Category Archives: Spirituality

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!

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?

Social Media…friend or foe?

What would happen if Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, and all of the other social networks were to mysterious disappear? What would happen if you went to log on to your Facebook account only to find a server error (meaning that the Facebook didn’t exist)? What would be some of the initial thoughts that would surface in your head? Would you cringe in inconvenience? Would you breakdown into a panic attack and fanatically try and find away to “connect?” Do you think that a person could be addicted to social media outlets?

I know what you’re thinking right now…’your asking a ton of questions.’

Let’s face it, what would happen if we really severed our social media ties with the world? I honestly asked myself that question today. I tender the idea of killing all social media in my life, but then came to the realization that I use it equally for work and personal use, and the terminating Facebook would only limit my sphere of influence. Then I started to think about what if I gave up my social media habit for a week, maybe two, or even a month.

What would happen? What would I see? What would I hear? Would I feel completely disconnected from the world? Would I try to substitute the absence of Facebook and Twitter with something real…like meeting someone at Starbucks and actually having a ‘real’ conversation?

Don’t misunderstand me here, I think that Facebook (and all of the other options out) are fun and exciting. They contain both pros and cons to their existence. But what if they dictated what you do, how you feel, where you go…would you stop using them all together?

As I sit here and type this ‘blog posting’ I find myself caught in a iconic prose. I have to laugh at the idea. But then I think about my relationship with Christ, my wife, and others. Have I given priority like as I given priority to Facebook? A hard question to ask. Is my relationship with the Creator of the universe suffering because he doesn’t have a Facebook profile or a Twitter account?

I ask that you join me in prayer as I seek out the truth in these questions. I urge you to take a step back and look at your relationships…are they real? Do they even exist?

More to follow…

Walking into darkness…wait maybe it’s light.


What is the first thing you think of when I say the word “faith?” What sort of emotions rise up and stir the soul? Better question would be “what doesn’t happen” when you think about faith? This simple word sums up the very existence of religion. It’s the construct in which we as Christians manifest our true identity. It requires action, thought, trust, and love. We have trust in Christ Jesus, a relationship.

In my own life I find this action of faith is something eluding, superficial. This only because I trust God when I have all of the answers, best plans laid out and every scenario well thought; but that’s really not faith is it? Faith requires us to close our eyes and walk into what we think as darkness, or at least that’s what we think anyway. But the truth in the matter is that it’s really not darkness we’re walking into, how can we trust God and think that his presence is void of light? I find that there’s a connection between faith and God’s presence. When we truly surrender to God and usher in the element of faith into our lives, we are filled with his presence. We invite him to draw nearer to us.  The by-product of this is light, not in an ordinary light bulb producing sort of way, but in a spiritual orientation sort of way. God takes our hand and walks through the unknown, however we must keep our eyes closed!!! Did you see the connection? When we open our eyes we say to God “let me take it from here” when in reality this is the very thing that dissolves our faith. Trust is a hard thing to grasp.

In this moment of my life, I find that I’m challenging the opportunity of faith and trust. Before me is God calling me to trust and close my eyes, but with every fiber of my being I’m reluctant. I want to know all the answers before I take his hand. I want a detailed plan of action, when God just wants me to simply surrender and trust in his guidance and presence. Why is this so hard?

Then I read Psalms 37….

I will walk into the darkness with my eyes closed, hands clenched tight onto the One that leads me.

3 Books I’m Going to Read this Fall

It’s no secret that I have an unusual obsession with books, especially books pertaining to church, church culture and student ministry. Being a loyal reader to Relevant Magazine I come across a multitude of books that I want to read, never really investing the time and effort into finding and reading those books.

However, as I think, pray and dream about the future of the local church I couldn’t help but make the attempt at securing three books I feel could be extremely interesting within the context of church culture. It’s possible that these books could could be a waste of time by regurgitating the same old trendy sort of  information. Just from reading the dust jacket I have a feeling that the guys that wrote these books are on to something. More so, they place the on the table the question of “as a church…where are we and we are we going?”

It would be hard to answer these questions thoroughly in one book, so I appreciate the effort of dividing up this concept into three books. Relevant Magazine advertises this idea with the clever word of “inspire” while linking each book to a social element often times missing from the church mix; Holistically, Relationally, and Missionally.

I know what you’re thinking…what are the names of these books?

HOLISTICALLY…

RELATIONALLY…

MISSIONALLY…

As I progress through each book, I’ll tender my thoughts and keep you updated. I would love for you to join me as I dissect the idea of the local church becoming more holistically, relationally, and missional in it’s approach to the Kingdom. Let me know if you’re reading these books and perhaps we can start a “trendy” online book club of sorts.

A Worship Rant…

I had lunch this past week with the senior pastor I work with at Parkside Chruch. He’s a man that I don’t really know well, but admire greatly. As we talked and began to understand our backgrounds he mentioned something that startled me. It was the idea of worship and how it is often times shaped by non-believers. In every effort to make elements less “church like” and to remove most if not all identification to why we…or should I say “who” we worship. This is startling.

This notion is extremely hard in realm of student ministries. How does one be relevant and intentional, but still keep the ancient tradition of worship alive to students? There are many facets of thought that can stem from such a question, but please allow me to follow one thread…the “more is better” concept.

There’s this idea that a successful youth ministry has lots of kids, and that media is foundational, and that bigger is better. To be successful is to have the latest technological gear set up in the youth room, to have walls lined up with PS3 or 360’s. To have loud and crazy worships bands.  I want to take a step back and remember that word I mentioned earlier…Worship. Is all of this worship? I mean don’t get me wrong those things are great in the context of student ministry, and it’s always good to push for quality…nothing wrong with having those elements in student ministries, but what are we here for? What is our purpose? Are worshiping less if you don’t have those elements in your ministry?

To worship…

A youth ministry without the constant seeking after Christ is a sinking ship. In fact it’s a waste of time. Why engage in youth ministry is you’re never going to read the bible, pray with them,  tell students about this man named Jesus? Sure it’s fun hanging with students, but there’s a deeper purpose to it all. Are we embarrassed of the Creator of the universe?

Getting to my point, why do we go out of way to look like non-believers? Are we afraid of what people will think, are concerned about offending people? When did we start allowing non-believers to shape the way WE WORSHIP??? When was it not okay to talk about Jesus in church? When was it not okay to pour over scripture in church? When was it not okay to pray in church?  It’s just a place, but where then I ask? Where are we to freely express who we are in Christ? You think long enough and everywhere could be taken off the list in regards to being offensive…even the local church.

This is my call you…don’t be ashamed. Don’t forsake the Gospel based upon not wanting to offend someone. People are broken and are in need of the love of Jesus Christ.  Conviction is a good thing, trust me on this. Don’t allow the enemy stifle your passion for being who you are in Christ. It’s okay…you’ve been made new (Romans 12:2, Eph. 4:24)…now go out there and show it! It’s okay to have huge youth group and it’s okay to have a small group. It doesn’t matter as long as we continue to worship the Living God. It’s time to point that flashlight off of ourselves and gaze it upon the face of our Savior.

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…