Thursday, March 29, 2018

reminds me of rob-

I have a little extra margin today, I thought I would share a list that has been in my head lately-

sometimes my friends message me and tell me that they saw something and it reminded them of me- its probably because I'm a creature of habit and do the same things 100 times over. either way, it blesses me to know that someone thought of me-

1. sour punch straws

I always have these when I'm with students. I would switch to a different candy, but these are a winner every time. even when I buy them at the store, the teenage or college aged checker sort of looks at them lovingly as they run them across the scanner. I've had a number of people say, "whenever I eat these, I think of being a student in your ministry." I did my first talk to children recently and I just had a box of them in my hand. you could have heard a pin drop. I used to have a gun that would shoot them out into a crowd of students. ironically, I've never had one. I'm not into sour stuff. 

2. malibu grill

I moved to san jose 17 years ago- I would guess that I have averaged one trip to malibu grill a week. 52 weeks times 17 years is 884 visits; times an average of about $20 a visit means that I have given this place over $17,000! that's insane. anyhow, I go there a lot. Jane and I have made many models of malibu grill for her toys and for my plant. I have often said, "if we have never been to the malibu grill together, then we probably aren't really friends." I have often had friends say, "Rob! I went to malibu and you weren't there!" I don't work there! but maybe I should be a shareholder or something. one time there was a big fire at the grill and they needed to finish a catering job- so they asked me if they could use the church kitchen. I made some calls and we got the green light. the next week the whole place smelled like malibu bbq. they said thank you by giving the church staff free bbq. I had praised God in church many times- but never like that!

3. mister rogers
I did not watch a lot of mister rogers as a kid- but I saw this clip, and it has travelled with me ever since. 

I have used it for training leaders, for training students before service trip, and in sermons. it embodies everything I want to be as a youth worker. I keep a photo of this scene in my wallet and on my desk. now my friends often share mr. rogers videos and quotes with me all the time- and it doesn't bother me one bit. 

4. monterey and otters

I have written a bunch about how much we love otters- I am an otter evangelist! I'm always sharing otter-stuff online. one of my favorite sermon serieses was called "keystone species" and it was all about the spiritual lessons that we can learn from otters. we got passes to the aquarium and go there at least once a month. we love to go on a rainy day- that's when the sea-life parties at the surface. I often have friends say, "I was in monterey and I expected to see you!" or they will send me otter videos- I don't mind- keep them coming!

5. U2
I have loved these guys since I was a teenager. I have seen them in concert many times. when I start chatting about their songs or their concerts, I don't know when to stop. I post a lot of their songs on my facebook page- they're the best. whenever there is news about them I'm often asked, "did you hear the news?" "did you get the new album?" "do you have tickets to the show?" and the answer is always yes. 

6. red vw beetles
I drove a red beetle for years. what a fun car! my friends often gave me miniature beetles, or said that they saw one and thought of me- dw drives it now- but I had lots of great memories in that car. I as often told that it smelled like crayons. I could never smell it, but I can now, now that I don't drive it as much. everyone thought there were crayons hiding under the seats, but that's just how vw upholstery smells. 

7. los gatos/ los gatos creek trail/ the great bear/ CCC's
I don't know anyone who loves the town of los gatos more than me. I love the history, the shopping, the atmosphere, the architecture. I love oak meadow park and vasona- I love the los gatos creek trail- I have written about both of those spots several times on this blog. I love the train at oak meadow park- and my favorite spot in downtown los gatos is the great bear coffee shop. and my favorite drink is their coffee-chocolate-cream milkshake, or the CCC. just like I said about malibu, "if we haven't had a CCC at the great bear, then we probably aren't really friends." my favorite way to welcome a friend into town or to recruit a volunteer is to take them to the bear. I often have friends share with me photos of their CCC's or picture of them at the bear. 

8. be awesome today

this is a phrase that I use to remind students to have good behavior- but it has turned into a kind of mantra. friends often share when they see something with the words "be awesome" on it. I often tell students- "you can be awesome anywhere- at your school, on your team at your house, and definitely at church; so be awesome today."

and I guess that's my message for myself and for you right now. wherever you are, whatever you're doing, whoever you're with:

be awesome today.

God is love.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

rocks in my pocket

awhile back I was having a tough week. I was anxious to say the least. I happened to be at my local bible bookstore, and I happened to notice their selection of religious gifts on the counter next to the register. a friend of mine used to call these things, "jesus-junk." I normally ignore these things, but I saw a glass stone with Matthew 28:20 on it, and on that particular day, that verse seemed to be very comforting to me- so I bought it  and kept it in my pocket. I kept it in my pocket for weeks. every time I put my hands in my pocket, I felt it, and I was reminded of Jesus' promise to be with me whatever I face. sometimes when I was feeling extra anxious, I would hold it, or read it, or just feel it in my hand. as you can see from the picture below, I practically wore the letters right off. 

later I found another rock at the bible store and kept it in my pocket- it reminded me to give those anxieties over to God- and of how much He cared for me in that moment. these rocks  served as physical memory cards- and sometimes I would quote the verse out loud while I was holding it.

I got other rocks- each one addressing my response to fear and anxiety- they helped me to coach myself whenever I was headed into a situation that I was unsure about-

I eventually developed a collection of these rocks, and was able to choose which one would go in my pocket depending on the bible verse that I needed for that day.

when I walked around, I could hear these verse-rocks clicking against my keys in my pockets- it reminded me how how the Israelites kept verses sewn into the corners of their clothes and tied around their wrists.

sometimes when I was in a tense situation, I would just put my hands in my pocket and I was reminded of the promises that God has given us in the bible to watch us, care for us, deliver us and redeem us; and it gave me perspective, and helped to settle my heart.

eventually, I bought all of their rocks! of all of the "jesus-junk" I had ever seen there, these were by far the most helpful. I started thinking of other verses that I would like to have in my pocket and I began to look online for the manufacturer of these rocks or of some way I could create my own.

I didn't see anything that was reasonable, so I just made my own with a sharpie. this was one that I kept in my pocket for a few weeks. I felt that I was being argumentative and defensive, so I just decided to stop talking so much- and listening more. 

this was the last rock that I made over that season. Its not a bible verse, just a saying, but I made it in hope that things would change and improve. there were days that I looked at this rock and didn't believe what I had written on it; it seemed to good to be true- but I kept it in my pocket nevertheless. 

well, I can thank God that this rock- and all of my rocks in my pocket were right. God had never left me- He cared for my anxieties- He sustained me- He delivered me from my fears- He was my lamp and my salvation, just like the Bible (and my rocks in my pocket) had promised. and all of these problems made their way into and out of my life, just like so many before them. 

now I have a box full of rocks- and I'm wondering what  I should do with them. maybe I will display them as some sort of tribute to God- old testament style. or maybe I can hand one to a friend who needs one of them more than I do right now. 

as I look back on this time, I can conclude that God is good, and His words are true; and this little practice can help calm your heart and focus it on the truths of the bible, which are eternal and bigger than our present circumstances.

God is love.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

rob's requirements

one last self-centered blog for awhile-

a lot of you guys know that earlier this year, my family and I went through a pretty big change: after working at the same place and doing the same job for 16 years, I started working at a new place and doing different jobs. during that transition I started thinking about my non-negotiables- in my mind I could only work in certain environments, doing certain jobs and with certain resources. and then I discovered that I wasn't going to write my own plans- and then I discovered a new list of non-negotiables. I learned what I really need as opposed to what I thought I needed. and I learned that when these things go away that I need to find them again or things will be a little (or a lot)  "off" in my life. here are some things that I have discovered that I need these days:

1. my family
if I don't get to see them and talk with them and feel connected to them, I'm all out of whack. I don't ever want to do a job that keeps me from them for extended amounts of time. there are people who are away from their families for long stretches of time- and I ache for them. I have some friends who have lost their family or their family members- and I can't imagine what that does to them. through this transition, I think I'm actually able to be around my family even more- and I'm grateful for that. 

2. solitude
everyone knows that I'm super-introverted- but its not that I'm shy- its that I'm at my best when I'm quiet and able to connect with my thoughts and in prayer. my new role allows me to drive a bit, and has flexibility where I can gather my thoughts and talk things through with God. when I get too busy, my time with God, my journal, and my bible-memory are the first things to get squeezed out. I'm pretty busy, but I'm still finding time for being quiet. 

3. students
I'v been working with kids since the early 90's. I didn't realize what a big part of my life that they were until they were gone. I left a student role and began working with children- there are some transferrable concepts, but it wasn't the same. a friend asked me to fill in for him at his student ministry and it lifted my spirit like crazy. I could barely sleep the night before I spoke for his group. I woke up extra early because I was filled with energy. thankfully, I'm working with students again and its slow going, but I am so grateful for the opportunity.

4. creativity
I've always been creative- in the past, I used creativity in my messages to students, but when I changed roles, my creative outlet went away. I started creating dioramas for my plant and I was energized when I had a new outlet for creativity. I discovered that if I don't have a work-outlet for creativity, that I need to create one for myself. there is something about it that feeds my heart, that energizes me and pushes me forward.

5. organization
when my environment gets cluttered and messy, I stop thinking straight. Over the last year, I have found myself working in my dining room, in coffee shops and bookstores. it frustrated me to not have a spot for files, supplies and notes. I learned that if my work-environment isn't organized, then its up to me to work extra-hard to get organized. thankfully- I'm in a spot that is quiet, organized and clean.

6. nature
I had the opportunity to work in a city that had no nature in it. no hills, no trees, no trails. I would have taken the job if I had to, but I'm glad that I didn't have to. my walks on my trails, under the canopy of trees, and along streams nourish my soul.

7. margin
I hate being rushed. I hate being too busy to listen or to help. I hate being too busy to get in a good night's sleep or to exercise. so many people in my community are commuting hours and hours every day.  they have to-do lists that will never get done- I'm grateful that right now, I'm not in that boat. I have a long to-do list, but its important to me to get it done as efficiently as possible so that I can have margin to do the things that are important to me. 

8. a difference
recently a mom sent me a photo of her kid's room- it had letter that I had written him pasted to the walls. she said, "you're the only one who says encouraging words to him. he gets discouraged every day at school." I clearly remember thinking to myself, "I'm making a difference in someone's life! how long has it been since I was able to make a difference?!" that note energized me so much and gave me a longing to help more and more people. 

9. friends
the hardest thing about my transition is that there are so many friends that I don't see much anymore. but there are several that have been intentional about staying connected- and when I see them it is so life-giving. it doesn't make sense that I'm introverted on one-hand and crave friendships on another, but it makes sense to me. though this transition, I have gained many, many new friends that are wonderful additions to my life. God has blessed me with incredible friends- and seeing them gives me so much joy. I have learned that moving across the country would be so traumatic for me; and I'm grateful that God made a way that I didn't have to. 

who knows? maybe I'll go through another big transition and discover that these things weren't as important to me as I thought. until then, I'm grateful that these things are in my life and I plan on enjoying them as long as I'm able. 

God is love.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


the word that is often used to describe me is quiet. I don't say much. 

but just like anyone, certain topics can really get me chatting- like so much that I notice and I get a little self-conscious about how chatty I'm being- 

here are 10 of the topics that I have recently noticed have got me going on and on- (I have to limit it, because this might be another topic that makes me chatty).

1. organization-

last december, right before I was about to fall asleep, my wife said, "I want to get a desk calendar for my dad for Christmas."

"what kind?" I asked. 
"I don't know" she said.
"moleskine? daily or weekly? monthly? 5x7? 3x5? do you want a section for notes? you can't just start a conversation about calendars and expect me to fall asleep!"

I'm a little too passionate about calendars- and to-do lists- and notepads- and time management- and decluttering.

2. local history-
I can barely ride in the car with my friends without turning into a tour guide. sometimes my friends talk about going hiking a almaden quicksilver park- and I have to restrain myself from talking about mercury, and the gold rush, and the natives, and the miners, and the towns that were originally in that area. and then there is los gatos: if you walk around los gatos with me, you are bound to hear some fun-facts. fun for me at least!

3. otters.

If you know me, you know that I can talk at length about otters- their fur, their impact on the environment, their habits, etc. I can clearly remember several conversation over the last year or two where I was very aware of how long I was talking about otters, and how even though I was aware of it, I couldn't stop.

4. dad-life.

Do yourself a favor: don't ask me a good place to take your kid on a saturday in the bay area. you won't hear the end of it. I love hanging out with my kid and discovering fun places to visit that are made especially for kids- and the bay area is loaded with awesome places to go.

5. star wars

its embarrassing how excited I get to talk about star wars with anyone who will listen!

6. U2

most people know a few U2 songs- not me. I know them all. I have all of their albums- I've seen them dozens of times in all kinds of venues. I love to chat with a U2 fan- when I go to the show, its like being a foreigner and finally coming home to my native country- and everyone there talks like me and has the same experiences as me.

7. youth ministry

I love to hear youth ministry stories- I love to share them. I love to talk with youth workers. I love youth ministry ideas. I love writing youth ministry messages- I love all of it and time flies fast when I'm talking about it.

8. disneyland

I love news about disneyland- and the history of it- I love spending time there. I love the music and the rides and the food. I love the posters and the nostalgia. who doesn't love talking about disneyland?!

9. miniatures

the other day I was at church and my friend said, "rob- my son has a california missions project- where can I get some miniatures and supplies?" and I could feel that she had just opened pandora's box. I tried my best to keep my inner geek in and give her some basic advice. I now have my new blog that has some pictures of my miniatures. I love seeing other enthusiasts create things. I just love makers and creatives and their work.

10. everything else

raiders of the lost ark.
 alias (the TV show with jennifer garner).
dr. seuss.
mister rogers.
bible memory.
mary poppins.
california missions.
vasona park.
winnie the pooh.
gold rush.
curse of oak island.
forged in fire (the tv show about making knives).
malibu grill.
dremel tools.
the SF giants.
the golden state warriors.
and blogging!

so many things to geek out on! what about you?

God is love. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

all of my supplies:

last month during my church's office christmas party, they has this game where you had out yearbook-style awards like "most likely to..." the award that was given me was "most likely to have hand sanitizer on him."

this was funny- and it got me thinking about all of the other things I keep around me at all times. I keep little batches of necessary supplies all over: in my car, in the house, in my office, in my computer bag- so if you ever need one of these things, ask me and I probably have it.

1. glue.
I have every kind of glue near me at all times. super-glue, gorilla glue, glue stick, elmer's glue, wood glue, glue-gun-glue, rubber cement. you never know when you'll need glue.

2. pen/ thought-recorder
I always have my pen and paper on me- but if I don't, I record my thoughts on my phone, or scribble them on my hand- I have even kept bath crayons in my shower to save a good idea before I forget it.

3. cleaning supplies
clorox wipes, purell wipes, tissues and hand wipes.the bay area has lots of germs.

4. tools
my go-to is a 6-in-one screwdriver, but I usually have a utility knife, some pliers, zip ties and tape measures pretty much everywhere.

5. clocks
I'm pretty OCD about knowing what time it is- I have clocks in every room, and pretty much on every wall. I have calendars everywhere too.

6. checkers-
a good checkers game can break out anywhere. I also have sorry and connect 4 in my car.

7. magnifiers
I'm going blind, but I'm too proud to wear glasses.

8.a photo of fred rogers
when working with people- I try to just do what mister rogers would do, and that usually is a good choice. I have photos of him in random places to remind me to give everyone individual attention.

9. fresh breath:
I keep mints, toothbrushes, and toothpaste in multiple places. no one wants stinky breath

10. misc:
water bottle, mio drinks, bibles, verse cards, earplugs, cell phone chargers, sunglasses. these things are everywhere. 

when jane was smaller, she started with a diaper bag- but that evolved into a backpack that had water, snacks, band-aids, batteries, nintendo styluses and tools to open new toys. now I carry around all kinds of randomness. nothing wrong with being prepared!

God is love.


my morning walk in miniatures

on my day off, or on days I go in late, I like to walk in Los Gatos, along the Los Gatos Creek trail to Vasona Park. as I look back on the miniatures I have made for my plant, I have pretty much mapped out my entire walk with miniatures.

first, I park behind the great bear-

then I go inside and get a banana bread:

then I walk past Icing on the cake:

then I walk down this wooden path:

then I turn onto this bridge:

then I walk down this long path:

under some trees:

past the carousel:

past the playground:

past the train:

then over to this bridge:

past some geese:

then to the big red bridge:

and back again. some of these pictures all have my kid in them, but she rarely goes on the trail with me. walking in nature and making miniatures- how introverted can you get?

God is love.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

10 things that I'm into right now:

here are 10 things that I currently love- although if you know me, these will be no surprise to you-

1. the Polaroid zink printer-
it takes pictures from your phone and makes little stickers out of them! I use these when I'm recording a memory in my journal, or when I'm sending mail to my volunteers or students, or when I just want to put a memory on my refrigerator door. The printer is about the size of a cell phone and connects through bluetooth- so its portable, wireless, and way cheaper than a regular photo printer.  also- its better than a regular Polaroid camera, because you know exactly how the picture will turn out.

2. vibram five-fingers

I love these shoes. I would wear them all the time if I could get away with it. they change the way you run so that you land with the front of your foot instead of your heel- which makes running painless. they look goofy- but I swear by them. they are a little pricey, and they take some getting used to, but I think they are well worth it. in the last 6 years I have put almost 13,000 miles in shoes like these.

3. russian blue cats.

these cats are super-cool. they don't shed! they are clean and quiet- and the way they are bred their faces appear to be smiling. who wouldn't want a clean, mellow, smiling cat?

4. noodles and company
this place is making a fortune off of us. Its delicious and I could seriously eat there every night. its pasta, but without the waiters and menus. jane gets the mac and cheese- I get the alfredo- deanna gets the soup. I don't know if you have one of these in your town, but if you do, treat yo-self.

5. checkers

when we are at noodles, (or anywhere else) we play checkers. over and over. we have checkers at the house, checkers in the car, big checkers, small checkers- and we know all of the places that have built-in checkers-tables. its a simple game that everyone knows- its a great way to exercise your brain and to teach your kids how to think ahead and to make wise choices. 

6. curse of oak island

this show is fascinating. there is an island in canada that is rumored to have a giant treasure hidden underground. is it pirate treasure? solomon's treasure? no one knows! people have been searching for it for hundreds of years.
on this show, two brothers have brought in giant drills- and they have been pulling up all kinds of mysterious objects from 170 feet below the surface- like bits of pottery, gold, coins, buttons from military uniforms, chains, and human bones. their drills sometimes run into "voids" or underground rooms- sometimes they run into solid objects- which could be concrete walls hiding chambers- sometimes they run into booby-traps that flood their drill holes with sea water. there are clues all around the island- like faces carved into rocks at different parts of the island and all looking in the same direction. what's at the bottom of the holes? will we ever find out? I'm hooked.

7. toy story faces for apple watch

every time I check the time, a different animated toy story character appears on my watch face and does something hilarious. As I work with kids, they love to look at my watch and tap on it to change out the characters. I like to do that too. 

8. miniatures!
I have been making miniatures models of local sights, bible stories, and families memories on my office plant every day. you can find them on instagram at @robsplant. I have discovered that everyone is secretly fascinated by miniatures and small models of things. when I was at disneyland recently, I was blown away by their models of disneyland and the rides. I love to look in craft stores for miniatures and to dream up how I could display a memory or a place in miniature. 

9. my hydro flask and my mios

I have been off of soda for almost 2 years- I have been drinking water flavored with my mio water enhancers. the hydro flask keeps my water cold for multiple days! and they come with cool accessories like shoulder slings, cup holder attachments and different lids. the mios can come with vitamins or caffeine- and you can get all kinds of flavors. I was drinking close to a six pack of soda a day- and now I won't go back to soda. I'm hooked!

10. ear plugs
I love the sound of silence. I'm able to think better, work better, pray better, memorize verses, quote verses and read better in silence. I started using ear plugs in college- and now I rely on them more than ever. I use them when I'm reading in a public place, or when I'm walking on the trail, or even when I'm working in my office. I keep them everywhere. I have experimented with a bunch of different ones and have found the make and model that are best for me. recently I was walking and praying and thinking, and there were some loud people on the trail that just seemed to be going at the exact same pace as me. I didn't have any ear plugs on me, and I realized just how much I appreciate them when they weren't there. 

in all of these things- they aren't for everyone- and they reveal how quirky I can be. they also reveal how little things in life can bring us joy. 

God is love.

Monday, June 12, 2017

adventures in candidating

candidating is a church word that means applying for a new pastor-job. I spent the last few months candidating- and I noticed a few things:

1. there are a lot of little churches out there. 
most churches are pretty small- like 400 people or less. and that means they don't have much to spend on employees. they require most of their employees to have multiple jobs. I was often asked, " you know anything about web design?" one church wanted to hire me to be the children's pastor, the youth pastor, the missions pastor, and to fill in in other areas as needed. what?!

2. janitors are a luxury.
most churches can't afford a janitor. they lean on volunteers to clean up. and that means that a lot of churches are messy and cluttery. I found one small church that was immaculate. I don't know how they did it, but I was shocked by how clean everything looked and smelled. one church I went to had walls that were literally dirty. It took a ton of effort to not go and find a clorox wipe and clean it up. when finances are tight, there is a reluctance to throw stuff away- so they end up keeping things that are broken, work out, and out of date. 

3. theology is really important
many of the churches that I talked to were really into their specific brand of theology; or their specific denomination. they were very up front and told me that if I didn't fit their brand, that the conversation should end now. one church told me, "if you're not into john calvin the way that we are, you're not going to fit here." I met with one pastor and the very first thing he said to me in the interview was, "tell me about creation." I asked him what he meant. he said, "you know- Genesis 1-3. is the earth older than 6500 years? was the entire cosmos created in 6 literal days?" I paused. the interview didn't last long. 

4. churches move slow. 
so many of these churches make decisions by committees, and those committees can only meet when everyone is present, and can only make a decision when everyone agrees. I am still getting responses from applications that I sent in months ago. 

5. youth workers are underpaid
many of the churches that I talked to had a budget for their youth worker that was less than minimum wage; yet they required this worker to oversee multiple areas of the church and had extremely high expectations for these workers. many more expected their workers to work 70+ hours a week at half time pay. 

6. every church has a kitchen-
and without fail, it is usually bigger, nicer and cost more than the space used by students. 

7. many churches are run by volunteers with strong personalities.
I interviewed at multiple churches where I caught volunteers and church members bossing their pastor around. they intimidated them and belittled them in front of me. they often tried to intimidate me and warned me of what would happen if I changed their favorite program. 

8. I met a sad pastor...
I met with one pastor who led a small church. he used to work at a big church, but he got fired abruptly. that was almost 20 years ago; but to talk to him, the pain was still so fresh in his mind. he told me, "I don't want to be a big church. been there, done that. I don't want to be a hip church, or relevant. been there, done that. I don't want to have cool music or a cool atmosphere, been there, done that." he was content to keep on serving his small church until he retired. 

so I've been thinking, and I've come to some conclusions:

1. if you have a job- whether its a church job or not- you should be grateful for it; because being out of a job is really scary. if you do have a job, give it your very best- it is a gift from God. Be fun to work with. Be a team player and have a good attitude- it is a good thing to have a job, so enjoy it and do it well.

2. we need to always look at our environments with new eyes- what do other people see and hear when they come into our spaces? do they see clutter and dirt? have we stopped seeing it?

3. I don't ever want to be like that sad pastor. I don't want to be defined by my past. I don't ever want to stop dreaming. I don't ever want to become content. 

4. if you go to church, give to your church! help them to have the money they need to make the decisions and the hires they need to make. while you're at it, help out a little church on the corner if you can- (in ANY WAY you can) they need it!

5. listen to your encouragers
in my search, there was a consistent message given to me: 
its going to work out. 
God has a plan for you.
God loves you, and God is good. 
God has your back.
God isn't done with you. 
you need to trust.

a lot of days, those words went in one ear and out the other. I was so worried, that I was convinced that this was my problem to solve, not God's. I have met so many pastors who used to be a pastor, and now they are doing something else- and I was so worried that I would never get to serve God in church again. but then I found a job. and I was reminded that God has my back; and that I need to trust.

6. pray for your church- and for all of the churches. they don't have the resources they need. pray for your pastor- there are people in their lives that intimidate them. pray that God would provide all of the resources that your church needs to reach their city. churches depend on the generosity of their members to make it- let's all pray for the success of the churches across our land. 

7. get in the game- if you're not serving at your church already- let's get on with it! they need your help and skills. they could do so much more through you and your help! 

again- I want to thank you if you prayed for me, or encouraged me while I was searching for a new job- I can't express enough how much I appreciate that!

God is love.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

team rob

I don't know who reads this, but if you do, then you probably know that I recently started a new job at a new church! I might be guilty of wasting time, but I wanted to get this down before I forgot.

So- I transitioned away from my job of 16 years at the end of last month. (I will always be grateful to that church for the many years that I got to serve there, and the many memories that I made, and the many friendships that were developed there. I have nothing negative to say about them.) I began looking for a new role maybe 2 months ago. I put out resumes, filmed videos, made a zillion phone calls, skype calls and facetime calls- and I traveled all over speaking and having face to face meetings. At one point, I was sitting on my sofa talking with my wife and she said, "It seems like team-rob is out there working hard for you." 

team-rob? when she said that, I realized that there was this dedicated team of friends that did not let me go a single day without being prayed for and encouraged and advised. I just want to take a minute to recognize and thank some of the members of team-rob.

first there is niki- she met with me, and prayed for me, and told me how to do an interview, and how to make a linkedin profile. she checked in on me and told me that I was going to make it. she sent me job opportunities and gave me advice.

then there is mike. mike prayed with me, and hugged me, and told me that I was a good pastor. he listened to my options and gave me wise counsel. he was one of the first people that I called when I got my new role, and he cheered for me.

paco listened to me. he was one of my references, and he must have taken 20 calls from different churches. he represented me for hour and hours when you add it all up. I couldnt ask for a better guy to represent me. 

carlo fought for me- he was also one of my references, and he took many, many calls for me. he even tried to get me hired on at his church.

Trent called me several times, just to encourage me and to make me laugh. there was one day that was especially hard- I had recieved so many ejections, and I was feeling hopeless. I was sitting in a togo's and trent called and just said, "I just want to remind you that you are a good pastor." I was so fragile that I cried uncontrollably in the middle of togo's for an uncomfortable amount of time. when he heard that I got a new job he called me and just said, "yeah you did!"

Chris has been one of my best friends for as long as I can remember. His mother recently passed away, and he and I shared many, many tears together over the last few months. He called almost every day just to see how I was doing. 

I called my friend jim just to tell him what was going on, and just the sound of his voice made me cry and cry. I did a lot of crying over the last few months; jim prayed for me, and gave me perspective and encouraged me. he called almost every day to remind me that God is good, and that He has good plans for me.

I have a friend named chuck who is a pastor in the midwest. I called him to get his advice- when he spoke to me he referred to me as "pastor rob." I had not been called that in so long, and I doubted if I would ever be called that again. hearing him call me that gave me the ugly tears and it blessed my soul. he called me every day and prayed for me. he loudly  cheered for me when I got my new role. 

josh met with me- he went to bat for me. he tried to get me hired on at his church, and got me a meeting with his pastor, even though his pastor didn't really want to meet me. he and his wife faithfully prayed for me. 

andrew listened to me for hours. 

scott gave me contacts.

makepa hugged me and cried with me.

tahereh prayed for me faithfully every morning.

my mother texted me every morning, and reminded me that she had prayed for me; and that God is faithful. 

marvin fought for me, and gave my name to every pastor that he knew.

matt texted me, prayed for me, and encouraged me.

and deanna listened to me,
and prayed for me,
and hugged me,
and supported me,
and believed in me.
even when I didn't believe in myself. 

and there are so many others- parents of students, volunteers that I worked with, co-workers at my former workplace- its overwhelming how much support I have recieved over the last few months.
thank you friends.

even if your name isn't rob, I hope that you have a team-rob. I hope that your dark days are brightened by close friends. whatever you go through, I hope that you don't go through it alone. this was a scary chapter for me, but above all else, I was reminded that I am surrounded by a dear group of friends. I want to be a friend that is there on another friend's dark day- and I hope you do too.

God is love.