Monday, October 29, 2007


Britney's Mom to Write Parenting Book

Out of curiosity, I clicked through to Britney's website, which is currently just a picture of her covering herself with white gloves. Oh, how sad. One thing I did notice in this article is that this book is going to be published by Thomas Nelson, a Christian publishing house. See you soon.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Over the past few years, I've become more educated on what is being called the "emerging" Church. I want to say off the bat that I'm woefully ignorant of what is really going on in "emerging" churches around the world, but from what I have read in a few books and experienced through conversations with good friends and visiting churches that label themselves as emerging (like my buddy Trevor's church, Risen), I have found myself drawn to the honesty, authenticity, and commitment to living and loving in the way of Jesus exhibited in them. A few years ago, I read A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren, and although I really appreciated his honesty, transparency, and his heart for the purity and mission of the church in the world, his bitter criticism made it hard for me to take him seriously. In contrast, I found Robert Webber's The Younger Evangelicals to be a winsome and hopeful picture of how the Holy Spirit is moving across continents and denominations to call the Church to a renewal of heart in our world.

To avoid butchering Webber's analysis of how "The Younger Evangelicals" are making their own unique contribution to Christ's Church, I'll let him speak for himself:
"...the leadership of the younger evangelical will be distinctly different than that of the twentieth-century evangelical. It will be biblically informed by the Missio Dei to rescue the entire created order; it will be theological, rooted in the trinitarian and christological consciousness of the ancient creed; it will be spiritual, reflecting the purposes of God to restore the fullness of his image in us and to bring all creation to its redemption and reconciliation to God; and it will be conscious in its action in and to the world of the new cultural situation in which we live, taking into consideration the new realities of the twenty-first century." (p. 243)
If that was a bunch of gibberish for you, then ignore this post. But if you know a few of those longer words, you'll see that Webber has the ability and the desire to portray clearly how younger evangelicals are different from the predecessors, including Pragmatic and Traditional evangelicals, which he sucessfully does in a way that both encourages and challenges.

If you've got a little time and you want to have a better understanding of some of the hopeful and exciting strands that are emerging in the evangelical church, I found Webber's work to be academic but approachable. He incorporates a lot of interviews with "younger evangelicals," he looks at a few examples of churches which exemplify his findings, and there's even an essay by Rob Bell on preaching inside. His words on the value of the arts in the emerging church has struck a chord in me, being a musician, and having read his overview of the world of the "younger evangelicals," I feel more hopeful and expectant of the amazing work that God is continuing to do in our radically broken world through us, his people. See you soon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Monica and I are back from San Diego - we had a great time hanging out at the Youth Specialties conference. Some highlights:
  • Running through the Halo 3 campaign with Danny
  • Hearing an awesome message from Francis Chan
  • Watching TJ's soccer game with the Berry family
  • Going to a bunch of sweet seminars, and spending time being encouraged by people I love
The conference was a welcome rest, and Monica and I come back excited for new things and getting settled into our new home. I'll be posting about some of my learnings over the next week or two. See you soon.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


We haven't gotten around to picking up a kitchen table yet, so we've been eating off of our desk. Actually, since this picture was taken, we've plopped this in our office and now we're eating off of our coffee table. We've heading to San Diego for the National Youthworker's Convention this weekend - we're looking forward to an awesome time of hanging out with friends (we're staying with Dan and Brian, and hanging out with a gang of other folks), spending time together as newlyweds, and being equipped and encouraged to faithful to our calling to youth ministry. See you soon.

Monday, October 15, 2007


One of the books that I had a chance to finish off while Monica and I were down in Carmel was Beyond Bumper Sticker Ethics, by Steve Wilkens. I found it in my office, and it seemed like it would be an interesting read. Wilkens is a professor of religion and philosophy at Azusa Pacific University (Peter is taking a class from him right now), and I think that this book is probably what is used as the textbook for his Ethics class. Wilkens defines ethics as "the process of how we work through moral issues." I find this issue to be extremely significant, because it answers the question, "What do we as Christians do?" For those of us committed to living out our faith in Jesus today, the issue of how we decide upon the actions we choose is incredibly significant, and so I was really excited to be challenged and stimulated in my own journey towards developing a better foundation for the way that I make decisions in the Way of Jesus.

I really enjoyed the book - Wilkens writes in a way that is academic and thorough, but very readable. The format of the book centers around a series of what he calls "Bumper Stickers": short little catchphrases that he uses as jumping-off points to examine different ethical systems. He uses the phrase, "When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do" to describe and critique the ethical system of Cultural Relativism, and "All You Need is Love" to describe Virtue Ethics. He gives a summary of each ethical system, describes the positive elements, and then offers some critiques of each.

Wilkens does not conclude this book with a cut-and-dried description of a comprehensive Christian ethical system - I see the wisdom in this, because the truth is that the convictions that govern our actions cannot be neatly wrapped up and applied in every situation. But Wilkens does say that the point is not necessarily to come to a finite end at which all ethical decisions will solve themselves, but to strive with compassion, wisdom, and truth to do that which brings Glory to GOD, whether it's deciding whether or not it's OK to download TV episodes off of YouTube or giving money to a homeless man who might use it to buy a sandwich or buy drugs. Wilkens says it this way: "Truthfulness, goodness and rightness need to characterize not only our conclusions but also the means by which we get to our conclusions." I came away from this book with a better understanding of how to think critically about how I make decisions, but also with a heart to pursue GOD's heart for my hands, my feet, and my money, and to place my trust in the Holy Spirit to guide me and the grace of GOD to cover me as I make decisions as a steward, a friend, a husband, a pastor, a giver, and a Child of GOD.
May you and I be the hands and feet of Jesus with greater wisdom, discernment, compassion, love, and truth tomorrow than we were today. See you soon.
Just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (James 2:26)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

PSALM 130.

I'm almost done with Foster's Prayer, which talks about the beauty of praying and singing the Psalms. I was blessed enough to find it in the thrift store - I'm not quite finished yet, but I am moved again by his great warmth, the depth of his passion and devotion, and the eloquent simplicity with which he deals with his subject. This morning as I was reading the scripture, I read through Psalm 130. I was struck by how lyrical it was, so I was moved to put it to some music.

So through the techno-wizardry of my wife's brand new MacBook, I recorded this setting of Psalm 130 on GarageBand, converted it to mp3, and posted it on my church's website. This is a rough cut - you can hear the metronome in the background, but I was so excited about it I wanted to put it up. I'll replace it with a more final cut later. I hope you're blessed by the singing of GOD's word. See you soon. The link below leads to the final cut.

1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;

2 O Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.

3 If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins,
O Lord, who could stand?

4 But with you there is forgiveness;
therefore you are feared.

5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.

6 My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.

7 O Israel, put your hope in the LORD,
for with the LORD is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.

8 He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


It's official - I'm (we're) hitched. Our wedding was amazing - there was a sense of holy expectancy in the air as GOD brought about a miracle between us that was so beautiful and joyous. It rained during the exact time of our ceremony, but numerous people told us that rain on your wedding day is a good omen. Whether this is true or simply meant to make us feel better was irrelevant - the rain made it all the more intimate and significant. As we stood before our family and friends, our thought and hope is that that was a little slice of what heaven would be like - filled with joy, surrounded by dear family, treasured and invaluable friends, trusted and beloved fellow travelers walking beside us on the journey of faith. We are blessed to be so dearly loved and supported by so many, and to share with you, if not the joy of our wedding day, the surpassing joy of our lives lived for GOD's glory.

We spent a week in Carmel, came back for my brother-from-another-mother Dan's wedding, and then headed off for a week in Kauai. We're silly blessed, and we had an awesome time. I'll be posting up the pictures to my Picasa page, which I mentioned in the last post. I'll put a link on the sidebar, and I'll let you know when they're up. I also had the chance to chew on a few good books - I'll post some of my thoughts later. See you soon!
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:12-17)