Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


Wow… what a few weeks I’ve had. Life has been blitzed and I feel like I’m just now coming up for air. I have no idea how people blog all the time. I suck at this and the daily blog thing is 20 minutes I can’t force myself to find. Oh well. Anywayz, as I come up to breathe… here’s what life has been like the past 2 weeks and some lessons from it.

RETREAT SPEAKING: I spoke at a college retreat for my old college group at UC. Davis… I spoke on the comparison game in a series I’ve created called “compareanoia”. It was well received and something that I realize I need to continue to work on myself. So much of how I feel about myself is subtly dependent on others opinions or how it looks to someone outside of myself and God. That’s draining and Godless I believe. The statement I repeated in every message was this, “Compareanoia cannot co-exist with a God centered life.” I have a ways to go to keeping my life God centered and not comparison centered. I still want the approval of students, peers, friends, family, co-workers… even neighbors and strangers sometimes are people I want to like me or what I’ve done. It’s a daily job for me. I’ve done these retreats about once every other year something like 6ish times since I graduated. It’s always fun and usually Shannon and I would go together, but being so far from Davis now and with no family in the area to bond with the kids when we bounce out… so instead of spending the flow they were throwing my way on baby sitting and plane rides, we decided to put it away… Which in essence amounted to dog training money.

DOG TRAINING: My new dog who has lived in our house since August was a happy member of our home for like 3 weeks. Maybe a month. Then things went bad. He ate several hundred bucks worth of stuff… A planter bed I worked hard to finish, a cover on my mustang, and a chase lounge chair in our yard among a few other things. After that, I said to Shannon, “Either we spend the money to train the dog or the dog has to go.” So, instead of dumping money into fixing stuff he destroyed, I dumped it into dog training. Last night we just finished our third private session with our dog. He has a new collar that we use to train him. It’s like a muscle stimulator that bugs him when we push a button on command. So, 3 weeks into it… he’s about 85% of the way there. He comes- even when other dogs are around and without the collar even. He stays on his rug when I take him to the coffee shop with me- even when people walk past him on the sidewalk. He stopped biting at my kids and grabbing toys and running all around the house with him. He now lives in a kennel in our home when we’re gone to the store or church or whatever. Happy happy day. Lesson is this: “sometimes you have to spend money to save money.” By all evaluations so far, I should have spent the flow 2 months earlier and I’d be richer today.

SICK: I had to pull a few really late nights getting ready for some youth ministry stuff and getting ready to get out of town and I had this little cold that was eeking around that finally decided to throw down. So I tried to tell my body to deal with it and then it slapped me and threw me on the couch. I slept for like a whole day and drugged up my world and 30 hours later… my body let me get up again. I need to get better at delegation. My body would spend less time yelling at me if I did.

MID TERM: I had a seminary mid term in OT 101. I was reminded that if the Bible was a lie, then whoever wrote it was not very good at writing lies. Cuz they recorded a lot of stuff in it no sayne person would record if you were trying to claim that these are God’s chosen people. A lot of the time people today say that they like Jesus, just not Christians. Well that’s nothing new. God has always been hard to find in the life of His followers- from the very start in Genesis. Oh… and we do a lot of stuff our parents and our society does.. just cuz. We’re officially all idiots. Praise God for grace.

BIRTHDAY: Shannon turned 34. We went to see the WIZ at the La Jolla Playhouse- something my wife lives to do. If she could work and be at the theatre all day, she would. It was an amazing show. I think they must have put a million bucks into the set. It’s theatre played in the round (no behind stage- all the sets come up from the floor or down from the ceiling) and some people sat on the stage in stands even. It’s like an inner city version of the Wizard of Oz muscial… For example- the lion is a “tough guy” gangster type with a fur coat and listens to rap and has big gold chains and talks a tough game but is a woose who is scared of heights and wants courage. The Wizard is really a charismatic televangelist that deceives people with lies to get power. That part kinda sucked… but oh well. The music was amazing but the craziest part was Toto. Toto was played by some college guy who when they get thrown into OZ, Toto becomes a man/dog. It was this guy who did the whole show in almost every scene with his tongue out and acting like a dog. He wore heelies and ran/rolled around the stage and through this “yellow brick road” that ends up winding through the audience. He was crazy gifted at dance and such. They also put some legit technology into him. He had a “Toto cam” in his head that they used to project what he was seeing on these screens on the side from time to time. They also put a “bark collar” on him so that whenever he made a bark noise (which was his only talking line) that it activated instantly some dog bark that came blasting through the sound system on his cue. It was crazy. Anyway, we had fun and then the following night the boys and I took her to claim jumper and did presents and had the hugest ice cream cookie ever created.

BIBLE STUDY RETREAT: We did a retreat with our Bible Study groups. Friday we did a progressive dinner. Pat and Oscars at one house for bread sticks and salads and a game of steal the bacon in the round on this huge yard of grass. The winners got chucky cheese game tokens. Then we gave everyone a base number of game tokens and sent them into Chucky’s house to play games and collectively get the biggest and best prize they could. Then we went to Costco for pizza and then took the Chucky prize and used it as the starting point to play “bigger and better.” We met back at the church for ice cream and a girls group won the bigger and better challenge with a Foosball table. My masonry friend Diego got a free lawn mower out of it. My kids got a huge 25 foot flag pole added to their fort. The dumpster was given a broken ping pong table one group returned. I’m not sure whose going to get the wind surfer we now have no idea what to do with. Bigger and better has some down sides I guess… 🙂 Anyway, the Guys spent the night at the church and reinvented the art of playing dodge ball till the wee hours of the morning. The girls spent the night at their group members homes. Then we all reconvened on Saturday at church for a day of grub and training on how to embrace the idea of reaching out to our friends who are disconnected from God on purpose. It was was great and I’m praying we see some real change in the intentionality with which we each, leaders and students, seek to build God into the center of all our friendships.

SOCCER: Yesterday was my last soccer practice. Ever since mid August I’ve been at the soccer field with my two kids from 4pm to 7pm twice a week for practice and then 2x every Saturday I was in town. It was tons of fun and I realized that I really enjoyed it. I think it energized me a little. I enjoyed spending time with my kids, and as I try to live a more balanced life, I’ve decided that even though soccer is done, I’m going to come home early on those days anyway to be with my kids. TJ and I have a Thursday afternoon bonding time set now and Tyler I think I’ll put on Mondays. I love my kids and the time to play together was a great blessing. After this Saturday, I can breathe on the weekend again. Two games every Saturday has been draining- even though it’s fun. My whole prayer during this time was time with my boys in something they loved and asking God to use me as an example of what a coach who follows Jesus should look like to my soccer kids and their families. God has answered both of those prayers and one of the families from TJ’s team is now coming weekly to our church. Very cool. Thank you Jesus for that answer to prayer. While his team has only won two games, those boys have improved immensely in their level of play. I also co-coached the team with one of my high school students which turned out to be a great mentoring thing for us too, I would coach with a student again in a heart beat. When we started, the two of us could beat the entire team of 12 in soccer without even thinking about it. Now, they can beat us if they think and play smart. Very fun. I love loosing to kids we trained to be better players.

BEN HARPER: As a thank you from Tyler’s team who had their team party at Peter Piper Pizza last night, they gave me a $15 itunes card. I used it to buy the latest Ben Harper CD from itunes that also has his exclusive commentary in it. I’ve already enjoyed it so much. I highly recommend buying it with the extras. Ben Harper’s insight into his own musical development and the behind the scenes info about the songs and such has been cool.

..and now I’m going to get back to living my life.. as this blog session is now officially over and if you’re still reading. Congrats. You now need to get back to life too. That was a historically long post marathon. Maybe I should try and find 20 minutes a day instead.

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