"I rant, therefore I am." - Dennis Miller

guten tag.

the fires.
to start off with i'd like to thank everyone that's called or emailed me about the fires out here. san diego got hit the worst by far, but the ones up north have been pretty crazy too. if you know anyone at pepperdine they can give you a better description than i can of how bad it was, but i will say that from what i saw the fire was a few yards from devastating the campus. also, keep the folks from malibu presbyterian in your prayers. they lost their building in the fire. as for me, i was keeping an eye on the six flags fire due east of us about 20 miles, because there's nothing in between but mountains of brush.

one of my favorite events of the year is the national youth workers convention put on by youth specialties. this year the speakers all gave great messages and the seminars i went to really helped put things into perspective. francis chan from cornerstone really hit me hard with his talk on saturday. he talked about how his view of youth ministers changed when his daughter joined the youth group. it's so easy to get caught up in programming, pastoring, event planning, phone calls, studying... but the thing that needs to be the most prevalent is a love for Jesus. it's so easy to love ministry more than Jesus. it sounds weird to say, but i really got hit hard by this. and judging by the looks of those around me, i think it hit home with quite a few others as well. it was an odd idea at first, but the more i started comparing my love for Jesus to my love for ministry, my love for church, my love for being a part of kids lives, and my love for myself, i realized that things have been out of line for quite some time. i'm not sure how this plays out exactly, but i love wrestling with this idea. in my mind i've been running these competitions about who/what would win for my attention, and the reality of who/what does win my attention and it's been a humbling experience. it's so easy to be lukewarm.

nywc 2.
even if the sessions weren't that great, i would go just to have time hanging out with the youth ministry mafia. this year we decided to save money on hotels and crash at an empty condo that was up for sale. so we set up a projector and chilled every night wither watching movies, or playing nintendo wii (which i finally caved in and bought for our youth room). which, by the way, is the biggest prank one country has ever played on another. seriously, nintendo couldn't come up with a better name? anyways, hanging w/ the mafia was the perfect mix of accountability, jokes, terrible jokes, mockery, support, brainstorming, cynicism, hope, spirituality, and a lot of mexican food. needless to say, the fact that we were in san diego prompted me to give my usual 'd.j. reality mexican food tour' of my old stompin grounds. i doubt those guys eat mexican food for a month.

nywc 3.
i recognize that i am now officially a nerd after being really excited for the huge sale they have on all the new youth ministry stuff at the convention.

beard update.
i grew out my beard a few weeks ago and i've had some great mixed responses. one lady at church said i looked homeless. another said i looked distinguished and mature. my kiddos said i was just lazy. one chica at the coffee shop muttered under her breath 'indie-hipster', and another thought i was a cowboy (don't ask). so i guess my beard gives me that mature-lazy-distinguished-indie-cowboy-homeless-hipster look that's real popular these days. the worst comment though goes to valleygirl who asked if it itches, to which i replied that it didn't anymore, and she said that it must 'really be growing on me'. that hurts my head to think about. which leads me to...

the dreadful moment.
there are certain things in life that you just have come to accept. we are all growing older at the same rate, we are all terminal, and our bodies will not always be in the prime condition that we desire. i had a moment yesterday that i can not turn back from. it's one of those moments where you realize that your life has moved from one chapter to the next, and tomorrow has become today. yesterday morning i found a grey whisker. i am now old.

i have decided to be more politically involved during this election year. i'm not really sure what has brought this on, but after feeling so disenfranchised in the past couple of elections i decided to get myself informed for 08. I've been reading up on a lot of the top candidates, enough to where i think i could hold my own in a decent political discussion. i've stayed away from politics on this blog in the past, but there are a few things i feel passionately about to go ahead and put out there for the world to read. 1. the war: i have been a strong supporter of the war over the past few years, but i feel like we need to rethink our approach at this point. i'm not for cutting and running, but i would like to see a better exit strategy to avoid any more of our soldiers becoming frustrated overseas. 2. abortion: i am an avid pro-life advocate. even in extreme circumstances i feel that every child should have the option to live. i also find it odd that the opposing side is called 'pro choice' when the person who's life is at stake is not given a choice. 3. capital punishment: i'm completely against it. i could never sentence a person to die unnaturally. as a christian i feel that man should have every chance to turn their life around. more than anything, i have a lack of trust in our legal system. 4. life support: yet another one that throws me out of the right-wing box. the terry schaivo case a few years ago made me so upset. why do we as christians want to hold on to a body full of pain when there is such a greater alternative? i think holding on shows a lack of faith. when my time comes, my time comes. i'm going to be mad if you try and keep me here. 5. immigration: there is only so much our country can bear. the rate of people that need our help expands exponentially more every year than what we are capable of supporting. the laws and ideals that once were relevant need to adapt as times change like so many other laws and ideals have. and lastly, 6. free speech: this is becoming my biggest issue as it becomes more and more likely that my ability to speak the gospel will become increasingly limited (legally).

i can't pass up the opportunity the comment on the wave of celebrities that feel they have to influence political culture. seriously, i'm tired of it. you get the same news we do, let us make our own opinions. if you think about it for a second, should we really trust people who are professionals at making us believe things that aren't real? these are also the same people that say their violent movies and raunchy lyrics do not affect culture, yet they turn around and use their spotlights to praise each other for how much of an 'influence' their latest artistic masterpiece is making.

celebrities 2.
can we not combine the names of celebrity couples anymore? and can we not use the first initial-first syllable nickname generator anymore? and while i'm at it, can we stop calling every controversy something '-gate'?

red sox.
i don't even know where to begin on how much i am pulling for the rockies right now. if the sox win i have to put up with annoying fans bragging. if they lose, i have to put up with annoying fans whining. all i know is they have become the very yankees they claim to hate. congratulations on buying yourselves a post season. now go wash that fake stain off your socks.

the rub.
well i've spewed a lot of stuff that needed to be vented, which is odd because God has been really good these past few days (well, i've taken the time to notice). we got out of san diego safely after the convention, and some things around here that have been tough to deal with have settled down. i got spend time with some of the greatest friends i could ask for, and i got a chance to flirt with a bunch of attractive christian women. i got a number from a chica with amazing blue eyes, and i got a phone call from a kiddo that just needed to talk. i've seen prayers answered and hearts moved. i saw grown men cry out for renewal, and the same men on their knees accepting Jesus back into first place. i heard my thoughts put into words by teachers, and listened to kiddos ask questions to people they think have the answers. i sat with thousands of people that love ministry like i do and worshipped a God that loves us all.

i hope your day is blessed. i pray that as you read this your life is in a place that you can truly say that you love Jesus the way you want to.

one love, one heart.

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