Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I haven't done much writing in the last few days. I have been spending a lot of time with my family. With my 8 year old being out of school and my 2 year old having no day care- I have had my hands full. They keep me busy but I am very blessed to have an amazing wife and kids- who are able to put up with me.
I cant believe we are going to start another year in two days, 2009. That is absolutely insane. I am looking forward to this new year. We are going to start a new series in January called "what would you do?" It is going to be about integrity and getting a grasp on who we are when no one is looking. For so many of us we have two personalities: the one we put out there for people to perceive and the one that is real and genuine which many people don't see. Not that we are all a bunch of "Jekyl and Hydes" who have an extremely wicked side. Its more that we sometimes don't have intimate relationships with people who we can share our passions, dreams, and hopes as well as the hurts, addictions, and behaviors we desire to be free from.
In this new Series we are going to look at what a transparent life looks like and hopefully help people chart a course for a life of freedom through meaningful relationships with God, Others and Yourself.
Happy New Year everyone!!!!!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
The Cowboys lost on Saturday, I am a Cowboy fan. Sometimes I think i might be a little overly-passionate about sports (OK all the time.) When I was a kid I would cry when the Cowboys lost. I almost did last night because they looked so pitiful. Sometimes a little perspective is needed, to be injected in our souls to help us see things clearly. Found this site did that for me today and thought I would pass it on...
Greg Ellis plays for the Cowboys. Great to hear some of these stories.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
We let them make their own Ice Cream Sundays. you can see the mess they made. This was one of the occasions that made me think of back when I was a kid. I wondered why my parents wouldn't let me eat all the sweets that I wanted. We put a little limitation on them but mostly just let them go at it. It was kind of funny to see them grabbing their stomach and moaning from all the sugar.
Turns our my parents were right on most things. As a parent you really look back and see all the times your parents didnt let you do something you didn't wanted to and it seemed like they were just trying to make your life miserable, when really they had your best interest in mind.
I find I often feel like God isn't responding the way I would like I want and feel like he isnt present or doesn't care. The truth is that he always has my best interest in mind, and sometimes the struggles I feel like he is abandoning me on are the very things I need to develop some maturity in my life.
Having a perspective with this understanding make make life much either to cope with, and also allows me to draw closer to God both in the good and bad times.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Find more videos like this on AdGabber
I am a recent student of branding and design. I am very interested in what catches peoples attention and what keeps them interested. This Pepsi clip is interesting an shows the evolution of their logo and look. throughout the decades they have always been relevant because they meet people where they are at. I think as a follower of Christ it is important for us to take this amazing unchanging truth that we have been commissioned with and present it in ways that catch peoples attention. We live in a world of millions of messages and the greatest message often gets lost because of poor representation by those it has been entrusted with. I am challenged to let my life be billboard that allows people to see the amazing grace and mercy offered by God to all.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Christmas rocked- got the tree up! Great time to celebrate the birth of Jesus!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Got to hang with Jerrod for a while will finish in a bit....
Monday, December 1, 2008
A couple of Months ago I did a message at Elevate called "Embracing your Passion." It was about taking what you love and using it for the good of god's kingdom. I took a look back at my previous entries and it was apparent Itended to come from a negative or self loathing slant. It easy to fall into the old religious trap of self-deprecation because of the guilt we carry with us, that God never intended us to lug that around- in fact he was so passionate about it that died for it.
Basically when we loose our passion and start analyzing our every move it gets depressing and in order to feel spiritual or "Christian" we fall into the trap of a sadistic religious ritual of beating ourselves up.
I want to stop looking at the imperfectness that will always be present in my flesh, and stop judging myself by what I do and don't do, and begin to embrace my God-given passions.
Passions are the thing that make you move when its not popular, comfortable, easy, sensible, logical, and all those others things that keep us paralyzed in the circular process of guilt and shame that plagues so many people into nominal unmotivated lives.
In the next couple of days and weeks I want to begin to strive ahead with my passions, embrace my weaknesses and press forward with the gifts, abilities and passions that God has created me with.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
I had an interesting Thanksgiving this year. I actually ate my thanksgiving dinner out of a to-go box alone. Sounds pretty depressing huh? We traveled down to LA on Wednesday to spend the holiday with Codies family at her uncles house. Five minutes after we arrived Jackson (my 2 year old) started hurling- not just a cute little throw up, like the... almost started going into some unnecessary gruesome details. So not only did he puke one he spent three days laying in bed getting up every 15-20 minutes for a good cry and another hurl. Poor guy was such a trooper- I would have called it quits after what he went through.
So Thursday for thanksgiving I sent Codie to spend time with her family and me and Jackson stayed in bed. Codie Did bring me a rather fantastic spread in the to-go box and although I ate alone it was great.
Anyway Jackson is finally feeling better, and I actually got a little sleep the last 2 nights.
A few things I am thankful for:
1. My Family- Healthy or Sick I am blessed
2. The Fact that God loves and uses "Failures"
3. a Great Church that loves to be the church rather than play it.
4. A great group of Friends who I get to do life with.
5. Kenny the Shark- Love watching it with my two boys, we laugh at each other more than the show.
6. Mac Computers. On the 8th day God created.... you know
7. Diet Pepsi
8. The experiences in life that helped shape and mold me
9. Humor: If it weren't for the ability to laugh life would be too serious
10. God's provision (I know trite cheesy spiritual quote- but extremely true.
hope you all had a great thanksgiving.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I can Identify with Paul in Romans 7 when he says "the things I want to do I don't, and the things that I don't want to do I end up doing." It is so easy to slip into auto pilot and allow life to happen to us rather than than to make the most of every opportunity. I love the Christmas Story Movie. Especially the part where Flick licks the flagpole in freezing weather. I remember being dared to do that as a child, never actually did it but got close. Sometimes I feel like I do things like that in life- only to find myself doing the same thing all over again on a routine basis.
What I find myself not doing is living everyday like Jesus is who he said he is, and that every promise he made he is good for. I tend to slip into the routine of doing things my way and all of a sudden a week or more is gone, my relationship with God is diminished to the prayers before meals and bed and my communication with him is doing that 10-15 minutes I am "supposed" to do as a a Christian to not feel guilty. Did I want this to happen? Absolutely Not! Does it happen? More often than I would like to admit.
If you read through chapter 7 and get to chapter 8, you find that we are actually closer than we think to getting out of this routine. Paul is actually saying there is nothing "you" can do about it! What he does say is the first huge step toward getting someplace in this spiritual journey is to come to the conclusion that we are helpless and as humans will always make mistakes. Chapter 8 begins to show us that it is the Spirit of God within us that has the only ability to get us out of these routines and spiritual funks we end up in.
The challenge is not to take the traditional approach to this, this being: feeling really guilty and falling into a broken heap on the floor lamenting on how big of a sinner we are and figuring out some sort of penance to alleviate the guilt. The way of letting the spirit lead is to look at ourselves and say "of course I messed up" "I was in charge, I was leading and I will always lead myself down a destructive path." So instead of wallowing in guilt- I simply get up off the ground and with confidence rejoin the journey and begin to look for areas to let the spirit of God lead me. And know I will mess up again, but if the spirit is leading me- I like my chances!
Its not about working harder and being more spiritual, its about recognizing my weakness and surrendering myself to a Holy God, who loves me with an everlasting love and wants nothing but the best for me.
So Hi, my Name is Joel, and I'm a mistake-aholic... and I'm OK with that.
Looking forward to what God has in store!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Have you ever been in a group of people around Thanksgiving time and someone says, “Ok, let’s all share what we are thankful for this year”. The group usually starts to stir nervously, each one hoping that they aren’t the one who has to go first. I was one of those, I would hope that before it was my turn that maybe something would come to mind or someone would say something I could spin my answer off of. Now that’s not to say that I didn’t have things to be thankful for before, it’s more of a realization of what true thankfulness is. I mean it’s easy to look around you and say how you are thankful for the “stuff” around you…the roof over your head, the food in your cabinets, the car in the driveway, or the money in the bank…but I have found that none of that compares to the people in my life, the peace and joy in my soul, or the love in my heart. Wow, pretty corny huh? Think what you want…but it’s real and I figured it out…it’s a gift.
So it’s my turn to share? No problem…I’m thankful that God not only stepped in and kept me from completely destroying my life, but has turned around and made me worthy of being used to help others. There is no better feeling I have ever felt than to know that I can be used by God to help others learn and find the peace, joy, and love that I have found in my life. If you want to put it in “worldly” perspective…it’s like finding a big bag of money and handing out handfuls of cash to people all around you. But you can’t put a dollar value on what I got, and when the market crashes I don’t lose anything that I’ve saved in my heart and soul bank, and there is an unlimited supply.
Never in my life have I ever seen people lose so much of what they have made so important in their life. I imagine that this will be a difficult Thanksgiving for many families in America and I sympathize with them. People were fooled in to believing that “debt” was the path to true happiness and they put their necks in the noose and lost their life…at least what life was to them. When you stake your happiness on houses, cars, vacations, toys, and the like, it’s like standing on thin ice. People are angry and wanting everyone else to help bail them out. When are we going to start taking ownership of our bad decisions and quit blaming anything and everything around us?
I recently have an opportunity to go speak to a group of guys at the local rescue mission. You see these guys are homeless, and it’s not just because they made bad choices, but some are there because while America was busy buying homes they couldn’t afford and going in to major debt, the price of housing went so high that there just isn’t enough affordable housing left. It’s one of the leading causes of homelessness. Even rentals have gone so high that without assistance many can’t afford them. So when I went and saw how some of these guys, even in their poverty, were praising God, it confirmed what I already believed…you can’t steal the joy of the Lord from anybody!
There is a story in the Bible about a rich young ruler who came to Jesus and asked what he had to do to gain eternal life. Jesus lists the commandments to him and the young man states that he has followed those laws since he was a small child. Jesus wasn’t done of course and told him that all he had left to do was to sell all he had and give it to the poor, then come follow him. The rich young ruler walked away very sad because he had so much wealth he couldn’t let go of it. Jesus went on to explain how hard it is for a rich man to go to heaven because of what they have…because of what they consider valuable. I would have to wonder if the rich man was seeking eternal life in heaven or on earth. Furthermore, I would guess that if he would’ve said yes to Jesus that he probably wouldn’t have made him sell all his stuff anyway…who knows?
I’ve been on the verge of homelessness before in my life. If it wasn’t for my mom and dad, I don’t know where I would be today…but I am more thankful for the prayers that my mom prayed for me every night than for any of the other help I received. You see, my mom didn’t pray for me to have money or things…she prayed that God would save me from myself. She prayed that I would see God for what He is, a good and loving God who wants the best for our lives. But even God knows we have to deal with our mistakes. He is not going to step in and do a “bail out” in our lives, we need to learn from our mistakes and make better decisions for our future. We need to quit blaming God for the way the world is, and start doing something to change the world for the better!
A few months ago I was in Sacramento at a youth workers convention, and as I was walking down the street I passed a homeless man on the street asking for change. I reached in my pocket and dropped some change in his hand and as I continued I felt drawn to turn around and do more for him. No, I’m not talking about giving him more money, because what I had given him was meaningless. I had something much more valuable that I had kept to myself. I kept thinking, “I got to go back “. Well, the place I walking to was closed (hummm?) so as I turned to go back the other way I got my chance. When I found him I stopped and told him “I gave you some change but I didn’t give you the most valuable thing I have”. I went on to ask him if he new about God and about what Jesus had done for us and only after our short conversation could I walk away feeling like I had really helped him. I give all the glory to God for changing my heart and making me see what is valuable and what we should really be thankful for.
So here’s something I realized…after I left the rescue mission the first time, my heart was breaking for all the people there. I wanted to dive in a help them all and then I realized this…if Jesus was to come back to earth today and start a new ministry…who would be willing to follow him? It occurred to me that those who have the least to give up, would most likely be the first to follow. These homeless people we look down on with pity are in better shape than we are! In fact when I spoke about this to the guys that night at the mission, one of them asked me to read Proverbs 30:7-9…
And then he prayed, “God, I’m asking for two things before I die; don’t refuse me--
Banish lies from my lips and liars from my presence. Give me enough food to live on, neither too much or too little. If I’m too full I might get independent saying, God? Who needs him? If I’m poor, I might steal and dishonor the name of my God.”
A perfect prayer for Thanksgiving this year, don’t you think?
By Glen Bryant
Saturday, November 22, 2008
It was awesome to work with the Gleanings crew. We spent several hours pulling apart bricks of dried peaches and packaging them in bags, placing them in containers to ship to starving people all over the world. It was humbling to be a part of something like this, Gleanings rocks. That place really has the presence of God showing all over it. we will do this again- you don't want to miss it next time.
Thanks Jerrod for making this happen, and letting me bail to go help coach the COS team. (we had a first loss of the season, now 4-1).
Thursday, November 20, 2008
You have heard my prayer,
you know my hearts desires.
Bring peace Lord
and know I follow you always.
"Roses are Red
Tires are Black
Like Jesus said..
'I'll be Back!"
God hold me.
So that I can be enough.
To your glory.
I will be adding more later. Thanks for getting involved I hope you are growing through this and enjoying the Journey "After His Heart"
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
God bless and have a great night.
I have to approve the comments- because there are some people out there who enjoy posting sick stuff. So if it doesn't show right away I will get it posted soon. Thanks for your participation.
This is a Video I put together last week for Elevate. I had a privilege of going to the naotional outreach conference in San Diego. I interviewed a bunch of pastors about what they thought about David. The Bible says that David was a man after God's own heart. We are going through a series in Elevate about the heart of David and what it means to pursue the heart of God. Tonight we are going to lok at the psalms of David and see how his honesty, his faith and his doubt built the type of character in him. David was definitely not perfect, but he had a deep passion for God. Hopefully by looking at the life of David we can experience the Grace and Love that David had, and we can begin to discover that type of passion in our own walk and journey with an amazing God.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
This is a little video I put together for Sunday morning, the story comes from the book of Daniel chapter 3. This is one of those stories that is easy for us to dismiss as being merely a "Bible story" because it is such an amazing miracle. The faith these young teenage boys showed in their God was amazing. Faith is a missing ingredient in our daily walk, God sometimes is our last resort rather than the centerpiece of our lives. I believe God would still lvoe to do amazing miracles in our everyday life- his only requirement from us is faith.
I am challenged ths morning to truly live a life of faith.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Great stuff tonight very convicting and life changing.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ." if we are going to reach people with Gods love we are going to tick off the religious community. The question should always be, "what is my motivation?"
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I didn't vote for. I read psalm 37 tonight. Some great words for uncertain and changing times.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
This is a powerful story about the song "God of this City" an anthem that is spreading across the world proclaiming that regardless of what is going on around you, God is in control. I have been hearing so much garbage flying around cyberspace, especially during this election time (does anyone hate politics as much as I do?) People are talking about the end of the world happening if the person they like is not elected. Same emails flying around the previous 8 years, has anything changed? It makes me sad that people are placing so much confidence in a man, The truth is, nothing has happened or is going to happen that God hasn't allowed, he will always be on the throne. And even if we elect the person some people feel is right- he doesn't have to power do stop anything that is going to happen anyway. I wish people would be as focused on helping the hurting as they do trying to get "their" guy in office.
Enough of my rants- God is in charge. And this song is a great reminder. The kingdom of God is growing strongly in area's of china and places where it is illegal to be a Christian, God will still be God regardless of who thinks they are in charge
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Listening to a heart broken mother having her baby torn from her arms is a tough thing to get your mind about. (A mother doesn't necessarily mean birth mom) Its especially tough when its your sister.
We had a tough conversation, its hard to see God at work in times like this. It s possible we may never see how he is present in this situation- but he is!
Its times like this when faith becomes either something you really have or something that you just talk about when times are good. If you happen to stumble upon this say a prayer for my sister Esther, she could use it.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Codie is in Washington DC this week, so I have been running crazy chasing kids around, as I will be until Sunday night. I am really excited that she gets to do this, especially after gaining a new appreciation of how much she does around the house and with the kids while holding down full time job. I am truly a blessed man, and feel a great deal of excitement for her to be able to experience this trip. I really feel like I scored one of those Proverbs 31 gals. (except for the whole shopping for wool and flax and knitting a entire wardrobe for the family.)
Codie sent this to me from her phone this morning.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
I love people. No seriously, I love people. Last night we had a BBQ for elevate being we got kicked out of our meeting place for a night. But it was cool. We ate great food and people brought tons of food to share. I felt like the disciples the left over baskets when we were done, because there ws much left over. Back to people (my ADD kicked in for a second), I am reminded that the people are the church, they are what mater, not meetings, music, sermons, video's, or food. People are the reason why Jesus died, and why we are here on this earth.
Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in doing stuff for people and planning things for people, and we lose site of people in general. This next week I want really focus on people in General. We are also going to take these next couple of weeks to look at the value of experiencing community with people and being intentional with our relationships.
I look forward to what God has in store for elevate and the relationships that are arising out of this kingdom venture.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Bring some frisbee's, guitars, whatever....
we are gonna have a blast
Monday, October 6, 2008
The life we live is made up of experiences, as we experience things we change and grow. One of the most important factors is the people we meet along the way, especially the ones who we allow to have influence on us. One of the greatest gifts God gives us is people who leave a powerful imprint of their character and integrity on us. I am am thankful for the people that I have encountered along the way, a lot of them had an a amazing effect on me and have helped me grow as an individual. There were many I allowed to have influence on me in a negative way, I am thankful for the ones who had a long term positive effect on me.
Through my high school years I had a teacher who was extremely beneficial to my life. The funny thing is that he was kind of a goofball. He was scatterbrained (which is probably why I identified so much with him,) and to be honest pretty nerdy. In the middle of class he would always say "where's my glasses" and everyone would start laughing because they were on top of his head. The thing that really influenced me is that he was always about everyone else, he genuinely seemed to care more about others than himself, and it wasn't an act. I went to a boarding high school 50 miles away from home and he would invite to dinner with his family, and have me over to watch baseball games. He was a huge baseball fan and a the Red Box came right after Jesus and his family. I was in his living room the year Bill Buckner let the ball roll through his legs as they gave the world series to the Mets, I wish I could have been there when they won if for the first time a few years back.
Anyway I am just thankful for him today, and for helping instill some character in my life. This week I want to focus on some of the people who have had an beneficial impact on my life.