Monday, April 30, 2007

Grace the Photographer

If you watched the video of Grace and I talking about gadgets and stuff where she was taking pictures then you will understand this shot. This is one of the pictures she took during the filming.
Grace shot of computer

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Preaching Confessional #2

This video is my confessional after preaching in both services today on Philippians 1:12-20 called Whatever it Takes.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Choose to Wait

I just got back from an all-day training on how to teach Choose to Wait classes in Kenya this summer. That's just a part of what we will be doing, but it should be an ideal way to help and to share Christ with people. The African people are showered with lies about sex and AIDS by their parents, older siblings, and even government leaders. Women are essentially "sold" by their parents to a man to be his wife and therefore the man acts as if he owns her rather than loving her as Christ loves the church. Government leaders have said that if you have sex with a virgin you will be cured of AIDS. People are not valued as being created in God's image so they can be exploited completely.

We learned how to communicate God's design for them and God's value for them through Genesis 1-3. It is essentially abstinence training with teaching about God all wrapped into one. It was a bit long and so the high school students (and myself) got a bit bored after a while, but it was a good foundation to build our planning upon. We will be teaching this content at schools, orphanages, and youth jails.
Kenya training

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Grace and Me Chillin'

This video is just Grace and I chatting and having some fun with our gadgets. It's short and sweet - just like my kid. It's worth watching even for you haters of "talk about my kid" posts.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Duck Domination

This picture is the perfect metaphor for how the Ducks treated the Canucks tonight. They destroyed them 5-1. I hope my Canadian friends don't turn to alcohol too quickly. Jesus died for Canadians too. Turn to Jesus for comfort in this difficult time.
Canucks Ducks Hockey

Wanna buy my car??

I'm selling the 4Runner. Nothing wrong with it. I just want to get something newer and different. We just paid it off recently and are ready for something newer with the new baby coming in July.
1999 Toyota 4Runner
110,000 miles
Good running condition
CD player, Power locks, Power Windows, A/C
4 cylinder, 2 wheel drive, Automatic Transmission
ASKING $ 6,200.00
car 1
car 2
car 3
car 4

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Shocking and Horrifying

This story is one of the most disturbing things I have read in a long time. I almost can't believe it. Something has to be done about China's policy of forced abortions.

Read the article here.

What can be done about something like this? We should start by spreading awareness and maybe the global community will be outraged?

Time to Crush the Canucks

It's time for the Ducks to match up against the Vancouver Canucks. Anyone reading this from Vancouver Island should schedule an appointment with a good psychologist because you are going to need to deal with depression issues after May 1st. Yes, that's the day the fourth game will be played.
Scotty and the boys are going to shut down the Canucks with tough defense and the Finnish Flash!


I just realized that by Thursday I will have arrived at church by 8:00am or earlier for 11 straight days. That's not good. Then I will have Friday off and work all day on both Saturday and Sunday. Then Monday morning I leave for Hume Lake for the Youthworkers Retreat up there. I will definitely need the break. I am not basking in my busyness. That is not admirable. I am not liking being this busy.

It also didn't help that I went to the world's longest Angels game last night where the Angels pitchers got lit up for 9 runs losing 9-5. It was a good time with Peter Pizzuto, Matt Davis, and Jason Krusiewicz. I had Jered Weaver on my Fantasy Team and he was blasted for 5 earned runs in less than two innings. Not what you hope for. As Peter and I were walking in he was bragging that his Fantasy Team had Curtis Granderson (lead-off hitter for Detroit) and he predicted that Granderson would hit a lead-off home-run off Weaver. Well, guess what? That's exactly what he did. Peter should play the Lotto.

I'm tired from all this because I went to bed at almost midnight and the alarm went off at 5:30am and I have to be able to think clearly enough to finish writing my sermon for Sunday today after being in morning meetings until 12noon. I preach in both services this Sunday. Should be fun!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Church Consultant Preliminary Meeting

So the church consultant met with us last night and pointed out three areas of description.
1. Strong areas
2. Strong, but needs help
3. Concerns

I probably shouldn't type everything he said here on the World Wide Web. But I will say a few.

He said Missions, Children's, Jr. High, Worship Services, supportive members, and our history were our main strong areas. He was very supportive of the Celebration/Elevation services and even said Elevation was "as good as any he has ever seen" in his visits to younger-style worship services. It was weird to hear him commenting on my sermon in front of everyone. I got nervous in my seat when I realized he was going to make specific comments like that!! Yikes!! But it was all good.

He said that High School was strong but needs help and said the main problem is that they don't have a room of their own. AMEN!! There were others in this area too.

For concerns he pointed out some of our obvious holes like assimilation of visitors, greeting newcomers, directional signs, and a bunch of other stuff we won't discuss yet.

In three months they bring a more full report after more meetings with Elders, Sr. Leadership, a couple other staff members, congregation questionnaires, and a demographic study of the area.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Preaching Confessional #1

Here is my first Preaching Confessional. This was from our Elevation Service today. Also, our combo service was great. Matt Davis was awesome and the band did a really great job. The kids were pretty into it too.

The title of this message was "Why are you so happy? The heart of a bridgebuilder." Philippians 1:1-11. Crossing series. You can listen to the message, see the PowerPoint, and the bulletin notes at this website.

Preach this Morning

I preach this morning in about four hours. The consultant people will be here. I'm not nervous about them, but it just adds another layer to the day.

It has been too busy of a weekend and it makes me sad. Planet Wisdom was good. It was a great conference with a better turnout than in the past couple years. Only one other pastor asked me how many people go to our church. I really don't understand what gives people the freedom to ask that question. I was at church from 8am-1pm and then 5pm-10:30pm on Friday and then 8am-6pm on Saturday. Then I will be at church from 7am-2pm and 6pm-8pm today.

I'm excited to preach today and for our JH/HS Combo Service. They are always high energy and fun and honestly less work. Matt Davis is preaching too so it should be awesome.

6pm tonight we get the preliminary report from the CONSULTANTS. Should be interesting.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Crazy Game

This video is a description of a game created by our college group guys that is kind of like taking the old "doorknob" game to another level completely. Maybe later we could get some real video footage of how to do these moves. This is just me describing it.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Church Consultant Tomorrow

We have something very interesting taking place tomorrow and the rest of this weekend at our church. We are having a church consultant come and analyze our church to help us be more effective in our big-picture ministry. We are having Gary McIntosh who founded the McIntosh Church Growth Network come with his team. He is also a professor at Biola and has written tons of books on Church Growth, Staffing Issues, Church Strategy, etc. They are going to interview one-on-one almost all (20) of the pastors and directors as well as 10 key administrative assistants. Then they are doing focus groups on Saturday with different segments of the church - lay leaders, regular attenders, people who have been at Calvary less than two years, elders, etc. Then on Sunday they come and observe the services and different ministries. Then they meet with elders and staff to give some preliminary thoughts on Sunday evening. After that, they do some demographic work of the surrounding community and do two different questionnaire surveys to a sample of the congregation - one is on worship services and the other is more general. Then in a few months they go over the complete findings and give us a big report.

It's kind of a weird deal. My appointment is at 11am tomorrow with Gary McIntosh and it should be interesting. I want to be honest. I want to be real. I want to be kind. I want to not be the complainer. I want to show the things I love and the things that are frustrating. So I will post more thoughts on this after the process.

Oh yeah, and by the way, we have this huge Student Conference at our church this weekend called Planet Wisdom. It's always a good thing, but a lot of work for us and kind of a pain in some ways. But I'm excited for the kids to grow from it. Mark Matlock, Sean McDowell, The Skit Guys, Addison Road, etc. Should be good. Should be tiring.

Oh yeah, and I preach on Sunday in Elevation with the consultant guy watching - eek!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Awkward thoughts on Virginia Tech

I don't know why and I feel really guilty about this, but I just have never felt genuinely sad about the killings in Blacksburg, Virginia. I'm not connecting emotionally with it. I obviously find it sad and horrific, but something in me doesn't really change or really care in a way that causes me to live differently. I have probably thought more about the shooter than the victims. I feel like he is as much a victim as a villain. The signs were all over the place about this guy. He refused to let anyone in. It seems like several people tried to connect in some way with him, but he just shut everyone out. I hope and pray that we can reach our fringe/weird kids in our youth group and neighborhood.

I actually feel more emotional after writing this, but it still is more of a news story than something real. I feel like I have to mention it in my sermon this Sunday, but I'm nervous that it might sound forced or contrived.

So I do pray for the families and friends affected by this, but I am unsure of what's wrong with my emotional connection. Does anyone feel similar thoughts in any way?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Thoughts on American Idol

After watching American Idol, I am really thinking that this might be the week that Sanjaya goes home. He is really bad. I'm not too into Lakisha either - although she might be this year's Mandisa. Phil impressed me with his country skills. It would bum me out to see Sanjaya stay and someone that is actually good go home. This is the first week that I think the Sanjaya factor could really ruin somebody.

The Sanjaya Hunger Strike girl is weak though. She quit after 17 days for "medical reasons." What kind of commitment is that?

It's surprising that this show is still so interesting to me. It's so lame at one level and so difficult to turn off at another. I didn't watch last season and of course that's the year where we have a finalist sing at our church. This season I got hooked again and I think there are some life lessons in here somewhere that will redeem the time. Maybe Sanjaya is the effect of sin in the world or something - I'm not sure.

Sick feeling

My first attempt at embedding video. I'm posting it this morning because I was too sick last night. DON'T WATCH IF YOU DON'T LIKE HEARING DETAILS ABOUT VOMIT.

Update: This is really gross. I'm sorry for this. I'm leaving it up though just because it is kind of funny.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Giving Change

We changed how offering is done in our Elevation service. We have always had buckets available for giving at our 8 stations during the second set of worship songs, but we also had to pass the offering bags because leadership just wasn't ready to not have a bag passed. We were finally able to help them understand (they were very reasonable and had understandable reasons for wanting to pass the bags, we are a 75 year old church so these things take time). Then we had a high schooler want to help the church with his Eagle Scout project and so we had him design, build, and install cool giving boxes to put next to the exit doors. We have two boxes for every exit door. we also just started online giving through our website. Give now if you would like:)! So now giving only takes place at the stations or when people leave. We do not pass a plate, bag, basket, or bucket!! I'm stoked. I think this will really help with visitors and cheerful giving.

Any other ideas?

Happy Birthday Grace!!

My little girl is 4 years old today. She is truly amazing. God could not have blessed me more.

grace boat
grace tea
grace couch sepia

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Vacation gives me blog blues

I don't understand why, but every time I go on vacation I don't feel like blogging when I get home. We have been pretty tired from the travel and I was at church from 7:30am-3:00pm today.
I will do some BRIEFS:
1.We had a good Kenya meeting today. I'm getting more excited about the trip.
2. Brent preached it today at church.
3. I'm speaking the next three Sundays in Elevation.
4. Tomorrow is Gracie's birthday. I can't believe she is four.
5. We got upgraded to first class again on the way home from Seattle. I like it there.
6. The Anaheim Ducks are awesome. It was fun watching hockey in Canada with people who actually care.
7. My Fantasy Baseball team has 5 players on the Disabled List. This is not what you want.
8. The church consultant comes this weekend. Should be interesting.
9. I still want a tattoo.
10. TV shows I love - Scrubs, 24, Heroes, Lost, CSI, The Soup, Man vs. Wild, Studio 60, How I Met Your Mother, 30 Rock, Law & Order SVU, and two horrible ones that I actually like - American Idol and America's Next Top Model. I don't watch The Office yet. I will probably do the DVD thing with it. The first episode annoyed me almost as much as Rosie O'Donnel or Victor so I never watched it. But I need to give it another chance.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Canada is raining and Food Update

It was beautiful until we woke up this morning and now it has been pouring rain and super windy all day. We are a bit couped up today, but it's nice to get the fire going on the pot belly stove heater and read a book. We went down to a restaurant called Salmon Point just down the street today and had Fish 'n' Chips made with locally caught halibut. We watched the storm crash against the shore from inside the restaurant.

Food update:
1. Eggs Benedict at the Empress with deliciously different Canadian Back Bacon.
2. High Tea at the Empress twice - tasty. Tiny sandwiches - Curry Chicken Salad, Cucumber, Carrot and Cream Cheese, and smoked salmon. Egg salad crostinis. Amazing scones and desserts.
3. Fish n Chips at a pub in Victoria called the Sticky Wicket
4. Triple Grill at the Blue Crab in Victoria - this was King Crab legs, New York Strip Steak, and a Halibut fillet all on one plate with potatoes and mixed veggies.
5. Shepherd's Pie made by my Uncle Brian who is from England. Best I have EVER had.
6. Bacon Cheeseburger at the White Spot restaurant. A Canada exclusive.
7. Two breakfasts by my "cousin" Judy - strawberry pancakes and scrambled eggs with toast.

Tonight - ROAST BEEF AND YORKSHIRE PUDDING with all the trimmings. I can't wait.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Canada is beautiful

We are enjoying our time on Vancouver Island. We stayed two nights at the Empress and the place was quite fancy. A bit stuffy and serious, but nice. It's old so the bathroom was about 2x2 feet. The Afternoon Tea was actually fun and tasty. We went to a Bug Zoo which Grace loved and Bea hated. We went on a Wildlife Boat ride that was cool. No orcas unfortunately, but we saw porpoises, bald eagles, sea lions, harbor seals, and even a big-horned sheep. We are up in Campbell River area now and the views are gorgeous. The weather is brisk with no rain. See you all back in Cali on Sunday!

Sunday, April 08, 2007


I'm very seriously thinking about putting something like this on my right shoulder.


Easter Debrief

1. Dinner at Bea's parents on Saturday night. Yes, we did eat the Roast Lamb (of God) and yes I did make too many awkward jokes about it. And if you're wondering, it did resurrect this morning. I'm still not into lamb. I like tenderloin of lamb, just not leg or chop.

2. First Ever (at least for several years) Student Ministry Easter Service at Calvary Church. It was awesome!! The band rocked out some great songs like Salvation is Here, Mighty to Save, Christ the Lord is Risen Today, and Nothing But the Blood. Matt Doan and Melissa Brosch (doesn't have a blog but should) talked about the scapegoat and brought in a live goat. It's always fun to have live animals in church. I talked about the Empty Tomb and my experiences in Israel. I read 1 Corinthians 15 from The Message and it has a cool verse (12) that says, "And I'm not going to let that grace go to waste." I like that phrase. I'm actually pretty unclear of what that translates directly from, but I still like it. It definitely preached. There were a ton of kids because we combined JH, HS, and College. It's fun to have that kind of energy in the room.

3. Elevation Easter Service. We had great worship with many similar songs. Salvation is Here, Mighty to Save, Christ the Lord is Risen Today, Marvelous Light. They did The Easter Song (Hear the Bells Ringing) as a pre-service song, but unfortunately is was not in the 80s Glam Metal style that I suggested. I'm sure Victor will post more on the music. Then we had these cool Digital Short Films that we made and Pastor Dave aka P-Diddy preached out of them. Chad Ashton did a ton of the work on the videos and he is a stud. They looked cool. The audio voiceover was overly theatrical and that kind of bummed me out, but they were visually awesome. The service ended with everybody pretty pumped up on worship and all that. A good morning overall.

4. Now we are packing and getting ready to leave in the morning. The blogging might be a bit sporadic over the next week.

He is Risen...He is Risen INDEED!!

Shout out from Marko and Calvary Church got a shout-out from Marko over on his blog. Check it out here. Does anyone know who the HS Pastor is that he is talking about? That's a funny story.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Vancouver Island on Monday

We leave on Monday for another vacation. I'm so stoked. It's been so good to have some time away. We are flying to Victoria on Vancouver Island up in the Great White North of Canada. This is the hotel we are staying at. The Empress Hotel.
We hope to see some of these on Wednesday.
Orca Whales
Then we are staying with some family up on the north end of the island which looks more like this.
Grace is coming with us on this trip and so are my mom and dad. It should be relaxing, beautiful, and fun!!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday

I'm giving a three-minute talk on one of the Seven Last Words of Christ tonight for our Good Friday service. We are having a bunch of contemplative worship, 7 mini-sermons by different pastors on these last words that we are calling Famous Last Words. We will have the first four pastors sitting on stools on stage and do those four in about 12 minutes and then sing some more songs and then have the next three pastors sit on stools and give the final three. Then we will have communion elements all over the stage steps and people can come up in groups and serve each other communion.

I'm speaking on what we have as the second to last statement of Christ. "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit" - Luke 23:46. This was actually a traditional bed-time prayer for Jewish children and comes originally from Psalm 31:5. The powerful act that Christ completes with such child-like humility is astonishing. Also, that He is quoting Scripture with His very last words is a remarkable example. He was depositing His spirit to the Father for safekeeping, but He had the power and authority to take it again at any time - John 10:17-18.

I'm looking forward to sharing that in 180 seconds and then spending a lot more time than that remembering and reflecting on the sacrificial death of our Lord.

Any other plans from people from other churches?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Obama Article

I thought this was a funny article on Barack Obama called "Free Obama's White Grandmother." It appears that Obama wants to keep his street cred up by not showing that he is half Caucasian. I think his multi-ethnicity actually helps him in the true race that he is running - the race for Anti-Christ! He has Muslim, Christian, and I think Buddhist roots. He is white, black, and even lived in Indonesia for a while. He is perfect. Bono has nothing on Barack. Obama is the Anti-Christ for sure.

Do you disagree? Who would you say is more likely?

Last Night

Jr. High was awesome last night. Melissa did a great job speaking. I loved the energy of the kids. They were pumped up for the night and for worship. Someone asked me if I thought that they were just excited to be excited. The person wasn't in the group that night, but was just wondering if the Jr Highers were really getting it. Here's what I think:
1. During the first two songs they were definitely more excited than worshipful. These songs are really rocking out.
2. The energy that is developed in those songs is also passion and I believe it did transfer to passionate worship during the third song - Here is Our King.
3. Then the second set was more reflective and some were into the first two songs, but a lot were just sitting there.
4. We had them stand for the last two songs and I think that helped them focus and get more into it.

I believe in energetic worship songs for Jr High. I don't think that the only form of true worship is mellow and reflective. I believe that there is a place in real worship for songs like "Take it All" even if it rocks out. God isn't boring. I recognize that worship isn't about a rock concert either. So it's a careful balance.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Rocking Jr High Tonight

I love leading worship for what we call BARF Night in Jr High. It's a once-a-month bring a friend focused night where we have the worship band rock just a little bit harder. There is always a theme where about 60% of the kids dress up and the teaching is tailored a bit more to the visitor. Tonight the theme is the color Green. Nice and easy. Other themes have been Punk Rock, 50s, Glow in the Dark, Cartoon, Pep Rally, 70s, Superheroes, 80s, and we even did the first 90s theme night.

Tonight the set list includes:
Set 1
What the World Will Never Take - Hillsong United
Take it All - Hillsong United
Here is Our King - Crowder
Set 2
Wonderful Maker - Redman/Tomlin
#5/Holy Fear/Please - Something Like Silas (the song with many names)
Majesty - Delirious
How Great is Our God - Tomlin

I'm looking forward to it after we finally solidified our drummer last night at about 7:00pm. We are seriously short on drummers right now.

Fantasy Baseball... seriously affecting my blogging. I spend all my "internet time" checking stats and players instead of writing and reading blog posts. I must figure out the balance.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Cabrillo Park Restoration Project

Cabrillo Park 1
In the past, at our church, we’ve purchased Easter Lilies in memory/honor of loved ones and enjoyed a beautiful display of lilies on the platform in our Worship Services on Easter Sunday. This year, instead of decorating the Worship Center with lilies, we’re planning to reach out to our community. We have partnered with the city of Santa Ana to restore the park around the corner from our church and to have a continuing relationship with the city and the many different people who use the park regularly. These people range from homeless people to families of many different ethnicities to neighborhood kids.

Here's the details or check the webpage on it:
Saturday, April 14 (8am-12noon) All-church work day:
Plant trees and color.
Remove graffiti from walls, structures and tables.
Vines (boston ivy) planted along wall to cover preventing further graffiti.
Paint center structure, benches, and picnic tables.
Clean playground equipment and remove sand from rubber surface.
Sift sand of debris.
Pick up trash.

Ongoing Weekly Maintenance
Graffiti Removal, this would include require training.
Clean playground equipment and remove sand from rubber surface. Sift sand of debris.
Pick up trash
Let’s trust God to open doors for us to ENCOUNTER our neighbors with the love and grace of Jesus Christ our Wonderful Savior.

Contact Matt Doan at or
Tammy Harris at to be involved.
Cabrillo Park 2

Sports Thoughts

1. Today is Opening Day for the Angels and all of Major League Baseball. The Mets and Cardinals opened yesterday with the Mets showing how they will be a strong team this year.

2. My Fantasy Baseball team has a bunch of injuries already. Jered Weaver, Chone Figgins, Mike Cameron, and Eric Gagne are down. I need Eric Gagne to be able to close this year.

3. I'm grieving the Bruins loss on Saturday. It was so frustrating to watch Florida drain about 8 three pointers in a row while the Bruins couldn't make a shot. When your All-American (Afflalo) has the worst first half of his career you aren't going to win a Final Four game. Two Final Fours in a row is pretty good and the Bruins are expected to be able to come back again next year even if Afflalo goes pro.

4. Kobe had 13 assists last night. That guy could be Steve Nash if he wanted to. He is just better than that. Kobe dominates Steve Nash.

5. I could normally care less about swimming, but Michael Phelps is Jordan/Tiger/Federer all rolled into one.

6. Nascar is just dumb.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Parallel Universe

Last night we went to a wedding which was a fascinating experience. First of all, I didn't know a single person except my wife - the wedding was with an old elementary school friend of Bea's. Second, it was at First Congregational Church of Los Angeles which is a huge, European style cathedral.
LA Church
Then the weirdest part was that the wedding was at The Biltmore Hotel. This is a super fancy hotel in the heart of downtown L.A. It was a black-tie reception and the parents of the bride spared no expense. It was lavish with fine food and drinks with an amazing band. It was the most expensive seeming wedding I have ever been to.
I have been to this hotel several times, but for a very different reason. I have been on mission trips to inner-city Los Angeles with the Center for Student Missions about ten or more times. On the first night of the trip you take a prayer tour through the city. Part of the tour takes you through Skid Row and then to show you the contrast, takes you into the Biltmore Hotel.
skid row 1
So there I am in this opulent reception in a place where I have been in the park, Pershing Square, across the street and had a snack with a homeless man and talked about God for over an hour. I have been down the street in MacArthur Park a million times talking with people about Jesus over Mexican pastries. CSM gives downtown LA four categories - Big Bucks, Spend Bucks, No Bucks, and Anything for a Buck. This was my real first time in Big Bucks and although it was very beautiful, it felt sad when we drove by a homeless person to have our car valet parked.

Have you ever been in a situation like this?