Wednesday, May 30, 2007

glory days

when were the glory days? when were they for you?

i look at old pictures and think-
“those were the glory days!”
when i didn’t have a care in the world-
or when my hair looked better
or my body looked better
or when i had more money
or when i had a new adventure
ahead of me-

i talk to other youth pastors
and they tell me of the glory days
for their youth ministries-
when the numbers were high
or when the staff had certain members
or when there was a feeling of
excitement in the air.

when were the glory days?

the funny thing is-
when i remember the glory days,
they weren’t the glory days-
another time was the glory days.
even though i look back on a time
when i didn’t have a care in the world-
i know that i did have
cares and concerns and worries back then.
even though i look back
and thought i looked better
back then-
i wasn’t happy with the way i looked.
even though i was living in the glory days,
i didn’t see it-
i was so busy
remembering when times were better
that i couldn’t see
that those days were wonderful.
i should have appreciated those days more!

maybe i’m too busy remembering
the glory days NOW, and today
to see that the glory days ARE now and today.
maybe we’re ALL too busy
remembering when times were better
to see that times are wonderful-

the glory days are now-
at least they can be-
if we stop to consider just how wonderful
life is-

i don’t want to look back on these glory days
that i would have appreciated them more.
to quote one of my favorite theologians,
george clinton,
“once upon a time is called

these guys have some good things to say on the subject too:

“this is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
-anonymous psalmist:: psalm 118

“do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about itself.
each day has enough trouble of its own.”
-jesus:: matthew 6

Friday, May 25, 2007

fight night

last night i went to fight night at the tank
with dave, mike and his brother-
it was gnarly.
i never want to be a boxer.
it looks pretty painful.
and i never want my daughter to be a ring-girl
modest is hottest
and these girls must have been feeling pretty cold.

we had awesome seats

we were on the floor-
maybe 20 feet from the ring.

i was on the aisle seat
and so i got to see the boxers up close
on their way in and out.
i thought my aisle was bad luck,
but i later found out that there is a
“favored to win” side and we weren’t on it.

so i got to encourage
all of the the losers on their way out.
i shook hands with 3 of the 4 boxers on their way out.

it was so cool.
i said encouraging things to them like:
“good job dog!” “great fight!”
and “i thought that you won!”

i thought that middle schoolers were a tough crowd-
boxing fans are a really tough crowd.
they spent most of the night boo-ing.
they wanted to see blood or knockouts-
and when they didn’t- the boxers heard the boos.

the crowd was calling out the boxers and swearing at them.

and the boxers heard it-

and sometimes reacted.
there was a rap performance by a local rapper-
the crowd’s boos were almost as loud as his music.
the crowd only got loud for the ring girls.

you take a risk getting up front in front of everybody.
some nights you win,
some nights you lose.
some nights you walk away with the crowd cheering,
some nights they boo-
some nights you’re working your tail off-
surrendering your blood sweat and tears-

and the crowd just wants more action-
or more eye-candy.

or ear-candy-
or just candy.
some nights you look for an
encouraging voice after you got beat up.

i guess that
being in ministry is a lot like being a boxer-


ring the bell!

its time for a knockout!

i'm not scared!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

rock show

i love going to see live music-
let’s see…
who have i seen live

the black crowes
norah jones
al green
hall and oates!
k.d. lang
simon and garfunkel
brian setzer
no doubt
(at one of michael hutchence’s last shows!)

as well as some pretty lame bands:
pink- when she was still all hip-hop

i've seen bands at:
the mountain winery
the colliseum
the warfield
the arena
hp pavilion
and the san jose civic auditorium!
where i saw...


today deanna and i took janie to her first show
sesame street live
featuring elmo.

it was kind of like a rock show
there were crowds
there was some pretty expensive merchandise for sale
plenty of fans wearing t-shirts of their favorite artist
there was screaming, singing
and people reaching out to touch the “band.”
there was a pretty cool light show.
there was even a few mohawks.
there was even a little toddler mosh-pit
or dance circle.
it was pretty cute.

i’ve seen amazing stages
i’ve heard face-melting guitar solos
i’ve seen crowds join together in unity behind a band-
but seeing my little girl light up
at seeing elmo, cookie monster and big bird
takes the cake.

i looked around at all of the kids and parents.
i saw some pretty cool parents.
some had tattoos
some had punk hair-dos.
but they all had diaper bags.
and were all just as excited as their kids.
i thought to myself-
"look at us! we used to be cool!
but we have been tamed
by adulthood and children."

but when those old school sesame street songs came on-
it was the adults who sang the loudest.

and when those characters came out-
the adults went wild.
and in my head i took it back-
"we haven’t been tamed!
we’re still rockers!
we just got older."

Friday, May 18, 2007


Thursday, May 17, 2007


(wow- this is really personal! but don't freak out! i'm ok!)

“this all feels like some sort of nightmare.”
my friend passed away last week-
and those were the words of her father
at her memorial service.
as a father,
i stepped into his shoes and his pain
and i started to cry.
i wasn’t planning on crying at this funeral-
if i did, i would have brought tissue
but i did- and when i did-
i couldn’t stop.

i’ve been in a funk in recent days-
comparing myself to others.
i know i shouldn’t but i have
and its made me sad.

i’ve been spending more time in meetings
and less time in study and preparation
and as i look at the calendar
i see the future rushing at me
and i’ve felt that i’m not ready for it.
and that’s made me anxious.

last night i was a combination
of anxious and sad.
i stayed up late catching up on preparation-
and that made me feel better-
but my thoughts and fears and doubts about myself
kept me awake all night.

today my friend took me to see a baseball game
and that was so therapeutic for me.
i sat in the sun,
spit sunflower seeds,
and watched sports with my friend.

we had lunch in this sort of skybox/ restaurant
he asked me about my friend who died
and i started to share about her service.
and right there at the ball-field
i cried.
i cried to the point where i couldn’t talk.
it was all coming out and i was powerless to stop it.
i said “i’m so sorry! this is so weird!”
“i’m crying at a baseball game!”
“there’s no crying in baseball!”
with tears in his eyes, he said
“its ok! its ok-“

i felt like my tears were dammed up-
and the dam finally broke
and it was healing.

i’ve been prepping for a message on psalm
it talks about finding shelter during a storm.
and i have felt God calling me
to find shelter in Him-
to come out from the rain.
“this all feels like some sort of nightmare…”
and i’m beginning to wake up
and discover that the morning is not as bad
as the night had seemed.

“he who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the almighty.
i will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."
surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
you will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.

"because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.”

thanks MC

Saturday, May 5, 2007


awhile back i had my carpets cleaned.
i had to take time off of work
because deanna thought that the machines
would scare janie.

so i pulled my laptop into the kitchen
and started transferring podcasts
to CDs.
the carpet cleaners went to work.
during one of their breaks one said to me:
“so- you’re a U2 fan huh?”


“uh- yeah- how did you know?”
was i wearing a U2 shirt? no-
playing U2 music? no-
he said,
“well, i was cleaning your carpets
and on this bookshelf
you have an entire shelf
dedicated to books about U2 and bono.
and over here you have another bookshelf
that has an entire shelf of U2 CDs.
so i just figured you’re a U2 fan.
have you ever seen them live?”

he asked the wrong question.
my abilities for silence and subtlety
are powerless to that question.
and i lit up.
and started chattering-
i went on and on.
about popmart and elevation and vertigo-

he said that he was a fan too
but had never seen them live.
but he has the live dvds.
he even told me some stuff i didn’t know!

he finished my carpets
and we said goodbye
and “dude-
if they ever come back we HAVE to go see them!”

when i shut the door behind them
i asked myself:
“why didn’t they ask me if i was into jesus?"

maybe it wasn’t as obvious.

what if they did?
would i have lit up for jesus like i did for bono?
would i go on and on for jesus like i did for bono?
would i share moment of when i met with jesus
like i did with bono?

it hurts to ask those questions
because i think i know the answers.

why is it so easy and normal
to gush about bands and teams
but when it comes to what's most important
i clam up?
it is the most important thing-
of course it is-
so what is my problem?

those carpet cleaners knew intuitively that i was into U2
without me telling them.
i hope that my love for jesus
would be just as obvious-


"preach the gospel at all times. use words if necessary."
st. francis of assisi

Thursday, May 3, 2007

broken broom

i love this show on tv called heroes.
one of the characters on the show is named hiro
and he can bend the space/time continuum.
which means that he can stop time
and bounce into the past and future
and he uses his power to go back in time
and do things over.

if i had hiro’s power
i would go back in time and re-do last night
it was a rough one:

during announcements-
i seriously questioned whether my voice was making a sound-
because it seemed like no one was listening.

we played broom hockey for the game-
and boys were breaking brooms
left and right
the game finally ended when a broom
accidentally broke off of a boys ankle.
he wasn’t that hurt- but he played it up.
now that i think about it,
he’s been hurt week after week now!

singing time was a highlight-
although i had to tell boys to stop laying down.

bible study was really rough.
i took a risk and told an extended story-
and i guess it was to extended-
because these boys did their best
to communicate to me that it wasn’t going over-

after a night like that i lay awake with questions:
Q: what went wrong?
Q: was there not enough adults?
Q: why is that?
Q: have i failed to recruit?
Q: have i failed to train?
Q: do i stink as a middle school guy?
Q: am i over my head?
Q: am i not praying enough?
Q: is there a sin in my heart that is keeping the spirit from working?
Q: why is this year so much different from last year?
Q: have i lost my touch?
Q: did i have one to begin with?

nights like that, i miss captain.
i miss allyson.
i miss niki.
not saying that the current crew isn’t awesome
i love them-

still thinking about psalm 23-
“the LORD is my shepherd…”
sheep by definition
don’t always keep always in line with the shepherd
and that can be frustrating- big time.
and there have been times when i,
as his sheep have gone astray-
been distracted- and have chosen not to work with him
and that has to be frustrating for him.

sheep by definition
don’t always keep always in line with the shepherd
and middle school boys by definition are wild.

i have this toy-sheep in my office.
last night i pulled it out of my drawer
and wound it up and let it crawl across my desk.
i said “check it out Lord! i got one to follow!”

just like the warriors and the sharks-
there is always next game-
and its time to go look at the film and see what went wrong
and how we can win next time.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


it was toddler-tuesday at the jungle yesterday-
so i cut out of work early
to take my little girl to jump into the ball-pit
and ride the carousel.

we were driving up santa teresa
on our way to the freeway when all of the sudden,
traffic came to a screeching halt.
the light was still green- what was going on?
with all of the cars stopped,
i saw what was mighty enough
to stop dozens of cars and s.u.v.’s in their tracks-
a tiny brown chihuahua- not even a foot tall-
was running in and out of the traffic lanes-
having the time of its life.

my wife was cringing
as that little dog barely escaped getting hit by cars.
i looked around for the dog’s owner-
and there he was- standing on the meridian-
just across from in-n-out burger.
he knew better than to run in and out of traffic!

with traffic stopped, he was able to get into the street-
but the dog kept running!
it ran into blossom hill and around the corner.

its not hard to figure out what happened:
the dog was on a leash or in the owner’s arms
and wanted to taste freedom-
and somehow- it got away.
and that dog’s freedom
was about to lead to a very painful death-
a death that would not only kill the dog,
but hurt the driver
and passengers of the vehicle that killed it-
and hurt all of the people sitting in traffic,
watching it happen.
so dog just kept running-
completely oblivious to the danger around.

i’ve been meditating on psalm 23-
especially that first line:
“the LORD is my shepherd…”
God is watching out for me-
protecting me-
and has put boundaries in my life-
to keep me.
but there is this drive inside to run-
to break away and live outside of those boundaries-
to be “free.”
but just like that dog- what is mistaken as freedom
will only lead to a very painful and public demise.

the psalm ends with the line:
“surely goodness and love
will follow me all the days of my life…”
its been said that this phrase “follow me”
might be better understood as “pursue me”
or “chase me.”

and like that dog-
life will so much better if we allow
the good things that are chasing us
to catch us.