June 8, 2009

Here’s the last few weeks in a nut shell:

  • had some a really full semester ending very smoothly (kinda)
  • had a lot of last good bye gatherings for Jeff & Dave
  • ate at Ruth’s Chris for the first time with Jeff
  • went to Magic Mountain with Zamroz (it was so fun…goliath was off the chain!)
  • went camping 5 nights within one week (2 separate camping trips)…enjoyed it
  • was rebuked for pushing an issue to far 🙂
  • was confronted a few times this last month
  • wrote 11 papers in the last week
  • got season 1 & 2 of “Rob & Big”
  • found a random mazda key in my apartment – yeah, it’d be nice to have a free new car, hugh?
  • reconnected with some peeps from the Worship Team – so good!
  • been sleeping past 6am
  • enjoying the quietness of the dorm
  • going to India with Gunner (&  other friends) in July after I help Dave & Tricia drive out to Florida
  • said good bye to Jeff – sad, sad times
  • will be saying good bye to Dave & Tricia – sad, sad times
  • hiring new RDs (well, I’m not hiring them, I’m just a part of the process)
  • reading a lot these days
  • writing a lot these days
  • running a lot these days
  • having dinner with Brian & Becca on wednesday
  • Zane’s staying/visiting this week – so good to see him
  • currently making my first summer mix
  • burned 3 mixes already (Jeff, Ginsberg & the Powells…I know, I feel legit or something)
  • been watching a lot of basketball…yeah, seriously…me?
  • excited about my RA team for next year (Brandon O’Sullivan, Thomas Millar, Caleb Hazel & Mark Golike)
  • my sister comes home next week
  • have thoroughly enjoyed the music of Jon Foreman & Phil Wickham
  • went to blue grass/brass band play at some club in L.A. with Jeff and then saw them on T.V. on the grammy’s
  • had the best time eating sushi with Mike Butler, Sam Neylan, Phil Anderson & David Wolter
  • loved my time doing music/elementary ministry in Hawaii
  • excited about the new Chapel Band
  • learning how to be more alert of my own attitudes, actions and motives… and how they impact people (Matthew, the gospel’s been helpful with that and other good graces from God)…man, i really have a lot to learn
  • also listening to a lot of hip-hop/R&B music…reminds me of my roots 🙂 – some good, some fun and others i probably wont listen to anymore
  • thinking a lot about what to do and where to go the rest of my life, after this up coming last year as RD (wow, I’m approaching 6 years…dang, that’s long!)
  • want to be gentle again, and be quiet again, and love again
  • want to paint my car black…all black, tint my windows and thug it out, kinda…ha!
  • learned a new board game from the Hulets
  • learning to think rightly so that i can live rightly
  • want to love God, not godliness


February 6, 2009

Tonight I saw Phil Wickham in concert with Mandy, Hollie, John and Polly.  I enjoyed my time with them.  We also saw Ben, Tommy, Emilie, Michelle and Matt there. 

During the concert, watching Phil sing, I was thinking about how unreserved he was singing for God.  Then I noticed different people worshiping, singing, clapping, sitting, etc for the Lord.  Then I thought about something Gunner and I talked about the other day about serving the Lord where ever, doing whatever with our gifts for the kingdom.  And doing it without any embarrassment or reservation or apology or shame, basically.   

I think some times I want to make sure that I present the Lord in a cool or accepting way.  Or that I want my walk with Jesus to be cool.  I’m getting sick and tired of that.  The Lord saves and He has saved me and there’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about.  Yet so often I am pulled into a mindset, whatever the situation that makes me “feel” uncool or not as “trendy” because I want to sing, serve, clap, sit, be still, be an idiot, communicate clearly the Scriptures, blog, laugh or cry for the Lord.  I don’t care if I am embarrassed for the Lord.  Nothing matters but Jesus but sometimes I act differently than that. 

I love Jesus, with all my heart and I want to show Him and the world that I do, even if it is embarassing or it makes me not cool or comfortable.  Cool and comfortable, though very appealing at first are overrated. 

blah, blah, blah…i guess i’m just tired of people trying to impress other people and using Jesus for that aaaaand seeing that in myself. 

I suppose discernment and wisdom can be coupled all in the same with sincere devotion and earnest passion.  I want to grow in all that because I see all that is in Christ.  He’s all I want and constantly all I need!


January 27, 2009

okay, so last night i finished up an evaluation that we annually do here for our deans, RAs, staff etc.  and i’m baffled at how quick i am to evaluate so harshly or so unreasonably.  i know there is room for “correction” and “redirection” but i found myself at a place valuing relationship and interaction around what its done for me (a lot of that is due to the questions asked like, “how have you been cared for?” or “how can we help you in your job/ministry etc?”).  i know i have normal, God-given needs.  that’s mainly because i need a savior.  but i’m slowly learning that life, relationships, singleness or marriage, missions overseas or here are all about what you lose, not what you gain.  simple concept, it seems.  but its not.  its hard for me to learn that and live that – i’m still fighting that now, when i think about what my dean is going to say about me when he evaluates my “performance” on the job.  but i want to lose it all.   

Jesus says, If you want to gain your life, throw it away (paraphrase adopted by Howard Hendricks).  what a revolutionary way of living.  i can’t live this way without Jesus patiently changing me from moment to moment, from the inside out.  how humbling is that?  Jesus stationed where He is, actively, gently, powerfully changing the heart?  my heart? what’s really freeing is that He promised to finish that!  beautiful.  astounding. 

so, when i look at others and my interaction and relationships with them, am thankful for them,  am joyful with them, am frustrated with them, impatient, judgemental, harsh, irritated etc., i ought to and will strive to remember the Lord Jesus and His relationship with me.  i want to evaluate that more and more.

Today was my last day of my break.  I am so thankful to God for it.  Most people do have breaks and I don’t think I wasted it.  In fact it went by so fast I don’t think I had time to waste it. 

Christmas was very humbling.  I spent it at home in Carson (yes, Carson’s still home to me – in fact, home is wherever my family is…blah, blah, I do admitt that I have a family with my friends here in the valley, or in Samoa, or in India with brothers and sisters in the Lord…).  Anyway, it was cool because it was me, my mom, my brother Bert and my eldest sister Doreen.  Debbie was unable to come out from Samoa.  Sad.  We had a glass of wine and just toasted with thankgiving the Christmas “holiday” and thanked the Lord, each, for His kindness this last year.  It was particularly special because of our family break through this last July. 

Our break through was a long awaited family (including Deb) meeting that involved confronting each other, confessing to each other, encouragment, tears, clarification, affirmation, challenge, celebration, understanding, direction and more.  It was what the Lord used to remind each of us of hope, grace and communication.  It was one of the most reviving times with people that I have every experienced. 

Since then my family has been the closest we have ever been.  Not free from conflict, we’re moved forward with the way we handle it now.  No assumptions, no ill feelings just better thinkers of each other. 

Well, today was nice.  I went to church, so late.  It was my fault.  Had lunch with the Margraves, Phil and Thomas at Whole Foods.  Eric says because he didn’t want half foods.  It was good.  I was craving pinapple anyway and I had tons.  Yum!  Then came back to the apt, practiced for the recording and Truth & Life, then went to the Margraves to hang out.  We watched Barak and ate Beef stew and barley with Holly.  It was fun! 

Good break. Now its time to work.  RDs start up Tuesday, Chapel Band instrumentalists come back that night, then we start recording Wednesday through Saturday.  Then rehearsals for TLC start on Sunday through Tuesday.  Monday my RAs come back and the chaos begins. 

Pray for me and all this.


August 3, 2008

I just wanted to come and say that this summer has been great.  The Lord has allowed much rest, profitable learnings, fun travels and amazing ministry.  All that ended this weekend at the Worship God 08 Conference in Gaithersberg, Maryland by Sovereign Grace Ministries.  I can’t wait to post about it entirely but here’s an initial snap shot of my thoughts about it: 

I can’t remember the last time I’ve been ministered to so much, so deeply by the Lord.  Yes it was an experience but I’m not swinging to an extreme.  My experience there was well (bibilically) informed and very much guided by the Spirit.  The Lord used this conference to deepen a longing that I’ve missed out on so much.  I think partly because I’ve been smothered by “ministry” and haven’t made the Lord my portion.  That’s my fault and not anyone else’s.  Which gives an impression that I haven’t been taken care of.  That’s not the case.  Regardless, I am thankful that there are vibrant people of God who have a passion, a reviting passion to see God really glorified by the worship of His people through adoration, praise, singing, music, teaching of the Word etc.  i felt like my soul was outlined and cut.  The Word of God spoke to me then it “read me”. 

I was reminded that the weight of God’s glory is far too great for me to try and bear, which makes it’s unsearchable ways so worth celebrating.  The Spirit of God controlled me, not the experience.  But the experience was well controlled by the Spirit of God. 

I so enjoyed the conference (the singing/worship was off the hook) – this and going to Inidia May/June were definitely highlights of the summer.  The last vibrant worship “time” I remember being a part of was when I was with 2,000 Indians worshipping the same God 2 1/2 years ago – the passion was similar – almost like the presence of God in both settings was really welcomed – no hesitency or fear only joy and reverence. 

Oh, I’ll post my thousands of pics before I leave for RD retreat.

I’ve been haunted by this passage this last week.  Haunted because the honest evaluation of my heart plus my life is sometimes a telling reality.  This doesn’t shake the reality of the faith that I have and the confidence that I have in Christ; His person, His work, His Word, His Spirit, His relationship with the Father and with me.  However, I do realize that what I know is unparalled with what my life shows, it seems. 

 46“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

 47“Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like:

 48he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.

 49“But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.”

Its easy to listen – for me at least (for others, I suppose, its more difficult).  Anyway, its easy to listen and process and think through a lot of implications.  Its also easy to think about questions about context and about content.  But Its harder for me to act upon my thoughts, let alone act upon God’s thoughts. 

A song that’s been very inspiring and compelling says this in its chorus, “Now that I have seen, I am responsible.  Faith without deeds is dead.  Now that I have held you in my own arms.  I cannot let go until you are…”  

I wonder how many of us are actually doing what the Lord calls us to do.  Sometimes, people lessen the calling to truth that in some cases have become meaningless cliches.  Such as, “love God and love people” or, “walk with the Lord” or “the mission field is everwhere you go” or “.  What about “divide your bread with the hungry” or “give yourself to the hungry” or “sell all yoru possessions and give the money to the poor“?  Unfortunenately, we’ve accostumed all these truths as cliches and have used them as bait for doing (and saying) what we want to do (and saying what we want to say).

Man, I can’t wait until heaven is the reality before me.  The battle seems more with the unseen than with the seen – even with such blessings around us, here in America, it often becomes routine and bland.  Always, looking for the next new thing to do.  Maybe that’s why I like traveling and sadly enough, I’ve become the very person I dread becoming, a very comfortable American with lots of Christian cliches that mean more to me than the spiritual need of those around me.  I’ve made my cliches my comfort and my safety nets and often times my salvation. 

I pray Luke 6:46-49 for my own soul and life. 

In the next week or so I’ll post a link to view all 5,216 pics of my trip to India – yes, 5,216 pictures or you can just ask me about them.  We’ll see.


July 3, 2008

Here’s my top 20 summer mix: 

  1. Getting Stronger – Adeaze & Aaradhna This song is so chill and a little confusing actually.  Its about working through relationships and learning from its difficulties – but a bit of self-sufficiency, teachability, vulnerability yadi-yadi-ya…I like it because I just do. 
  2. We Break the Dawn – Michelle Williams This song has a very “clubin” feeling – its about dancing all night!  Man I miss dancing!  Very celebratory – I like celebrating!  Kinda makes you feel like throwing a house party with your family and all your closest friends – I can picture it:  my samoan family, peeps I grew up with and TMC peeps – haha!  Now that’s funny!
  3. Our God Saves – Paul Baloche I listended to this song a lot while I was in Varanasi, India.  It was a charge for me.  It reminded me (and still) that God does indeed save people and while I’ve heard people say that the gospel isn’t about God saving people, I don’t know if I quite agree with them.  I believe whole heartedly that the gospel is about a God who is self sufficient and the only one deserving of all praise and He is the most important factor of the gospel.  But the gospel is about a Redeemer redeeming His people and saving them from their sin and death and saving them to Himself.  That is the gospel.  God saves and the world will see that – and the unreached still needs to see and hear of this God! 
  4. Lovers in Japan/Reign of Love – Coldplay I get so happy when this song comes on!  It makes me want to run, really hard (maybe not fast, but definitely hard).  I love the intro and the transition into “Reign of Love”.  Its like a huge roar just subsided into this beautiful melody.  Lyrically I’m still not too sure about these songs but the music is great. 
  5. Just Friends – Gavin Degraw This song’s really cool because the guy sings about redemptive relationships even though undeserved.  And time after time, this guy forgives his girl and she’s probably playing him but he forgives her anyway and holds her to what she says.  Either he’s a fool or is really trusting.  I like the piano leading this song – it gives the song depth. 
  6. Won’t Stop – OneRepublic If the Lord ever blesses me with a daughter, this is what I want to sing to her.  Yeah, I know I probably need to find a wife first before I get to do this =).  Better start looking I suppose. 
  7. I Love You Too – Aaradhna Man I love island style songs – this is more pop island but still.  Makes me want to be in Samoa, on a Saturday afternoon blastin’ this song with the ocean breeze, sitting in the back of a truck and just thanking the Lord for the island life. 
  8. Let Creation Sing –Hillsong I always imagine being in an amphitheatre with thousands of people singing this song.  Or millions.  Unreserved singing, not a care in the world about distractions – just like minded people singing to God about all of creation singing to Him and just so content to be apart of that – heaven is going to be off the hook! 
  9. The Edge – Jared Nakasone I first heard this when I was in Hawaii and Jared (my former bassist) was so humble about his songs.  This would be a song I’d sing to anyone that I have ever talked to about the vanities of life (theirs and mine).  I think of the guys that I disciple or have ever discipled – “You will push against the tide, cause you know there’s more to this life.  Pretty things in social eyes, your beating heart and your midnight cries and you know the sun will rise.  But you will not give up the fight.”  That’s an encouragement we could all use daily. 
  10. Ua Leai – Pati This is a samoan song.  Its a modern rendition of a samoan “oldie”.  I think its a song of apology (I’ll ask my sister about this one =).  Anyway, its a really beautiful song. 
  11. Only True God – Paul Baloche I started to listen to this song a lot when I visited a lot of temples in Varanasi.  My heart was very heavy during these times and the truth that God incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ brought alot of comfort and compassion.  I’m excited for Chapel Band to help me introduce this to the rest of TMC – this song is moving and bold and truthful. 
  12. No Matter What – T.I. I don’t listen to much rap, but I like it a lot.  I think because it reminds me of where I come from.  That includes the culture and the people that I was around growing up.  The rap/hip-hop/R&B culture was very much a part of my musical influence growing up.  That culture is always refreshing to go back to – I actually miss it.  Obviously, I don’t believe in everything this song says but it has an overall positive message to those who enjoy this musis (and not much positive messages are communicated through rap).  So, I’m not ashamed of my ‘hip-hop’culture – I’m realizing that there’s a lot more to learn from it than I ever realized or was opened to. 
  13. I Don’t Trust Myself (with loving you) – John Mayer I think John Mayer is a phenominal muscian!  This song was written about me – I’m kind of wondering who told him about my life story.  Somone recently asked me why I am single.  I guess the simple answer is, ‘because I’m very complicated’ or fickle.  I don’t believe that if I do trust myself then things will be better, it’ll probably make it worse.  I don’t expect anyone to trust me, they shouldn’t.  Anyway, I have deeper issues to try to explain but I won’t even go there. 
  14. Strawberry Swing – Coldplay Yet another song to have in blasting anytime time of the day (well, maybe more during the day).  Let’s seriously celebrate!
  15. Foggy Morning – Jared Nakasone Jared is a really cool guy.  Japanese.  Great hair.  Meek.  Talented.  Good team player.  This song was another favorite in Hawaii.  I think I’ll listen to this song 5 years from now and be very thankful for whatever trials are going on at that time.  Then I’ll (hopefully) move to the groove of this song and dance with lots of happiness welling up. 
  16. Le Olaga O Samoa – TOA Another modern rendition of a Samoan oldie.  This song really feeds my longing to be in Samoa – to see other Samoans, be in the humidity, hear lots of singing and be part of lots of dancing, learning more about the culture and just enjoying the island life yeah…Samoa – I love that I’m from there!
  17. Where the Streets Have No Name – U2 If there was a song needed for my farewell DVD of my life, this would be it.  If there was a song needed for my life sound track, this would be the theme song.  This would be the first song I’d like to listen to my first monring when I move overseas, Lord willing.  Or the song played when I finally finish packing up when I leave Hotchkiss. 
  18. Friend of God – Travis Cottrell For some reason I always think of my family when I listen to this song.  I’d love to sing this song with my brother and my sisters.  I think because they are are the only people that I think would sing it with full voice and would give me chlls doing so.  Man, that would be so awesome!
  19. E O Mai – Keali’i Reichel I’m really bias when it comes to Samoan songs.  This is a Hawaiian song.  I have no idea what’s being sung but its so beautiful.  I’m actually really bias when it comes to islands but I really like Hawaii, a lot.  As much as I would prefer Samoa over Hawaii, I have learned to appreciate Hawaii as a culture and a people. 
  20. I Will Sing – Hillsong United I use to listen to this song so much my senior year in college.  I remember thinking that I want to sing this song to people all over the world.  I’ve been to a lot of places all over the world since then and more than singing this song to people, now I want them to be able to sing this song themselves.  Its cool to see how songs can mean something to you then and now and to see how the Lord has matured (hopefully) your (or my) perspective.  I’m thankful. 

Okay, there you go.  Maybe next time we hang out you can listen to these songs with me – have your own prepared and we’ll get our party on =)





June 14, 2008

Today is Sunday, 10:15am Delhi time.  I’m in an internet cafe here at the YMCA and I will soon pack and check out of my room here.  We have tons today for service and Focal Point tonight. 

I will meet up with the muscisians at Capital Bible Church (a church plant here that the Malakars help start).  We will rehearse for service that will begin at 4pm tonight.  Focal Point will begin at 6pm and combined we will be doing 7 songs.  I’m excited – to sing, to listen to the message, to interact with workers and to talk to some university students.

Our team had a debrief last night – it was great.  I have been very impressed with this team of students.  I’ve been a part of a lot of student teams and I can tell you of some teams that have not done well, sadly.  You name it, its been there – conflict of sorts, male/female interests, selfish ambition, self-centeredness, immaturity, disrespect etc.  Not this team.  These students were great – and had some really profound things to debrief about.  Its great to see this generation love God and pursue growth in Him as well as pursue growth in service to people. 

The team will be splitting up 3am Monday – Jason, Andrew and Fred will fly out from Delhi and hopefully make it back to California.  Chara & Allison leave at 9am in the morning for Allison’s home town in Puna, India (she’s Indian) for 2 weeks.  I don’t leave Delhi until Tuesday afternoon.  If I din’t have wedding commitments this summer (no, not mine), then I would have stayed the rest of this summer here in Delhi – honestly, I would have. 

Anyway, I’m not ready to come back to the States.  I want to stay here longer.  I want to come back again someday.  Maybe longer.  I probably will.  One of our debrief questions asked if this trip has confirmed or changed any future plans for me.  Two weeks ago when we were in Varanasi working with the slum children I thought, “Man, this is it.  This is where I’m suppose to be”.  Then coming to Delhi my thought was, “Ah man, now what?  I love this…working with university/college students”.  So, I feel like I’m back to square one but you know what?  That’s okay (for now).  It has inspired me to work harder to take action about my future. 

I can definitely come back here.  I’ve thought about Samoa a lot, while here, and Hawaii, and Carson and even some of Santa Clarita (not too much though)…the point is, I could go anywhere and do anything – I just want to give my life away for the cause…not for a dream, especially not the American dream (sick)!  Either way, I’m thankful for this trip and wish that I could stay.  It’ll be okay to be back in the States – pray that I will not react and be discontent to be there – pray that I have just as much a ferver and compassion for people when I come back (after I sleep for about 3 days =) just kidding! 

Namaskar!  See you later!


May 31, 2008

Just wanted to give a quick update while I’m sitting just outside the courtyard of the guest house we’re staying in.  It’s 9:30pm and about 100 degress (yep, that’s right).  I’m literally sweating – I feel my sweat rolling down my chest (and my back…gross, I know).  But Darshan studies (about India and Hinduism) is over and today we had a break.  So, I’ll do this update in “Ona” fashion just cause I don’t know how else you expected it.  Here you go:

  • I’m not sick anymore (PTL)
  • the weather is hotter than I ever experienced in all my 30 years of life
  • i’ve had to hand wash my clothes (kind of therapeutic) twice now
  • was confronted by a student yesterday that said i ask too many questions (not a master’s kid).  He got over it when he realized that no one had ever asked him questions like that before…”curiousity will spark interest and involvement will spark investment” – Howard Hendricks
  • almost got smashed by a vehicle (twice today) in a auto rickshaw – don’t worry its quite common here “almost” getting hit
  • we had today off and went swimming at a pool of a 5 star hotel (by Varanasi stands) – it was soooooo refreshing
  • talked to some locals about what they thought about Americans – very interesting thoughts – most of which I agreed, some of them were just plain true but sad – “Americans are superficial and think only about themselves” – sounds more like human nature!
  • spent some time with Tom & Katie today – I’d like to do ministry with them!
  • journeled a lot about my thoughts on what I need to work on and grow in
  • leading “singing” tomorrow for Sunday “gathering”  – its cool – we meet outside under a canopy like deal – doesn’t really provide a lot of shade but its about maybe 15 degrees cooler – I’ll expect to be drenched by the ending of our 8 song set (they like to sing alot and for a long time here – its pretty much all that a lot of them have for fellowship and “singing” – makes me appreciate what I have in the states)
  • reading the Bible a lot
  • sweating a lot
  • there are sooooooo many people here – its unbelievable
  • had a session on Muslims in India – 2nd highest population of Muslims in the world (debatable) with Indonesian being the highest.  But the lesson was really good and sparked my interest with working with Muslims again – there are about 500,000 Muslims in Varanasi alone – can you believe that? 

Anyway, that’s it for now – there are tons for us left to do starting tomorrow (VBS [Sunday, Monday & Tuesday], going to Mother Tereasa’s shelter and bathing helpless people and children, going to a children’s home and holding some orphans – that’ll be really eye opening I’m sure)…etc.  and we start our “photograhy” part of the trip – we’re suppose to take some shots of the place (as we have been) of the city, people, rituals, temples, “workers” here etc.  Did I mention my team leader is a film major and there are expert photographers on the team?  Yep, all from our very own TMC – anyway, I’ll be the model I suppose. 

Okay, seriously…that’s it!  Thanks for praying for us! 


May 28, 2008

Today I finally got sick – not something that I really like to parade around town but I guess I kind of had it coming. The last couple of days have been very daunting, sad, happy, hopeful, hot, very hot, encouraging and kind of easier than I anticipated it to be.

Then today my head started to spin, my stomach started to feel weird, I wanted to throw up and go number 2 all at the same time. Thankfully I didn’t. That all happened separately, so I guess I could’ve had it worse. The food here has been amazing and I’ve even had some meals from the streets (not literally from the ground) but eating cooked meals from the locals, fruit (not too much but enough) etc. So, I guess its just now catching up.

I haven’t yet eaten anything today. I’ve been resting in bed most of the time. The girls and guys are out separately for “visitations”. I’m bummed because the guys are with Ken visiting with some guys he knows from town. I was lying down earlier thinking that I hate being sick. Initially it can just put a damper on things but I guess that’s just how it goes.

I was thinking though that it does put things into perspective; that even God is in control of our bodies and orchestrates everything for its proper time and season. The biggest bummer about being sick is that I’m not with people – sure they’re fine. Its just better (a lot of the time) to be with people.

So, I guess i’ll not eat as much from the streets, less fruit and be extra careful about the water I drink. Don’t worry, I’m not trying to be super-missions guy. I’m doing everything everyone else is doing – maybe that’s the problem.

It’s gotten hotter and I was told that I may have gotten heat exhaustion. I was told the high today was 121 degrees. Maybe that’s why I didn’t feel too well.

anyway, I’m feeling a little better so I’m going to walk down the dusty road to a more sanitized shop to get something to eat.

Pray for our well being – it is getting hotter but I’m not too sure if that’s the reason for my runs =)