Friday, February 22, 2013

church//gym 2/13::

 A couple of weeks ago I was running on the treadmill and something happened suddenly in my calf muscle. Something pulled or popped, or knotted up, I still don't know. All I know is that I stopped immediately and limped into my car. I got a lot of advice from some smart people- one said to stretch; one said to wear a brace; one said to eat potassium, and they all said that I needed ice and listen to my body- which meant to rest. But I didn't rest. I didn't want to stop running. So I just kept getting on that treadmill every night. I took all the advice that those friends gave me except rest. Some nights I could run for 2 minutes before quitting, some nights 5 or 10. Every night it was painful. Its been painful just walking around.

To be honest- that's not the only wound I've been carrying around. Recently my heart was wounded by a friend- and just like my leg muscle, I've been ignoring that wound and just hoping that it would go away on its own. And all the time, the pain just goes deeper, and the damage is becoming more serious. Last night I was driving to the gym and thought to myself, "maybe this leg injury is just a picture of what is happening in my heart- and what I need more than anything is to admit that I'm hurt and deal with it instead of thinking that it will all go away with time."

Yesterday I met with some friends for prayer and community, and I shared- "this just isn't going away on its own- I just need to let it go." That was big for me-

My leg is finally on the mend- and my heart is too- and both began when I got honest that those wounds were real and began to deal with them, face them and respect them. And God has graciously began to do His healing work. Its not fast- or always enjoyable, but its the best way.

God is love.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I love malibu grill.

there is a sports bar about a mile from my office called the malibu grill- and I love it. I love the atmosphere; I love the food; I love the people who work there. I love talking with people there- whether its a serious conversation, or just catching up or meeting for the first time, its a place where I feel comfortable. I call it my other office- because I'm there so often. when people ask me to go to lunch, they don't even ask where I want to go anymore- they just say, "malibu right?"
here are some memories that come to mind when I think of the malibu grill-

// I was introduced to the grill by my friend Ed- I immediately fell in love with the place, and there were a few weeks where he and I went there almost every day, talking about sports and deepening our friendship.

// one time I rented the place out, and brought all of the middle school volunteers there for dinner. some of my favorite people in one of my favorite places, eating some of my favorite food- just like heaven!

// one time the grill caught on fire and they had to shut down for months to remodel. I remember going by on that day and talking with the owner- my friend Carlos. I was so sad to hear that it was going to be closed down! then one day he actually came by my office and asked me if he could borrow the church's kitchen to fulfill a catering job- of course the church agreed. a few days later, I was walking in the church hallway, and I just stopped in my tracks and thought, "I smell malibu!" and there they were- right there in the kitchen, grilling away. the day after, they treated the church staff to a BBQ lunch. it was beautiful.

// a bunch of kids and leaders from church used to go each week after church to watch football, and eat appetizers. good times!

// last summer, jane and I went to the grill often on our epic 30 day vacation, to watch the olympics, eat food, and talk about things.

// whenever I do my french-fry-fast, the first fries I always eat are from malibu.

// ben and diane had malibu cater their wedding. I officiate the wedding, and when I walked up to the church, I smelled the ribs on the bbq and thought, "this is a holy moment!"

// we had carlos and the gang come out a cater an all student volunteer appreciation dinner. I think I appreciated it more than anyone!

the other night, deanna, jane and I were having dinner at malibu before I spoke at the college group. I asked them, "how many times do you think I've been to the malibu grill?" deanna said, "well, at least twice a week for eleven and a half years!" I figured that's about 1200 times. 1200 times?! here is to 1200 more!

God is love.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

mexico story

Last week I drove past the McDonald's in front of Disneyland and it reminded me of this story:

Several years ago I went on a missions trip to build houses in Mexico. My friend Chris was leading the trip, and more than anything, I just wanted to support him and to help the trip run smoothly. My job was to drive the 15 passenger van, and I took that job seriously. I wanted to make sure that whenever Chris needed to move kids with my van, that it would be ready.

On the first morning of the trip, we were all eating breakfast, and Chris shouted out, "5 minutes until we load the vans!" That was my call to action. I cleaned up my breakfast, got my tools, and got in my van. I made sure that the doors were unlocked, the engine was running, and the A/C was blowing. 5 minutes passed. No students. The 10 minutes. My mind started racing. "Where are those kids? We're going to be late? How can I help Chris right now?" So I started honking the horn and shouting out, "LET'S GO! WE'RE BURNING DAYLIGHT! I GOT A HOUSE TO BUILD!"

Well, I couldn't see it, but Chris had called an impromptu prayer meeting with all of the kids on the way to the van. And the meeting was interrupted by my honking and yelling.

You would think that Chris and these kids would have thought this was funny. They didn't. The students came up to my van and shouted, "ROB! We were having a prayer meeting!" Even Chris came by and told me that wasn't cool. How was I supposed to know? I was just being an excellent van driver.

Well, it took a few more honking, yelling, and scolding mornings before I decided to just go with the flow and watch out for these prayer meetings.

Meanwhile, back in San Jose, a dear woman who was loved by many lost her battle with cancer. This news reached our group while we were on our way home.

Chris had us stop for breakfast at the McDonald's across the street from Disneyland. The students were hoping that he was surprising them with a day there, but he wasn't. After breakfast, he shouted out that familiar announcement: "5 minutes until we load the vans!" So I sprang into action. I cleaned up my food, got a refill and got into my van. 5 minutes passed. Then 10. Where were those kids? They were making us late! So I did what I needed to do to support Chris. I honked and yelled.

Another impromptu prayer meeting, and another scolding by the entire group. "What were you guys praying about anyway? We're on our way home!"

One girl snapped back, "we were praying for the dead lady from church!" "What are you praying for her for? SHE'S DEAD! She's with Jesus! She doesn't need your prayers!"

Well, you would think these kids would appreciate some good theology from a pastor, but the ENTIRE van flipped out and yelled, "ROB! HOW DARE YOU say something like that about that dead lady!"

And it was at that moment that I condluded that some people just don't appreciate good theology or efficient van driving.

God is love.