Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Cause and effect makes sense to me. When you add two and two, you get four. If you smoke cigarettes for your whole life, you will have health problems. If you touch a hot stove, you will get burned. If you never go to class, you won't do good on the test (unless you're way smart, but that's not me.) The way that you treat other people is that way that people will treat you. Easy. Cause and effect.

I watched Crash tonight - it definitely ranks as one of the most intense movies that I have ever seen in my life. Not just because of the very suspenseful, complex plot, but because of the sheer emotional intensity with which it deals with an emotionally intense subject: racism. Imagine the cruel irony in Romeo and Juliet's final embrace ten times over, and you will know how I felt after watching this movie. It pulled on my heart strings for over two hours until they were raw, and when the film finally let go, I felt like there was nothing left in me that was capable of caring about anything.

There is no way that I could attempt to explain the characters, and the way in which their lives intertwine and crash together, because this movie is so true to life; it is so complex that you could never, ever, find the words to explain it all. One of my greatest fears is that no one listens to me. Not that people don't hear me; my fear is that they don't listen. I know that the sound waves that leave my mouth are recorded as tiny vibrations in other people ears, which are in turn interpreted by the mind as intelligible speech - but my fear is that all those fancy words, no matter how impassioned or heartfelt, will fail to make one lick of difference. There are just so many factors, so many stories, hidden desperations, aspirations, and ironies in all of us that I consider myself lucky when I can lay in bed at night and understand myself, let alone someone else.

But I want to understand people. I want to understand why this world is so broken. I want GOD to be like Yoda, who explains to Luke that fear leads to anger, which leads to hate, which leads to suffering, which leads to the Dark Side. I want to understand. I want people to listen. I want cause and effect, because I understand it. I don't understand GOD. In my mind, I know that I can't do everything, I can't save everyone, and I can't make this world un-broken - but in my heart, the longing to make all this world's wrongs right weighs so heavily that I feel sometimes that I might be crushed under it's weight. It hurts.

Don Miller records in his book, Searching For GOD Knows What, a conversation between Larry King and Billy Graham in which King asks, "Why is there so much hatred and suffering in the world? Why are people killing each other? Why is there war? Why?" Billy Graham turns to him and said, "Well, a long time ago there was a garden with a tree in it, and a man named Adam..."

Oh LORD, I know in my heart that this is true, but this same soft heart within me breaks and breaks and breaks for all the victims of racism, capitalism, militarism, and every other -ism that leaves people isolated and destroyed; for the billion people, people who are going to bed tonight hungry, and the countless others going to bed tonight with a desperate longing for their life to mean something. The countless people who are falling in a black abyss of utter despair, drained and numb by a world that is drained and numb. The huddled masses, yearning to be free. The people.

There was a time in my life when I was falling through a black abyss, and there was no one to catch me. But now, as the ground is pulled from under me and I am falling once more, I am not alone - I find myself softly resting in GOD's warm embrace, enveloped by the very Spirit of GOD. It is here that my mind and my heart crash. It is here that the black, white, and the gray fall away, and with a whispered "I love you," I am covered in GOD's redemptive love, floating down like white snow from Heaven above. It is here that Jesus' nail-pierced hand wipes away all of my tears. It is here that I find the strength to daily be the change I want to see in the world. It is here, in the presence of the living, loving, holy GOD, that I find my rest. It is here that I remember that though my heart burns and my tears flow, it will be all right. Amen, peace, and Shalom.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:28-29)

" Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." (Matthew 5:4)

"Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things." (Psalm 107:4-9)

Monday, September 26, 2005


I'm not dead - I'm starting school for my 3rd year here at UCD, and it's been nuts in my world with all of the errands, responsibilites, and demands that come with being me. But I had an awesome chance to spend time in Yosemite with some of my fraternity brothers this last weekend, and I can't tell you what a breath of fresh air (literally) it was to be out in the redwoods and under the stars.

I've got some stories that I'm itchin' to share, but with school looming, it might take me awhile. I'm excited about what this next year holds, and thankful for the summer that I had to get stoked for it. I've already experienced the pain and disorientation that comes when the rubber finally meets the road, but I've promised that this will be a year where I love louder, follow Jesus wherever he leads, and refuse to be silent. Talk to you soon.
It's the way Your stars shine
Sometimes so bright I swear I could hear
It's the way Your moonlight
Falls on this mountain lake so clear
It's the way Your sunshine
Paints Your evening sky and
It's the way Your rain falls
To sing me to sleep at night and
I fall, I fall into You

God of Creation take my breath away
God of the Heavens in this very space

You enter suddenly and I am lost again
Inside the majesty, oh I am lost again
And You come suddenly, 'cause I am lost again
Inside the mystery, oh I am lost again
I am lost again
Inside the majesty
Inside the mystery
(God of Creation, David Crowder Band)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Searching for God Knows What

Sorry if I missed the mark on the last post - I'll have these moments in church when I'm really hearin' what the preacher's saying, and I feel like if the dude just kicked over from a heart attack, I'd stand up and keep bringin' it. That was one of those moments. I'll just stick to lovin' Jesus.

Anyway, I think that the mark of a good book or a good speaker is that when you talk with your friends about said author/speaker, you refer to them by their first name.

I just finished reading "Searching For GOD Knows What" by Don Miller. He's been recommended to me over and over again, and I've heard him talked up and down and all around, and so I expedited him to the top of the "to read" pile and went at it. I was not disappointed. I've heard that "Blue Like Jazz" is his best work, but I was very impressed by his honest style and his winsome, engaging, and down-to-earth storytelling ability. From the things that I had heard about him I expected his writing to be tinged with sarcasm and cynicism, but this was not the case - he definitely confronts some of the quirks and shortcomings of the American church culture, but he refers to the Church as "we" and not "them." His exhortation for disciples of Christ today to move from a formulaic understanding of GOD to an intimate relationship with Him was very heartfelt and sincere. Some interesting passages:
"If you ask me, the separation of truth from meaning is a dangerous game. I don't think memorizing ideas helps anybody unless they already understand the meaning inferred in the expression of those ideas. I think ideas have to sink very deeply into a person's soul, into their being, before they can effect change ... when we take Christian theology out of the context of its narrative, when we ignore the poetry in which it is presented, when we turn it into formulas to help us achieve the American dream, we lose its meaning entirely..."(pgs. 57-58)

"If our minds are not on Christ and we treat Communion like a little religious pill, or baptism like a woo-woo bath, or fast to feel some kind of pain about our sacrifice, the significance is gone. It is the trick of Satan to get us to go through religious motions divorced of their relational significance. It is the trick of Satan to get us to perform religious actions without meaning them ... It would be most tragic for a person to know everything about GOD, but not GOD; to know all about the rules of spiritual marriage, but never walk the aisle." (pgs.203, 205)

Man, I love reading from people who love Jesus. I learn to follow after Christ more devotedly and wholeheartedly, but I also can sense author's authentic and child-like faith float from the page and spurn me on to love harder, live louder, and run with perseverance with the lover of my soul. Thanks for the read, Don.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Wind

I've talked about this before, but in case you didn't know, me and my dad like to ride bikes. The path that we ride on is 9 miles each way, and it runs along the beautiful Alameda Creek, which starts in Niles Canyon (where I live) and runs out into the southern portion of San Francisco Bay. The first 7 miles are shaded with tall trees and colorful shrubs of all kinds, but the last two miles are practically bare. It's flat, for the most part, with Coyote Hills in the background and the salt flats beyond. If you were just to take a look at the trail, it wouldn't strike you as appearing to be too particularly difficult; It's definitely not one of those grueling mountain stages that those monstrous dudes kick to the curb in the Tour de France. No, the hardest part about it is what you can't see: the wind.

Wind is powerful. When I'm out on my bike rides with my dad, The wind blows so hard that it's almost impossible to go forward in a straight line. For those last 2 miles, me and my pops are riding straight into the wind that's blowing in off of the bay, which is all the more maddening because the trail looks deceptively calm, but at the same time the wind is roaring in my ears and I feel like I'm going to start rolling backwards. I can't see the wind, but I most definitely feel it. You would think that since the wind is blowing so hard at me the way out, that it would be a nice tailwind on the way home, but this isn't the case; half the time, the wind buffets me like crazy on the way back home, too. (I was going to write a post on how easy it is to come home and use the tailwind as an illustration, but nature wasn't very cooperative. I got a good laugh out of that one.) The wind out on the trail doesn't just blow in from one direction, it comes in from all over the place: a violent, invisible maelstrom of angry air particles.

This last weekend, I was sitting around with some friends, we watched the video from Rob Bell's "Nooma" series called "Dust," and afterwards we were discussing the passage in Matthew where Peter gets out of the boat to walk on the water with Jesus. At first, Peter calls out boldly to Jesus to bid him to get out of the boat. Rob explained that disciples of Rabbis in Jesus' time followed their Rabbi because they wanted to be just like them, hence Peter's desire to emulate Jesus' miracle. And after Jesus bids Peter to join him, he calls on Jesus once again, not in expectation, but in desperation because he started sinking like a stone. I guess rocks don't float very well. (Cheesy church joke. I crack myself up.) The interesting thing about this is that the Scripture says that the reason for his fear and subsequent sinking were due to this fact: he saw the wind. Holy Moses. The word for wind in the greek is pneuma (where Rob Bell gets the name for his video series) has a few other meanings: it also means spirit, or breath according to people who are way smarter and loving than me.

I can only imagine what I was that Peter saw: he saw the storm and he saw Jesus standing out on the water, but when he got out of that boat, he stepped into a whole new world, a new understanding, an experience with the invisible becoming visible. He thought he was just going to be walking on water, but all of the sudden, the swirling eddies of the wind became visible, and he was so overwhelmed that he started to flail and sink. Dude, I can't even imagine what that would be like, to see plainly what I had before only just felt like Peter did in that moment of faith in his beautiful master, Jesus. To be in the shoes of Peter, who experienced a divine moment with Christ in flesh that none of the other disciples shared. Sure, the other disciples bowed down to Jesus after he got back in the boat, but none of the saw what Peter saw. My boy Tony C. says that believers are people who give intellectual assent to propositional statements, but disciples are people who are submitted to the will of the master. Peter submitted to the will of the master, and got way more that he ever could have imagined. He saw the wind. John Ortberg has written this book called "If you want to walk on water, you need to get out of the boat." My buddy Dusty was like, "I don't even need to read the book. The title's enough." Amen to that.

GOD, thanks for the way that your word comes alive in our hands. I almost feel like the invisible presence of your son, Jesus, sits alongside me as your stories flow off out of the pages. I may not be able to see you, but I know that as I step out of the boat, I will see your glory. See you soon.
"Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance[a] from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." (Matthew 14:22-32)
P.S. - This blog is a place for me to convey my thoughts and feelings as I walk with Christ, and it's the times when I pretend that I'm an experienced Bible expositor that I miss the mark. The things that I write here are far from infallible, so if I write something that sounds fishy or unbiblical, huck it. But I hope we can still be friends. Haha. See you soon.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Street Preachers

A few months back, I wrote about an experience that I had with one of the very agressive evangelists that you see on college campuses and street corners in America, and all over the world. I think that there is a very interesting dichotomy in my mind with respect to street preachers, because on one hand I feel that the way in which they seek to share the Gospel of Christ can sometimes does more harm than good, but on the other hand I feel like they're right where Christians are supposed to be: I don't mean waving a bible in front of peoples' faces on a street corner, but rather outside of the church sanctuary and out where all the people who have refused to have GOD in their knowledge are. Out where all the people who need Jesus are. Out where the hungry, thirsty, hopeless, despairing people are.

My thoughts were piqued on this subject by a post that I read on a blog called "Odyssey." You can read the post here. His thoughts on the need for the Church to be out where the Word is most needed were very compelling. Shoot, while I was doing some googling for this post, I even ran across a website dedicated to people who are Street Preachers. Check it out here. See you soon.
"In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

"A voice of one calling in the desert,
'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'

John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River." (Matthew 3:1-6)

Friday, September 02, 2005


My summer is drawing to the close. It's been fun getting my hands dirty with my dad and being home, but the time is fast approaching for me to head back to Davis. I'm excited, but at the same time I will miss the time that I've had for the past month to just soak.

This summer, I've been reading through a book with a good friend called Every Man, GOD's Man. One of the chapters I just read today is called, The Best Marinade Ever, and it talks about the need in the church today for the spiritual discipline of meditation on the Word of GOD. He says this:
"The defining marker for GOD's man is that he thinks deeply and continuously about what GOD has spoken... the man who immerses himself in GOD's Word takes on the very character of GOD; he is changed into someone new." (p. 133)
Now, I don't know what school of thought you subscribe to with regards to the sanctity of the bible physically, and the truth is that I don't subscribe to anything - but I don't write in my bible. If you're a bible-writer-inner, props to you, but there's no stigma or scriptural conviction that keeps me from doing it - I just use post-its, legal pads, and napkins to write on instead. But plain ol' books, on the other hand, I carve up like a turkey on Thanksgiving. It helps me to take a book like a sponge and squeeze every bit of insight and truth out of it that I can, and I can say that I read that sucker. I also like it because when I want to go back to a book and remember what I thought about it, I can just read my notes and underlinings. It's the bomb - if you didn't know already, I love to read.

So this what I've been doing: soaking my mind and soul in the WORD, in sweet books, and in the very Spirit of GOD. I've been readin' it up, prayin' it up, talkin' it up, servin' it up, thinkin' it up, dreamin' it up, preachin' it up, and lovin' it up. My hope is that at the end of it all, I can look back and say that it all hasn't been for nothing; that I've been transformed by the things that I've learned, the people that I've loved, the friends I've served, and the GOD that I have glorified. It feels so good to have some soak time. See you soon.
"Do not conform any longer to the patterns on this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind; then you will be able to test and approve what GOD's will is: his good, pleasing, and perfect will." (Romans 12:2)

"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." (Colossians 3:2)