood on those rocks for hours more enjoying the beauty and power of the ocean, but work was calling. Seeing the expanse of the ocean and the continual pounding of the waves against the rocks reminded me of the passage in Ephesians 3 where Paul prays for the church to understand the length, breadth, depth, and height of God's love. God's love is greater than anything I can imagine, even the great Pacific Ocean that I love so much. This brings to mind the hymn, the love of God that speaks of the ocean as ink not being enough to write of all God's love,

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

After leaving the beach I went to the downtown office for Harbor and met with Russ and got a packet explaining more of my internship and had some questions answered before hopping in to a couple meetings for Harbor Uptown and Midtown. These meetings were helpful to show the heart of Harbor and their focus on prayer to seek the Lord for what they do. We also discussed the the parable of the Lost Sons (Luke 15) and in that process of reading and discussing the text I couldn't help but see the exceptional love of the father for both his sons and the exceptional ways he showed it. He loved them when they both wanted to get away from him. Just like the ocean waves continuing to crash on the rocks the father continued to love on the sons that stood against him. The ocean of God's love continues to crash upon me and I look forward to experiencing his love and grace afresh this summer while interning at Harbor.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Harbor Internship Day 1 - Getting Settled

After a weekend celebrating the end of the school year and an early BBQ to celebrate my birthday and a couple days hanging out with my family at home I made it down to Harbor Presbyterian Church around noon today.

I pulled into the Horton Plaza parking structure and looked at a trusty map to try and find the office building for the church in the heart of Downtown San Diego. After a couple blocks walking and a few turnarounds I made it to the office and quickly met the administrative staff before grabbing lunch with Stephen Cooper, pastor of Harbor Downtown & Uptown at J Wok, , a hip asian fusion restaurant just a block or two from Petco Park.

At J Wok we talked about what my goals are for the summer and what I'll be planning on doing. I am hoping over the next 6 weeks to learn more and get more experience in evangelism and Church Planting and also discerning if that might be where God is leading me.

Also, I do hope to get time to reflect on my gifts and direction for where God is leading me. I am hoping that being close to the beach will help me in slowing down and listening to the Lord's voice and discerning his call. Pray for me that God will lead my time here and that I will be faithful to his calling upon my life.

After I finished up my time at Harbor I drove to my new place to meet my host Dale and get settled in at his place. It is in a great location just a block away from Harbor Uptown () and just over a mile north of Balboa Park (where I hope to play some ultimate frisbee on Saturday mornings!). Dale recently lost his wife so I know that a large part of my ministry while here will be spending time with him to process, listen, and love on him. Finally, at the end of the day I made my way over to a community group and had a good time discussing what it looks like to live under authority. I really enjoyed getting back into a small group and just seeing the ways everyone was processing through the discussion. I also saw again the value of asking people to pray for me. So with that, I went to sleep and had many dreams, but my questions I was working through at the end of the day...

Do I really believe God has empowered me with his Spirit to be his witness? (Acts 1:8) If not, why not?

Do I trust that God's power is made perfect in my weakness or do I use my weaknesses as an excuse for not following God's lead on my life? In what ways can I practice ministering out of weakness that I might gain trust in God's power?

Do I trust in the Lord with my whole heart or do I trust in myself and lean on my own understanding? (Prov. 3:5-6) How do I move towards that trust?

These questions will be the beginning of my journaling in the morning, let me know if you have any thoughts on these questions.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Say to Wisdom, "You are my sister"

Over the last month I have been following Pastor Tim's (Grace Church, SLO)challenge to read a Proverb everyday (one for every day of the month, 31). It has been great to get wisdom for each morning and really try to think through, process, and pray for God's wisdom in my life everyday and a challenge to make wise decisions.

This morning as I read through Proverbs 7 entitled, "Warning Against the Adulteress" I could not help but notice the contrast between following after the adulteress that leads to destruction (7:6-23) and the relationship to wisdom, "Say to wisdom, 'You are my sister,' and call insight your intimate friend, to keep you from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words." We are called to make INSIGHT our INTIMATE friend not the deceiving, manipulating, intoxicating adulteress that waits to bring us down.

This chapter struck me afresh as I reflected on what is going on in our culture today. Pornography runs rampant on the internet, TV, movies, billboards, and in stores and is so much more accessible and simultaneously strangling of young men and men of all ages. In Proverbs 7 the craftiness of the adulteress and her smooth sayings easily trip up "a young man lacking sense" and today the presence and popularity of pornography wraps up so many that do not know how to say no to the temptations that arise and rely upon the grace resources that God provides for us out of it.

Even if we think that looking at indecent images are not nearly as bad as sleeping with an adulteress God challenges us with his words in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), that if you have looked at a woman lustfully you have already committed adultery with her in your heart. That catches every man and shows all of us our desperate need for a savior and the wisdom made flesh in Jesus Christ. Even Solomon who wrote his wisdom of avoiding the adulteress had hundreds of wives and concubines that led to his destruction when he encouraged young men to follow his words of wisdom.

Jesus Christ is the only one that can free us individually from our pattern and proneness to fall into sexual sin as an idol of our culture and He is the only one that can rescue us when we fall.

God, I need Your grace to "train me to deny ungodliness and worldly passions (pornography, lust, and so much more), and to live (a) self-controlled, upright, and godly li(fe) in the present age." (Titus 2:11-12) Lord, set me free from my propensity to run headlong into sin and free me to run wholeheartedly to you at the cross even as I continue to fall to temptations. Make me more and more like you every day. To your name be all the glory!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rooted in Grace

In my last few weeks working at Grace Church in SLO before I take off for seminary I am teaching a series for our college students entitled, Rooted in Grace. You might wonder where I got the title for the series...I got it from the theme phrase of Covenant, "Rooted in Grace for a Lifetime of Ministry." I'm hoping to begin to process through the meaning of that phrase this summer and help others see it too as I process through the questions, What impact does God's grace have on our lives? Where would we be without God's grace? What are the Riches of God's Grace? What does it mean that we are saved by God's Grace? What do our lives look like when we are overflowing with God's grace? How do we faithfully testify to God's amazing grace?

These questions have been rustling in my heart and mind as I wrestle with how to clearly and effectively communicate how amazing God's grace is for us. Tomorrow morning I am working through Ephesians 2:1-10 and how incredible it is that while we were dead-completely dead, unable to do anything on our own but rot away and cause disease and rebellion among others, God saved us by his grace through the life of Jesus Christ. Amazing Love, Amazing Grace!

Roots are so important to the growth and nutrition of a tree and our roots are critical for us too. They enable us to break through the rocks of temptation and sin. They provide living water and rest for our souls. If our roots are cut or damaged they lead to destruction. We must have our roots firmly set on Christ, the true vine and the only one that can provide for us.

It made me think about one of my favorite verses of a hymn, from the Love of God,

"Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky."

God's love and grace is so deep that even oceans full and skies as our scrolls would not be enough to write of all His love and grace. I'm thanking God for His grace tonight and for how He has shown me the length, breadth, depth, and height of his love!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Back to the blog on a Mac

Well, I finally went ahead and bought a mac laptop...definitely my biggest purchase in a while thanks to my time in Financial Peace University and deserving of a proud comment from Ben that I made a real investment...but I have now moved to the darkside.

One thing I do like about Mac so far is there attention to detail especially in packaging. The highlight of the Macbook packaging so far was the made in California tab...I love that as I'm headed out of the state for seminary. I'll write more about that later. With the laptop I can blog while watching the Angels which is great and what I'm doing right now, the Angels vs. Dodgers (Freeway Series). Angels going for their 3rd sweep in a row and I was at the last game!!!

I'm not going to lay a clear goal out there, but I'm planning on getting posts up at least once a week now that I can make blog posts Wherever I Am. Here's to more blog posts and updates on what's going on in my life! Keep encouraging me if I start slacking!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Give Me Your Eyes

What would it look like to view the world out of God's eyes? To see the world with the beauty of His creation, but recognize how far each human has fallen from His design? What about seeing all of the children starving, broken hearted men and women, hopeless people? How do we respond to all of the needs of our world?

These questions have come up in my mind quite often over the last few weeks especially after hearing the song "Give me your eyes" by Brandon Heath. At a Missions sharing night at Grace Church, SLO one of the missionaries put their pictures up with the song and it totally moved me to want to see the world more like God sees it.

I sometimes feel as if I am too broken and weary to make any difference on the massive needs of this world. It's at those times I need to remember that Jesus calls me to "come to me all you are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul." (Matthew 11:27-29)

Check out Brandon Heath's music video for "Give Me Your Eyes"

Monday, October 6, 2008

Angels in the Playoffs

On Friday night I went with my dad to the Angels playoff game and saw an awesome comeback from a 4-0 and 5-1 deficit before K-Rod gave up a game-winning homer in the 9th to crush all the momentum and spirit of the fans. I got an email from a guy that I watched yesterdays stomach churning game with (which the Angels pulled out in the 12th) which gave Boston's perspective on the Angels.

Choke's on California Again

If the Halos win tonight, though, they can take the series back to Anaheim for one decisive game!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Playoff Fever

I can't wait for the baseball playoffs to start tomorrow and to watch the Angels take on and rock the Red Sox. If you want to join me in watching the Angels and Dodgers come over to my apartment at 3:30pm tomorrow and we will be watching some baseball!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008


Well, after finishing the Truth Project and getting going in College Ministry for the year I have gotten busy and neglected my blog, but I did read a review and watch the trailer of an intriguing movie coming out today, Fireproof. Check out the trailer...

The movie stars Kirk Cameron and looks at the life of a fireman that is a hero to everyone around, but his wife. He and his wife are ready to separate until his dad challenges him to hold on for 40 days with a different task to do each day.

I am curious to see what the response to this movie will be. It was made by the same church and creators as Facing the Giants and I think I will try to see it this weekend. After working the SLO Chamber of Commerce breakfast this week and hearing their endorsement for voting NO on Proposition 8 I am curious as to what people will say about a movie encouraging husbands and wives to stick together fight through struggles and missed expectations to continue to love each other.

Here's a review put on by Boundless, Fireproof Review.

What do you think?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Labor: Created to Create

What is work? "A bummer," "what I have to do for money," or "the only way to get to Friday?" Our culture tends to view work very negatively and even Christians reference the fall to support the view that labor is a curse. Is that the view of work that we should have? Come to the Truth Project tonight @ 7pm at my apartment to take a look at God's perspective on the sphere of labor.

This is the second to last tour of the Truth Project so come this week and next to finish out the 12 tour trip of the Christian worldview.

See you Tonight!

Monday, September 1, 2008

How did We Get Here?

Just last week in our Truth Project discussion we talked about the power of the state and what happens if the state gets out of control. In our tour we saw that Hitler, Mao Tse-Tung, Stalin and others killed millions of people in their countries in the 20th century. How did this happen? Ravi Zacharias says that it happened as a result of Nietzsche's philosophy that God is dead.

Check out the video video,.

What do you think about it?

Truth Observed

This summer I have been leading a group through the Truth Project and it truly has been fun, while also challenging me and our whole group of how we view the state, family, marriage, God, philosophy, and so much more.

As I have led the group I have frequently turned to Del Tackett's blog, (the professor that teaches the classes in the DVD). When I went to Colorado in June to visit Denver Seminary I was able to run by Focus on the Family Institute (a great leadership training program I would encourage anyone under the age of 26 to check out) where I first took Del's class and catch the end of his last class. It was just like I was back into the mode I was in when I heard his introductory lecture in Fall 05, but I knew things were different now.

After he finished his lecture he told me that he would be going on a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon beginning the Monday following with top evolutionary scholars, creation scholars, and scientists to see if the Grand Canyon gave evidence for God. I was excited first that he was rafting, but even more when I thought about it of the impact of his trip. Check out his blog posts over the last couple months to see what he saw and hear his thought from being on the river...

Rafting gives me another sense of the glory and power of God's creation.

Here are a few pics from my trip in late July.

Heading into Tunnel Shoot

Flying Down

It's a beautiful thing to see God's glory and beauty in a whole new way.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Back on the Grind Again

"back on the grind again you know it's been a little while but it's time again"

I know it's been a while since I posted on my blog, not because I haven't been thinking, I just haven't taken the time to put my thoughts together for a blog post.

When I am lacking ambition and creativity, though, I can turn to Lecrae to give me an idea. The title and first line of the post come from his song Jesus Muzik. Pretty sweet and it makes me wanna "ride with my top down listening to some Jesus Muzik."

Here's the video for Jesus Muzik

If you listen carefully to his lyrics you can hear Lecrae rap the gospel...

Check out the Mars Hill website to hear an interview between the pastor of worship and Mars Hill and Lecrae with the focus on lyrical theology in his songs. In his interview he is totally humble and wants his music to be Christocentric and deflect glory to Christ. He is about redeeming hip hop from it's idolatrous nature and even says his music is "almost like your listening to the Bible when you push play..."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sociology: The Divine Imprint

The Truth Project continues tonight at my apartment at 7pm and we have finished the first half of the study and also the foundation of the structure and now begin putting the roof on.

What does that mean? We will be looking at how the truth of the Gospel and the Christian worldview impact every relationship we have in our lives and also how the nature of the trinity is a model for those relationships.

Here is the promo video for our sociology discussion tonight,