Category Archives: God

For the summer our youth group is meeting at a community park. It’s a great opportunity for our students to get outside and enjoy the amazing creation of our maker. What makes this more amazing than just getting outside the walls of our local church is the excitement I can see in our students. There’s this smile they give when about to play potato, or that distinct high-five they give each other that really reminds me what I love about my job. I love hanging with my students…period!

They are incredibly challenging, smart and talented. Even more so they are working out their salvation with fear and trembling as the Apostle Paul said in his letter to the Philippians. There’s this movement that’s happening in which our students are really searching for Jesus. They want an authentic relationship with him, and when I say authentic what I really mean is life transformation. That’s where the money is.

When we really think about our relationship with Jesus Christ was are some things that come to mind? What identifiers emerge from your analysis? Is Jesus the absolute center of your world? I believe that is the question many of my students are asking, but not asking. They want authenticity but often times don’t know how or where to begin looking for such a thing. That’s where I come in.

My mission for our students is pretty simple: I want them to love God, love others, and change the world. To love something or someone is to know them. I want our students to know God. Not just in a sunday school sort of way, but in a all life changing sort of way. Where all you want is Jesus. Through that encounter, we begin to learn how to love others, and from that love of others, we can change the world.

Who are we changing the world for?

It’s all about Jesus. When we remove everything that we hold dear to, all the convictions we constantly argue over, and the petty agendas, Jesus still remains. Because we have nothing without him. Youth group, the local church, it’s all for nothing if it doses’t have Jesus.

There’s a movement happening in my group. They want Jesus. They want to go deeper. They want meat instead of milk. They want life transformation, and I sit here in complete awe of the working of the Holy Spirit in our youth group. It’s all about Jesus!!!

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A Liturgical Experiment…Sodalitas

It’s a new year and I’ve been spending much time thinking about community, or more specifically spiritual community. What does is mean? What does it look like? How is it formed? These questions keep me up at night and the answer that I found is really not an answer but in fact an idea; a concept. It’s liturgy.

Since I was a boy, I’ve always been fascinated by old things, especially medieval things. There’s something whimsical and wondrous about the simplicity of the middle ages. This is where I’ve found the concept of liturgy. Although liturgy is not specifically a product of the middle ages, it it was practiced and experimented with during that time. Your probably asking “what does liturgy mean?” Good question.

Liturgy comes from the Greek word leitourgia meaning “public worship.” As I study more and more about community this concept of liturgy seems to surface. Not to mention as I remember the things that made me smile as I studied medieval history as a boy, it was the liturgical elements of the medieval church that fascinated me. Nonetheless, it was community that brought this concept to whole new level.

People gather to worship God in public places. The structure of how this is done varies from denomination to denomination. Some see the concept of liturgy to be a terrible thing, but I ask the question; why? Why is worshiping Jesus with kneeling and meditative prayers a horrible thing? Is it because Catholics do it? Why is doing the sign of the Cross a terrible thing? Does it not remind you of what Christ did on the cross? Why is responsive readings rendered obsolete, yet we still sings songs written from the 1990’s, even 1800’s?

Where am I going with this?

I’m proposing an experiment. I want to create a small community of Christ followers that would want to meet once a week and worship using the old ways. The more I study the early church the more excited I get about the local church, even more so this experiment.  I got this book Common Prayer: A liturgy for ordinary radicals and it’s intriguing and inspiring. This is not to replace the local church, it’s sort of a creative bible study if you will, some would even go as far as to call it a “bible study for hipsters.” We will meet to sing songs, recite responsive readings, take part in morning/midday/evening prayers and meditate over God’s word. The goal of this experiment is grow deeper in our relationship with Jesus Christ and create community, nothing else. Again, this is a bible study, not a new church! We are not trying to be Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, or even Protestant. We just trying to be authentic followers of Jesus Christ while using the imagination and creativity that He (Jesus) gave us. If you are wanting to participate in this experiment please fill out the form and I’ll contact you.

{Please note: this experiment is intended for those living in or around Yucaipa, Ca.}

Soli Deo Gloria!

What I Learned from TRON frisbee

Last night instead of having a typical youth group night we planned an event, TRON ultimate frisbee. In a few words it was absolutely awesome! Imagine glow sticks, a glow in the dark frisbee, music from TRON: legacy, and whole bunch of students running around like crazies; sounds like fun huh? However, there were some things that I learned from this event and hopefully this will continue to be a regular part of our student ministry.

Not all students are athletes

There are two kinds of students at an event like this: 1) an athlete and 2) the non-athletic. Neither student is better than the other, though the athletic minded will take anything that has a hint of competition and run with it (pun intended), while the others will adapt to the event and make it something they can connect to.

Students will find ways to have fun

This event was no doubt super fun. I mean seriously, who doesn’t like glow sticks? What was more awesome was to see students interact with other students that they normally wouldn’t interact with on any given day. One of the reasons we plan corporate games like these is to get everyone on the field to socialize. This brings conversations, laughter, and fun. Students who normally see students in a specific way could often walk away thinking “wow, I never knew that Josh was so good at frisbee!” 

Everybody loves Electronica

I don’t care what you say, you drop a beat on the iPod and your foot is going to move. You can’t help it, it’s the way God designed us to be. We are moved by music. Period! The music couldn’t have been more appropriate for TRON frisbee.

 

Advent Conspiracy 2011

Worship Fully // Spend Less //  Give More //  Love All

The question is what will you do?

The Secret Art of Lying

I for the most part try to live a life that would bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ. As a man I still fail at times in this attempt. As I reflect upon the kinds of things I struggle with I often times rationalize my sin in that I disassociate them from others. An example of such notions would be that murder is worse than adultery or, greed is worse than lying. However, sin is sin in the eyes of the Lord. There’s is no delineation between good sin or bad sin. It’s evil anyway we look at it.

This brings me to my main point…

Yesterday I read an article in Christianity Today by Sarah Sumner entitled “The Seven Levels of Lying.” As I read through the article I was immensely disturbed by the fact that even through I try to live a righteous life, I still knowingly sin against God. This is done by my flawed view of lying. Although lying about something with the motivation to cause harm, either emotional or physical is heinous in any form, I found myself reflecting upon my own sins… especially with lying.

I wouldn’t consider myself to be a profound liar, but there are times where I bend the truth or exasperate truth to tell a more interesting story, you know to make things sound better than they are. Either way I look at it, it’s lying and it’s a sin. Sumner’s response to this and the idea of seven levels of lying are well within normal parameter of the Christian life. As she stated in her article: you lie, you self-protect, you develop a habit of lying, you self-deceive, you rationalize, you develop your technique, then you you see it as your duty to lie. It’s outrageous that I (and I’m sure everyone else) allows ourselves to develop a life built upon accepting lying as an benin sin.

This is what Sumner said that really got me thinking…

God’s disdain for lying is not whimsical (Prov. 12:22). Lying is sinful not merely because the Bible says it is wrong. The Bible says lying is wrong because untruth violates Truth. Since Jesus is Truth, it is antichrist to lie.

Lying is untruth…period! And if we want to live a life that reflects the truth of the God we serve there can be no room for lying or sin. 1st Peter 1:15-16 simply states “Be holy, because I am holy.” As a man of God it is my desire to live in such a way. Not because it looks good on a resume or brings favorable comments on my Facebook page, but because I am in this incredible, amazing, passionate love story with the Creator of the universe. It’s a love story that transcends time and space. When I seek to understand who God is and what he is like, I’m speechless and standing in awe. When I realize this…how can I continue to accept the secret art of lying? Seriously…how can I rationalize lying when it bring nothing by chaos and destroys community?

Do you struggle with lying?

Protected: Relationship are not….

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Does God Exist?

This is an incredible video!

Faith and Skateboarding

I remember when I got my first skateboard, my sister broke it. I remember when I bought my first Christian skateboarding t-shirt, the washing machine destroyed it. I remember when I became a Christian at 16, my old life was obliterated and my new self was to take hold.

Often think back at the times of when I was into skateboarding and reminded myself of how unusual it was to be a skateboarder and a Christian at the same time. Like was a living oxymoron. However, my passion (and lack of skill) kept my desire to hit the pavement constant. There was faith and skateboarding.

Although, I hardly skateboard now and when I do it looks like a second run circus show, I still love it. Although the style and setting has drastically changed over the years, I still think of faith and skateboarding.

Here’s a great article…

Things that surprise me

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I tend to think a lot, and today I realized how much simple things surprise me. Here they are:

I am surprised by…

  • How clean the bathrooms are in the Junior high area. You can imagine how foul those restrooms could get, yet those bathrooms are some the only facilities I feel comfortable using. Who would have thought?
  • How much I am dependent on coffee.
  • How much I feel so old (at times) and yet I feel so young (at times).
  • How emotional I can be. Yes folks Lucas does express emotions.
  • How much God’s word is moving. I know this, but it’s exhilarating when you see it in action.
  • How little I have blogged this year.
  • How much I love Twitter.
  • How much I eat out.
  • How much I miss my dog (see #5).
  • How much I love the people I work with.
  • How much I enjoy eating raw coffee beans.
  • How much I need more alone time with God.

what surprises you?

elements-posterTonight we are doing an element worship night. Here are a few things I hope happens tonight and doesn’t for that matter. It sends shivers down my spine to know that we (I) love and serve the ancient God.

What I hope happens…

  • Students will conncet with God in a way that’s ancient and mysterious.
  • Students will open their hearts to God and know that they are loved.
  • Students will appreciate the simple joys of simple elements.
  • Students will be able to refine their relationship with the living God.

What I hope doesn’t happen…

  • I can think of a few students who just don’t care, and since they don’t care they want everyone else not to either. I hope (and pray) that they will experience something amazing or keep the distrations down to a minimum.
  • I pray that no one gets sick from the incense.
  • I hope (and pray) that we don’t burn the place down.
  • I hope we have enough time to complete each station.

Make no mistake…our jr. highers will be traveling to a place they (probably) never been to before. God is there waiting for them. I can’t wait to depart.