9/29/2006

Shuffle Up and Deal: Josh Peters...

Today's long overdue "Shuffle Up and Deal" is brought to us by an amazing dude named Josh Peters. Josh and I worked together on the student ministries' team at my last church. Even though he's from Pennsylvania, he's smarter than I could ever hope to be, super creative, and has great taste in blankets with sleeves. Could his taste in music ever hope to live up to the promise of awesomeness that his "slanket" has made?

We'll have to look into it...

1) Reset by Mute Math

2) The Walk by Imogen Heap

3) There is Nothing Like by Hillsong United

4) Mystery and Misery by Rainer Maria

5) Crutch by Pinback

9/27/2006

Now This Is Product Placement Done Right...

So the Little Mermaid is coming to DVD soon. I don't know how they did it, but Disney somehow genetically engineered a mermaid baby just in time for it's release. Don't believe me? Check this out...

Web Wednesday: The Most Important Meal Of the Day...

Today...I feel like...the luckiest man...on the face...of the earth...because it's Web Wednesday!

Today's entry comes to us from mrbreakfast.com. Do you love eating breakfast? Then this is definitely the website for you! Mr. Breakfast has 300 ways to enjoy toast, recipes for making your own cereal, 157 pancake recipes, and reviews on restaurants specializing in breakfast around the country. Check out Mr. Breakfast for all your breakfast needs...

9/26/2006

An Open Letter To the Show-Goers of San Diego...

Tonight, John Mayer is playing a show with Sheryl Crow here in San Diego. On his blog, John wrote an open letter to our fair city. You can read it here.

John, thanks for looking out for us...

I Know My Symptoms, But I've Been Too Afraid To Diagnose the Problem...

This isn't going to be an easy post to write.

Some of you may have noticed that the frequency to which I post things on this blog has become more sporadic over the past few weeks. I would like to be able to provide some type of justifiable explanation as to how this could be, but I can't. Truth be told, over the course of these last few weeks I have occupied the chair in my office for the exact same amount of time as before (when I posted more regularly). I have not gone out of town. Our fall programs are kicking off in the Middle School Ministry, but that hasn't made my schedule that crazy. No, I'm afriad that the answer to this mystery is much deeper, and I'm sorry to say, much more serious than any of these. And the worst part about it is that I haven't even noticed it until today.

I'm burning out...

Those of you who serve in ministry know how serious that statement is. In fact, most of you probably know someone who has become burned out, not known what to do, and given up. They usually end up leaving their post only to do one of two things: 1) They blame their burn out on their church, job, boss, family, etc. As a result, they think a change in the area to which they assign their blame will solve the problem. So, they move. They move jobs. They move churches. They move locations. They try to replace the thing that they assign blame to.2) Their burn out is much deeper than expected. Their dissatisfaction has run so deep, that it now leaks into their relationship with God. This type of burn out usually results in the person leaving the ministry all together. Both of these outcomes are extremely sad. Not just because they hurt the body of Christ, but because they could have been avoided.

I wish that I could pinpoint a day or an event when it started to happen. At least then I could correct whatever choice I made or didn't make to get back on the right path. But unfortunately, unlike a moral failure can be, burn out is never the result of one instance of poor judgement. Unlike a moral failure, a burn out is the result of many small things culminating into one big mess. It's all the times I've stayed in the office until 9pm because I had to get that graphic done tonight. It's all the times that I came into work for half a day on Saturday because I didn't use my weekdays wisely enough. It's all the times I got up in the morning and watched Sportscenter before work instead of spending time with God. And, it's seeping into other parts of my life. It's not as if I took a flying leap off of the path. It's more like I took 1,000 baby steps and suddenly looked up to find out I'm no longer where I thought I was heading.

I love my job. It is the culmination of 6 1/2 years of study and work. It is the realization of a dream. It is the epicenter of the ven diagram of my talents, my passions, my spiritual gifts, my personality, and my experience. It is the path which I know my God has set for me. But I have allowed myself to become tired. I have allowed myself to grow weary of the very thing which has given me so much joy. I have come to a place where I'm not sure if I can keep it up anymore.

Before you read any farther, know this: I'm not quitting. I'm not going to walk away. I'm not going to give up.

Isaiah 40: 27-31 says:
Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening?
God doesn't come and go. God lasts.
He's Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don't get tired,
they walk and don't lag behind.


I'm going to turn to God. I'm going to lean against Him, hard. I'm going to stop, look up, and bask in the unending, grace-filled, comforting, strengthening, forgiving, and sustaining love of my God who has proven Himself to me time and time again. He didn't have to. But He did.

Please pray for me. The toughest thing in the world for me to do is to ask for help. But I don't want it to get so deep that I want to leave. I want to be filled with the same joy that I had when I first started.

Thanks for reading...

9/20/2006

Web Wednesday: White and Nerdy...

For today's Web Wednesday posting, I decided to have a video from one of my favorite musical artists of all time. Way back in the day, when I was given my very first cassette tape, I was introduced to the magic of "Weird" Al Yankovic. I lost touch with him for a while. That is, until yesterday, when I saw his new video on vH1. It's a parody of Chamillionaire's "Ridin' Dirty". And so, for your viewing pleasure, I give you: "White and Nerdy"...

9/19/2006

This Post Be Rated "Arrrrrggggghhhh"...

Griffin reminded me of this last week, and I think that it could be one of the coolest things I've ever heard of: Today, September 19th, is National Talk Like A Pirate Day! So, today, make sure that you take some time to "shiver your timbers" and "avast your hearties". Bonus points if you make someone walk the plank...

9/16/2006

Shuffle Up and Deal: John Snyder...

Ok, so I'm a little late on this post. But, I suppose being late is better than being never. Hmm... I think I got that wrong. Oh well. This edition of "Shuffle Up and Deal" is brought to you by (John) Snyder. John's a friend from from my days as an intern at my last church. He hails from Oklahoma and knows everything about college basketball that there is to know. Seriously, try him. He cannot be defeated. He's also the only person I know who bought the entire U2 catolog off of iTunes. Does someone who knows this much about college athletics have only Jock Jams on their iPod?

Let's see...


1) Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven by DC*B

2) What Comes Around by Beastie Boys

3) The Beautiful Letdown by Switchfoot

4) Trip Through Your Wires by U2

5) Bullet by Mat Kearney

9/13/2006

Web Wednesday: Poo Poo Platter...

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you; Web Wednesday! Today's entry comes to us from the world of toys!

Here's today's entry. Wait. Once you go to the website, click on "Tanner Dog", and tell me what's wrong here. That's right, Barbie now has a dog that poops, and you get to clean it up! Now, I don't claim to be the brightest bulb on the tree, but when I was a kid, I tried to get out of having to pick up the dog's poo. Nothing inside of me wanted any part of a toy that taught me the joys of picking up the fecal matter of an animal. Mattel, when you add the element of responsibility to your toys, you take away the very reason why kids play with them: to get out of their responsibilities! Stop it...

9/08/2006

Shuffle Up and Deal: Alanna Pearson...

A late (and somewhat rushed) edition of "Shuffle Up and Deal"! This week, our featured guest is Alanna Pearson. Alanna is an amazing youth minister in Orange County. When I lived in Orange County (to my dismay) I didn't hang with Alanna too much. But, since I started reading her blog, I have come to realize that once I complete my time machine, I will go back in time and hang. What does someone who uses "The Brave Little Toaster" to illustrate redemption have on their iPod?

Let's find out...

1) Dirty Harry by Gorillaz

2) My Poor Brain by Foo Fighters

3) The Deep by Further Seems Forever

4) Holiday In Spain by Counting Crows

5) Adding To the Noise by Switchfoot

I've Been Saying This For Years... OR My Centennial Post...

First of all, Stephen Colbert is a genius. Second, I'm glad that someone is finally calling attention to something that I have been talking about for years. Editor's Note: See video below.

Thirdly, let's take a moment to celebrate my 100th post. Feel free to send bouquets, trophies, bottles of purple Mountain Dew, Banana Spring Rolls, or Charger tickets to me in honor of this auspicious occasion...

9/06/2006

Web Wednesday: How To Be Stupid, Hurt Yourself a Lot, And Make Tons Of Money...

Today is a day which will live in infamy. It's Web Wednesday! Here's a confession from my soul: Even though I'm sure there's some rule about me being a pastor and how I'm not supposed to like stuff like this, I think that Jackass is one of the funniest things on the planet. Maybe it's the the fact that there's a little kid inside of me ("Yes and, the doctors say if they remove it, he'll die." Wink, wink Alice!), or maybe it's the fact that, deep down (actually, not very deep down) I'm an idiot. I'm not sure.

But, here's your nugget of internet goodness for the day. It's a list of the top ten Jackass stunts of all time, complete with videos. Be careful. Some of it might be NSFW (Not Safe For Work).

My favorite is "The Burglars"...

9/05/2006

Dealing With Loss...

Some of you may have noticed that I haven't posted in almost a week. This doesn't really mesh with my established pattern of blogging and I wanted to, in a small way, clue you guys in to my reason for going M.I.A. Editor's Note: I hesitated a little when the thought occured to me to post on this, but felt as though it may help, in some small way, someone to better deal with a loss of their own. I wouldn't normally post something so personal.

Last Tuesday morning I got a call from my mom. I missed the initial call, but upon listening to the voicemail that she left, I immediately knew that something wasn't right. When I called her back, she told me that my Granny (her mother) had passed away at 6:30 that morning.

I arranged a flight home for Thursday morning and went home to be with my mom.

I haven't had to deal with death very much yet. I've had an aunt (my mom's sister) and granddaddy (my mom's dad) die. But, both happened when I was about ten years old. I have a tough time remembering a lot of it. Only once have I had to deal with the death of someone that I was close to, and that was when Mrs. Bradley, one of our youth ministry advisors in school, died my senior year. This is really the first relative.

To be completely honest, I've had a myriad of emotions so far. As I sat and talked with my mom on Sunday night, it occured to me that I hadn't seen this coming at all. It didn't feel real. It still doesn't.

My Granny Pou has been medically pretty bad off for about four or five years now. Two or three years ago, she even had to have both legs amputated just below her knee due to poor circulation problems. She's been in and out of the hospital for years and has had to stay in an extended care center for the past six years. So, the question begs to be asked; why didn't I see this coming?

My initial hypothesis is that I just wanted to think of my life frozen in a picture. Not me, mind you. I would grow and change and enter into different seasons. But all of my loved ones would remain unchanged, in their frame. Ready to greet me with open loving arms, smiles, and warm memories of times we shared whenever I needed them. I never imagined that there was a limit to the amount of time that I would have with them. And then the phone call...

I'm scared right now. My Grandmama (dad's mom) just got out of the hospital and is now staying in the same extended care facility as my Granny. My great-uncle (the closest thing I've ever had to a grandfather) is turning eighty in two years. The rest of my family aren't getting any younger either. I'm scared to death that I'm going to get another phone call, here in California, telling me that I have to fly home again, to grieve the loss of another loved one. And I'm not ready to do that...

I freaked out at the viewing. It was as if I finally realized that this was all just temporary. That this wasn't really my home. That more viewings will come... So, I did one of the things that I do when I freak out: I started asking questions. (I also crack a lot of jokes. Sometimes, this can be bad. Like at your Granny's viewing.) I asked about my Granny's life. About the life of my Granddaddy. My great-grandparents. Aunts...uncles... anyone who anybody could remember. I just wanted to know.

My Granny Pou was a cool lady. There was so much about her that I didn't know. Like, for instance, the fact that she was married at thirteen years old, had her first child at fourteen, and divorced at fifteen. I think that I'm like her in more ways than I realized. Mom said that a couple days before she passed, she was joking around with the nurses. She was pulling "gets" on them.

One of my friends lost someone very close to him about three or four years ago. I've only heard him describe this person as someone who loved life as much as possible. Someone who embraced every moment and bear-hugged it hard until all the life seeped out of it. That's who I want to be. I want to break the picture frame that I've tried to keep my life in so far. I want to shatter it, freeing the contents to join me as I try my best to get the most from this life. I want to love people so hard, that they never doubt that they are important to me.

Editor's Note: I'm sorry if this has seemed like rambling to you. I guess that I just wanted to type out some thoughts and share them with you. I didn't really bother to take the time to collect them first.

I'm going to miss my Granny Pou. But I'm also going to try my best to move forward, shatter the picture frame, and embrace those that I care about.

Thanks for reading...