Lord Willing

January 29, 2007

So today I turned 29 years old.  A lot of things are going on in my head and even more things flowing out of my heart.  I am very overwhelmed, very thankful and very much loved.  Mostly because all that emcompasses those emotions, those affections, those thoughts etc. are things that the Lord has used to draw my attention; namely, my worship and love to Him.  And yeah, I do “feel” a little sappy but I’d like to say that I’m just moved by the fact that I am now 29 years old. 

Here are some highlights:

  1. My birthday day away to Ventura, in the rain on the 28th with Rick & Company (Jared Foy, Jeff Lewis, Thomas Millar, Zane Jensen, Aimee Burlingham, Becca Boone,  AJ Woodsum, Mike Gundersen and Matt Telle).
  2. E-mail from Moni
  3. Voice mail from Mom
  4. Conversation with Esther-Grace
  5. Dorm surprise party in my apartment (there were a lot of guys in that little place)
  6. Voice mail from Sam Neylan
  7. Text from Holly
  8. Call from Kyle Jenison
  9. Call from Scott Vinson (can’t wait for dinner)
  10. Siam Rice
  11. Carrot Cake (I love Carrot Cake!!!) with Thomas
  12. Maggie Moo’s with RDs
  13. E-mail from Brad & Nadine
  14. E-mail from Eric & Jennene
  15. Kick awesome worship/song set in chapel – Chapel Band was on off the hook today!
  16. John Spring’s voicemail – pretty good one!
  17. Reading Psalm 138
  18. conversation with Bob Hotton (thanks Ginsberg for the help!!!) about possible re-model ideas for Hotchkiss RD apartments – YEY!

On the down side to this birthday, I received a text from a friend back home letting me know that Simi (another friend from home) & Pricilla’s 3 year old girl, Morgan Taulua died from a recent respiratory failure that led her into a coma.  I am very sad for my friend and his family.  Death is a sobbering reality and so is life.  I can’t presume that I will have another day.  Oh, such arrogance. 

I am not certain of my friend’s spiritual condition – that is even more sobbering.  So, please pray for him and his family.   

3 years old and that’s what Morgan had.  29 years for me and…I don’t know.  28 was hard, very hard and I hope 29 will be more, not necessarily better, I guess just more – more of Christ, more depth in relationships, more love, more love to give, more discomfort, more sharpening, more growth in my faith, more discipleship, more disciple-ing, more repenting, more reading, more joy, more time, more in friendships, more of God, more learning, more laughing, more maturing, more contentment, more understanding, more wisdom, more money to give away, more time to give away, more sacrafice for others etc.

I do want it to be better but not for my sake.  More for God and yeah, more for others!  There’s a lot to learn. 

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’  Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.  You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.  Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’  But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.”  -James 4:13-16

    

Yeah, so some news here.  Some exciting, some really interesting and a few whatevers:

  1. While I believe this stuff is ridiculous I don’t know why last night (and this morning) I decided to take a few….AIRBORNE tablets.  C’mon, seriously though?  I still don’t believe it…but I guess anything at this point to help me not get sick.  Plus it has no carbs.
  2. Jake Dennis (one of four of my most favorite RAs this year) got engaged last night to Amber Bell.  Its nice to affirm two individuals being together and headed towards marriage.  Affirmation in this context man, you gotta have it!!!
  3. I did homework last night – yey!!!
  4. Tonight Zane Jensen and Jeff Cody are taking me to a UCLA vs USC Men’s volleyball game for my birthday – What the heck?!!!  Can I just tell you that has been a dream of mine since high school?  I’ve ALWAYS wanted to go to a college/professional Men’s volleyball game.  YES!!!
  5.  Thank You cards are amazing!  Particularly giving them to people.
  6. Phil Anderson came by yesterday just to tell me he’s more and more excited about missions than ever before – and that he’s learning how not to seek after comfort, realizing he is thankful for all that he has but just wants to “go”!  YES! 
  7. I didn’t realize there was a theatre behind the Pavilions on McBean – apparently the college group (of my church) went there last night to watch a movie.  Who knew?
  8. I’m starting a Small Group this semester with a bunch of guys in my dorm this semester (how many times am I going to say “semester”…geesh) – more discussion type stuff.  Goal?  To help them work through “how” to think through life/spiritual things and not just “what” to think.  I need a lot of help with that so I’m asking a lot of people for help, especially Jesus!
  9. I have a dilemma:  24 and Heroes are on at the same night and the same time!  What do I do?  Tivo?  DVR?
  10.  So, I’ve been invited to go to Spain for Spring break by one party and I have another invitation to go to Europe for Spring break.  I need to spend the entire Spring break with Pastor Bob, that’s what I need. 
  11. Oh, final one.  I have this thing about chap-stick (I love it, need it) and I was in Target for a variety of purchases and I mistakingly grabbed, what I thought was just a normal Blistex chaptick.  Nah, its not what I got.  That night I was in a rush to get back to school because of a Truth & Life session (the night Art Azurdia spoke and I felt like I got saved again)…anyway, I ran down to the session, I pulled my chapstick out of the little box it was in, which I never buy…I usually just buy the “Chapstick” brand that is just out in the open.  I pulled it out of the box and guess what was in there?  Blistex Lip Infusion.  Of course I didn’t read that part when I purchased it.  What is that, for those of you who don’t know?  It’s basicaly lip gloss.  Well, because I love chapstick and because I need it, I just put it on.  Its not the same though.  I thought, “Yeah, oh well”.  So there you go, I have lip gloss and I’ve “applied” it on several occasions.  Who cares!!! 

Dorm Chapel

January 25, 2007

For those of you who have been a part of The Master’s College experience know that chapels are an intregal part of the receiving end of the students’ growth.  Its definitely something I missed when I graduated.  

Now that I’m back I get to be a part of planning chapel and leading the singing/worship.  Its pretty humbling and a lot of work that requires hard work. 

But one of my most favorite things about chapel and being an RD is having those two things combined and what do we have?  DORM CHAPEL!!!  It’ll be very cool to see the students now be used to give back to the purposes of chapel rather than just to receive, receive, receive…

Here are the guys that’ll give back via dorm chapel: 

Welcome, Opening prayer & story time from the guys:  Rick Dennis

Encouragement/challenge from the RD (John 13:1-4)

2 songs:  Eric Durso & Ryan Zamroz

TestimoniesAj Woodsum, David Andrews

2 songs:  Eric Durso & Ryan Zamroz

Testimonies:  Brian Jeanjaquet, Brian Grijalva

1 song:  Eric Durso & Ryan Zamroz

Closing prayer:  Rick Dennis

Yep, that’s what’s happening tomorrow.  I’ve been praying that the Lord would use this chapel to draw Hotchkiss Men to himself.     

Please pray for that as well!   

First Day of School

January 22, 2007

The first day of school can be a little nerve wrecking with all the “who’s its and what’s its galore” (Can you name that song?):  “What do I wear?  What time does my first class start?  Is my class the one right after chapel or the one after that?  When will I eat lunch?  Who will I eat with?”  All of which I’ve asked myself at some point and all of which you may have asked yourself…not.  Whatever goes on in that little head of yours for “first day” beginnings I’m pretty sure all are the same kind of questions.  The semi-anxious/excited ones. 

Not this first day!  I woke up early to my new ring tone (thanks Rick) of John Mayer’s “The Heart of Life”.  Man, I’m telling you that CD is off the hook!  Anyway, where was I…I woke up, got ready to go running and didn’t end up doing that.  And as spiritual as I would like to sound, no I didn’t pray or read my Bible (which would’ve been nice but I did that later).  Instead, I sat in my living room and looked over the songs that we were going to sing in Chapel (Holy-Holy-Holy, The Glories of Calvary, You Chose Me, Jesus Paid It All and Speak O Lord).  It was nice to not rush!  The early bird gets the worm, hugh?   

As I walked down to the gym in the brisk of the morning, smiling about where I was and what I get to do everyday, it caused me to be very thankful for God’s goodness (a part from me) but I was also excited for who I was able to do ALL  of this (life) with….  I had a very difficult last semester but I was so overwhelmed by the steady comfort that the Holy Spirit provided to get me to that very moment (this morning).  You know, those sweet moments when things just seem so perfect?  When you’re just “in tune” with the Spirit for no other reason than because He simply is and that He is with you?  I haven’t had those “moments” in a while.  At least I haven’t felt that way.   

I often find myself living for everything else around me, that can appear to be living for someone else other than me, whether that’d be living for Jesus or serving someone else.  But honestly,  I am very selfish and very self-focused (c’mon, look at this blog so far).  I’m sick of my “appearing to be” outweighing the reality of who I am (in Christ).  It is very deceitful and very sad to come to that place over and over.  I’m not perplexed nor am I fishing for any compliments, I’m just thinking. 

However, what glued it all for me earlier was a line from the “Holy Writ” that says, “Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He should depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.”  Does that not just blow your socks right off  the heals of your feet or what?  When I read that and the context therein, I didn’t try to force myself to find out the “deeper” meaning to it.  The simple truth made my complex world/heart simple again.  “…having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end”. 

I start off so well loving people, but I have a very difficult time enduring with love, through difficult/busy/tiring/lazy/full of excuses/pitying times, let alone to the end.  What’s cool about reading this is, Christ is the example of that and I am able look to a Savior who is that.  He loved to the end!  I don’t want to just do that, learn about that, take notes about that, talk about that, pick a part the theology or the application of that. I just want to be that.  I believe Jesus, I do and I believe that He loved and loves to the end.  Love foolishly, right Joe?  I expect way too much in return, more than I ever deserve.  I’m sick of that! 

But if today’s the first day to ever live that way, loving people and motivated out of a deep love for God, then I want to live that way as foolishly as I can – not in terms of without wisdom but in terms of without expectations…so hard I know, but so much better! 

I am thankful though, that there are people in my life who foolishly love me.  I know, you’re risking a lot…seriuosly though praise the Lord for you☻!

Anyway, today has been a good first day to try to love that way again! 

They’re Back…YEY!

January 18, 2007

All the guys are back in the dorm!  I am so excited to step back into the continuity of these relationships and the opportunity to serve.  I haven’t been this excited in a while to be an RD, a brother, a friend, an example, a discipler, a whatever term you want to use.  As trivial and heavy as this ministry/job can be, I really do love it…and some days I don’t, all at the same time.  Yeah, its weird but I’m weird. 

I already had a guy in the dorm ask me if he could borrow some nail clippers and the next conversation was with another guy who poured out his earnest desire to not be a hypocrite and really want to pursue the Lord with all his being (tears and everything), all in the same day.  A couple of air units weren’t working and it’s cold here.  Even guys from Colorado are saying its cold.  The lounge was pretty boisterous last night, the halls were open to whatever conversations, guys mocking each other, laughing and more laughing, guys coming to my apartment and all the other stuff in between that’s a part of the Hotchkiss experience.  It really is the best job in the world! 

It was nice to roam the halls and be content to know that this was my current stay.  I love these guys dearly and I want so much for them to know and love God.  I also want them to walk with the Lord in humility.  I hope and pray that I would model that and help them pursue that with a passion.  I’ve failed in the past with some already and I hope and pray that some day those relationships would reconcile.  In the mean while, I’m going to keep trying, available and ready.  

Truth and Life…1 down and 4 more to go!   

Continuum

January 14, 2007

Just got a new CD, John Mayer’s Continuum (thanks Esther-Grace). 

You should get it.  It’s good stuff!

Now what?

January 13, 2007

God does not allow a huge weight or burden to be lifted from our consciences and our hearts because that alone is good for us.  He does that (and all that He does) because He gets glory from that.  He is treasured as a result of that and He is praised through the process of that result. 

I was listening to Chris Tomlin’s version of Amazing Grace and I was just starting to think, “Man, I am so glad God broke the chains of all my sin and baggage that I seem to accumulute in this life…I am so free”.  But it would be so sad, if that was it.  It would be such a disappointment if my freedom was left to just that or even to do whatever I wanted.  What then?  Now what?  Why am I free?  What have I been set free to do?  Yeah, sometimes it really is “nice” to just be and its “nice” to sigh in relief.  But even after a while relief is no longer “freeing”.  It becomes old and no longer satisfying.  Relief becomes boredom and discontent and all kinds of other stuff.   

I am thankful that God relieves us from the pressures of this world and this life of difficult times.  I am glad that He gives us such freedom from unnecessary burdens, that we often choose to put ourselves under.  And I know that’s not the goal (relief) because sometimes He doesn’t give us relief at all and sometimes we need difficulties.  We need our faith tested, right?

I’ve been wondering why “letting go” is really difficult and now I know its because it requires faith to embrace the unknown.  That’s scary and I’ve been learning this the hard way.  Every morning though, brings new mercies to take the next step.  It really is amazing how God’s grace applies itself to every circumstance of everyone of His children, in every stage of life.  That’s not as scary.  

I guess the unknown could be better or maybe not – either way, I hope to walk by faith in it.  That’s pretty freeing. 

Sweet Reunion

January 11, 2007

Last night I met up with Pat Brown and John Lockie to hang out.  They were both RAs with me during our college years.  Man, we were not an easy team to lead (we would all agree). 

Pat drove in from Dublin, CA on his way to Flagstaff, AZ to begin a graduate program in education.  He stayed the night.  John drove up from Glendale where he lives with his wife Beth and works in Santa Fe Springs doing I.T. (I think that’s what it is).  

Pat and John met me here at my apartment where we laughed our faces off about how we messed around during our RA meetings and how we were a grievance to Scott as an RA team.  Well, we weren’t really proud about that, but it was funny.   

We also laghed through as many memories as possible, listed the names of guys who were on our wing and each other’s wing and went on about “Hey, remember when…”.  We talked through what we thought then and how we think now.  We caught up with each other about the last 5 1/2 years and just marveled.  We talked about God, Christianity, culture, sin, stuff, stuff and stuff.  It was cool.  It wasn’t structured.  It was kind of like, “Get as much in as possible, or get as much out of each other as possible because all we have with each other is now”.  I so loved being with these guys.  I miss them.  It was just straight up fun!!!

This morning Pat and I met with Scott Vinson at Java-n-Jazz.  It was cool.  At one point in time we all worked together.  I sat there and heard Pat’s story again and I watched Scott do what he does best, just be a friend.  And I saw Pat do the same thing.  I sat there thinking, “Wow, 5 1/2 years later and the exchange of experiences, trials, developments, ideas etc…man these guys really do love each other…yey, I love these guys too”.  I know that sounds cheesey but I saw it and heard it.  It was real.  I thought about how much love was demonstrated in that moment.  They listened to each other, they talked to each other and they didn’t judge one another.  I was floored by their interaction and floored that I was a part of it as well. 

It was so good to see them and to listen to them, all of them. 

Here I am now, getting ready to get back into the swing of things with my RAs.  They get back on Monday and I know what I’d like to offer them.  Id’ like to offer them the same interaction I once was a part of, with the guys that I had just recently been reuinited with(oh, such sweetness!).  I’d like to offer them the type of friendship that was modeled for me 5 1/2 years ago with Scott and my RA team and what was still modeled to me last night and this morning.  And after years of every one of our hearts and faith being tested by those experiences and those trials, all that was desired then and all that I saw last night (and this morning) was nothing more or less than the evidence of Christ and His love.  A love between brothers who have been united in Him, even across “time and space”.  You can’t force that or make that happen.  So, what I’d like, more than anything in the world, to offer my RAs coming back on Monday, is Christ and His love. 

I was recently reminded by a dear friend of mine (JPK), that my relationships and ministry to others has to be, must be marked by love.  And to my shame it hasn’t been.  “Let a man be what he will.  You must love him” -Andrew Murray.  Oh, I so pray that!!! 

I fail so often in this world.  I fail so often in ministry.  I fail so often in relationships and still, the Lord loves – in difficulty and in joy.  I so desire to love in that way.  A way that is free and joyful and true and bold and foolish and without any pretense.  God’s pupose has been demonstrated in His perfect Son.  The love therein, experienced, known and despensed is something I have failed with yet rejoice in receiving, again and again.  That’s the love that I hope and pray others will see in me.   

I guess if we forget to love, the way the Lord loved not just His friends but the way that He loved His enemies then the gospel will not be swept underneath the rug of our flesh, where it is smothered with self.  I pray that my heart would change.  It needs to.   

Sweet Reunions…I’d like to have more of them in the future with people that I love, Lord willing!

Cool Peeps!

January 8, 2007

Here are some really cool moments in the last week with some really cool people in my life.  I am so thankful to the Lord for His provision. 

Moni’s e-mail about her pursuit of the Lord this last week!

New Year’s Day with the Savini family: you can’t beat it!  

Talking and seeing Scott Vinson this weekend:  I LOVE Scott – he was the best RD ever…I love that we’re friends!

Being with the Worship Team on Sunday:  This Sunday’s worship set was amazing and the muscianship is unmatched…I love that we can be so unified and I LOVE praying together!   

Eating at In-N-Out with Daren Fennell (let me think about Europe some more…) and talking with Sam Neylan about some cool opportunities…Thursday night, right?!

Talking to my mom on the phone Sunday afternoon:  she’s so delicate and understanding and steadfast…I love spending time with her, even on the phone!

Picking up Gunner Gundersen from the airport Saturday morning!

Eating barbecued pork with Jeff Lewis on Friday!

Adam Powell’s farewell party on Saturday night:  it was great to see the C.O.C. family rally around you and celebrate you together; we’ll miss you AP…I LOVE my church!

Fixing Becca Boone’swindshield wipers and shopping for shoes!

Talking with Eric Margrave about hard relationships. 

Thai Barbecue/Maggie Moos with Jen Ginsberg and Summer Martin Sunday night! 

 Jackie Knapp coming back to Hotchkiss:  I love leading the dorm with her! 

Laughing my face off with Phil Anderson on the phone this last week. 

Going to Thomas Millar’s basketball game and watching him play (and seeing Kyle Jenison there and spending time with him). 

Seeing Wendy Simpson off to the Philippines. 

Playing Super Scrabble with Jake and Amber!

Blood Diamonds with Travis Dalton. 

Brian Jeanjaquet’s question to me about what I want to learn this semester: you’re one of the reasons why I love being an RD!

Logan Greenfield’s phone call and hugs!

Being at Brad and Nadine’s house…just being around them really! 

And the list could go on but those are the ones that stand out.    I love these moments…I have so much and yet I still find myself complaining about something.  The Lord is too kind. 

Think about all the conversations in between those moments:  funny, challenging, catching up, thought provoking, encouraging, burden free, good, Christ-centered, normal, radical, uncomfortable etc.  God is definitely at work.  That’s humbling, cool and I don’t deserve it! but I look forward to more of it!

Absolute Surrender

January 5, 2007

I’m reading this little book by Andrew Murray called Absolute Surrender (thanks Zane) and it’s definitely being used to help me out – big time…well, time will tell if I’ve learned anything really. 

This isn’t an attempt to tell you what’s in the book.  However, I will insert a few lines that have been convicting, thought provoking and what I aspire:

“How much Christian work is being done in the spirit of the flesh and in the power of self!  How much work, day by day, in which human energy – our will and our thoughts about the work – is continually manifested, and in which there is but little of waiting upon God, and upon the power of the Holy Ghost!  Let us make confession.” 

“Has it been our experience that the more we have of the Holy Spirit the more loving we become?”

“We talk about grieving the Spirit of God by worldliness and ritualism and formaility and error and  indifference, but, I tell you, the one thing above everything that grieves God’s Spirit is this want of love.”

“Oh, freind, you have not learned the lesson that Christ wanted to teach above everything.  Let a man be what he will, you are to love him.”