Wednesday, December 30, 2009

one more goal for 2010:

tonight at the gym I was reminded of one more resolution that I have for this year:
this year is the year of the great attitude.
the year of encouragement.
the year of sparkle, of interest in others, and gladly helping others.
this is the year of no complaints.
I have blogged about some of the people that I know that have great attitudes. guys like gary and Lloyd. these guys are always glad to see me, always encouraging, always positive, and always in a great mood.
there is another person I know who works at the togo’s on Camden and almaden- whenever I go in, I always try to get to talk to her- because of her great attitude. whenever I see her I always ask, “how are you doing?” and like clockwork, she answers, “I can’t complain!” with a smile.
I want to be like her- and like Lloyd and gary, and like the many other people I know who are known for having a great attitude.
I have read several good books on the subject, and I want to implement these more than ever. I do ok at this from time to time, but this year I want a good attitude to mark me and my interactions with others. I don’t want to fake it, I just want to leave the people I meet encouraged. this is a big stretch for me; I’m a quiet person. I like being alone. I like accomplishing goals and being on time. sometimes when people discover that you’re willing to listen, they’ll just talk all day. I’m sure I’ll make mistakes, but I want to establish a habit that will begin now and continue for years to come.
Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
God is love.

out of 2009, into 2010

2009 was a big year.
some pretty significant things happened this last year-
I took 6 weeks off of work for extended leave! (well, sort of)
my kid turned 5,
I got to meet and work with all kinds of new and cool people-
the church grew by a lot! and so did the middle school ministry.
and some not so great things happened this year:
my parents announced that they were splitting up.
the transmission went out in the explorer, which made a tight budget tighter.
I said goodbye to some very cool work partners
I walked with some friends through some very difficult days,
some friends and I have been talking about a book called “The Black Swan” which discusses the randomness and improbability of just about everything; and here on the eve of 2010, there are a lot of Black Swans waiting to be revealed. who knows what it will bring?
who will I meet in 2010 that will change my life?
who will I say goodbye to?
what will surprise me?
what will break my heart?
with everything that DID happen this year, there are a lot of significant things that DIDN’T happen, which I can be grateful for:
I didn’t lose my job or my home- even though many did.
I didn’t lose any members of my immediate family- even though many did.
I didn’t have to move, I didn’t have to stay in the hospital, I didn’t get in a car accident- even though many had to deal with all of these.
so I’m not complaining, I recognize that I’ve been fortunate and blessed.
last year I made a few new year’s resolutions:
1. no fries
2. 250 trips to the gym
3. a 6 week vacation funded by cash, not credit.
and I’m proud to say that I did them all; well, I had a few orders of fries AFTER I hit that 250 mark.
this year I want to do all of those again plus more. my goals this year are:
1. no fries.
2. 250 trips to the gym minimum. I’m hoping to actually get to at least 275 and to 300.
3. I want to pay cash for everything. no charging at all. if the car breaks- which it always does, I might have to charge that; but other than that I don’t want to charge anything. I will probably still need to use a card to buy stuff online, but I’ll have to get creative about how to pull that off without using credit.
4. I want to take my 5 year old to Disneyland. I’ve been saying that I will do it for years, but every time, something comes up.
what will 2010 bring? we’ll see! but let’s have an attitude of expectation and wonder through it all.
God is love.

Monday, December 21, 2009

tour story

when i was in high school, my youth pastor’s name was marvin. I loved that guy. I wanted to be just like him. when I graduated high school, I joined his volunteer team. when I went to college, I majored in organizational communication, so that I could be a good youth pastor- just like marvin. after college (and a “no-ministry” first year of marriage) marvin hired me to be an intern. the internship at our old church was a little different that what you usually see these days. it was a full time job, and it involved pursuing a master’s degree. I interned with marvin for 5 years. I did everything with him. we had many, many adventures together. I’m sure I could spend a lot of time and space fondly remembering them all. marvin taught me everything that I know about just about everything- especially youth ministry. in 2001, my internship at the church came to an end. on my last sunday marvin came back to the church to give a speech about me (he had left about a year before I did to pursue another ministry). when it came time for his speech, he got on stage and couldn’t say a word. he was overwhelmed with emotion and decided that he couldn’t give his speech.
as you probably know, I went on to be a youth pastor- and if you knew marvin, you would know just how much I emulate him all the time. we dress alike, carry the same bag, wear the same pen in the same way, and I say a lot of the phrases that he says. we read the same books and care passionately about the same things. we have kept up over the years, but he has never come to my new church. I’ve never invited him. I have always been a little nervous about whether he thought I was doing a good job or something.
a few months ago, marvin called and said that his ministry was going on tour, just like our old ministry used to go on tour. he asked if his group could stay at the church overnight. and it worked out for everyone’s schedule. his group rolled in late last night and I felt like I was transported back in time to when I was in high school, on tour, and running all over the state with my friends and marvin. I showed marvin around the church. I was so proud to show him all of the amazing things that God has blessed our ministry with. this morning, I sat in on marvin’s bible study time that he had with his group. he asked me to introduce myself and after a few words I said, “when I was your age I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life- until I met marvin. and then I decided that I just wanted to be like him. and I’ve spent the last 8 and a half years being like marvin- and its served me pretty well. it would serve you well as well.” I didn’t expect getting emotional, but I did. (its been happening a lot lately). marvin stopped to pray for me and the ministry and he said something to the effect of, “God, I’m so proud of rob…” and then he just stopped- just like on my last sunday; overcome with emotion again.
I was so good to hear him do a sermon again and to watch him encourage staff and students. it was like coming back to home base for a minute, getting refreshed and reminded what its all about before getting back into the fight. it was like going home again.
we’ve had our moments where we didn’t see eye to eye over the years, but I still love the guy- and I still model much of what I do on the pattern that he has set. I thank God that he gave me a mentor like that. I don’t know where I’d be or what I’d be doing if I hadn’t met him. all that is to say that I come away from our time together very encouraged, and ready for what’s next.
God is love.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

another chapel story

last week I spoke at a local Christian school that many of our students attend. I started off with a reader’s theater style Christmas pageant, where students volunteered to be one of the characters in the Christmas story, and read their lines off of the screen. after that, I closed with some thoughts on Christmas.
I started taking volunteers. one girl that goes to our group, Elizabeth, really wanted to play the angel Gabriel. after we chose all of the characters, our play began. there was only one problem- the school that we were at had a messed up projector, and you couldn’t really see the words on the slides. this was especially hard for Elizabeth the angel, because Gabriel has a lot of lines in the Christmas story.
we got to one part, my favorite part, and there was just no way that Elizabeth was going to be able to read the lines of the story off of the slide- it was too messed up.
I said to her, “do you want to just read my script?”
she said, “no- I’ve been memorizing this verse- I can just say it from memory.”
then she turned to her peers in the crowd, held out her arms and said loudly:
“Do not be afraid! I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people! Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you! He is Christ the Lord! This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
then the crowd of students in the audience played the company of angels.

they read their part off of the screen and loudly shouted:
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

and the beauty of the story came alive to me all over again.

merry Christmas!
God is love.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

tenderloin story

we’re doing part of our next missions trip in the tenderloin district of san Francisco. so, me and my friends paco and makepa went down there yesterday to meet with the organization that we’re serving. going to the tenderloin is always an experience. there are people everywhere. some are sleeping, some are arguing, some are just yelling and someone who isn’t there. as we drove in, we actually saw a man tapping out the bubbles in his syringe while sitting on the sidewalk in front of a strip club.

we were walking toward the school that we’re serving at when we saw a lady screaming at someone. she was just yelling random phrases at no one. I asked my friends where the school was, and they said that it was right next to her. great. as we got closer, she started yelling at me. she shouted out, “DO YOU KNOW THAT GUY?! DO YOU LIKE HIM?! DO YOU KNOW HIM?!” I got to the door of the school and it was locked. I kind of panicked. she came closer and she had a lighter that she was pointing toward me saying, “DO YOU KNOW HIM?!” I said, “I don’t know who he is!” she yelled out, “YES YOU DO! I’M JANET JACKSON!” finally the door opened and a man inside quickly got us in. he said, “I see you’ve met janet Jackson….”

we told him that we needed to meet a lady named mary; but her office was down the street. when we went out the door again, it started snowing in san Francisco! the man went back inside and called all of the kids out. they were thrilled. but then miss Jackson came back and started yelling at the kids. the adults quickly got the kids back inside…all but one. one kid quickly poked his head out of the door and shouted out, “what-you-doing’-out-of-JAIL-girl?!” I laughed so hard I almost fell over.

it was great to share the snow with those kids and to see how they handled a lady that kind of freaked me out.

Friday, December 4, 2009


here is my kid doing the choreography to a show on tv called fresh beat band. she matches them pretty well. when she gets on the ground she's breakdancing.

fresh beat jane from rob walter on Vimeo.