Saturday, March 31, 2007

New Surfboard

I'm so pumped up. I just got a new surfboard yesterday.
surfboard 2
It's an Al Merrick (Channel Islands) Surfboard. It's the Flyer model which means it's better for getting speed in smaller waves like we have here in the OC, but it can still hold up in bigger waves too. It's a 6'4", 19 1/8 wide, 2 3/8 thick. I'm gonna ride it today for the first time. I couldn't use it yesterday because the tailpatch had to set. It's the first board I have every bought off the rack at a shop. I have always ordered them from a shaper, but this board will probably be better than any of those custom ones.
surfboard 1
Sorry if the pictures are crappy. I took them with the iSight on my MacBook Pro.

UPDATE: I went to 52nd St in Newport today and the waves were microscopic, but I could tell my board had a lot of speed. I can't wait until there are actual waves.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Tolkien Writes a New Book

Check this out. JRR Tolkien's son finished a book that Tolkien started long ago. It comes out April 17. As my brother-in-law Christopher said in his email to me, "Can you say, pre-order?"

Check out the story here.

Church Buys Pastor a Mansion

Another frightening nugget from The Week,
A Michigan megachurch has bought its pastor a $3.65 million mansion, which as a church-owned property will be exempt from tax. Elders of the Detroit World Outreach Church admit that the purchase will cost Redford township some $40,000 in taxes annually, but say that Pastor Ben Gilbert deserves the 11,000-square-foot home and 12 acres of property as much as any rock star or athlete. "When our value system elevates a man who can put a ball in a hole and not a man who does God's work, something is wrong," said elder Marvin Wilder.

I think something is wrong when a pastor's church buys him a 3.65 million dollar home.

What do you think?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bono the Knight

Bono was knighted today by the Brits, but you can't call him "Sir Bono" or "Sir Paul Hewson" because Ireland is not part of the British Commonwealth.

Check out the story here and the Yahoo story here.

It's about time. This man should be called "sir" by the Queen of England and the President of the United States and any of my U2-hater friends.

Need a Worship Leader?

If you are looking for a worship leader, check out this guy, BRAD CLARK. He is a stud and looking for the next step on his journey of serving Jesus.

Fantasy Baseball Teams

Here's my Yahoo Fantasy Baseball team with students in the High School Group. There are only 8 teams and it was a 21 round draft.

C Joe Mauer
1B David Ortiz
2B Julio Lugo
P3B Garrett Atkins
SS Miguel Tejada
OF Alfonso Soriano
OF Bobby Abreu
OF Adam Dunn
Util Barry Bonds
BN Richie Sexson
SP Jake Peavy
SP Ben Sheets
RP J.J. Putz
RP Bobby Jenks
P Eric Gagne
P Justin Verlander
P Jason Schmidt
BN Scot Shields
BN Jason Isringhausen
BN Joel Zumaya
BN Chien-Ming Wang

Now here is my Sporting News team from the main league with friends. It has 12 teams and it was a 26 round draft so there were a lot more players to choose.

P Millwood, Kevin (TEX)
P Zumaya, Joel (DET)
P Rivera, Mariano (NYA)
P Gagne, Eric (TEX)
P Moseley, Dustin (LAA)
P Escobar, Kelvim (LAA)
P Jones, Todd (DET)
P Harang, Aaron (CIN)
P Billingsley, Chad (LA)
C Hernandez, Ramon (BAL)
1B Sexson, Richie (SEA)
2B Utley, Chase (PHI)
3B Ramirez, Aramis (CHN)
SS Jeter, Derek (NYA)
OF Kearns, Austin (WAS)
OF Markakis, Nick (BAL)
OF Cameron, Mike (SD)
OF Figgins, Chone (LAA)
OF Matsui, Hideki (NYA)
Util Jackson, Conor (ARI)
Util Blalock, Hank (TEX)
Bn Weaver, Jered (LAA)
Bn Coffey, Todd (CIN)
Bn Lofton, Kenny (TEX)
Bn Edmonds, Jim (STL)
Bn Lowell, Mike (BOS)

So you can see that the top team would dominate the bottom one, but the one I really care about is the bottom one. Opening Day is this Sunday. Any thoughts from other baseball freaks?

P.S. I'm feeling mostly better. A little weak, but I'm going to work today. I'm leading worship tonight for College group. Hopefully I will feel strong still at 7:30pm.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


I've been home sick today and I feel like crapola. We had our Fantasy Baseball draft last night and then we went out and had big hamburgers. Bea was sick and throwing up yesterday. So then last night at 1:30am I woke up and puked my guts out and had other intestinal issues as well. Puking after eating a 1/2 pound Hickory Burger is quite unpleasant. So I've been rotting at home all day watching TV and movies and sleeping.

Illusionist - 5. Interesting but a bit overrated.
Hollywoodland - 4. Boring and slow.

Now we are watching Wizard of Oz with Grace. It's her first time seeing it. She is loving it.

God on the Web

Again, from The Week...

The number of Web pages dealing with God and religion is booming. Religion, in fact, is now nearly as popular an Internet topic as sex: A search for "sex" on Google returns about 408 million hits; a search for "God" yields 396 million.

The Washington Post

Cool, huh?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Interesting Quote

This is from "The Week." This is a magazine you should all own. A collection of columns and articles from every newspaper and publication in the country across the spectrum of political viewpoints.

Morality is moral only when it is voluntary.

Journalist Lincoln Steffens, quoted in the Associated Press.

What do you think?

AIDS Services Foundation Story

So I was working yesterday at the OC ASF on a mailing to send to supporters and doing some help with an email about the OC AIDS Walk and in the office behind my little desk is the Housing Services Supervisor. While I'm working a man walks in to meet with the Housing Services man about help with his living situation. I can't help but hear the conversation and it was my first taste of what ASF does for people. This person was a homosexual male who attends a popular church in the area and was just diagnosed with HIV a few months ago. He is struggling to make ends meet with having to take time off for treatments and feeling sick from before he started medications and some other things. It didn't sound like he was in a great financial position before he was diagnosed, but now it's even more difficult - especially emotionally. He is going to receive some help from ASF for this month's bills and then they are going to meet with him again to see if some potential employment opportunities work out.

I didn't get to meet this man and I don't even know his name, but I was praying for him throughout his meeting while attaching labels to envelopes. That's bridgebuilding.

Another housing services person was acting all funny because I am a pastor and I had to say again that I don't mind if they cuss. But then she said, "Wow, I can't believe you are a pastor." And she acted all weird and flustered, so I said, "If you ever need to talk..." She just laughed but it's cool that I could make myself available.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Roast Lamb for Easter

So we are celebrating Easter with Bea's family on Saturday night before Easter Sunday. They said we are having Roast Lamb and I think that's traditionally what they and many others eat on Easter. I have some questions about that.
1. Is it symbolic?
2. Is it because Jesus is the Lamb of God and He died?
3. Is it a twisted form of communion eating the body of Christ while He is dead?
4. Will He resurrect from my bowel movement the next day?

This is all too weird. It's just wrong. I think I will just have a burger or at least just some matzah ball soup.

Fatburger and Becky

My friend Becky is sad that I didn't post about a game night we had on Friday with my friends from Cal State Fullerton - Scott, Becky, Shannon and her husband Steve and kids, and my family. We had a great time eating pizza, watching the USC/UNC game, and playing some Cranium.

Becky was upset that I posted about burgers and not this game night. However, I was thinking of them when I posted Fatburger as the #1 burger because they introduced me to the delicious King Burger with bacon, cheese, and a fried egg on top.

Also, about burgers. I do love the A's Burger joint. It tastes a lot like In-n-Out. They also have really good breakfast burritos. All my previous in-n-out comments were just to make people mad. It really would be my number one.

Are you happy Becky?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Rating Recently Seen Movies

300 - 8 out of 10. Freaking awesome!! There were some naughty bits so be aware of that, but the main character makes me want to be a braver man. Visually stimulating. I wanted to fight Matt Davis and Jason Krusiewicz when we left the theater.
Flags of Our Fathers - 8. I really liked this well-made film that details the battle, but even more went into the story of the guys who raised the flag (or didn't).
Dune - 1 out of 10. I loved these books, but this movie straight up sucked. Don't waste your life by seeing this film.
The Departed - 8. This was a well-made film and was pretty entertaining although disturbing. Marky Mark was the best actor in the movie.
Marie Antoinette - 5. I rated this pretty low but it was interesting. It was kind of plot-bare, but visually intriguing.
The Holiday - 7. This was great for a romantic comedy. All the actors were great in it - Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black. Jack Black is great when he isn't his normal annoying self. Kate Winslet was the best part of the movie and so were Jude Law's two daughters.
Babel - 3. I hated this movie. I know that it was well-made and different, but watching it is one of the most miserable experiences of depression a person can go through.
Stranger than Fiction - 7. Fun movie. Maggie Gyllenhall is superb with her cute revolutionary baker character.
Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses - 6. Grace loved this movie and it wasn't as torturous as the title makes it sound. Would I buy it? No.


Church Today

Today was an awesome and kinda different church service at Elevation at Calvary Church. The band was acoustic with just two acoustic guitars, bass, and a cajon (box). It sounded good. There was one song and then we did baby dedications. We do baby dedications differently than we used to. Three couples came on stage with their babies and then P-Diddy (that's what we all call Pastor Dave) introduced them and prayed for them collectively while the congregation stood and reached out their hands towards the babies joining in the prayer. Then the three families come down off the stage and are surrounded by pastors and elders who pray for them while the congregation sings another song. Then we sang one more song and entered into our Family Business section (announcement type stuff). We showed a "trailer" of the digital short film we are creating for Easter, we introduced our new Women's Ministry Co-Directors, and then P-Diddy shared about his mom's death last Thursday and we prayed for him. Then Brent spoke on Luke 10-38-42 which is the Mary/Martha story. Brent did a great job and really pointed out that the ministry that Martha was doing wasn't bad, but how even good things can distract us from sitting with Jesus. Then, instead of singing more and having the stations, we spent 20 minutes in silence "sitting with Jesus." Then people just left as they were ready. It was pretty cool.

Then we had lunch with Kevin and Michelle at Cafe Lucca in Old Towne Orange. I miss that part of town pretty bad.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


I love that the Bruins are going to the Final Four after their win today. It also doesn't hurt that the Trojans lost last night. I have UCLA beating UNC in the final. The dream is still alive.

Jason Krusiewicz and I are going to have to brawl. Jasen Ashdown doesn't care because he likes Wake Forest therefore hating Duke and UNC even though he is from Cary. All the Trojan fans at Calvary can stop acting like they care about basketball. 'em Bruins!!

Best Fast Food Burger

Matt Doan's comments about bean and cheese burritos and someone else's comments about Casino Royale being the best Bond ever (utterly ridiculous statement) got me thinking about favorites.

The best fast food burger is a topic that can be argued across state lines because best Mexican food isn't realistic - the best are clearly SoCal local joints.

I think the best fast food burger ranking goes like this:
5. Burger King - Whopper with Cheese - there's something I like about the smoky flavor
4. Carl's Jr - Famous Star with Cheese
3. McDonald's - Quarter Pounder with Cheese - a classic I still love
2. Carl's Jr - Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger
1. Fatburger - King burger with an egg, bacon, and cheese.

Those are the big chains. There is a place called Jerry's Dogs by Calvary Church where you can get a Chili Cheese Burger that will blow your mind. Yes it's a hot dog place and yes they have the best burger in Central Orange County for a counter order place.

After that, the Filling Station and Tustin Brewing Company have the best sit-down burgers in town.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Surfing and Sabbath

Right now I'm in the middle of my morning of sabbath and I thought I would type a quick post. I just got back from going surfing down at 41st St in Newport Beach. I had an awesome time today. Last week I seriously sucked. I haven't got a new board yet, but today I surfed a ton better. I was dropping in with no problems and was able to get some good snaps off the top on a couple waves. I was so thankful to God for allowing me to have some fun out there. I was singing this old school worship song that goes "O Lord our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth. O Lord we magnify your name. O Lord we glorify your name. Prince of Peace, Mighty God, O Lord God Almighty." I forget what Psalm that is but it is a Psalm and I love it. Pure worship. I was praying for direction and guidance for our church and for my life. Really good stuff.

I was listening to Mike Erre's Preach It series that he gave me. It's 10 hours of talking about preaching and teaching God's Word. Awesome stuff. I'm really growing from it and feeling challenged to 1)do something like it with people at Calvary 2)continue to hone my teaching with some of the principles from it.

Now I'm going to relax and shower for another hour and a half and then go pick up Gracie.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

10 Briefs

1. My first day at OC AIDS Services Foundation was good. I talked for a while with the head of volunteers and helped dispell some of his presuppositions about pastors. I helped make an email list for the AIDS Walk on May 12.
2. Matt Doan, High School Pastor at Calvary Church, started a blog. It's called OrangeCountyPastor which shows Matt's love for combining three words together (The High School group is called EveryDayLife) and his nerdiness. It's a cool blog other than the lame quotes on top and the RSS feeds on the bottom.
3. I am valuing the concepts of Sabbath and sabbatical more and more. Especially after conversations with staff members struggling with burnout. We need to "feed our forgotten souls" as Paul Borthwick says.
4. I'm going to see the movie "300" tonight. I'm a combination of excited and apprehensive. I've heard it's gnarly.
5. I'm going to buy a new surfboard. Mine is about 10 years old. When I realized that I wanted to turn myself into a dorky high school freshman and make fun of myself.
6. We have a Kenya meeting this Saturday. I'm looking forward to this trip but it's a bit all consuming.
7. Trader Joe's banana bread is excellent for breakfast - especially with Kona coffee.
8. Be careful what you say in staff meetings. It can backfire on you.
9. I recently got Logos Bible Software and I suck at it so I wanted to go to a training seminar and I saw this. WOW!! I need to go to this. It's for ministry.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"Support Our Troops"

I read this article today in the LA Times about how men and women who have been injured in Iraq have to go through layers and layers of bureaucracy to be able to receive disability aid and many are forced to make a decision between receiving a $8,000 check or receiving continuing aid from the VA. Many are making this decision while suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The above story is about a soldier being supported by some friends who are lawyers and businessmen, but most don't have that kind of support.

It seems to me that helping these people out is how we can "support our troops." I don't think that you have to advocate war to support our troops. Our own government and military sure supports more fighting, but I don't think this story helps me believe that they "support our troops." I would love to try and find out more how we can be activists for this issue. I would rather be positive in helping fight for aid for these injured soldiers than just denouncing the war effort or denouncing Bush or something like that. It just seems more productive.

Monday, March 19, 2007

First Day of ASF

Today will be my first day volunteering at the Orange County AIDS Services Foundation. I will be there from 2-5pm today helping out in the office with whatever they need. It should be interesting.

We talked at our Lighthouse (small group) last night about the awkwardness of "witnessing" or "evangelism." I'm not going to talk here about the stuff we all know - letting our life be the example, love people without agendas, etc. One thing that was cool that we talked about was something Jesus said to two of John the Baptist's disciples. He said, "What do you seek?" or "What are you looking for?" or "What do you want?"

Do we ever just ask people, "What do you want?" or "What is it that you are looking for from life?" I love that question and it seems like such an easy thing to ask people that you are just getting to know to take a relationship from trivial and light to a deeper conversation. I don't want to be reading the 4 Spiritual Laws to people but I also don't want to have meaningless conversations with people that are disguised as loving them without an agenda.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


We went to Pizzeria Mozza last night for dinner with our friends Jason and Erin. Mozza is a restaurant in LA owned and operated by Mario Batali (Food Network, Babbo, Lupa, etc) and Nancy Silverton (La Brea Bakery, Campanile). We have all eaten separately at Babbo and Lupa in New York and so we were excited to go to a Batali restaurant together right here in SoCal. I blogged about this place in January here. It was cool because Nancy Silverton was actually there prepping food to be served and talking with people in the dining room. I saw her air kissing people she knew. So hollywood.

I loved this place. The ambiance is fun, loud, and crowded. It's definitely not a quiet meal and it's not super comfortable. It is a major hotspot. Scarlett Johansson and two friends were sitting at the table next to us and were trying to leave when we left and there was a paparazzi trying to take pictures of her outside and she was trying to hide out and escape. It was fun to watch. I joked that I always had a hard time with the paparazzi and then told the guy he could take my picture and he did. It was hilarious. Paul Reiser was also there and a couple others we thought we recognized.

The food was awesome. We started with an incredible Winter Caprese which was a buttery bufala mozzarella with pesto and chopped basil with roasted cherry-like tomatoes on the vine. Then we had this white bean and garlic bruschetta which was delicious. There's a picture of it below. Next was a salumi platter (prosciutto di parma, salami, sopressata, and speck) with this bread that I can't even describe in words. It was a thick slice of piping hot toasty bread that was soft inside and crunchy outside that had one of the best olive oils drizzled all over it with a good amount of sea salt that made the flavors pop in your mouth. That bread was potentially my favorite item.

We shared four pizzas. The first was goat cheese, bacon, and roasted garlic. The second was guanciale (pig jowl), radicchio, mozzarella, and an egg cracked on top. Picture below. The bummer was that one also had some weird anchovy paste that I did NOT LIKE. The third was fennel sausage, panna cheese, and sweet red onion. The fourth was a bianco pizza with four different amazing cheeses. One cheese had truffles in it. It also had crispy whole sage leaves on it that I could have eaten like chips.

For dessert we had their butterscotch pudding which had chunks of sea salt on top that were one of the most delicious combinations I have ever tasted in a dessert. We also shared a cassis sorbet, a blood orange sorbet, espresso gelato, stracciatella gelato, and banana gelato.

It was a fun night with lots of good food, good conversation, and fun celebrity sightings. The perfect night up in the city.

Here are some pictures from the Times article that were actual items we ate.

mozza bruschetta
mozza nancy
mozza egg pizza

Friday, March 16, 2007


We have been discussing sabbath in our VantagePoint3 group and my desire is to have my Friday mornings be a true point of sabbath for me. I have struggled with filling my Friday mornings with tasks like last-minute sermon prep, running errands, or watching tv. So today I was thinking of maybe going surfing alone during my sabbath or doing something else restful, but then I started thinking I needed to get my oil changed and get my car washed so I could sell it and my blushing bride asked me to go to the grocery store. Keeping a sabbath is a battle (and a fitting place for a war metaphor) that is tough to fight in our culture, but it's more than just culture, it's me. I like doing stuff. I need to stop for a bit.

P.S. I got 14 of 16 games right on the first day of the tourney.
P.P.S. It felt so good after telling my professor I was withdrawing from the Phd program. I'm so happy. I feel lighter. Maybe I should do a weigh-in.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I am going to meet with the head of the PhD Program at Talbot today and officially drop out of the program. This is a big decision, but I believe it's the right one for multiple reasons.
1. I am feeling more and more called to being a pastor long-term and even being more of a preaching pastor and potentially leading a church or even planting a church someday.
2. After observing the professors, graduates of the program, and the current students I don't think that I want to be in the academic world full-time. I feel like I would love to be an adjunct youth ministry or other practical ministry professor and teach one class while still working full-time in the church.
3.I simply don't have time to put the proper amount of focus and energy into the program. With working at Calvary and overseeing all of Student Ministries and the Elevation service I feel pretty busy in the sense of study and work. Also, with my wonderful wife, almost four year old girl, and another daughter due in July, I don't want to be spending all my free time reading and writing papers. We put Grace down at 7:30 or 8:00pm and then I'm supposed to start doing homework after getting to work at 8am in the morning. It's just not going to happen.

So I know that I can always go back later in life if I want to. I'm only 32. I meet with my professor today at 3:00pm. I'm kind of dreading talking to him. I feel like we are breaking up or something.

All I feel is relief and happiness. Big sigh of stress leaving my body...aaahhhhhh...


Coach Ben Howland and the UCLA Bruins face off against Howland's alma mater, Weber State, today in their opening game of the NCAA Tournament. I have picked UCLA to win the whole thing in both brackets I filled out. One was a bit of a joke where I have an all Pac 10 Final Four - UCLA, Stanford, Washington State and Oregon. My real finals have UCLA beating North Carolina in the championships!

Go Coach Howland!!


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Not Ready to Blog Yet

Our vacation was amazing and restful. I'm not ready to blog yet because I'm so mellow and pondering some big life decisions that make it hard to write about trivial things.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Off to Maui

We leave tomorrow morning for Maui and the place we are staying is a surprise to Bea, but I will tell the blogosphere. If you were to see my wife for any reason today, don't tell her that we are staying at the Grand Wailea Hotel.


This is the view from the center of the hotel down the fountains toward the ocean.
It has waterslides and a lazy river. Check them out in the next two pics.
This looks like an awesome place to chill in the evening.
I think the sunsets will be pretty amazing.

Yeah, I guess you could say that I'm pretty excited. We fly out tomorrow morning. All we have left to do is pack. I can already feel the tension coming out of my shoulders.
You probably won't hear from me until next Saturday. As they say, "Aloha!"

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Let's just say that my brain is already in Maui. We leave Saturday morning and I can't wait. I still have to read about 200 pages on ecclesiology today and type a position paper on the key issues related to the church. I basically have to accomplish that between 12:45 and 3:00pm today. I'm finding school to be rewarding on one level and horribly boring on another level. I dread having to go each week. It's a complete discipline to not drop out.

We also have a lot going on to get ready for our trip and have our parents ready to watch Gracie. I can't complain about that, but it is just another thing to do before the end of the day tomorrow.