Saturday, November 12, 2005


The bulk of my life is spent juggling. I'm not talking about apples or red balls or anything like that, because my coordination is horrible. I mean my life. I wake up in the morning, and I brush my teeth, otherwise they'll rot and fall out. Then, I jump in the shower, because if I don't, I'll smell bad. Then I have breakfast, because if I don't, I'll starve. Then I go to class, because if I don't, I'll fail. Then I come home and throw some laundry in the washer, because if I don't, I'll have nothing but dirty clothes to wear. I wash my hands. I pay my bills. I take out the trash. Trim my fingernails. Get haircuts. Go to the doctor. Make my bed so I can sleep it again in 24 hours. Clean my room, so I can make it dirty again. Much of my life is spent in such things, actions that simply function to prevent my life from coming apart at the seams. I'm constantly retreating, constantly treading water.

In the midst of this endless maintenance, it's easy for my life to become the sum of my upkeep. If I can just get through each day having taken care of everything on my to-do list, having handled every crisis, and come to the end of the day in one piece, then I'm happy. The irony of this is that when my life becomes solely about putting out one fire after another, and I get good at it, my life truly does fall apart. My dreams shink. My hope dwindles. I die on the inside. My spirit no longer soars; I am the doubting Thomas, who refuses to walk by faith before putting his hand into Jesus' side. I want only what I can see, and I believe only what I can touch. I'm numb.

The drive out to the church that I work at is beautiful, especially at night. It cuts through 15 miles of flat farmland, and there are hardly any lights. So when I drive, I always drive... with all the windows up and the heat on. Radio blasting. Numb. But this is dangerous, because this combination of driving and comfort makes me sleepy. It is at this point where I realize that something has to change, or I will never get home in one piece. So I roll down the window and drive Ace-Ventura style, with my head hanging out the window. This wakes me up. I go from feeling numb to feeling alive.

And so when my life becomes comfortable and predictable, it is the spirit of GOD within me that urges me to roll down my window and stick my head out. It is the spirit of GOD that nudges me to walk away from the endless juggling and into a life of obedient, blind faith. It is the spirit of GOD that draws my gaze from my feet to the stars. And lost in the infinite wonder, I feel like myself. I feel alive.

I'm going to go stick my head out the window. See you soon.
Maybe I've been the problem
Maybe I'm the one to blame
But even when I turn it off and blame myself
The outcome feels the same

I've been thinkin' maybe I've been partly cloudy
Maybe I'm the chance of rain
And maybe I'm overcast and maybe
All my luck's washed down the drain

I've been thinkin' 'bout everyone, everyone you look so lonely
But when I look at the stars,
When I look at the stars,
When I look at the stars
I see someone else
When I look at the stars, the stars
I feel like myself

Stars looking at our planet,
Watching entropy and pain
And maybe startin' to wonder
How the chaos in our lives could pass as sane

I've been thinkin' 'bout the meaning of resistance
Of a hope beyond our own
And suddenly the infinite and penitent
Began to look like home
(Switchfoot, Stars)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


I love coffee ice cream. I don't like drinking coffee, but I like ice cream.

I love a warm peppermint hot chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles on it. It makes me think about Christmas, and that makes me think about Jesus.

I love riding my buddy's big cruiser bike. It makes me miss my old cruiser bike. If you're out there somewhere bike, I'm sorry I left you out in the rain on campus for so long. I miss you.

I love reading books by people who love Jesus. They make me love Jesus more.

I love hanging out with friends who love Jesus. They make me love Jesus more.

I love feeling so elated at the goodness of GOD that I just have to pinch myself, hug someone, or scream, or something. It's nuts.

I love chewing on the word of GOD, and being nourished by it. I love to teach it. I love to learn it. I love people who love to learn it and teach it.

I love to love my friends.

I love to love my enemies, because it is in this way that Christ overcame the world, and in so doing He can that same overcoming work in me.

I love feeling so alive that the only way I can convey how I truly feel is to write out a series of scatterbrained phrases like this one.

I love because the lover of my soul first loved me.

I love.
I could sing unending songs
Of how you saved my soul
& I could dance a thousand miles
Because of your great love

My heart is bursting Lord to
To tell of all you've done
Of how've you changed my life
And wiped away the past
I want to shout it out
From every roof top sing
For now I know
That God is for me, not against me

I could sing unending songs
Of how you saved my soul
& I could dance a thousand miles
Because of your great love

Everybody's singin' now
Cuz we're so happy
Everybody's dancin' now
Cuz we're so happy

If only I could see your face,
See you smiling over us
And unseen angels celebrate
The joy is in this place
(Martin Smith, The Happy Song)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


This is a gambusia fish (prounounced gam-boo-juh.) It's also commonly referred to as the "mosquitofish," because schools of these fish are commonly released into pools of stagnant water in order to consume mosquito larvae. My buddy Dan worked for the Yuba County Mosquito Abatement division this past summer, and he told me that this little fish is a commonly used weapon in the fight against rampant mosquito infestation.

In Yuba County, they have pools where they hold the fish until they are needed, at which point they drag a net through the pool, throw the fish in the back of the truck, and dump them in whatever pool they need to be dumped into. This system works fine, but this supply of gambusia is not inexhaustible; towards the end of the summer, the gambusia supply was practically depleted, but they were still in high demand, as the mosquito season was not quite over. So at this point, it fell upon my buddy Dan to visit the local spawning grounds of these precious gambusia fish, so that they could be harvested and brought back to Mosquito Abatement central. This doesn't seem like a particularly difficult task, except that the local breeding ground for gambusia fish is a series of above-ground sewage ponds.

And so Dan and a coworker would sport full waders (no gloves), a net, and some heavy boots, and wade out into the middle of this stinking sewage puddle. The pond itself is a bout 4 1/2 feet deep, which came up to about the middle of Dan's chest. Once they had waded to the middle of this pool, they would proceed to walk from one side of the pool to the other, dragging the net between them. The consistency of the pond was that of thick soup, and the bottom was very slippery. There were times of absolute terror that Dan could recall when he almost fell totally over. And standing in the middle of that stinking morass, Dan recalled that he thought this thought: "I never thought, in my entire life, that my life would come to this."

And standing in the midst of a raging Halloween party this last weekend, I felt the same way. I know that Jesus visited the houses of tax collectors and befriended prostitutes, but there are times in my life where I wonder if Jesus has been formed in me to the point that I can shine bright in a place full of half-naked women and empty beer bottles. Paul's command to not be transformed by the world, yet be in the world rings in my ears, but I wonder how far I can reach without falling in. When it ceases to be "being all things to all people" and becomes a foolish foray into temptation and ineffectiveness.

But I do know this: when I stand before the gates of Heaven to exchange my filthy rags for clothes of the purest white, I want my waders to stink. I don't want to have gone to the edge of the sewage pool and let my fear of getting dirty overwhelm the desire of Christ in me to net those little fish. With the spirit of GOD in me, I want to wade through the filth of this world, so that when I one day stand before Christ, I might have the person who waded through my filth to love me with the love of Christ on one side, and by the grace of GOD, some of those little fish I waded through filth for on the other. And what a glorious day it will be, when this broken world comes to Shalom, and the work of Christ is completed.

But this day has not yet come, so with my GOD by my side, into the filth I go. But I won't go alone, and I sure won't forget my waders. Talk to you soon.
"As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 'Come, follow me,' Jesus said, 'and I will make you fishers of men.' At once they left their nets and followed him." (Matthew 4:18-20)

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of 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)