Monday, April 25, 2011


over the last few years, the church has grown quite a bit- because of this, I'm not on stage as much as I used to be and not as many people recognize me as one of the pastors; I(by the way- this isn't a complaint- this doesn't bother me at all!)

also- our church has implemented security to make sure that the hallways that have children in them are secure- if I want to go down one of these hallways during church, I need to show my employee badge- which I rarely carry.

last sunday, I was walking with a student up to the middle school roomm where I was met by 2 security guards- I could tell that one of them didn't recognize me. he said, "hi- this area is secure." I said, "oh- I work here- I'm allowed to go through." he said, "do you have a badge?" I started digging through my pockets- (as if it were in there!)

his co-security-guard partner was a lady who knew me from years ago- she said, "what?! don't you know who this is?! this is rob walter! he is a pastor here! don't you know who this is?!" the other security guard apologized and let me through-

all that is to say is that I felt like some kind of celebrity, if just for a moment- and that was kind of fun.

God is love.

Friday, April 15, 2011

my favorite clip.

several years ago I was sick at home, flipping through channels on the sofa. I saw this clip of fred rogers and I found it to be the most caring moment I think that I have ever seen on tv.

I searched for the dvd and bought it.

the church was doing a volunteer appreciation event, and i showed this clip and spoke about caring, individual attention, and affirmation.

I have often done a series for hte middle schoolers called "liking yourself" where I talk about biblical self-esteem and Gods love for us. I often show this clip and make the point that God loves us in spite of the way we feel about ourselves, or even the way the world has treated us. God loves us in spite of our weaknesses with an unconditional love- says to us, "its YOU I like, not the things you do or have."

it may sound hokey, but this is the kind of minister and dad that I want to be. the way that fred rogers makes this kid feel is the way that I want to make the people that I interact with feel. I have a lot of heroes for the various different roles that I play and things that I do. I have preaching heroes, and leadership heroes, and i also have a hero when it comes to the art of the interpersonal conversation- and its fred rogers.

there are days when I am overwhelmed with details and my mood is sour. I know that I need to care for the people that are on their way to meet with me, and I know that I don't have the capacity. in those moments, I watch this clip, learn from the master, dry my tears, and get back in the game. this clip inspires me to care, to listen, to affirm, and to leave others with a blessing. I have watched this clip a hundred times, but it still does not inspire me to sing to, or with middle schoolers, but its still effective. (the first 5 minutes of this clip is what I'm referring to).

God is love.

Monday, April 4, 2011

rob the black swan

Last weekend the middle school ministry that I lead launched its 3rd weekend service. We pulled out all the stops, a ton of students came out, and we all had a blast. This morning I was reflecting on this weekend, and the fact that I get to do what I do, and it dawned on me, that when I was a kid, I had absolutely no intention of doing any of this.

I’m essentially a farm-kid from the central valley. As a kid, I loved being by myself and I still enjoy solitude; when I was a kid I had no desire at all to be in front of a crowd, the center of attention or anyone’s leader- and yet here I am.

One of my friends read a book with me called “the black swan.” The book says that when you look back on your life or on history, things seem to follow a natural progression; but if you remember being there in those moments, things actually happened fairly randomly. There are these moments- called black swans, where a random event occurred, but it completely affected the future and changed the course of your story. As believers we prefer to think of these black swans as God’s plan, God’s grace and God’s providence.

Here are some of the black swans that led me here:

• When I was a teenager I worked at an ice-cream shop. And while I was there I met a friend who invited me to church.

• The church just happened to be near my house, and it just happened to have an amazing youth ministry.

• I became a Christian in that church and somewhat randomly got involved as a leader in my youth group, with special attention, training and mentoring from the youth pastor and volunteers.

• This church just happened to have an intern program ith monies set aside for intern salaries and graduate schooling; and I just happened to be chosen as an intern and had my schooling scholarshipped.

• When I finished school, my church did not hire me, even though they had openings. I was hurt by this, but it sent me on a search for a new ministry-

• And somewhat randomly, I met my former pastor galen and los gatos Christian church.

• I just happened to run into the most incredible bunch of leaders and students on the planet.

• The church just happened to merge with another church in town, and I got to team up with my friend justin and his amazing team, and all of the sudden, the little youth ministry was a big one.

• The senior pastors of that church retired, and the church hired a well known speaker and author.

• And all of the sudden, that big youth ministry became a bigger one.

• And added to that, I found myself in the sweetest, most wonderful family with my favorite people in the world, Deanna and jane.

And the crazy thing is that I didn’t make any of these choices. This farm-boy from the central valley just seemed to find myself in the midst of these changes and opportunities. and when I start to think I’m something special, I just remember that I didn’t navigate this course or create these opportunities- they are all a gift of grace. And it makes me wonder what black swans are coming up ahead. As a kid, I never wanted to be anyone’s leader or to be in front of a crowd, and to be honest, it always intimidates me; but I wouldn’t trade this story and life for anything. I’m absolutely in love with this stage of my life.

This summer our youth ministry is studying the psalms, and I think of psalm 23. And I can say with David that the LORD is my shepherd; and He has been leading me on the most amazing journey- and my job is to be His sheep; to follow Him closely, and to enjoy the ride.

God is love. -rev-rob