Thursday, February 28, 2008


so everyone at my work has a blackberry now.

I see them scrolling through them during meetings or reading e-mails at lunch and I think to myself, “I want one of those!” but no, I don’t want to spend that much for a phone-thingy.
anyhow, I’m at youth group last night and I see this 8th grader scrolling through his blackberry!
I said, “is that a blackberry?!” and he said, “well, actually it’s a…” and then he rattled off the make and model number of his phone. I said, “why do YOU have a blackberry?!” and he said, “I NEED IT! you know, I’ve got my e-mail and my phone and I can go on the internet…” I was dumbfounded. I said, “how did you AFFORD a blackberry?!” he said, “my parents got it for me!” of course I asked why and he said,
“because they love me!”
you’ve got to be kidding me.

this is the same kid who doesn’t believe in God but comes to church for his friends and for the girls, and drives the adults nuts.

there is another kid who carries a backpack full of junk like a psp, an iPhone, and another phone that flips around like a butterfly knife. he also drives the adults nuts. his mom shared with me that he considers himself an atheist and only comes to church because its fun and because his friends are there.

why do you need God
when you’ve got a mom and dad
that will buy you whatever you want?

these are the same parents who won’t send their kids on the missions trip because its too expensive and they don’t want their children sleeping on the floor.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

random-rob-thoughts: feb. 27

here are some random thoughts and updates:

:: I did 6100 steps on the elliptical this morning- I was super-sweaty and tired after that. I was glad because my friend gary was there to see me finish! he’s always so encouraging. I counted this morning and I’ve been to the gym 67 times since I resigned up in december. I think its officially a habit! I also got on the scale this morning and saw that I’ve got a LONG way to go. if only I could give up fries and sweet tea-

:: finally finished the pentateuch/ torah/ books of moses- and now I’m on to joshua. 2 thoughts come to mind: 1 is the phrase “strong and courageous.” Joshua is told to be strong and courageous 6 times over the course of deuteronomy and Joshua. moses tells him to be strong and courageous, the people of Israel tell him to be strong and courageous, and God Himself tells him to be strong and courageous. what’s going on here? did he give off a wimpy-vibe? or did everyone see the task in front of him and feel led to encourage him? second thought: I come away with a new respect for moses. here he is the paris hilton of his day- son of pharaoh- young, wealthy and famous- and then his whole life turns upside down. he’s called on to do the impossible: to pull the Israelites from the grip of egypt. he didn’t feel qualified, but he did it anyway. and not just that, he led them through the wilderness for 40 years dealing with food and water shortages, dealing with rebellion, dealing with wars with foreign nations and all the while overseeing the birth of judaism and the worship of yahweh. and yes he was flawed- who isn’t? but God rewarded him by allowing him to meet the Christ who he prophesied would come at the transfiguration. not a bad life!

:: we started this new series in middle school called “jakob-the-wrestler.”

justin and josh have been delivering the messages. they have been walking through jacob’s life and noting his wrestling matches from his match with his brother in the womb to his match with God. all of the graphics have luchadores on them. my favorite is that bruce pops into the room dressed as nacho libre to lead games. to me, that’s worth getting up early for church as it is!

:: yesterday during chapel, vicky niblack came to speak. she always brings a ton of energy and insight. we’ve been talking about bullying all year. she used this illustration where she smashed glass. she talked about how bullying leaves us smashed and it smashed others. we ended with some quiet reflection, and as we dismissed about five girls stayed behind and huddled up tightly. I could hear them sniffling and whispering to each other, “no more smashing, ok?” good job vick!

:: I was over at Walgreens last wednesday morning when I heard, “hi rob!” it was one of my middle school friends from Dartmouth (just down the street from Walgreens). another voice said, “hi rob!” and another! there were dozens of middle schoolers in Walgreens! “what are you all doing here?” I asked. “wednesday is late day- school doesn’t start until 9:00- so we just hang out here and at starbucks.” I started thinking that it would be fun to do a before-school club for all of these kids. but where would we meet? so I decided to call the shopping center and ask them if I could use one of their vacant stores on wednesday mornings. and they didn’t say no! they are currently checking on it. so if you’re a pray-er- pray for that and for the finances and the volunteers to come through for a club like this.

:: reading a book called “generation me” by jean twenge.

and suddenly everything makes sense. if you like generational studies or sociology, pick it up and discover why you’re such a selfish person. (its everyone else’s fault!)

:: jane crawled up into our bed this morning at 6:30. she’s supposed to stay in bed until 7am, but I heard her chatting in her room and I couldn’t wait to talk to her. we had a long and fun conversation about several things, including cheerios, the park, and the letter E; and by 7am, I was already having a great day.

have a good wednesday!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

overnighter! aack!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

children's show theology:: entry 03

ok- this week we’re on to a show on Disney channel called mickey mouse clubhouse. this is a computer generated show about mickey and his friends- jane loves it. she loves helping mickey solve his problems and she loves the characters and the music.

this show is a lot of fun, and it says a lot about our ideas of the perfect world- and maybe even heaven:

first of all, mickey’s world is a cross between Disneyland and a golf course. he lives in this land where the perfectly manicured and weedless green grass goes on for miles. where there buildings they are all colorful and very spread out. there are very few people in mickey’s world- and everything in his world pays tribute to him somehow. even his house is shaped like him! there is a mickey park and hidden mickey-heads in the details of everything. mickey’s house hides underground until he says the magic words, “MEESKA-MOOSKA-MICKEY-MOUSE!” and then it pops out of the ground fully equipped with a hot-air balloon, space-traveling-rocket, airplane and telescope. it also has a fence, which is funny to me, because he has no neighbors.inside of his house there are all sorts of handy-helpers to help him out. these are hands are on machines that predict his wants and help him do everything, from clean up to make lunch.

i often watch this show with jane thinking that i would like to live in this world- where everything is clean and made for me. a world where there are no crowds or roads or waiting, and everything exists to help me. but it gets better:

mickey doesn’t need anything because he has everything- right inside of his house: he has an airplane, a rocket hip, a car, a telescope. in every episode, mickey and his friends solve a problem. and again he is helped by a magical machine- this one is called toodles. whenever mickey faces a problem he calls out, “OH TOODLES!” and this magical, mouse-head-shaped machine appears out of nowhere and gives him a mouseketool. my favorite is when mickey needs money, because then, toodles gives him a magical piggy bank with just the right amount of money inside. (i think that some people are disappointed when they realize that prayer rarely, if ever, works like this).

i often watch this show with jane thinking that i would like to live in this world- where i have everything that i need- even money, and all i need to do is shout into the air and everything that i need magically appears. but it gets better:

mickey has almost no conflicts in his world. there is technically a bad guy named pete who often tries to thwart mickey’s plans, but all he really wants is attention from mickey. mickey does get into conflicts from time to time, but in the end, all he has to do is say, “sorry pal,” and everything is magically better. at the end of every episode, mickey does a mousekedance in perfect unity with his friends and they all do ska-dances to a song called, "hot dog!" by "they might be giants."

i often watch this show with jane thinking that i would like to live in this world- where everyone wants my attention and no one is hurt by my thoughtlessness. and even though we would love to live in mickey’s world, we don’t. unlike mickey, the world does not revolve around us. unlike mickey, we don't always get our own way. unlike mickey, we deal with crowds and people and we have to share. our world is not as spacious as mickey’s, and its not as manicured. in our world we have real conflict and we have real needs. and our problems often have complex and long term solutions.

i think that we are frustrated that our world is not mickey’s. maybe in our hearts we think that the world should revolve around us- and that people should forgive us instantly and we really should have everything that we ever needed or wanted. after all celebrities live like this, why shouldn’t we? i think that those of us who follow God are especially frustrated that our world is not like mickey’s. we think that since we worship Him that He owes us. He owes us the magic house and the spacious land and the magical piggy bank and the conflict-free life. is that so much to ask for? maybe we secretly think that heaven will be like mickey’s world: a world with no work- a world centered around us- with a magical house that caters to our every need. but does the bible say this anywhere?

God never promised that our lives world be like mickey’s. not this life- not the next one. instead, living in a world cetered around ourselves, God says, “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
your attitude should be the same as that of christ jesus:
who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant…”

life is not about me-
it never was-
and it should never be.
in the real world, people like mickey are miserable.
instead of endlessly looking for ways to make our lives perfect, we would be much happier helping others make their lives better. that’s when life gets magical.
(and yeah, both jane and I are probably watching way too much disney channel.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

children's show theology:: entry 02

this week’s preschool obsession is little einsteins-

and somehow it has turned into my obsession too. little einsteins is on the Disney channel in the morning- its associated with baby einstein, and it features a team of kids doing missions through art and classical music with their friend, rocket.

in the past, jane has been mildly interested in this show, but lately, its all she can talk about. she walks around singing the theme song and doing hand motions from the show. a couple of weeks ago, we bought a little einsteins book. it quickly went into her rotation of favorite books. so I decided to look for a little einsteins toy. so friday morning we went to the mall to find a rocket toy. they have this one at target that is pretty cool, but its really big and a little expensive.

we went over to disney store, but then went back to target to get the figures from the show. they were a total hit. she takes them to the dinner table, to the tub, she would sleep with them if we didn’t take them away. I often hear her having dramatic adventures with the little einsteins saying things like, “oh no! what will we do?! we need more power!”

so a couple of days later, I went to take it up a notch and look for a rocket. we went to target and saw the submarine version of rocket, we went to both disney stores and dug through their stuffed animal pits- I found a couple of children hiding in there, but no rocket.
finally, we went back to target and got the submarine rocket. again, total hit. it went in the bath, to the dinner table, and all around the house. our white bed has now become a place for rocket to have a snow adventure, and a blue blanket is for rocket to go into the ocean. jane loves rocket so much that she even took a nap (!!!) with rocket!

on the show, rocket has all of these features: he has a “look and listen scope” and a “grab-nabber.” the grab-nabber is a robotic hand that pops out of him to grab things. jane often has adventures where she says, “rocket! use your grab-nabber to pick it up!”
so- last night we went looking for a grab-nabber. I figured that some plastic salad tongs would do the trick. so we went to lucky’s, then the dollar store, then to diddams, then to bed bath and beyond. we never did find red salad tongs, but we found some clear ones. I took them out of the package and jane said, “a GRAB-NABBER!” and played with it all night; picking up random things with salad tongs and imagining she was a rocket.

so yeah- her obsession has somehow turned into mine. I almost drove to capitola today to get another toy, but I figured that she’s having so much fun with the ones she has, why mess with it? every time I call home I can hear jane in the background saying things like, “rocket! what are we going to do?! oh no! we need to get out of this snow!”

all of this reminds me of stories that my mom used to tell me of her driving all over town to buy a star wars toy for me and then enjoying my reaction to receiving the gift and enjoying hearing me play with it. sure, I buy these things for jane and for her enjoyment, but it brings me a lot of joy to watch her play and see her get excited and use her imagination.

jesus said something that seems to fit into all of this:
“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (matthew 7:11)
funny thing is, jane didn’t even ask for any of this! I just thought she would enjoy it so I searched for it, paid for it, and then presented it to her- and her joy overflowed to me. I wonder if God not only gives us what we ask for, but what we didn’t ask for, all because He knew that we would love it?

Monday, February 18, 2008

church//gym: entry 07

i went to the gym this morning- i was supposed to get there at 7 to do the kettlebell class, but that wasn’t going to happen. i got there at 7:30 and hopped on the elliptical. a couple of minutes later, my encouraging-old-man-friend started stepping on the elliptical next to me. he noticed that iwasn’t stepping as fast as i usually do. i told him that i haven’t walked right since last Friday’s kettlebell class. for the first time ever, i took out my headphones and chatted with a friend while stepping on the elliptical. i learned that he is 77. he is in amazing shape for 77. he was stepping as high as that thing would go for 30 minutes straight. i told him that there is no way i could pull that off; and of course he encouraged me that i could do it if i worked at it.

eddie the ketttlebell trainer came upstairs while we were stepping and wondered where i was at 7- i felt bad because he waited for me.

after my cardio, i got a medicine ball and started some ab exercises on the floor. my encouraging-old-man-friend came and did some sit ups next to me. he was chatting with a lady who was also doing sit ups. when i was all done i went to him and said, “see you tomorrow! by the way, my name is rob.”
he said, “rob, its great to meet you- i’ve seen you around and now i know your name. my name is gary.”
and then gary started hammering me with the encouragement:
he said, “rob, are you in your twenties?”
i grinned from ear to ear.
“no, I’m 33!”
he said, “well you’re doing great- you’ve lost a lot of weight since you’ve started!”
woah! i almost fell over! my face was glowing with happiness.
i said, “wow- thanks for noticing!”
(as i sucked in my gut)
he said, “well its noticeable!”
we said goodbye and as i walked out i could hear him bragging on me to the lady he was talking to. i could hear him saying, “when rob started coming here…”

so that settles it:
when it comes to preaching, i want to preach like Erwin mcmanus-
when it comes to listening and making someone feel special, i want to listen like mister rogers-
and when it comes to encouraging,
i want to be like gary.

Friday, February 15, 2008

the ring-guy

have you ever noticed that at togo’s there is always a guy behind the counter that ISN’T making sandwiches, instead, they are “the ring guy.” he (or she) collects the money from the customers. whenever the sandwich makers finish making a sandwich they always say “ring please” and the “ring guy” is supposed to get the money from the customer.

all of this is fine- I understand that the sandwich people need clean hands and that the “ring guy” touches germ-infected money and therefore can’t touch food; but have you ever noticed that “the ring guy” always has a sort of attitude about him? like he is too good to make sandwiches? like he is somehow better than the sandwich makers? and have you ever noticed that they are a little annoyed when one of the sandwich makers does have a ring? like they need to stop doing nothing and actually ring up someone’s check? it drives me nuts when i walk into a togo’s and there are only two people in line and there are like 4 people behind the counter doing nothing, and “the ring guy” takes a break from doing nothing to tell me that someone should be with me any minute.

hey “ring guy!”
get over yourself!
you work at togo’s!
throw on some gloves and make me a sandwich!

p.s. those chocolate-chip cookies are heavenly.

church//gym: entry 06

how do you learn to work out?
when i go to the gym i see my friend connie dancing around for 15 minutes and then bop around from station to station. i see some guys hit the weights until they are all pumped up and sweaty. i see one lady do every station for two minutes without stopping. who taught them to do this? did anyone?

i’ve been learning by watching others. i see them working out and i think “that looks like a good workout! i’ll try it when they leave.”

today i did my first day of kettlebell class.

oh-my-gosh. i’m in serious pain- like all over. getting down the stairs at the gym was almost as hard as the class. i was the only one in the class- and i had one on one time with the trainer eddie. he led me in the exercises but he also kept correcting me when i was doing them wrong. he motivated me and pushed me farther than i thought i could go.

i’ve been thinking about this along with how we grow spiritually. we could learn all by ourselves by reading. we could watch others at church or in our families and copy what they do-
but if you really want to grow, connect with a “personal trainer,” who can motivate you, push you, correct you” and leave you feeling a little sore, but really great.
how do you grow?

“As iron sharpens iron,
so one man sharpens another.”
-proverbs 27:17

Thursday, February 14, 2008

church//gym: entry05

this morning I was on the elliptical and I was going at a pretty good pace- I decided that I was going to go for the 6000 steps in 30 minutes. I was at 28 minutes and right on pace and I thought to myself, “I wish that my encouraging-old-man-friend were here to see this!” and he walked in! normally he comes up and sees how I’m doing, but today he was talking to his other friends. at the end of the 30 minutes, I had 6088 steps. I kept waiting for him to ask or notice. he was still talking to his friends. so- like the dork that I am, I went over and told him nonchalantly, ‘hey- I hit those 6000 steps.” he went all out. “whoa! that’s great! I bet you could do it again! I bet you could go even farther! wow! what kind of pace is that? 200 steps a minute? that’s pretty fast! great job!”

I know- I’m a grown man- and I shouldn’t really need to seek out affirmation and I should really be able to motivate myself, but that just made my day.

when I first got to the gym today there was an old lady riding another machine. some old men were giving her a hard time, “mas rapido alma!” “it doesn’t work unless you turn it on!” she was annoyed with them. finally she said, “I’m having a problem!”

before I got on my machine I asked her if she was ok. I made eye contact with everyone around to make sure they were watching her. that’s when I started on my 6000 steps. when I had about 90 seconds and 100 steps to go, she looked uncomfortable. I thought, “I should help her! BUT WHAT ABOUT MY STEPS?! STAY ALIVE FOR 90 MORE SECONDS!” someone else helped her. I guess she was fine.

“The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
-proverbs 18:21

valentine's day

Monday, February 11, 2008


almost every time I go to taco bell I get 2 or 3 packs of mild sauce, but I almost never open them. and I always pick up a handful of napkins, but I usually only use like 2 of them.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


from asbo jesus

Friday, February 8, 2008

jane-quotes 02/08

jane watches this anime children's show and she has started counting in chinese. today i asked her, "can you count to three in chinese?"
and she said,
"yes! 1,2, chinese!"
(i got schooled by a 3-year-old.)

climbing at the jungle WORE HER OUT.
and it made her a little cranky and tired.
so we argued about a lot of things-
when we got in the car to leave i was a little overwhelmed and said,
"let's just be quiet for a few minutes."
and she said,
"let's just be LOUD for a few minutes!"
that made me laugh-

patriology:: entry 119

tarzan is no longer king of the jungle- now jane is the king (or should I say queen) of the jungle!

let me explain- the jungle is a local indoor playground for kids. they have two locations in san jose. one is made for little kids, and one is made for older kids. they both have these climbing structures in them – kind of like the ones at burger king, but on steroids. inside these climbing structures, kids can climb, crawl, swing, and jump in ball pits. the entire structure is fenced in by a black net. we try to get to the jungle as soon as it opens so that there won’t be a lot of kids rough housing around my girl.

we usually go climb in the jungle for big kids, because the climbing structure isn’t very big at that one and the big kids usually stay out of it. today we went to the jungle for little kids. the climbing structure there is gigantic.

you could lose a kid for days in there. today, for the first time, jane took on the giant climbing structure- and she loved it. i couldn’t get her out.

so i just followed her around from the outside of the climbing structure, trying to keep her in sight and trying to coach her up levels and through tunnels.

there was a strange moment today- she went through some tunnels and down some ramps and found herself in a big ball pit. she was chilling in there, plotting her next move, when a group of four big boys rushed in like a back of rhinos. they dove into the balls, jumped around and tossed balls around- all completely oblivious of a small girl almost under the balls.

what would i do? what could i do? should i climb into the play structure and rescue janie? should i yell at those boys to watch where they were going? should i just watch and wait? that’s what i did. there i was holding on to the black net watching my girl play around these crazy boys, and cringing and hoping that she would be ok. as soon as she got out we had a big hug.

it got me thinking- I wonder if this is how God feels when we are far from Him? does He watch and cringe and hope that we’ll make good choices? does He consider just jumping in and rescuing us? does He consider obliterating the ones who might hurt us? does He feel so far away, even while watching us so closely? does He long to embrace us as soon as we come to our senses? is He watching and coaching and directing us all along? have we been rushing around obstacles, too busy getting lost and stuck to listen and hear and obey?

jesus used to tell a story about a dad who longed to be near his son- even though his son was surrounded by danger in a distant country- it started off, "there was a man who had two sons. the younger one said to his father, 'father, give me my share of the estate...'

I’m not saying that jane was making bad decisions, its just that I felt that she was in trouble, and i was on the outside of a net- not powerless to help, but again, not as helpful as i could have been. her vulnerability made me feel vulnerable. anyhow, I'm glad that my girl got out ok- and I'm glad that I didn’t scare those boys.

“the father said to his servants, 'quick! bring the best robe and put it on him. put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. bring the fattened calf and kill it. let's have a feast and celebrate. for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found…”

Thursday, February 7, 2008

random-rob-thoughts: feb. 7

here are some random thoughts/ experiences/ ideas running through my head:
:: I got to 6000 steps on the elliptical- I sort of cheated- I kept the resistance super low, but I did it. it was fun to see that number, but I don’t think I’ll try to go higher. this morning I was on the elliptical and it looked like I might be able to do it again. I really pushed myself, but I was at like 5960 after 30 minutes. my elderly and encouraging friend asked me if I made my goal. I showed him the number and he assured me that I could get it. what a nice guy.

:: kurt Johnson is going to use my story of the chipper in his book! I e-mailed it his and he wrote back saying, “Wow...I totally laughed out loud! Classic. Thanks a ton. I will definitely use this.” now I’ll finally have my words in a book- only they are words describing my worst night. not so sure that was a great idea…

:: I was reading Deuteronomy 20 today and I found a tree-hugger verse in verse 19 : “When you are attacking a town and the war drags on, you must not cut down the trees with your axes. You may eat the fruit, but do not cut down the trees. Are the trees your enemies, that you should attack them?” (nlt)

:: I was prepping for a message about david and jonathan. they have all of these awkward quotes about their friendship and love- like they became one in spirit, and he loved him as he loved himself. these guys hug, cry together, trade clothes. it says that jonathan was very fond of david- and when jonathan died, david cried out, ” Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.” the liberal commentators say that they had a homosexual relationship. the conservative commentators say that there is no way they had one. I’m guessing that they didn’t- but isn’t it interesting that we can accept that david was an adulterer, a murderer, a liar, and that he employed a hitman like joab, but we can’t even fathom the thought of him having that kind of relationship with jonathan? just a thought.

:: jane came by my office to brighten everyone’s day. this morning at like 6am, Deanna was in the shower and jane got out of bed and hopped onto Deanna’s side of our bed. she and I had a fun little conversation about how our wednesdays went and our plans for our thursday. we also made some plans for friday. we talked about the dreams that we had and had a good talk about stuffed animals. it was easily the highlight of my day. I guess Deanna was holding her this week and said, “I like being your mommy.” and jane replied, “I like being your big kid.” cute girl.

Monday, February 4, 2008

jane-quotes 02/04

yesterday we were all watching the superbowl; well I should say I was watching the superbowl, jane, was doing everything she could to get me to stop watching the superbowl, and Deanna was doing everything she could to distract jane from distracting me. (what a kind wife!)

when the giants scored their game winning touchdown, I jumped off of the sofa, gave the universal sign for touchdown, and cheered out loud.

jane thought that was absolutely hilarious.

I was watching the replay and she said, “again, dad! dad! again!”
I had to explain to her, “jane, I can only do that in the moment, and the moment is over, so, sorry.”

she just kept it up,
“dad! again! ok, 1,2,3, go!”
finally I caved in.
I replayed my cheer for her about five times.
she cracked up laughing each time.
(what a kind dad!”)

but hey, how about that game?!
everyone loves to see the underdog win, especially me!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

jane-quotes 02/03

last night i said, “well the weekend is over janie! no more spoiling until next weekend!”
and jane frowned and said,
“yes more spoiling!”
Deanna and i just looked at each other and said

this morning i left for church and said,
“goodbye jane!”
she said,
“alright then, dad!”

Saturday, February 2, 2008

M-I-C-K-E-Y, M-O-U-S-E!

today, deanna and i took jane to the san jose civic auditorium to see clubhouse disney live!

it featured some of our favorite characters including pooh-bear, tigger, mickey, goofy and the little einsteins!

jane was thrilled.

and of course, she couldn't go to a mickey concert without rockin' her mickey (or should I say, minnie) gear!

(a little sad in this picture- didn't feel like posing!)

here are some more pics from our fun time: