Sunday, March 30, 2008

patriology:: entry 122

ever since jane graduated from her crib to her big girl bed, she has been able to get up whenever she feels like it. she was getting up pretty early, so we told her that she had to stay in her room until 7am, or she she calls it, “seven-zero-zero.”

i usually hear her wake up around 6:45. she usually starts reading a book out loud or practices her alphabet. most days i call out, “jane, want to come in mom and dad’s room?” and she says, “yes!”

then she crawls up onto our bed and says, “does dad want to talk about something?”
and i say, “sure! what should we talk about?”

she puts her fingers on her chin to make a thinking face and says, “hmmm…what should we talk about?”
and then she thinks of a topic that she can make some sort of list for- like: what can we do in the tub? what can you di at the park? what starts with the letter H? what foods do you like to eat?

whenever i come up with an answer she says, “that’s a good idea.”

then we make our list. when we finish it she says, “want to talk about something else dad?” and we start the whole process again. i always enjoy when jane comes to talk with me in the morning. she seems to enjoy it too. it’s a special dad and daughter time for me each day.

i was sitting in church this morning thinking about how i missed my talk this morning (because jane and deanna are in modesto this weekend). it dawned on me that my heavenly father must enjoy when i come to Him in the morning and say, “want to talk about something?” i enjoy it too. it’s a special moment that i can share with Him each morning- and i’m sure that He misses it when i don’t initiate the talk.

“how great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! and that is what we are!”
-1 john 3

Saturday, March 29, 2008


i just got back from my annual spring break mission experience with middle schoolers. this year we spent 3 days with elm street mission in santa cruz. this year it was called overME. and as always, i’m so glad that we went. i want to expose as many people as i can to the faith-filled people that oversee the mission. they never cease to amaze me with the way that they can accomplish so much for the kingdom with so little.

there is this verse in acts 4 that reminds me of the crew at elm street: “when they saw the courage of peter and john and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with jesus.”

so it wasn’t the hardest trip that i ever went on, but it was a little uncomfortable. we really wanted to give the students an experience, so there was no showers, and we slept on the floor. ouch! the highlights far outshined the backaches. here are a few:

:: the students stepped up. big time. they worked so hard that the mission ran out of things for us to do a few times. the students responded to every challenge that i gave them. they worked hard, they started conversations with the homeless, stayed quiet at night, prayed out loud and shared openly. great job!

:: they use the hymnals in the services at elm st. the students had never used one of these before. but there was this one moment when we were singing ‘how great thou art’ out loud along with this old piano. God was in the house, and i couldn’t even say the words to the song, they were so powerful. i looked around the room and the adults in my team we all wiping away tears from their own eyes as well.

:: since we worked so fast, we took a long lunch and then played at the beach. josh the intern owned beach-games and had the students thoroughly entertained. he pretty much kept us all thoroughly entertained whenever he could. he is a real leader- with a bright future in ministry.

:: another leader, mike, invited a homeless man to eat at his table at pizza my heart. it was beautiful.

:: several students shared that it was time to get over their prejudices, their materialism, their selfishness, their greed, their complaining, and their ingratitude. can't beat that.

:: one of our students, sarah gave a testimony in front of a congregation of homeless men about how jesus had freed her from depression. she nailed it.

:: we were going to go to the boardwalk after serving on friday night, but it was closed because of the rain. so we went to marianne’s instead. yum!

:: there was this moment when it occurred to me that the mission pretty much sticks to the basics when it comes to teaching. a lot of believers would go nuts in a church like that. and it dawned on me that so many people out there don’t even know the basics- that God is real and He is seeking out His lost sheep.

:: it also dawned on me that in a town built on rebellion and on being different, there are no rebels bigger than the guys at elm street. in a town that says rebel, their message is submit.

they are bringing it strong again tonight- and every week. if you’re the praying-kind, send up a word on behalf of my friends that they’ll continue to do a good work for a long time to come.

“…and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hades will not overcome it…”

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

if i were president

if i were president,

i’d appoint the carlos from the malibu grill as secretary of bbq and invite the leaders of the world over for some lunch.

i’d have the military scour the hills for mountain-people- just to check on them.

i’d have an awesome train table in the oval office so that jane and i could play together in between world summits.

i’d find out what’s really going on at area 51, and what really happened in roswell.

i’d have the scientists find the sasquatches.

i’d make it so that every single vote counts- no more blue or red states- just blue or red people.

i’d be so cool that i’d put the daily show out of business, because they’d have nothing to make fun of.

i’d send all of the spoiled-celebrity-law-breakers on a mission trip to africa.

i’d make all of the car companies make electric cars so that it wouldn’t cost so much to drive- and better for the environment.

i’d move the white house to pismo- so all of the legislators could watch the sun set over the pacific every night- and enjoy a breadbowl at splash cafĂ©.

i’d be pro-life- and place a high value on life all the time; no matter the age, ethnicity, or history.

i’d get rid of the suits and ties- and long meetings. all congress meetings would need to be held at a ginormous starbucks on comfy seats and low lighting.

i’d basically say yes to anything that bono asked me to do.

i’d pose for photos with protesters.

i’d write a lot of thank you cards to soldiers, teachers, police, ministers and red cross workers.

i’d have all parking lots painted white- i think it would cut global warming in half.

i’d make at least 2 more work-free holidays: go outside and play day and nap day.

i’d hold meetings to ask the iraqis how we’re going to get all of the americans home and how to restore peace to their land.

i’d give cool statues to other countries- like france gave the statue of liberty to us.

i’d raise taxes on hummers and “adult entertainment”- and lower taxes on property and gas.

i’d like to be able to say that i took care of people- i mean, you can’t legislate people’s decisions or pay people to do nothing, but i’d like to help everyone afford health insurance, car insurance, and a home in a good neighborhood.

i’d write a letter to someone every day- so that a lot of people would feel the excitement of getting a personal letter from the president. i’d call people too- people like teenagers who make a difference in their community.

i’d totally fight with reporters during press conferences.

i’d have a cupbearer like in bible times- because i get really tired of carrying my cups.

i’d go to a random church every Sunday- just to freak the pastors out.

i’d travel the country by bus just like john madden.

i’d invite the middle east leaders to watch a giants game in san francisco and talk policy over some sunflower seeds and cracker jacks. and i’d treat them to a hawaiian vacation.

and hopefully through it all, i’d show the world that we’re not so bad over here; and that hating us is so four years ago. (maybe 8).

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

random-rob-thoughts: march 25

this edition of random-rob-thoughts is dedicated to my daughter and the fun times that we have had recently:

1st of all, jane has got a thing for baseball lately. so we had to go and get a disney princess baseball bat to play with at the park.

we just had easter, and our annual easter-egg-hunt- good times. thanks to grandma, grandpa and uncle ross for making the trip out to share this with us:

today we went to the hp pavilion to go see the wiggles!

we were ready to leave about half way through.
we're having a lot of fun-
time to go read some stories!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

life is worth the living...

happy easter-

coolest thing i've seen today

for more go to youtube & search for "improv everywhere"

Friday, March 21, 2008

when love comes to town

Thursday, March 20, 2008

good friday

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

galatians 5 to middle school boys:

tonight i led the small group of 6th and 7th grade boys for a volunteer that didn’t show up. we were doing a lesson on the fruit of the spirit. i had the boys turn their bibles to Galatians 5. several boys asked if they could read the passage, so i decided to have them taking turns reading verses from the entire chapter. BIG MISTAKE.

here is how it went:

BOY 1:
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.”
“uh rob? what does circumcised mean?”

ME: “i’ll tell you as soon as we finish the chapter…”

BOY 3:
“Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!”
“uh rob? what does emasculate mean??

ME: “i’ll tell you as soon as we finish the chapter…”

BOY 6:
“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
“uh rob? what does orgies mean?”

ME: “well…
since we’re all boys…
you know,
uh… like,
you know...
does anyone have any prayer-requests?”

thanks a lot apostle paul for making Galatians 5 so scandalous!

Monday, March 17, 2008

lectio-divina:: the hornet

I was reading the last part of Joshua today and a mysterious phrase came up. it appears three times in the old testament, its “the hornet.”

in exodus 23, God talks about sending an angel ahead of the Israelites- but then He talks about sending His “terror”- are they the same thing? in verse 27 it says, “I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run.”

then in the next verse God says “I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way.”

so in one chapter, God is driving out israel’s enemies with an angel, His terror, and the hornet. are they all the same thing? what is it? what was it like to encounter God’s terror? His hornet? whatever it was, it was, it made israel’s enemies run.

in deuteronomy 7:20 it says, “the LORD your God will send the hornet among them until even the survivors who hide from you have perished.”

and in joshua 24, God is talking about how He fought for Israel saying, “I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you—also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow.”

what is the hornet? who is it? could you see it?

a lot of sources will be honest and say that they don’t know what it is. here are two ideas that I have:

maybe its a feeling, that God filled people with, as they heard Him and His people coming.

in the beginning of joshua, the spies enter the city of jericho and meet rahab. she tells them, “I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the red sea for you when you came out of egypt… when we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone's courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.”

next they cross the jordan on dry land. and while the water is stopped, they decide to set up memorial stones in the dry riverbed! they defy nature- what chance does anyone stand against them?

next they go up to jericho and instead of attacking it, they walked around it. they aren’t afraid- they are completely confident. they aren’t in any hurry. and when they did attack it, they just walked some more, and then played instruments- and the walls fell. what kind of terror zoomed through the land after that?

after that, one nation just surrendered.

and then other nations gathered together to make alliances. on one occasion, joshua didn’t even sneak up on these alliances- he just attacked them head on- and defeated them.

so maybe the hornet was israel’s reputation of being indestructible.

on another occasion, Joshua meets a man “in front of him with a sword drawn in his hand.”
“Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?”
“neither one,” he replied.
“I am the commander of the Lord’s army.”
at this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. “I am at your command,” Joshua said.
“what do you want your servant to do?”
the commander of the Lord’s army replied,
“take off your sandals,
for the place where you are standing is holy.”

maybe this guy was the hornet! and the Lord’s army was his swarm.

whatever the hornet was, it was God’s agent to fight for and protect God’s people. when God fights for you, nothing stands in His way, not even nature. nature becomes His tool, not His obstacle. as the scripture says, “what, then, shall we say in response to this? if God is for us, who can be against us?”

breastplate of st. patrick

Sunday, March 16, 2008


here are some stories about my cat, calvin-

I got him when I was in seminary, and I thought it would be fun to name him after a theologian. he was almost luther or barth, but calvin seemed to fit better.

he was originally named shadow, because he’s all black. I got him from my first admin, teddy. it took me a long time to tell her that I changed his name to calvin. (although most of the time I just call him cal.)

cal has this thing for running water. when he was a kitten, he used to hop into the shower and play with the water drops on the wall. when we moved into the apartments, we used to run the water in the bathroom to muffle any sounds that might come out of the bathroom. at first, cal would go in and play with the running water in the sink- now he expects to get a drink out of the faucet every time someone goes into the bathroom. its pretty much the only way he drinks water now. when I wake up in the morning he zooms into the bathroom because he’s too snobby to drink out of his cat-dish.

when we lived in modesto, we had hardwood floors. cal would race from room to room chasing super-balls. if I bounced one over the sofa, he could clear it with one jump.

whenever I sleep in my bed- whether I’m taking a nap, or sleeping at night, calvin sleeps in between my legs, lounging on my right ankle. sometimes if its late at night, he stares me down, trying to encourage me to go to bed.

he sits on top of my tv, so he can keep an eye on everything. I’m ok with that as long as his tail doesn’t block the score of the game that I’m watching.

I bought this brush/ glove to pull some of his excess fur off. it has a velro strap on it. for a long time, if he heard Velcro being opened he came running. he purred so hard when I brushed him that he drooled like crazy- gross!

speaking of gross, calvin pukes a lot. I think it comes from drinking out of the sink if there is still soap reside in it.

when we moved into our apartment he didn’t have much to look at. so we got a bird feeder for the window and he was entertained all day. when we lived in modesto he spent most nights looking out the window at his cat-friend who looked in at him. they would just sit there, staring at each other. he enjoyed squirrels until I stopped feeding them. these things are barbaric.

when jane was born, calvin didn’t want anything to do with her, and she didn’t want anything to do with him. now they have a funny little friendship. jane often calls him, and she thinks its pretty cool that he responds. she says, “come over here calvin!” and he follows her around the house. she often asks for a nose-kiss from calvin, but he’s not that into her. he likes to chase the light of a flashlight, and she likes to play that game with him.

deanna isn’t into cal very much- maybe it’s the puke or the maintenance. or the cat-fur everywhere. or the fact that he tries to trip her by walking in front of her.

cal has a thing for lunchmeat. especially turkey. he goes nuts whenever I make a sandwich and meows obnoxiously until I drop a piece in his bowl.

he’s never been outside ever. I don’t think he’s interested anymore. he wouldn’t last one night.

he thinks he’s pretty bad though. sometimes I walk down the hall and he goes for a tackle by wrapping up my leg. he used to fight stuffed animals and puppets- but not so much anymore.

my friend marc used to say that I’m like a cat- because I spend a lot of time by myself, I’m pretty clean, fairly snobby about what I eat, and if I want attention, I’ll make an appearance. maybe that’s why cal and I get along so well. that, and we like sleeping.

“a righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.”
-proverbs 12:10

Friday, March 14, 2008

myspace is depressing

when i first got onto myspace and facebook it was so cool. i got to read about everyone’s interests and see their pictures, but now its so depressing. so many people that i have invested my life into are choosing the very things that i encouraged them to stay away from. college kids are having sex and drinking, high school kids have pictures of themselves holding alcohol and drug pipes- i see great girls hanging on the necks of sleazy, oily boys. its such a downer.

all of this makes me ask myself, “what went wrong? where did it all go wrong?” i mean i watched all of these kids stand up at hume lake with tears in their eyes and give their lives to Christ- and now they recording their rebellion to Christ for the entire world wide web to see. did we not being it strong enough? did everyone just ignore our words? were they sitting in their pews on Sunday mornings and just appearing to care but really not? it is the parents? college professors? the media? i don’t know what i’m going to do, but pretty soon you’ll see a picture of me on the internet holding drugs: anti-depressants.

friends- make good choices, ok?
God gave us these standards not to take away our freedom, but to GIVE US FREEDOM and a life with no scars and no regrets.
choose life.

Monday, March 10, 2008

random-rob-thoughts: march 10

:: I saw U23D twice last weekend- and I’m still blown away by it. it is the best use of 3D technology ever. it may be the coolest movie-experience that I’ve ever had.

:: while I was at the movies, I saw a LOT of students that I knew. there was a funny dichotomy between the students who ran up and said hi and the students who saw me, made eye-contact with me, and then turned the other way. I thought about going up to embarrass them, but I decided not to. one of the students saw me wearing my 3D glasses on my head and saw me hanging out with bruce and jeff, and asked, "did you guys just go see hannah montana?"

:: one of my old volunteers left me a voice mail message this weekend apologizing for a conflict that we had over five years ago. I was surprised and extremely blessed by that message.

:: jane and I went to the park twice this weekend. we discovered that if she slides down the slide laying down, it kick up a lot of static electricity and gives us both a big shock when we touch- and she thought that was pretty funny.

:: there is a Christian school that meets at my church. this means that I see a LOT of students each day. one student that stands out over the years is a boy named james. he was totally funny, and he really enjoyed coming to visit me. he also had turrets syndrome, so I could hear him coming from down the hall! when he came in, he had to tap on the door-knobs as he entered. I asked him why and he just said that he had to. it would be easy to make fun of him, but he was such a kind and friendly kid, there is no way that I ever could. I saw him for the first time in like five or six years. I could tell that he had gained more control of his turrets, but it was still there. he was so pumped after going to church. he told me that he was in college and studying to be a special ed teacher. my heart was so warmed by seeing him that I started to tear up- I told him that he would be perfect for that role, and I know that he will be.

:: I’m starting a campus club in a shopping center! I’m teaming up with 2 other youth pastors- we’re renting a store on wednesday mornings for students to come into before school to get a snack and some inspiration- its all coming together and we should start april 2. we could reach 100+ students a week! whoa!

:: just read the story of Joshua and the battle of ai and the sin of achan. here are a few thoughts: 1) leadership isn’t just about being a celebrity- its often about confrontation and hard conversations. 2) the Israelites got over to the promised land, but were not given a license to sin. God noticed achan’s sin, even though it was small. 3) achan’s sin cost him his life, his family’s life, and the lives of many soldiers- our sin never hurts just us. 4) as a leader sometimes there are losses and defeats that are not your fault. they are someone else’s fault, yet you still have to deal with them.

:: I’ve discovered that my daughter cannot be bought or bribed. but if she ever decided to use the potty or go into a bouncey house, i’ll have to pay up on so many bribes that I might just go broke!

Sunday, March 9, 2008


I’ve got a thing for knowing what time it is.
I always think its rude when you’re in a conversation with someone and they check their watch.
I also think that its distracting when you see a preacher check his watch. it makes you want to check yours.
I also find it comforting to know how much time I have before what comes next; because I don’t like being rushed, and I don’t like being late.

to address all of these things- I have secretly placed clocks EVERYWHERE.

my favorites kinds of clocks are the digital ones that set themselves to the exact time and they tell the temperature too!

(itsn’t that annoying that many DIGITAL clocks can’t keep the time?!)
today I counted all of my clocks, because I had to reset ALL of them!

there is:
2 in my bathroom,
1 in the shower room/ laundry room to see while I’m showering
1 in my closet to see when I’m getting dressed.
3 in the bedroom
2 in my car
1 on my key chain
1 in the kitchen
3 in the living room
1 on my laptop
1 in jane’s room
1 on my cell phone- and that’s just at my house!
at work I’ve got a whopping

5 in my office!
3 in the sitting area outside of my office
3 in the game room,
2 in the room I use wednesdays, and
2 in the room I use on sundays.
I have multiples in a room so that I can naturally see them no matter what direction I’m facing.

not only that, you’ll almost never see me without my watch,
and I keep a spare in my bag, my desk, and in my car.

the other day jane climbed into our bed in the morning. it was 6:30, and she knows that she needs to stay in bed until 7. she grabbed my clock and said, “what does the clock say? it says SIX, THREE, ZERO! now what does the clock say? it says SIX, THREE, ONE!” she would have kept that up until 7 if we didn’t distract her. as she was rattling off each minute I thought to myself, “oh no! she’s becoming obsessed with minutes just like me!”

one time I lost my watch at hume lake and my friend chris laughed at me. I eventually bought another one. I felt naked. I told him, “chris! you don’t know what its like to be rob walter without a watch! its painful!”

I justify my time obsession with a scripture from the old king james:
“see then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
-ephesians 5.

so, if you ever want to know what time it is, come ask me. I can probably tell you without even looking down at my wrist.

Friday, March 7, 2008

jane-quotes 03/05

today jane and i left for our daddy-daughter time and jane said, “i like playing with dad today.” i said, “i like playing with jane today.”

she got out a box of cards and pointed it at me and said, “i would like this open dad!” i said, “what’s the magic word?” and she said, “MESSKA-MOOSKA-MICKEY-MOUSE!” “that’s not the magic word!” i said. she said, “hocus-pocus!”

gotta lay off that tv for awhile…

Thursday, March 6, 2008

church//gym: entry08

when I first started going to the gym, I’d just walk in, listen to my iPod, and then leave without talking to anyone. eventually, some very thoughtful and friendly people smiled at me and waved on the way in and out. not only that, some really nice people just came up to me and introduced themselves and showed interest in me. each time they came up to me, I had a choice to make: will I be a snob, or will I open myself up to a friendship with this person? I also had another choice: will I leave my headphones in my ears or will I pull them out when someone is talking to me?

things are a lot different now, after3 months at the gym. I still make my exercise mixes for my iPod, but I don’t even get through 2 or 3 songs most days. now my friends walk up to me, tap me on the shoulder and say hi. they ask me what I think about the game last night or the elections. and every time my friends come up to me I pull my headphones and I rarely put them back in.

this got me thinking about church. a lot of people feel uncomfortable at church because they don’t have relationships. they feel that they don’t have relationships because church-people are exclusive or snobby. and some people are. but my experience at the gym has showed me that if you show up consistently, you’ll meet someone, even if you weren’t trying to. and my experience has shown me that the amount of friends we have usually isn’t because of everyone else’s snobbiness, but it’s because of our own. each of us need to decide if we will open ourselves up to a new friendship or not. the reality is that most people who feel that everyone is snobby really mean that the people that they HOPE to be friends with are snobby. there are a ton of friendly people at church that are really trying hard to make friends and to be friendly. if we would just open ourselves up to a friendship with them and lower our own defenses and ego, we could meet some really cool people; and really look forward to our next visit.

here is another thought-
my friend gary is SEVENTY-SEVEN. he is a beast. I was stepping on the elliptical next to him this morning and I was going super fast, trying to get my 6000 steps (which has become a lot easier lately- just like he told me it would!). I put raise the incline one level every six minutes. gary goes for 30 minutes with the incline as HIGH AS IT WILL GO. and he goes fast. it’s like he is sprinting up a steep hill for 30 minutes. did I mention that he is SEVENTY-SEVEN?! as he has the stamina to chat with people and encourage them. this morning we were both stepping pretty fast and this lady behind us on the treadmill said to gary, “you’re almost keeping up with your friend!” and he said, “no- no- rob is much faster than me.” he’s 77! and the truth is, I’m a LONG way from doing his workout! i asked him what he does after his cardio workout, and he said he does 400 crunches! i've got nothing on gary- and i'm not even half his age!

the church//gym illustration: there are older people at church and at the gym who are super-cool and we all could learn a lot from.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


i think this stuff is so cool-

Saturday, March 1, 2008

jane-quotes 03/01

jane has a way of memorizing and repeating random quotes from tv. lately when we hear something like, “we’ve got to walk up stone-step hill!” or “shake-shake-shake your peanut!” instead of thinking that our daughter has lost it, we just ask, “who says that?” and she usually tells us which character on tv she heard it from.

lately jane has been repeating deanna and i and its pretty cute/ funny. lately she comes up to us and says, “you know what? i love you. and you know what? i’m proud of you.” and then she gives us a hug.

lately i’ve been walking around the house saying, “have you guys seen my hug?” jane usually says, “i think its in the kitchen.” so we walk into the kitchen and she gives me a hug and i say, “THERE’S my hug! i thought i lost it!”

tonight after bath-time jane came up to me and said, “have you seen my hug?”
cute kid!

p.s. my wife climbs in jungle-gyms!