Best Christmas Present Ever?

Who wouldn't want a 3d wolf poster?

one love, one heart.



Another NHC Student Ministry Blog

I love Christmas ornaments! In our family we each have our own
Christmas ornaments. Some are store-bought and engraved, while others
are twenty-year-old glitter-covered pieces of construction paper cut
to resemble trees. My favorite is one that probably dates back to
1984, and it is simply a piece of pipe cleaner attached to part of an
egg carton. Of all the artwork I've done over the years, my mom has
kept the stuff from pre-school to decorate the tree!

Decorating the Christmas tree is a tradition that comes from Europe,
and can be traced back to Martin Luther. Legend has it, Luther was
walking in the woods, and he saw the stars shining through the branches
of an evergreen tree. He brought a tree home and decorated it with
candles to illustrate to his children what he had seen.

There are many references to stars in the Bible. Ask Job. It's pretty
easy to see a theme develop with God communicating His love for man
using the sky. Here are a couple of thoughts I'd like to focus on:

In Genesis 22, God promises Abraham that his descendants will be " as
numerous as the stars in the sky".

In Psalm 147, the writer declares that the Lord "determines the number
of the stars and calls them each by name".

I'd like to paint a picture for you. It's a Norman Rockwell piece of
an elderly man gently hanging ornaments on a giant tree that fills the
entire room of his palatial estate. At first you notice the size of
the tree and the room. As you peer closer you notice that there are
already thousands of ornaments on the tree gleaming in the light, with
boxes yet to be unpacked. Finally, with eyes squinted you see that
each ornament is hand carved, hand painted, and uniquely labeled with
various names.

What if we are the ornaments on God's tree?

What if each one of us is handmade, individually named, sitting on
the tree that God is using to decorate His home?

This has a profound impact on my life. When I start to look at myself
as a treasure of God, when I start to look at my life as something
that brings him joy when put on display, I am completely humbled. I
have a place on God's tree. I am a part of His family. There is so
much beauty in an individual ornament. But, as special as each
memento may be, there is nothing like seeing hundreds of thousands of
them together. And there I am…an ornament on the same tree as
David, Moses, Solomon, Peter, Matthew, Stephen...


I hope you find joy this Christmas in knowing that we have a Lord that
knows every one of the stars He has named.

one love, one heart,



This is from my blog from the NHC student ministry site:

Talking points:
Why do so many people make resolutions for the new year?
Why do we have a desire to constantly push ourselves?
What is it that you can be fanatical about this year?
Is there something God has promised you that you are afraid to reach for?
Have you ever been one of the ten?

The Green Bay Packers have some of the greatest fans in all of sports. Every year thousands of fans brave the Wisconsin winter to cheer their team on, despite the insane weather they have up there. It's always a blast watching the crowd shots at Green Bay home games, because you see what it means to be truly fanatical. I remember one year I saw an older guy with no shirt wearing a painted on jersey while it was snowing. Guys like that are a blast to be around. It's easy to imagine his is the truck in the parking lot covered with Packers stickers, and his home is the one painted team colors. I bet he even has one of those cool cheese head hats!

Do you think anyone that knows him even has to ask if he is a Packers fan?

The Word:
In Numbers 13 we catch up with the Israelites as they are in the desert on the outskirts of Canaan, the land that God has promised them. Twelve leaders representing the different tribes have been on a mission to scope out the land and to see what kind of condition it is in. They come back with a report that it is, in fact, the 'land of milk and honey' that God has promised. They even brought back a cluster of grapes to show everyone the fertility of the land.

The scene is easy to imagine. Forty years of wandering in the desert is coming to an end for an entire race of people. The home that they have been promised is right over the hill, and it is everything that they could imagine. Unfortunately, there is something holding these people back from taking what God has promised them. There is a problem with the Promised Land. You see, among other tribes, the descendants of Anak live there- and they are huge. Ten of the scouts start spreading word through the entire nation of Israel about the giants that live in the promised land in these fortified cities. They describe themselves as 'grasshoppers' in the midst of these giants.

And just like that the Promised Land is gone.

Fortunately that is not how the story ends. You see there were a couple of scouts that had a faith in God that could not be quelled by a few obstacles. One of these men, Caleb, silences the crowd of doubters and proclaims, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it."

You see while the rest of the Israelites are wondering if they would be better off as slaves back in Egypt, Caleb and his friend Joshua are crying out for the people to remember that they have the Lord on their side. Caleb is a dedicated 'fanatic' of the Lord. There is no doubt about his faith, or his determination. Can you imagine anyone getting a less than enthusiastic response when asking Caleb about the promised land?

Wrap up:
It's easy to sit back and look at an obstacle as insurmountable. How often are we one of the ten that look for reasons that things can't be done? My encouragement this week is to be Caleb. Be the person that is so trusting in the Lord that the odds are always in your favor. Will you charge into the new year with your jersey 'painted on' cheering loud enough to eliminate all doubt as to which side you are on?

one love, one heart.


The traditions of the season are best enjoyed in the warm embrace of kith and kin. Thith tree is a thymbol of the thpirit of the Griswold Chrithmath.

Mele Kalikimaka blogworld!

I love christmas time. music, decorations, lights, and most importantly my Clark Griswold quotes are suddenly in context.

It's been a crazy year for me with a new job, moving, traveling and all of the other fun stuff that happens in a year. I haven't spent as much time blogging this year (which is either really good or really bad) but that's something i hope to single handedly change that right now.

looking back on the past few months on my life as a bedouin i'm really glad that i had this chance to venture around. there were definitely some slow days, and days where i wasn't sure where i was going to sleep that night, but all in all my travel time was a huge blessing. my list of places that i went is pretty sweet to look at:

san diego
long beach
los angeles

an even more meaningful list is that of my friends and people i call family that have showed an amazing amount of love. i am truly blessed. i may have lost my job, but i feel like i have regained my spirit. a lot of that is God putting me into the presence of some mighty warriors that i am fortunate enough to call friends and family.

this thanksgiving we went to boston to be with mi hermana who started her first hotshot job recently. what a fun trip. for thanksgiving day we went to plymouth rock and had a picnic, which i loved.the little adventures that we stumble into are awesome and it cracks me up to see our family picture in front of the mayflower.
family pic 2
the only thing i would have changed about that day is that we should have dressed up as pilgrims. to top the day off, we decided to do our own 'senior pictures' in the park at plymouth rock.
sarah sr pic
my sr pic

what can i say, we are a goofy family. but we do have fun.

the lion's den.
i capped off the trip to boston with lunch inside the green monster and a celtics game. seeing fenway was cool, but the tour there is lame. sitting for 45 minutes watching a video and five minutes of pictures does not make for a tour, it's a lecture. at the very least we did get some good pics.

as for the celtics game, that was an adventure in it's own right. tickets were sold out so we went the scalper route which was funny, because i think it was mi hermana's first exposure to that culture. after walking around for a few minutes my sister gave me the best quote of the trip, "I don't think we're going to get tickets cause everyone else here is looking too." In between laughs i explained to my sister that no scalper was going to stand on the corner yelling they had tickets, since this isn't exactly a practice condoned by the nba. anyways, we had a great time at the game. Celtics fans are nuts, and they are definitely die hards. Who wouldn't be when you buy a great championship team? The two best parts of the game were the crowd yells at the Disco dancer in the Gino shirt (had to be there)

and whenever Brian Scalabrine gets the basketball. Needless to say we had a blast.

parting words.
We also toured around downtown Boston, which was fun but cold. Mi hermana works by boston commons and all of the historical parts of the city which is pretty cool. My only complaint about Boston is the lack of street signs. Someone needs to donate a couple grand and buy some street signs. Oh yeah, and the frat hats need to go.
If you're going to be a diehard fan, buy a decent cap.

best moment in boston:
dropkick murphy's coming on the radio as we're driving up bunker hill. even mi madre was rocking out.

christmas fun facts:
so i've been looking up how different christmas traditions got started and it's been really interesting.

decorating trees comes from martin luther. legend goes he was walking in the woods and saw the stars shining through the trees. he brought a tree home and decorated it with candles (is that really a good idea?) so he could describe to his kids what he saw.

the song 12 days of christmas comes from england when it was illegal to be catholic. parents sang in code to their children about the gifts that God (my true love) gives us.
a partridge is a bird that will draw predators away from the nest by sacrificing itself.
two turtle doves are the two testaments of the bible.
three french hens are faith, hope and charity
four calling birds are the gospels
five golden rings are the first five books of the old testament
six geese laying represent creation
seven swans are for the seven gifts of the spirit in 1 cor 12
the eight maids are the beatitudes
the nine ladies dancing represent the nine types of angels (according to catholic theology)
ten lords leaping are the ten commandments
eleven pipers represent the faithful apostles
and the twelve drummers represent the apostle's creed (once again going towards catholicism)

santa comes from several european traditions in folklore, but was popularized by chrs billings in the late 1990's.

time to get ready for making ornaments with the kiddos tonight.

one love, one heart,


here ya go okchick

hola blogworld.

it's a rainy day in SD and i was just sitting down feeling a blog post coming on, when i see that i've been tagged by okchick to do this:

8 TV Shows I Watch
1. the office
2. jimmy kimmel
3. chuck
4. big bang theory
5. heroes
6. jackass
7. lost* pending a rapid improvement in answering questions
8. baseball tonight
8 Favorite Restaurants
1. rosarito's #3
2. sombrero's
3. alberto's
4. roberto's
5. el indio
6. (tie) rubio's / in-n out
7. humberto's
8. wok-n-roll
8 Things That Happened Today (past 24 hours)
1. sat on the porch
2. ate a burrito
3. played guitar
4. watched the rain
5. designed a cd
6. made plans to watch mnf at andy's
7. did some laundry
8. got new glasses
8 Things I Look Forward To
1. owning a surfboard
2. youth ministry mafia meetings
3. paying off my truck
4. driving to texas for christmas
5. days off
6. jam sessions
7. late night phone calls
8. baseball season
8 Things I Wish For
1. the astros in the world series
2. no more geico cavemen commercials
3. an economic bailout plan for my student loans
4. more snl digital shorts
5. free rolled tacos for life
6. thrice would put a new album out every other month
7. the raccoons outside would stop staring at me
8. dennis miller would run for president
8 People I Tag
1. james
2. liz
3. darrin
4. thornton
5. sumner
6. you
7. beyonce
8. championship vinyl visitor # 18,333

one love one heart.


Safe in San Diego

The FA/18 plane crash on monday has been on my mind a lot this week. My heart goes out to Don Yoon, who lost his mother, wife and daughter all in one day. In the wake of this tragedy his response was absolutely amazing.

When asked about the pilot Yoon responded, "Please pray for him not to suffer from this accident," Yoon said. "I know he's one of our treasures, for the country, and I ... don't blame him. I don't have any hard feelings. I know he did everything he could."

What an example of faith. I can not begin to imagine the type of loss he is feeling, and the many things that must be running through his mind. To respond with such a Christ-like attitude is absolutely admirable. When Christ calls us to be in the world, but not of the world, I think this is what He was talking about. We tend to be a nation of people looking to complain and point fingers, so men like Don Yoon stand out.

On a personal note, I've always appreciated the planes flying over San Diego. Like hundreds of thousands of others, there have been many times driving on the 15 that I've watched fighter planes buzz the freeway and land at Miramar. It's an amazing sight watching these machines come roaring in hundreds of feet above you, and even cooler when the timing works out where you hear the roar of their engines. For a brief moment the radio is muted, everyone in the car sits still, traffic pauses, and you are completely overwhelmed by the power of those planes.

I appreciate that feeling. It reminds me that there are men and women who are constantly training to protect my freedoms. Day in and day out there are hundreds of thousands of people who sweat, toil, and sacrifice so that I can be safe from harm. I feel safe with the planes overhead.

My heart goes out to the Yun family, the pilot and his family, and all those who were affected by this accident. When things like this happen I think it's important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. There are thousands of flights that go right every day, and there will always be a need for others to serve our country. When accidents do happen, it is so vital for us to step up as followers of Christ and be ready to forgive.

one love, one heart.


Stay Classy.

Pacific Beach, San Diego

i love san diego.

now that the final details are getting wrapped up with my new job (another post sometime soon) and things are becoming official, i am so excited to say i love this city. my city. home. i am 'from' here. i have lived in a few other places, but i am from here. this is my home. this is not a dig on your town, i hope you love where you are at as much as i do. but for me, san diego has my heart. so as i sit outside my favorite mexican restaurant enjoying a carne asada burrito, looking in between palm trees at the view of downtown and the ocean on a perfect afternoon, i think this is a good time to put some thoughts down on why i love this city so much.

i am sitting outside my favorite mexican restaurant enjoying a carne asada burrito, looking in between palm trees at the view of downtown and the ocean on a perfect afternoon.

the beach culture here is absorbed miles inland. even people that live thirty miles inland still have a laid-back, beach attitude. things may be fast paced here, but people for the most part are pretty relaxed. you're more likely to walk into a an office and see guys in hawaiian shirts than a tie. sandals are considered the shoes of choice. you don't even have to be a beach-going person to be a part of this culture, i think it's the default setting.

every neighborhood has it's own unique flavor. if you're up north, you're in a track home. normal heights has adams avenue. the college area is flooded with people walking around all the time. downtown is the ultimate urban reclamation project. mission and fashion valley have the friars rd corridor that has everything you could ever imagine. el cajon is hot as blazes but affordable, oceanside is the beach town that blew up big. la jolla has the glitz and glamour when it comes to scenery, but the money spot is still coronado.

every tuesday one of the museums in balboa park is free. so on any given tuesday you can hang out in one of the nicest parks in the city and cruise around some great museums, that is if you feel like going inside.

the mix of people. you will literally see people of every nationality imaginable here. it's a great constant reminder to be not just open, but excited to explore new cultures.

outdoor eating. you'll be hard pressed to find a decent place to eat that doesn't have a patio area. the weather is nice enough here that you really can eat outside pretty much all year long. which leads to;

the weather here is perfect. a little june gloom and the dog days of august are just long enough to make you appreciate the mid 70s to 80s the rest of the year mixed in with the occasional showers.

sports here are a blast, even if they're not watching championship teams. petco park is by far my favorite new-school stadium in the west. the view from anywhere in the park is amazing, there's a field behind center where you can picnic with your family during games, and nothing tops off the ballgame experience like hopping on the trolly with a bunch of pads fans. then there's the classic concrete of qualcomm aka jack murphy stadium. right in the heart of san diego, the constant fireworks shows, charger games, aztec games, and car racing make it a welcome neighbor. and that's just the major sports. san diegans have a local game called over-the-line, that is essentially stickball at the beach, skating, surfing, you name it. great sports town.

when it comes to staying active, san diego has enough touristy stuff to keep the masses entertained; there's the largest zoo in the world, sea world, the wild animal park, legoland, and a bunch of well known beaches to visit. for the more discerning tourist, or interested locals, there's old town, several missions, world class museums, the gaslamp district, miramar, point loma, mission bay, coronado, and quite a few off the beaten path beaches. and for the long-time locals, there are even more beaches. oh yeah, we're also right next to mexico (dangerous) and not too far from the desert, or mountains for the moto-x and snowboarders.

and lastly, as i previously mentioned, the beaches here are awesome. from the hippie scene at ocean beach, to the busyness of mission beach, the scenery at la jolla, the nudists at black's beach, and the awesome break up at swami's. absolutely unreal.

one love, one heart.


If I were Control, you'd already be dead. / If you were Control, you'd already be dead. / Neither of us is dead, so I am obviously not from Control.

la jolla ca

rant time...

mall kiosks.
trying to navigate your way through the mall without getting stopped by some club-thumping goofball selling discount sunglasses is almost impossible. who do you have to have offended to get that job? no i don't want to get sprayed by your new age patouli hair growth remote control massaging hair weave, now let me go so i can get my hot dog on a stick.

barnes and noble is the new library, but with better books. and coffee. i think you would be hard pressed to find anyone under the age of 40 that could give you directions to your closest library easier than the nearest of several b&n. even if they could, ask them where they'd rather hang out. b&n wins hands down. they have comfier chairs, newer books, easier to get membership and no decimal system to decipher. sorry dewey, it's true.

russian mp3 sites. all of the fun of us mp3 sites but at a fraction of the cost. tell em dwight sent you. www.mp3search.ru

i saw somebody's car with an obama sticker covering a kerry sticker. i don't know why i thought that was funny, but i did.

all mexican food is essentially the same. everything stems from the burrito.
tacos=burrito folded in half
tostadas=flat burrito
chimichanga=fried burrito
quesadilla=cheese burrito
enchilada=burrito with sauce
nachos=chopped up burrito
tamale=corn burrito

i heard my favorite line consistently used in prayer the other day, "God please be with those who are sick of this congregation."

did anyone miss kid rock while he was gone? how long do you have to disappear until you can have a comeback?

observations from apt hunting:
'move in special' = good sign
'ring manager in apt 310' = not a good sign
everything near the military base = beat up
everything in rancho bernardo = expensive
everything in pacific beach = beat up + expensive
apt sales people = shop at ross
covered parking = sweet
park at your own risk = not so much

top ten quotes from the office this season:
"every little boy fantasizes about his fairy tale wedding"
"whenever i'm getting married you don't believe me"
"well holly-lujah"
"story's kind of bland. it's about this guy named dumbledore calrissian, who needs to return the ring back to mordor."
"i am bill buttlicker"
"it's pronounced Colonel, it's the highest rank in the military"
"it's like farmaid, but instead of farms fighting against aids, it is us fighting against our own poverty"
"let's get ethical, ethical..."
"the tall guy got engaged"
"must look like the tide at omaha beach"

one love, one heart.


simi/dallas/houston/okc/fresno/bakersfield/san diego/colorado/san marcos/las vegas/long beach/murrieta

hola blogworld:

as you may have noticed there haven't been any post up here in the past 800 years or so, and both of you that read this are probably wondering what happened. to answer the questions both of you have asked:

1: i haven't had an internet connection in a while because our neighbors moved.
b: getting online is not really a big priority.
3: i kinda got blogged out, and switched to journaling for a while.

anyways, i've got a stockpile of stuff to blog about now so never fear, your lunch breaks should be covered for a couple of days. maybe. whatever.

did we have an election? i didn't realize it was this week. i guess i missed everyone's facebook status over the past week. my big question is what is going to happen to Jessie Jackson? will the rainbow coalition break up? i wish i could have been there to see the look of chagrin on his face when we elected our first african american president and it wasn't him. or al sharpton.
i give both senators props for their speeches the other night. sen. obama was a gracious winner, and sen. mccain was gracious in defeat. i think the real winners were the speech writers, who should both have job security for a long time. the biggest losers are the people in hollywood who won't have politics to talk about anymore, and will have to get back to the important issues, like acting.
and to my friends who didn't vote; watch out. P Diddy is is still running his 'Vote or Die' campaign.

i went with some of the ym mafia crew and families this week and this is what i learned:

all in all i came out even, so i'm going to call it a successful trip to vegas. the people there were amazing, and it def rivals nyc in the 'things you won't see anywhere else' category. the cool part is, vegas lived up to all the hype i've heard, it's expensive, kind of dirty, completely lit up at night, and the waitresses there are disturbing.
mi amigo johhnyvegas lit up the roulette tables a couple of nights and did pretty well, and ronald did the up and down thing so all in all i think we had a pretty safe trip to vegas.

oh crap, that's supposed to stay there.

i hate moving. i was packing up all of my stuff into storage, and i bought this 5x10 little piece of real estate to keep my stuff dry, thinking it would be ample room for me and my non-owning-furniture-self. right. saturday rolls around and my little cell is more stuffed than oprah at thanksgiving. that, and i'm pretty sure that we cleaned our apt on a regular basis, but when all of the furniture was moved out you would have thought an entire section of season-ticket-holding raiders fans lived in our apt. the smartest thing i did on this move was setting aside a 'last box out' for everything that was left after we thought we were done packing. because if you have ever moved you know that phenomenon were things keep popping out of every hidden crevice. the fun part was counting how many times we said 'i forgot i had that' during packing week. yeah for moving!

a few weeks ago i went on a hunting trip with dantheman, ronald and a whole crew of guys. and by hunting, i mean camping, because i def do not have a gun, and didn't have it in the budget to buy a deer tag. anyways, colorado was amazing, very good for the soul. we'd get up before dawn every day, go hunt (which is actually quietly hiking for ten minutes, then sitting down quietly for ten) come back for lunch, hang out, go hunt again for a while, cook up some dinner and then sleep. i was real stoked about this trip for several reasons. first off, things are very simple when you are camping like this, you eat, hike and sleep. secondly, it was a blast getting away from the city for a while and being surrounded by nature. i stopped caring about the fact i hadn't had a shower, or what was going on in the rest of the world, or anything outside of what direction i was going to start walking that day. and lastly, the best part of the trip was the silence. actual silence. no distractions, no noise, just me, God, and the nature He created. it's tough going back to church services after spending my own time in worship at the edge of a mountain staring a thousand feet down into a valley. colorado was good for the soul.

right now i'm couch crashing at dantheman's house waiting to hear back from a church in s.d. about a job. i get really nervous about stuff like this, so i'm doing my best not to think about it at all. until now. not having a place to call home is kind of fun. it's nice to be hanging out with people i call family, nice to be out of my old apt, and really cool not having to check all the junk mail every day. in case you were wondering, my new mailing address is: good luck. the funniest part about that is that som-som went ahead and mailed her fundraising letter to dantheman's house so that i would get it. comedy.

cart before the horse.
so in anticipation (hope) of getting a job in sandiago, i've been looking around at apts there. ugh. not fun at all. i'm learning that if the only pictures the apt complex shows on their website are shots of the pool, the place is going to be shaaaaaaady. i've learned this by checking out every shady apt in the miramar/mira mesa area. right now i'm looking in the escondido are if i'm going to live north, or the pb area if i'm going to live south. or i just might buy a boat and live there. if anyone is looking for a roommate that wants to live near the beach... lemme know.

that's what's on the mind right now, the rest are excerpts from my journal over the past few weeks:


thoughts on leaving simi.
i have been feeling very free lately. i'm on a flight back from texas right now, where i've been catching up with friends and family. this is the first time that i feel like i've truly gone on vacation in a while. over the past four years, most of my vacations were short stints that never really let me spend time away from thinking about ministry. one of the lessons i have learned is to take fewer trips, for longer amounts of time, so that i can give my mind a rest from ministry. right now, knowing that i am heading back to absolutely zero crisis, and zero expectations is a very welcome thought.

to answer the question that i'm getting asked the most, i have no idea what i am doing next, or where i am going to end up. my prayers are that i end up in youth ministry somewhere in socal, but in an effort to be free from worry, i am trying my best to allow God to guide me to what's next. keep me in your prayers when it comes to that. i'm excited on calling on God to provide a clear path, and really trying to use this opportunity to stretch my faith. it's a little scary sometimes for me when it comes to putting complete trust in God, but Jesus himself said it best when he told us not to worry. let's just say that i've been looking at a lot of birds lately as a reminder.

i've been doing a lot of reflecting these past few months over my time at simi. it's kind of tough not to dwell a little bit, but i think it's important to go back and examine one's past to make sure that growth occurs. a lot of people have asked if i am going to look for a job in the graphic design field, and while i thought about it at first, i realized that my time at simi would be more meaningful if i can take what i have learned and apply it to another ministry. i don't know if that makes sense to anyone else, but it makes sense when i explain it out loud. anyways, that line of thinking has forced me to ask what i have learned over the last four years.

get filled.
this wednesday i went to the singles class at memorial road in okc, and was truly blessed. it has been a long time that i've been in a class just for me, where i wasn't trying to work out how i could translate what i was learning to my teens. it was such a blessing to be a student, and not a minister for a while. one of the things on my mind lately is how long it has been since i've been taught. yeah, yeah, yeah, i listen to a sermon every week like everyone else. but if we're going to be completely honest, twenty minutes once a week in an auditorium setting hoping you'll be able to a: stay awake and b: get something concrete to push your faith, isn't really enough to keep me filled. don't get me wrong, i get built up by reading the bible, praying, encouragement from the ministry mafia, and the countless books i pour through. however, if we were going to look at my spiritual life in economic terms, my account is deep in the red after spending much more than i am bringing in. the lesson is: get filled so that you can keep pouring out.

divide and conquer.
one thing i have definitely learned is to delegate duties, events, lessons etc to a large group of people. when we set out to define our leadership roles, there were only a couple of people involved. in this dynamic, i take responsibility for everyone's roles, and when expectations are not met it all falls on me. with a larger group of people with fewer responsibilities per person, it is much easier to pick up the slack when one part starts to, for lack of a better term, not show up. also, with more people involved with fewer clearly defined duties it is easier to spot out who on the boat isn't rowing.

the right thing.
one of the things i was struggling with at the end was holding on to doing what i knew was right. i was getting so wrapped up in making others happy, and making sure that 'the ministry is going well', that i lost sight of fighting for things that i believe in, and more importantly what God has called me to do as a christian. basically, i forgot that working for God supersedes working for elders and parents, and those that put their money in the plate.

yes, i will spend time with kiddos that don't have two parents at home, especially when the rest of the family doesn't go to church.
no, i will not stop bringing up the fact that we literally put up a fence around the church.

thoughts from colorado:


thanks for reading,
one love, one heart.



hola blogworld.

this past sunday i announced my resignation as youth minister at simi. there are a lot of details to the story, but the short version is that it was simply time to leave.

the why.
there are a lot of things that have added up over the years. recently it became obvious to me that the things that have been frustrations for a while were not going to change. at the very least, i did not feel like they would change before i got burned out on ministry. my original goal was to do everything possible to work at one place for ten years, and i feel like i have honored that commitment. between politics, constant miscommunication and feeling like i was going at it alone, it is simply time to go. as far as the timing goes, i'm not the biggest fan of doing things immediately, but some things are out of my control, so my resignation comes from out of the blue for many people, and i apologize to those that are upset and seeking more of a resolution.

obviously there's a lot more to this, but for right now let me say thank you to everyone that has been supportive to me, encouraging, and praying for what's next. one of the benefits of a shortened timeline is that people feel an urgency to say what is on their hearts. I've been thinking a lot lately about the statement, "a man is measured by the company he keeps", and by that measure I consider myself very blessed.

for the next few weeks i'm going to be doing a lot of traveling. i'm taking time to see family and friends, relax and have fun. aside from interviews, i have trips to texas, colorado and vegas in the works. i'm still working on san diego, okc and tulsa. it's been a while since i've been able to take any extended time to do things that i want to do, so i will most certainly take advantage of my 'availability'.

as for a job, i'm sending out my resume to anyone who'll read it to see how wide my options are. my hope is to stay in socal, but we'll see what the Lord has in store. i already have a few interviews in the works and plan of pursuing as many options as possible. if you know of any church that is looking for a youth minster, let me know.

i'll be posting more stuff soon. it's been a while since i've written anything, but as you can probably guess, things around here have been pretty crazy.

one love, one heart.


Batman: No use, Joker! I knew you'd employ your sneezing powder, so I took an Anti-Allergy Pill! Instead of a sneeze, I've caught you, cold!

Dear Blog readers,
Thanks for being interested enough to read my little rants and stuff. It means a lot to know that if you type up random movie phrases into google search, you end up here.


Dear surfing,
I’m glad that we finally met. I have a lot of respect for anyone that has been friends with you for a while, because you’re tough to get a hold of. But I understand why so many people that become friends with you stay friends with you. I look forward to hanging out more often.
wipe out

Dear Baseball,
Sorry we haven’t spent much time together this year, but I want you to know that I still love you. I’m really glad that you haven’t had any steroids incidents lately, and when we have been able to spend time together, you’re a completely changed person. Even though the Yankees and Astros are not living up to my expectations, it is nice to see the ‘Rays’ throwing at the Red Sox.
I think it’s also worth mentioning that you should ride the Josh Hamilton hype for a while. Anyone that makes fans out of yankee stadium attendees is impressive to say the least. I’ve been a baseball fan for as long as I can remember, and there are very few stories that match the turnaround he (through the grace of God) has been able to make. I’ll be sure to buy his jersey when he joins the Yankees.

I do have some suggestions for you though. When it comes to the All-Star festivities, could we take out the middle round of the home run derby? It’s a great event that gets marred every year by the awkward second round. Let’s just take the best in the NL and let them slug it out against the best in the AL. Speaking of which, I think the home run derby should be a contest between the top four home run hitters from either league, whether or not they are on the all star ballot. Just a thought.

And finally, I love your hats with the American flag on the team logo. It’s awesome when my love for baseball and my love for my country get wrapped up into one uber-patriotic masterpiece.
Good game,

Dear Dan Uggla,
The A.L.

Dear Honduras,
Your country is pretty amazing. It’s hot and humid, there’s garbage everywhere and I don’t understand a word that is said there, but I had a great visit. Your people live some amazing lives and I am glad to be associated with them. My only thing is you might want to treat your kids that are sick and handicapped a little better.

Via con dios,

Dear summer,
Thanks for keeping me busy, and thanks for not being too hot yet. I look forward to seeing you every year, and you’ve been so reliable. I hope that my amount of bbq-ing and drinking huge cups of iced tea have made you feel appreciated. By the way, I’m really glad that our country became free while you were on watch, because I really love having our nation’s birthday party during your time.

Stay cool,

Dear awesomeintern,
You can go ahead and keep the sign up on the office door that says this is your office. You’re doing a great job and it’s going to be really weird not to have you around in a few weeks. By the way, you say awesome all of the time now.


Dear old computer,
You lasted for four great years and you were a great computer, but I think we both know that your time has come. If you make it out of your coma you still have a spot on my desk, but if not I won’t think any less of you.


Dear iPhone,
We got off to a rough start, but I’m glad that we have become friends and hang out all of the time. Thanks for giving me directions and suggesting restaurants and all the other stuff that you do.


Dear wipeout,
You are the best new show on tv. Stay real!

See you soon,

Dear Family,
I was re-reading Blue Like Jazz a few weeks ago and was kind of floored again by the idea of a confession booth where Christians apologize to the world for things we have or haven’t done to show God’s love. It’s a pretty crazy concept, but I think it would be pretty cool to try in simi valley. It hit at a really good time for me because we’ve been talking a lot in little side conversations here about things that we feel like we need to change, and several of those conversations involve starting conversation in the community about what we can do to serve.

Humbly yours,

Dear batman,
Thanks for living up to the hype and not making me reget waiting in line to see you at midnight. You make awesome movies. I know you struggled for a while but this last one was pretty amazing. The joker was by far the creepiest bad guy I’ve ever seen on screen, and the story you told was so entertaining. I love how you stressed the importance of hope, responsibility, and where we find those virtues. However, I was pretty disturbed by the Joker’s speech on creating chaos. He’s kind of like a Hannibal Lector without patience and that made for some pretty crazy discussions afterwards. I look forward to seeing you again soon.

With respect,

dear people who dress up as the joker,
stop it. I think it’s time to rethink who you identify with. Yes, heath ledger turned in an amazing performance, but it’s just a character, and we don’t really need any more sociopaths running around.


dear people in lines,
you really shouldn’t complain about the people in front of you in line, because you are there too, and you are the very thing that you are complaining about to the people behind you. Also, I think it’s funny how so many of you step to the side of the line to physically count how many people are in front of you.

Be sure to keep your spot,

Dear subwoofer,
Thanks for magically appearing in my truck while I was in Honduras. You sound awesome and my neighbors don’t like you. I never thought i would be one of those guys that have you as a friend, but I’m glad it worked out so that we can hang.


Dear sleep,
We need to hang out more often.


one love, one heart.


Honduras Mission Trip Journal

honduras 1

honduras 2

honduras 3

honduras 4

honduras 5

honduras 6

honduras 7

honduras 8

honduras 9

honduras 10

honduras 11

honduras 12

one love, one heart.


More than flashing lights and sounds...

Hola blogworld.

It’s been a while, so I thought I would take this somewhat mellow evening and sit and write for a while. It’s not often that I have an open Friday night to myself, and as lame as it might seem, I’m kind of excited to take a while and write out all of the things that are on my mind. I hope you have a while to sit down and read, and I hope this post brings you a time to pause, rest, relax and maybe even ponder.

I got to preach again last Sunday. I still get nervous when I preach, but this time around it got a little better. Although, my jamba juice breakfast was not sitting well afterwards, and I went to the bathroom thinking I was going to throw up. The worst part was that I left the lapel mic on, so a few people heard me trying not to heave. Classic naked gun embarrassing moment.

That was the title of the sermon that I preached. It’s something that’s been on my heart for a while, and a word that is having a major impact on my life.

Brokenness breeds humility. When I start to realize who God is in comparison to who I am, I really have a hard time holding my head up trying to brag about the things that I have done. More and more I am realizing that the things in my life that I have done that are good, are things that God would have me do. At some point we are all humbled before God, either by confrontation or destination. I am tired of being humbled by confrontation. Why do I wait for disasters for God to show me who He is, and how He works through the toughest of times? Maybe I should purposefully seek God out before I am in need, before tragedy. I think of all the people that came to Jesus to get healed, and how they came before Him completely broken. Lepers ostracized from their families, cripples confined to the dirt streets, they were broken. And because of their faith, their humble faith, Jesus healed them.

Brokenness leads to healing. Human muscles are odd. In order for them to grow, they must first be torn apart. But when they do heal, they come back stronger than before. If we never own up to anything being wrong in our lives, how will we ever get better? I hate going to the doctor. It’s a last resort option for me. I don’t know why I am this way, but I will try everything under the sun, including ignoring the pain, before I break down and go to the doctor. But that is what they are there for, to prescribe what we need to be healed. Here’s the amazing thing about the people that Jesus healed, they always got more than what they asked for. A blind man comes to get his sight restored and not only does he walk away with vision, but a clean soul as well. We ask Jesus to make things in our lives better, and He forgives us of our sins.

Brokenness builds community. One of the things I like about our church is how much our facilities are used. The fellowship hall on our property has been used by Alcoholics Anonymous for almost thirty years. Recently, a group split off to start a men’s only group on Tuesday nights, and in just over two months they have gone from 6 to 25+. Their ministry is built around a shared brokenness, and the journey to be healed. Those who are farther along share their struggles with those who are still weak. In the book of James it says that when we confess to God our sins are forgiven, and when we confess to each other we are healed. Jesus said that a hospital is for the sick.

One of the thing I love about my youth group is the crazy stories we tell. It’s how we start off every class. My favorite stories are about people tripping and falling in the mud. We’ve decided that at some point, pretty much everyone will fall in the mud. Here’s what amazes me. Kiddos will call me up in the middle of the week and tell me that they tripped and fell in the mud, and they couldn’t wait to tell someone. We have turned one of the most potentially embarrassing moments and things that I dreaded the most as a teenager into something that we celebrate as a group. We have built community around falling in the mud.

If the number one complaint of non-Christians is that church is full of hypocrites, maybe we should embrace our brokenness, and start talking more about how Jesus builds us back up.

When I went to NYC for Christmas, I was fortunate enough to visit the statue of liberty and ellis island. I think this is where the word broken entered my heart. I start thinking of how many broken people came from other countries to start a new life here. How many people today are blessed because of what our ancestors suffered for us. The strength of our country has always been based on those who are willing to break their backs so that we may become stronger. Our communities are melting pots of cultures that have had struggle to be here.

The base of the statue of liberty reads:
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

I think of my ancestors seeing this copper statue dominating the horizon after months of being on a ship. What a sight! The torch raised high in the air offering light to all those that are willing to follow. I like to think that even better than that sight, is a man standing there with His arms wide open and a sign that reads:

‘Give me your poor in spirit, your mourning, your meek, your insulted, your persecuted and your thirsty. Send these who are pure in heart to Me and I will bless them with My Name.’

It’s always a busy time for me, and this year is no different. I’m kind of behind on my summer planning, but with the help of awesomeintern we are quickly making up ground. Here’s a copy of our summer calendar, and these are just the events that we have planned, nothing in there about just hanging out with kiddos. Fortunately, I am so worn out from the past few months that I have already started calling on God to bless this summer. I’m trying to put into practice destination versus confrontation. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

summer calender 08

Oh yeah, I’ve been in a really creative mood lately as well. I knocked this painting out for threeve’s youth group a couple of weeks ago, and I’m really stoked at how it came out.
freedom painting

Upside Down Kingdom.
I did this painting during a class at the Pepperdine lectureships last month. I did it as part of a class on creative worship. It was the most fun I’ve had doing a painting in a long time.

I finally got to see thrice in concert last week. It was absolutely unreal. Even if you don’t like the music, I encourage you guys to check out the lyrics of the Alchemy Index albums. Lead singer Dustin Kensrue is quickly becoming my favorite lyricist. Here’s one of my favorites:

Moving Mountains
I speak in many tongues to many men;
Argue with angels and I always win,
But I don't know the first thing about love.

I prophesy and know all mysteries;
All hidden things are opened up to me
But I don't know the first thing about love

I have the keys to open any door;
I give all of my possessions to the poor,
But I don't know the first thing about love

And moving mountains ain't nothing to me;
I've faith enough to cast them to the sea,
But I don't know the first thing about love

But all other things shall fade away;
While love stands alone and still holds sway
All other things shall fade away;
Into the ground into the grey.

I give my body up unto the flames;
And never once have I denied your name
But I don't know the first thing about love.

Here's another one of my favorites:

new hat.
On a realy superficial level, I kind of had to laugh at myself the other day. I had to return a birthday present to the sporting goods store the other day without a receipt. I was offered store credit, so I set out to find something that got me near to the $26.86 allowance. i had the hardest time trying to shop. I don’t really need anything, and most of the time if there’s something that I really want, I save up and get it. In the end I got a new Yankees hat and a half-straw hat as seen here:


Needless to say I felt like a goof spending a half hour trying to find something worth buying. But I do like my new hat.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Helping people move is the modern day version of washing people’s feet. We helped this family move on Sunday, and it was an interesting experience for me. One hand, I was glad to get a chance to serve, on the other hand it was tough to be knee deep in so much unnecessary junk. So much of me wanted to be frustrated at a family that has money problems, and I have to literally wade through piles of stuff to get packed up and sorted. But I put that aside and focused on the goal, and fortunately had a thought that made the day easier. This family was only going to be able to take what they could fit in their car, and our place was to help them unload all of the unnecessary stuff in their house. What better way to give someone a fresh start than by helping them sort through and get rid of the junk that holds them down. Days like that turn from frustration to blessing to when you take a step back and look at the ministry that is going on.

I leave you tonight with several quotes from the youth group. They made me smile.

“I guess we married into a pretty rich family.”
- after a discussion on Jesus referring to Himself as the Bridegroom.

“How would it sound if we took their god’s name in vain and said, Oh my money?”
- during a class on idol worship.

“Going to Church is like time off to me. It’s a break from all of the pressures I have to deal with.”

“To me, Church is the place where I feel the most free. I don’t have to be anything to anybody and I can just be myself.”

“When I was little I used to be confused because I thought Jesus healed the leopards. That’s why I always wanted to go to the zoo.”

“I used to think it we were singing, It is well with Pine-Sol”
- in response to the previous quote.

“I don’t think we should try and figure out what Jesus looked like, we should just assume that everyone we meet could be Him.”

“I think they call it the New Testament because you learn something every time you read it.”

“What time is Church over?

one love, one heart.


Lucas Ross

Approved by the Minco, Oklahoma Tourism Bureau for your viewing pleasure:

one love, one heart.


"In a year that has been so improbable..."

dodger stadium

dodger stadium 2

I may not be a Dodger's fan, but I love going to Dodger's stadium. Tonight was my first Dodger game of the year, and I was excited once again to sit back and enjoy our nation's pastime at one of my favorite sports venues. While i do enjoy the newer ballparks in San Diego, Houston, Anaheim and Seattle, there is a classic feel to Dodger Stadium that makes me glad that it is pretty close by. So i decided to pay tribute to the best way i know how:


#10. group tickets - every year i like to do a guy's night out to dodger stadium, and they have a deal for $5 group tickets. i know most teams do this, but I still think it's cool.

#9. sea of blue - I'll give dodger fans this; they are adamant. you don't just see a lot of dodger blue at games, you see more jerseys and official caps than any other baseball stadium.

#8 the weather - no matter how hot it is, the temperature at dodger stadium always ends up a little crisp by the end of the game. perfect hoodie weather.

#7. smile cam - southern california has talent. the smile cam makes sure that talent gets plenty of attention.

#6. dodger dogs - best dogs in baseball, no questions asked.

#5. the field - in a time where a lot of newer ballparks have opted to go for asymmetrical, over the top designs, dodger stadium stands out by being a classic 1950's concrete encased perfectly symmetrical field. i'm a big fan of design that stands the test of time.

#4. vin scully - not so much a part of the stadium as much as he is a part of the dodger's culture, vin scully has one of the best announcing voices in baseball. vin gets that baseball is a game first, but it often transcends the boundaries of nine innings, and he definitely has the gift to communicate those moments.

#3. history - being at a dodger game feels like you are part of a legacy. seeing jackie robinson's retired number in the outfield is something that always brings chills to my spine. hearing fans talk about koufax, drysdale, and valenzuela is exciting as well. and last but not least, kirk gibson's impossible home run in game 1 of the 1988 world series. my dad was at that game and i will always be jealous that he saw the greatest home run in baseball history.

#2. the grass - it's perfect.

#1. the view - driving in you can see right into the stadium. from your seats you can see the clear silhouette of palm trees against the sunset, and leaving you get a great view of downtown los angeles. ansel adams would be overwhelmed.

see you at the game. one love, one heart.



hola blogworld.

i feel like we don't talk anymore. we should go out for coffee sometime and catch up. speaking of catching up... have you ever noticed the questions that people ask when they haven't seen you in a while? last week i had a lot of what i consider unusual conversation at the pepperdine lectureships. i say they are odd because i had to simplify my life in order to effectively communicate with people. most folks call this catching up. either way, i felt that giving all of the details at once would be too much for people to handle. for some reason, i don't think most people are ready for my answer when they ask, "what's been going on lately?"

my easy-for-the-sake-of-conversation answer: "things are as crazy as usual. you know me."
which typically gets a polite chuckle because most people know enough about me to know that my life is a little less than ordinary. and those that don't know me assume the same.

my you-weren't-expecting-this-much-information-now-you're-uncomfortable/bored answer: the past few months have been really interesting. i've dealt with my first murder, kiddo on drugs, signed a modeling contract, gave a motivational speech, decided to go to honduras for a mission trip, tried out for another band, had three non-students ask me for advice about joining the army and two of my kiddos start a fire, all the while developing a crush on a ladyfriend of mine.
note to friends: if you're going to stop to talk, plan on hanging out for a while.

so i guess for the sake of keeping your interest, and providing me reading material years down the road, i should go ahead and rant a little about what is posted above.

we had a murder in our spanish speaking conversation a few months ago. it was the first time i've ever contemplated quitting youth ministry. having to look at two twelve year old boys and tell them that everything is going to be all right just hours after their mother was murdered was too much to handle. i can't even begin to imagine how they feel. it's been a rough few weeks for the family, but i think as they continue to get counseling and see the overwhelming support they are getting from their church community, they are coming to terms with what has happened. i know i have been very convicted about reaching out to the family. what started out as questioning my faith has turned into a mission to do whatever i can to prove to the kiddos that there is a God that loves them. i can't say that is all for them, but i do feel convicted nonetheless. in the meantime, we have had several of the family members become christians, and our two churches have merged. also, the hispanic church has rearranged their mid week schedule so the kiddos can be more active in the youth group. i am still angry when people say that the unspeakable act had to happen so that all of the good could from it, but i have been given a new understanding to Jesus' words, "blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."

we had a kiddo get busted for drugs a few weeks ago as well. they are doing better now, and the family has pretty much put the foot down. but it has forced me to re-evaluate a lot of things as a youth minister. it has helped me define how i spend my time, and caused me to re-examine my purpose and vision for why i am here. and lastly, it has given me a chance to yell at a kiddo for doing something stupid. i've realized sometimes that is all that can be heard.

on the fun end of the spectrum. i signed a professional modeling contract last month. we had church directory photos being taken and i just couldn't resist the urge to have a little fun with my staff photo. the photographer liked it so much that she asked me to sign a release so the company can use it for a portrait contest, and possibly advertising. here is the picture that got me a modeling contract.

me as dwight

now that i've made it in the modeling world, i vow to remember where i came from and give back to my community. hopefully that will help keep me grounded. antm here i come.

my other recent addition to my resume is professional motivational speaker. the cuz is coaching a pony league baseball team out in camarillo this season, and evidently they were getting beat pretty bad. so i was called in to lighten things up last week before a game with a motivational speech. i based it off of one of the greatest speeches i had heard from joe david back before a kappa softball game, and added a few of my own pieces of flare (big glasses, cleats, stirrups and a tight-fitting cubs jersey). it went something like this:

the past two games, you guys have been run-ruled, which is lame. so your coaches have hired me to come in and share some of the motivational speeches i have heard over the past eighty plus years as a member of the actual cubs organization.

#1. You must have Player Pride (PP).
every member needs to be full of PP and ready to let it out on the field. they must let it flow on the bases, in the batter's box, the outfield, the mound, and even in the dugout. when every team member is full of PP it os obvious, they can't stand still. and it leads to...
#2 Team Pride (TP)
working together as a team creates a TP that can take care of any mess no matter how big or small. when one team covers the field in TP it makes a big statement.

My Four Keys to winning a Baseball Game:
Fundamentals - throw, catch, hit, run.
Athleticism - be ready to make the big play.
Reliability - trust your teammates to back your play.
Teamwork - there's no "I" in win.

Needless to say, the Camarillo Cubs won that game, and the two since. I've been asked to come back on Weds to help coach.

If you would like me to speak to your team/office/organization please contact my booking agent.

i'm heading to honduras in june. i'm getting more excited as the date nears. i'm also getting nervous because i still need to raise some money.

audition number two: not successful. oh well, i guess i'll keep playing my own brand of acoustic ska on the porch.

all you can be.
a word of advice for all you readers that might be interested in joining the armed forces. if you do choose to sign up make sure you talk to your parents about it first, even though you might be old enough to make the decision yourself, talk to you parents. they have eighteen years invested in you, they will probably be able to help you make the wisest decision. if you do sign up for the army, don't wait until two months later to tell your parents. and lastly, get them to pay for your education.

camping out.
two of my jr high boys were building a fort in the hills and decided to start a campfire. in southern california. needless to say there were police and firemen involved, and two scared boys were taken home by the authorities. picture me with a straight face trying to explain to the two most pure-hearted boys why this was a bad idea. it's been fun trying to balance 'boys will be boys' with the seriousness of fire safety, but all things considered, i'll take this any day. at the very least, i'm working on a trip to my friends' fire station for the boys to learn about fire safety.

so i've been talking to a new ladyfriend a bunch, but unfortunately for you i am not at a place where i'm going to give details just yet. after reading through my entire blog over the past few weeks, it has become obvious that the more i mention about a ladyfriend the more painful the ending. so i'm done.

evidently this is the go-to personality test to go to. i thought it was interesting. now i can discuss my personality at dinner parties (if only i could remember what the letters stand for). anyways i am:

Your personality type is ENFP.
Extraverted (E) 61%   Introverted (I) 39%
Intuitive (N) 73%         Sensing (S) 27%
Feeling (F) 100%         Thinking (T) 0%
Perceiving (P) 82%     Judging (J) 18%

which means:

(myers-briggs results)

neil diamond.
i saw his neilness tape a segment for the jimmy kimmel show last tuesday. it was amazing. entertainers just don't entertain like that any more. here are a couple of pics my concert neighbor took on her contraband phone. eat your heart out mi hermana.

Neil Diamond 085
Neil Diamond 114

well, my season 1 of the three stooges is almost done downloading from itunes, so i guess i'm out of here..

one love, one heart.