Sunday, June 26, 2005

Home Again

Well, I'm home from camp. It was amazing - I'll post some "click" moments later. Now, I am off for the week to help CCC with their Vacation Bible School. I'm going to be running the activities, which is going to be a challenge because I've never done anything like this before. But I'm stoked, and it's going to be an awesome week. I don't totally know what I'm getting into, but I'm divin' in. Talk to you soon.
The long awaited rains
Have fallen hard upon the thirsty ground
Have carved their way to where
The wild and rushing river can be found
And like the rains
I have been carried here to where the river flows, yeah
My heart is racing and my knees are weak
As I walk to the edge
I know there is no turning back
Once my feet have left the ledge
And in the rush I hear a voice
That's telling me it's time to take a leap of faith
So here I go!

I'm diving in
I'm going deep
In over my head I want to be
Caught in the rush
Lost in the flow
In over my head I want to go
The river’s deep
The river’s wide
The river’s water is alive
So sink or swim I'm diving in

There is a supernatural power
In this mighty river’s flow
It can bring the dead to life
And it can fill an empty soul
And give a heart the only thing
Worth living and worth dying for
But we will never know the awesome power
Of the grace of God
Until we let ourselves get swept away
Into this holy flood
So if you'll take my hand
We'll close our eyes and count to three
And take the leap of faith
Come on let's go!

I'm diving in
I'm going deep
In over my head I want to be
Caught in the rush
Lost in the flow
In over my head I want to go
The river’s deep
The river’s wide
The river’s water is alive
So sink or swim I'm diving in
(Steven Curtis Chapman, Dive)

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." (Philipians 4:13)

Saturday, June 18, 2005


I'm off until this friday as a cabin counselor with my home church's youth group. The theme is "Rivalry," and we gonna be talking about spiritual warfare. I'm stoked. We'll be here - it's a beautiful camp. I'm looking forward to a week of the Gospel, good friends, paintball, river kayaking, conversation, the leader hunt, and copious belly laughts. And 3 square meals a day. See you soon.

Batman Begins

Just got back from seeing Batman Begins with Monica. It was good - and that's saying a lot, considering that I paid NINE DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS for a ticket. The last couple Batman movies have been boring, run-of-the-mill action flicks - muscly bad guys, plastic girls, cool gadgets, and big stars. But this movie is totally different in it's approach: it fleshes out what the first Batman movie only begins to hint at; how Batman went from a little kid whose parents got murdered to an un-killable crimefighter. It starts off a little jerky, but all the loose ends get tied together by the end, and I left the movie feeling like the good guys won. And it wasn't because they'd annihilated all the bad guys - it was because Batman stood for something, and he refused to compromise himself. He's definitely not without his problems, but his character's deep love for his father and his commitment to justice struck a chord in me.

I felt like this movie was compelling and engaging in the same way that Star Wars: Episode III was intriguing - it reveals the humanity, the struggle, the pain of characters that are very complex, which echoes deeply in us because it reminds of our own humanity and contradictions. In Episode III, we see Anakin's struggle with "ends justifying the means" so clearly and heart-wrenchingly that we empathize with his plight, and feel the pain of his poisioning by the "dark side." In Batman Begins, we see Bruce Wayne struggle with guilt, fear, and anger as he seeks to define himself and fight for justice. We see his humanity, and that's real. People today don't want fluff and smoke - they want substance, reality, truth.

Watching movies for me is similar to a way that I've heard people talk about reading parables - don't overanalyze them to death. These two are quite different in the respect that parables come from a book I believe to be the divinely inspired Word of GOD, while movies come from Hollywood (Nuff said.) I've had thoughts on some of the lines that Batman says with passages of the bible that deal with revenge, but I don't think I can read that deep into it without the whole movie falling down on top of me. Kinda like "The Matrix," which is full of biblical parallels, but the second two movies don't harmonize at all with the biblical connections of the first film.

I love how movies remind me of GOD's truth, but you can only read into a movie so far before it all comes apart. And so in thinking about the movie, I thought I'd keep it simple. Here's what I thought: There's a true way to live; a holy way. And though it may feel lonely sometimes, I know that there has gone one before me who has made the way straight, and it is his memory that pulls me ever onward in righteousness and holds me fast to those who are walking this path along with me. For Bruce, it was his dad, but for me, it's Jesus. And though I feel alone, I know that I'm never alone - thou art with me.

A gallon of gas: $2.39
Two movie tickets: $19
15 minutes of previews: boring
Being reminded of GOD's eternal truth through a movie from a broken world: priceless
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


I turned my last final and paper for my sophomore year of college today at 11:43 am. I knocked the socks off it too, which was pretty sweet - it was for my RST 135 class, "The Bible and Film." Right after I got out, I went over to the Davis Barber Shop to get my ears lowered by Thi ("Tee"), the best haircut I've found since I used to go the Darrel's Barbershop in Newark when I was a kid. I don't really care much about my hair, but if I'm going to invest my money in getting it cut, I'd rather not waste in on a cut that looks like my razor came to life and attacked me in my sleep.

Anyway, I was sitting there, looking at myself in the mirror while I sat there in the barber's chair and thought: "Summer is here. In two weeks I'm going to be 20 years old. I am now halfway done with college, at the end of which GOD only knows what I'll be doing (that's a good thing.) In less than a week I'm going to be a cabin counselor at the camp where I first accepted Christ, helping high school students grow closer to the GOD I love so much. I have adult responsibilites. Two weeks after that, I will be in China."

As you can tell it was a very surprisingly introspective time, while I was getting my hair cut of all things. GOD just springs stuff on me like that sometimes, coming out the cuts with some really insightful, cutting questions or fond memories. My favorite times are those times where I'll say something to someone, or in bible study like that and be like, "dude, that was good!" I don't think up cool stuff like that.

One of the most difficult questions for me to answer is, "How are you feel?", or "What do you think about _____?" Sometimes, I don't know how I feel. This past year has been so chock full of hard lessons, times of joy, times of pain, times when the last thing I wanted to do was think about how I felt, because I was afraid of the answers. There were times when I felt like I was growing old, but not, growing up. There were times where the last thing I wanted to do was talk to GOD; But there were also times when I couldn't seem to stop. Times when I was straining to hear the voice of GOD in my pointlessly busy life, and times when there was no way I could ignore him. Times when I couldn't feel GOD, and times when I felt like I could reach out and touch him. And the most exciting part is that it never stops - GOD's always moving, and I'm doing my best to go with his flow. Geez, I love it.

What do I feel right now? Joy. Regret. Pain. Hope. Love. Longing. Remorse. Fear. Anxiety. Tension. Peace. One of things I love most about GOD is that I don't have to hide any of these emotions - I can love him with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength, even the junk. So many feelings, so amazing - my life is such a roller coaster, but I wouldn't trade it for all the riches of this world. I wouldn't it trade for a safe life, a predictable life, or an organized life... I like my broken one just fine. My life seems to spin out of my hands sometimes, but looking back, I see that it spun right out of my hands and into His. My hope for my life is this: that I'll be too busy loving Jesus to do anything else. Amen.
"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it." (Luke 9:24)

"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified." (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

Sunday, June 12, 2005


Well, almost a week has passed since I entered crunch time, and now I have two finals left before I'm done with my sophomore year of college. Looking back, I didn't really have that much to do, but when I'm right in the middle of things, I tend to go crazy easier.

Friday night, I went out to Esparto for a birthday party for one of the students in Remix. It's about a 30-minute drive through some really scenic farmland, and it's really bomb when you roll the windows down and turn the heater up on your feet. On the drive back, I looked over my shoulder and saw flashes of light on the horizon.

The weather in northern California has been very abnormal lately - it poured rain for two days, it snowed in the Sierras, thunderstorms, and even even some small tornadoes. So I pulled over and got out of my car, and stared at the horizon. Overhead, there wasn't a cloud in the sky, and Esparto is a small town so the light pollution is almost non-existent. But on the horizon, there was a band of clouds that was practically on fire with electricity. There was no sound, just flashes of bright light on a cloudless, starry night. I could've stood there forever.

I felt privelidged to see what I saw, like GOD was right beside me, marveling in his creation along with me. Snow-capped mountains, pristine forests, endless oceans, sprawling deserts - they remind me that GOD really is indescribable, because none of the things on this earth, no matter how dazzlingly beautiful, can fully convey to me how glorious the GOD of wonders really is. I can only imagine when that day comes, but until then, thunderstorms that stop me in my tracks will remind me of the splendor of our King.

From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation's revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings (All exclaiming)

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light
Yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night (None can fathom)

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God You are amazing God

Incomparable, unchangeable
You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same
You are amazing God
You are amazing God
Chris Tomlin, Indescribable)

Monday, June 06, 2005


I'm not dead, but I am busy. This week is a crazy one, filled with a lot of hard work to be done. I definitely felt like I was at running on fumes this morning, and that was when I wrote this pretty dark, brooding reflection:
"This is my last week of class, and my first final is this saturday. I've been totally consumed this past few days with papers, minuets, reading assignments, meetings, eBay, emails, and classes. I am hurting.

I was talking with a friend yesterday about how being on the quarter system here at UCD is like running a sprint. I think that's very true, and I feel like for this quarter I tripped when the gun went off, and now I'm running twice as hard to make up for it.

I've been thinking this week about the commitments that I have, and how I so often do not live up to them. I ran into a guy last week who told me he was in the middle of conducting a scientific experiment to discover why he was not able to do what he told himself he was going to do. I read an article last week that said close to half of married couples that go into marriage therapy end up getting divorced anyway. When it comes to honoring my commitments and promises, it's easy to see that I'm far from perfect. Way far, sometimes."
Yeah, it was pretty wack. But I had some time today to really set aside for prayer and preparation for a devotional I gave tonight about commitment (of all things), and all of the sudden it was like a light came on in my head: I realized that it's going to be ok. I'm not a failure. This quarter hasn't been a waste. It blows my mind how willing I am to give into my doubts and let them tear me down until I feel like all of my feeble toil has been in vain, and that I will never cross the finish line, or if I do I will be on my hands and knees.

It's true: I'm broken, and I'm faithless sometimes. Sometimes I walk, and sometimes I crawl. I fail. But I know that the GOD I serve is more faithful than I can ever know, and he is true when it seems like my whole world is a lie. I'm not done - I'm not even tired yet, because it is not by this strength that I run this race, and it is definitely not by my power that I get up again when I take a nasty fall. Finish line, here I come - I'm going to cross you running.
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

"What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar." (Romans 3:3-4a)

"I can do everything through him who gives me strength." (Philipians 4:13)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


I like to walk barefoot when it's nice out. Yesterday, I was walking over to the cafeteria to get some grub and decided to take off my flops and feel the grass between my toes. Not three steps later, I felt this sharp pain on the bottom of my foot. At first, I thought that it was just a sharp sticker or something like that, but after sitting down and checking it out, I realized that I had stepped on a bee. My dad was a beekeeper, so I don't have a phobia of bees or anything like that, but it hurt pretty bad. It still hurts today, too - it's one of those lingering, nagging pains that almost has more of a psychological effect than a physical one. It's a draining kind of pain, one that won't go away.

I was reading an article in the NY times about online confessionals, and came across one site called PostSecret. The posts on the site consist of images of decorated 4x6 index cards that people have written their confessions on. This one hurt the most:

It's a nagging sort of pain, the kind that wears on me in moments where I feel like I bear the pain, suffering, and filth of the whole world on my shoulders. Going to a public university like UC Davis constantly exposes to the pain of wounded, lost, and decieved people, and there are more needs here that I could possibly ever personally meet. I know that it's not my fault, and that there is only so much I can do, but there's moments where I wish I could personally hug ever person who's ever been rejected and ostracized by the church. I wish I could wipe away the tears of every rape victim. I wish I could pull the gun from the had of every person who ever thought of commiting suicide. I wish I could visit every person who has ever felt alone and tell them that there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

But I can't. I can't do it all, but I serve a GOD who can. A GOD who knows how it feels to be used, to be alone, abused, and abandoned. His strength is my shield. I think of him, and his pain becomes my peace. That's all I know.
Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:13-17)
[I am not trying to make any kind of statement or judgement about homosexuals by my choice of graphic. I know that it's an issue today where there's a lot of hate and not a lot of love for people grappling with the weight of the issue of homosexuality. The card hurt my heart because of the hurt and loneliness of the confession juxtaposed with unconditional love. I have my thoughts about homosexuality, but I didn't mean to portray them flippantly or merely in passing. The issue deserves more than that.]