2/29/2008

Good Advice...

People have all sorts of ways of dealing with their feelings.

Some people become jerks. Some people develop addictions. Others take out their stored up emotions by hitting the gym. (I wish that was me.) But I've always turned inward.

Since I was fourteen I've dealt with my feelings by retreating emotionally and physically. Editor's Note: By the way; I'm not endorsing this method of catharsis, as it always proves quite ineffective. I'm just stating the facts of my past... I become a hermit. I'm pretty sure that this stems from a long standing fear that, if people knew what I was really thinking or feeling, they would judge and abandon me. I know this isn't healthy. And, although I know I've gotten better over the years, I know I still have a long way to go.

That being said, I've found myself responding (out of habit) in the same way that I have in the past to my present circumstances. I've walled myself off emotionally and physically from the world. And I didn't even realize I was doing it. Not until Last week.

Last week, I had had enough of my self-imposed exile. So, I began calling my friends. So far, this week, I've had lunch or coffee with four different people. I've got two others (as well as a big group on Saturday night) lined up for this weekend.

And it's been a small piece of heaven...

Anyone that says that they don't need anyone else in the world is either trying to deceive you or being successful in deceiving themselves.

And, in talking with my friends (and my great-aunt and great-uncle), I've been able to experience their love and concern for me in amazing ways. Along with that love, has come some incredible pearls of wisdom. Some of which, I'd like to share with you now. Hopefully, they'll speak to you as they've spoken to me...

  • When you find God's calling for your life, you get two things: you get peace from the feelings of chaos that are a result of God shaking things up in your life, and you get energized to move into the next stage of it. Editor's Note: I feel like these bits of truth are going to help me when I get the answers that I've been seeking from God in the past two months...

    -and here's one that totally kicked my butt today-

  • There's a big difference between praying for God to show us what He wants and praying for God to bless what we want. There's been so many times that I've gone to God thinking that I'm praying for His will, and that He's remaining silent. When what I'm really doing is telling Him what I want and asking Him to make it happen. You've got to figure out how to want what God wants more than what you want. I think Jesus said something about this in Matt. 6:33...
  • You're the Best Around: III...

    Weekly Round up of friends' blog posts... Enjoy...

  • Lauren talks about the Starbucks shut down of '08...

  • Josh premieres Jake's new music video...

  • Alice gets published...

  • Marko tells the truth about why kids lie...

  • Puddles is embarrassed at the gym again...

  • Leigh helps promote Hoops of Hope...

  • Rick's son begins his life with God...

  • Taffy's daughter takes her first steps on camera...

  • Ryanne busts Josh doodling in a staff meeting...
  • Get the Word Out...

    One of the things that I always had to work to stay on top of in ministry was keeping parents, students, and the rest of the church informed of what's going on in our Middle School ministry.

    After looking around a little more on Puddles' Ministry blog for parents, I noticed that he's using a pretty sweet tool to do this.

    Turns out Google calendar has a sweet feature that allows you to set up an html version of your calendar and post it on your webpage for all to see. You can even enter in all the necessary information about an event and, when someone clicks on the event name, they can see it.

    If you've got a ministry blog or webpage, could be a useful tool to help keep people informed...

    2/28/2008

    Put That On the Fridge...

    Art + technology = my own personal heaven.

    I'm working with Puddles on a design project right now. He needs a summer calendar and I've got a ton of free time on my hands. Funny how that works out.

    Today, as we began talking about thematic elements, he mentioned that he would love to get a new banner for his Jr. High ministry parents' blog.

    "How much do you think you'd charge for the banner?" he asked. "Nothing," I said. "I can whip that up in no time." Editor's Note: Truth be told, I was excited to have something else to do.

    You can check out my banner and Puddles' ministry blog here...

    The Search Begins: Part 6...

    Parts one, two, three, four, and five...

    For as long as I can remember, I've been a part of church culture.

    My mom starting taking me to church when I was two years old and I'm not sure that I ever left. However, I do know that I wasn't really aware that churches could be different until I left home for Orange County. I mean, I knew about differences in location, congregation, building, etc. But I thought that, once inside the front door, everything kind of worked the same.

    Now that I've been involved in vocational ministry for a little over five years, I've been able to see a lot of different churches. Some, I've felt like I could be a part of. Some, I tried to escape out of the bathroom window. But (and I've had to learn this the hard way) when you're looking for a church to belong to, there's more to consider than just its "core beliefs". You have to look at how it expresses those beliefs.

    For me, one of the things that has always attracted me to a church is how it corporately expresses its worship of God. Does it encourage a variety of expression? Or does it follow the formula of hymn/praise song + turn and greet + Bible message = worship? I've always loved when a church actively participates in encouraging people to express their worship of God through art.

    I'm looking for a church that actively encourages and participates in artistic expression.

    It used to be that art was the church's primary means of expression. Somehow, a lot of churches got away from that. I want to be a part of a church that embraces it. Painting, sculpture, drama, music, poetry, design, dance, etc. These things draw me in as much, if not more, than a great message or a flashy worship center. And I want to be a part of a church that loves them too...

    Body Double 23: 1313 Mockingbird Lane...

    I know that I've already done one of these today, but after watching American Idol tonight, I knew I couldn't pass this up.

    Tonight was a girls performance night and... let's just say that it didn't go quite as well as the contestants hoped. Especially Amanda Overmyer. This season's token rocker, she turned in a performance that sounded like what Janis Joplin might have sounded like today if she had never OD'ed... and if she didn't know how to sing. And the judges told her that. But they also talked about her look.

    And not one of them, even Simon saw the similarity...

    If Lily Munster had a daughter it would be Amanda Overmyer.

    I wonder what stylist allowed this to happen...

    2/27/2008

    Resu I Be of Service to You...

    I spent some time tonight searching through a couple of different online job boards.

    I found two churches that I was interested in, and began to write emails to them asking about their job openings. But, as I began attaching my resumé to the emails, I decided that I wasn't satisfied with it.

    So, I spent quite a bit of time giving it a complete overhaul. New look, new content, new phrasing. Then, after it met my approval, I attached it and sent it off.

    So... know of any good churches looking for a youth pastor...

    Editor's Note: Here's my thought process on the graphic:
    resumé = job search = knocking on doors = Knockin' On Heaven's Door = Bob Dylan...

    Body Double 22: This is Major Tilda to Ground Control...

    As I was watching the Academy Awards this past weekend, I (in all of my fashion wisdom) decided to make judgements on what everyone was wearing. While marking off all of my false predictions, I couldn't help but take notice of Best Supporting Actress, Tilda Swinton. Obviously, many comparisons could be made: Clay Aiken, Drop Dead Fred, etc. But the first one that came to my mind was...

    That's right. Major Tom himself, David Bowie. Do we have a Body Double...

    Web Wednesday: Rainn Man...

    Saddle up your horses people! It's time for another edition of Web Wednesday!

    This week's doodle that can't be undid comes to us from the Independent Spirit Awards, hosted this year by none other than Dwight Shrute himself, Rainn Wilson. Turns out, during the show they showed some "audition tapes" of Rainn's from each of the nominees where he plays each of the leads.The first movie on the list is Juno...

    Click here to enjoy...

    Important Thoughts #8...

    A couple of days ago, as I sat in my La-Z-Boy, I glanced down at my sidetable/bookshelf and saw my copy of Blue Like Jazz. I hadn't picked it up in a while, so I decided to revisit with a book that had been so impacting to me two years ago.

    I opened it up to the second chapter, and was greeted with this highlighted phrase...

    “I believe that the greatest trick of the devil is not to get us into some sort of evil but rather have us wasting time…If he can sink a man’s heart into habit, he will prevent his heart from engaging God”

    This has been ringing loudly in my head for two days now. I feel like I've developed some pretty unhealthy routines lately. And, after reading this, I can't help but wonder if I've been using this waiting period in my life to continue cultivating who I am becoming in God or if I've let it go to waste.

    Perhaps there's less waiting involved than I thought...

    2/26/2008

    Today...

    Today was a bad day. In fact, it was one of the worst.

    And as a result, I needed a lot of prayer and encouragement. So, I called my Nanny and Papa. I was a little embarrassed because, after a few minutes, I felt a like a little kid who's just been hurt on the playground. You know what I mean. Usually, they run and bury their face in their mom's lap and cry. That's how I felt. After sharing some things with them and listening to their wisdom and prayer, Papa shared Psalm 34 with me. I've read it about 6 times since and it's been an encouragement to me.

    Not sure where you're at tonight, but maybe it can speak to you too...

    I will extol the LORD at all times;
    his praise will always be on my lips.

    I will glory in the LORD;
    let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

    Glorify the LORD with me;
    let us exalt his name together.

    I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
    he delivered me from all my fears.


    Those who look to him are radiant;
    their faces are never covered with shame.

    This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
    he saved him out of all his troubles.


    The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
    and he delivers them.

    Taste and see that the LORD is good;
    blessed are those who take refuge in him.

    Fear the LORD, you his holy people,
    for those who fear him lack nothing.

    The lions may grow weak and hungry,
    but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

    Come, my children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

    Whoever of you loves life
    and desires to see many good days,

    keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from telling lies.

    Turn from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it.

    The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous
    and his ears are attentive to their cry.

    The face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
    to blot out their name from the earth.

    The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
    he delivers them from all their troubles.

    The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.


    The righteous may have many troubles,
    but the LORD delivers them from them all;

    he protects all their bones,
    not one of them will be broken.

    Evil will slay the wicked;
    the foes of the righteous will be condemned.

    The LORD redeems his servants;
    no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.


    Editor's Note: By the way, the heading of this Psalm is: Of David. When he pretended to be insane before Abimelek, who drove him away, and he left.

    2/25/2008

    Things That I'll Need If I'm Ever Going to Save the World...

    I saw Vantage Point (certified 3 Yarmulke™ rating) on Friday night. And, although I've suspected it for some time now, my suspicions have now been confirmed: Dennis Quaid is awesome. I can only dream that I will be as tough as him when I'm 53 years old.

    In the movie, as I'm sure as in his real life, Quaid saves the day (and kicks tons of butt doing it). And, as I watched this butt being kicked, I began to make a mental list of all the things that I'd need if I were to ever be in a position to save the world...

    1) The ability to drive stick...
    This is really a no-brainer. How many times have you ever seen someone commandeer an automatic transmission vehicle for a high speed chase? Yeah... like, never. But, I've never learned how to drive a manual. So, if I were the only thing standing between life and death for the President, and I had to find a fast car to chase down his kidnappers, the last thing I need to be thinking about is finding a car that doesn't use a clutch. You! I need your car! Wait, is it a stick? OK, nevermind! NEXT!

    2) A Tuxedo...
    Go ahead. Name one James Bond movie where he didn't wear a tux...

    3) A Computer Expert...
    This person would sit at a computer and give me instructions through an earpiece that I would wear. They'd also transfer important things to a PDA or smartphone that I would carry. When asked if they could pull something off, they would respond, "Are you kidding me, Josh? Piece of cake..."

    4) Facial Hair That Only Grows to Stubble Length...
    Indiana Jones, Jack Shepherd, Jack Bauer, Sonny Crocket... What do they all have in common? Stubble. Their missions could last until next leap year, and they'd never grow a full beard. Unfortunately, I have a full beard in about two weeks. So, something would need to be done about that...

    5) Good Shoes...
    Have you seen how much running is involved in saving the world? I'm going to need some serious arch support...

    2/24/2008

    And the Oscar Goes To...

    I didn't do as well this year in picking the winners as I have in years past. I was 10 for 24.

    Here's what frustrates me the most about the oscars: so many movies get nominated that no normal American will ever see. But, I suppose that's also the beauty of it. The oscars up the exposure of a film which, hopefully, also widens its audience.

    I'm a little disappointed that we'll never be able to say Academy Award winning Norbit or Transformers...

    Wait... I Think I Just... Yep... I've Got an Idea...

    I saw Be Kind Rewind (certified 3 1/2 Yarmulke™ rating) yesterday.

    And while I didn't think it was as good as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I loved it. I know that other people are saying this, but it truly is a love letter to movies, the memories that they leave us with, and how the stories they tell can unite us together.

    I love the movies that Michel Gondrey makes. Not only are they beautifully shot, and brilliantly creative, but they make me think, I always walk away from his movies with lots of ideas bouncing around in my head. And this was no different.

    I've got an idea for what I think could be a killer student ministry event. In fact, I was so excited about the idea that, as I left the movie, I had to call Puddles and tell him. I even spent some time last night developing my thoughts and writing notes on it, so that I can remember everything I can when the time comes for me to implement it.

    Now, the only thing I need in order to make my idea happen is a ministry to serve in...

    2/23/2008

    Josh & Puddles' Book Club...

    I've always loved to read.

    And, whenever I find a book that captures my imagination or satisfies some curiosity that I may have, I have to tell people about it.

    For some time now, I've included a section on my blog (located on the sidebar) where I show what book I'm currently reading (the topmost) as well as the next few books in line. However, as I've stated before, I'm great at starting books, but terrible at finishing them.

    And so, as a way of fostering some (hopefully) interesting conversations, as well as encouraging some literary accountability in my life, I'm partnering with Puddles in launching the Josh & Puddles' Book Club.

    Puddles and I will be tackling books of our choice and, as we discuss and dissect their contents, posting our thoughts on them. Or at least I will.

    Our first two books (which Puddles just ordered from amazon) are two that I recently started: Kitchen Confidential and Gilead. You're welcome to join us, if you'd like...

    Editor's Note: And, wouldn't you know it, just before I wrote this post, I found another book that I'm going to try and start: When God Waits: Making Sense of Divine Delays by Jerome Daley. It seemed like it might apply to where I feel like I'm at right now...

    2/22/2008

    Demotivator...

    Perhaps you're familiar with motivational posters. Maybe, you've even had a good laugh at the demotivational posters at despair.com. If not, go ahead and check some of them out... We've got time.

    Nice...

    So, in my boredom, I decided to take a crack at making one of these bad boys. I snatched the photo from digg.com...

    You're the Best Around: II...

    I love my friends. And I love their blogs. Here's some of their posts that I loved this week...

  • Jaime opens my eyes to the beauty of email to text technology...

  • Steve deals with some bad weather...

  • Terrace shows us a postcard that stirs up a mixture of emotions...

  • Alice has an amazing first night in Cincinnatti...

  • McGill breaks down his obnoxiousness...

  • Ryanne introduces us to a new notebook and an even sweeter website with sweet things to buy on it...
  • Weird Cell Phone Picture: #13 (Kiwanos?)... -or- Post #666...

    Today was a glorious day! I had a few small errands to run.

    I started off at Barnes & Noble, then hit the grocery store and Target. Next was coffee with a friend. Followed by a trip to the pharmacy, then back to the grocery store, then the bank. Nothing special. But, it was SOMETHING!

    So, in the middle of it all, I made quite the find at the grocery store. I saw these...

    Now, you might be thinking, "Aren't those the things from Super Mario Bros. 2?" Nope. They're called Kiwanos. And, if you look at its wikipedia page, you'll see that if you crack it open, it looks like an alien egg.

    Who eats this stuff? Weird...

    Eli Stone...

    Have you seen this show? I mean, have you?

    Eli Stone is a new dramedy on ABC that comes on after LOST. It's all about a successful lawyer in San Francisco who begins to have strange visions. He consults his brother, a neurologist, only to find out he has an inoperable brain tumor, which is causing the visions. After it appears to Eli that his visions are leading him to do out-of-the-ordinary things. In pursuit of answers, he turns to an acupuncturist friend, who tells him that maybe his visions aren't an accident. Maybe God is speaking to him in modern day prophecies...

    So far it's been great seeing a guy who barely (if at all) believes in God deal with being led by Him to change both his world and the world at large.

    Oh, and it stars Angelina's first husband, Jonny Lee Miller.

    You can watch free streaming episodes here. Check it out...

    I Would Definitely Make Her a Mix Tape...

    2/21/2008

    Julie's Blog Suggestions: Part 4...

    Parts one, two, and three...

    58. The songs I could listen to over and over...

    I'm going to put a slightly different slant on this post. How about "the songs I could listen to over and over because they bring me great joy..."? These are songs that, no matter how I'm feeling, seem to lift the haze. They have that certain something that causes me to shut my eyes, play an air instrument, and sing as loudly as I possibly can...

  • Change the World by Eric Clapton
    My first introduction to Clapton was from his Unplugged album. But this is my all time favorite song of his. (It's also one of my all time faves, period.) Produced by Babyface, it first appeared on the soundtrack to the movie Phenomenon. It just feels right...

  • Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours by Stevie Wonder
    I believe deep in my heart, that if you consider yourself to be a real fan of music, you'll be a fan of Stevie. And for someone to say, "Stevie who?", would be equal to them saying, "I'm ignorant of good music. Please pass the Fergie"...

  • If I Ever Lose My Faith In You by Sting
    My favorite Sting song of all, this led me into a life long appreciation for the former Police frontman. I hope that, one day, I'll get to see him play it live...

  • Interstate Love Song by Stone Temple Pilots
    This was one of my first Rock albums. I used to listen to it on the bus on the way home from Middle School. From all the way back in the good old days before Weiland was hooked on Heroine...

  • Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
    This song always brings back memories of getting shaved ice from in front of the Kroger. Ahh, 1994...

    -And one bonus song...-

  • Thoughts in Reverse by Destroy the Runner
    I just came across this old post a few minutes ago and it made me laugh out loud again. (Which is something I need right now.) Click the link, play the second video, thank me later...
  • I'd Like to Thank Jesus Christ...

    This coming Sunday is the 80th annual Academy Awards. Hosted by John Stewart, it'll be interesting to see if they're able to execute a full show with so little time between the strike's end and the ceremony.

    As a service to you, dear reader, I'm providing a link to an oscar ballot. Print it out and make your predictions. On Monday, we can compare notes on who correctly predicted the most winners...

    2/20/2008

    Web Wednesday: Hey Jude...

    Wow! It's been a long time since I've done this weekly bit! But here it is, once again.

    This week's edition comes to us from some parents with a video camera somewhere. Nothing like filming your kid and uploading it to youtube to begin what will surely be years of laughter at their expense.

    And now, I present the greatest cover of Hey Jude I've ever heard...

    Julie's Blog Suggestions: Part 3...

    Parts one and two...

    44. Movies that make (made) me cry/laugh/gag...

    Lots of movies make me laugh, so I'll leave that part alone. But only two movies have ever made me cry in my entire life...

    The Passion of the Christ

  • Duh. I waited until mid-afternoon on a Monday to go and see this so that I would have the greatest chance of seeing it by myself in the theater. There were two other people there. Here's what's funny about me crying at this movie: I took snacks. So, here I am: Raisinets in one hand, Nerds Rope in the other, crying my eyes out while trying not to choke on DIet Coke. Is that blasphemous...

    Diary of a Mad Black Woman

  • I love Tyler Perry's movies. This one is a wonderful story of moving past our past hurts, forgiving, and moving on. On top of that, I saw it during one of the toughest times in my entire life: my first year in San Diego. All of this resulted in me, on the floor of my living room, crying like a baby. I've seen every one of his movies since...

    And only one movie has ever given me the gags...

    Jack@$$ Number Two

  • I gagged three times in this movie. If you've seen it, you know why. On top of that, I was on a date. Editor's Note: IT WAS HER IDEA! I can't remember if we got dinner that night or not...
  • In the Eye of the Beholder...

    I love and appreciate creative expression in all of its variety of forms.

    From a songwriter's telling of his story in verse to the chef's satisfaction in seeing her patron enjoy her creation at a meal. In fact, one of the last projects I was working on towards the end of my time at my church was an "art class". We had two moms who were an artist and an art teacher and were willing to offer some instruction for any student interested. I was looking to offer some teaching in journaling and creative writing. I didn't want to do this just because it was something I love, but rather because we all need a creative outlet. And I'm sure that some students have potential talents and passions that they have yet to unlock, simply because no one has ever provided them with the opportunity to do so.

    All that to say, the world lost a great artist on February 6th. John Alvin, whom I'd never even heard of until a week ago, has created some of the greatest paintings in the history of pop culture. But his work isn't found in museums or galleries. His work is found at the local cineplex. John Alvin made movie posters. And he's made some of the best...

    Here's five of my favorites. You can go here to see more.

    Thanks, John, for helping create some of my favorite childhood memories...





    No Reservations...

    Anthony Bourdain seems like he might be a jerk...

    That being said, I think I'd love him. I've always gravitated toward people who have polarizing personalities. Something about having to prove myself to them... It's like a challenge. And I love a good challenge...

    Well, today I've officially stepped up my interest in Bourdain to fanaticism.

    A little before Christmas I saw an episode of his show, No Reservations (Travel Channel), in which he traveled to South Carolina. Now, having a classically trained chef to travel to the homeland and sample our native cuisine worried me a little. Would he turn food snob on us and turn his nose up to our superior cuisine? Turns out he didn't. He loved it. But what really struck me was how, in this episode and each one I've seen since, he really explores how the local food fits into the community of each place he goes. Food isn't just about taste. It's also about a unique expression of a culture's identity. So now, No Reservations is set to Tivo. Oh DVR... You are a wonderful thing...

    On top of that, while checking out Bourdain's wikipedia page, I learned that the short lived FOX sitcom, Kitchen Confidential was based on his book of the same name. (Check it out under the "On My Shelf..." column on the right.) So, I headed over to hulu.com and, sure enough, they have every episode free for my viewing pleasure. (I've already watched three episodes!)

    Then, tonight I went to Barnes & Noble and purchased the book. Looks like it's going to be a great read!

    Hopefully it puts me one step closer to becoming an Iron Chef...

    2/19/2008

    What Dreams May Come...

    I'm sick...

    And I'm fairly sure that this had something to do with it.

    Other than a short stretch this past October, I haven't been sick in about 3 years. And, just like in October, this is the mother of all sinus infections. Only, unlike four months ago, this time my subconscious is being affected too.

    Now, I don't typically remember my dreams. In fact, in my entire life, I might remember three or four of my dreams. One, where God and the Holy Spirit visited me on my back porch and, despite my begging, told me I couldn't come with them because it wasn't my time. (I had that dream in first grade. Yeah... it freaked me out.) Another, where I was dating one of my fellow band mates (a flute player, or flautist) in High School. And then, a series of dreams that still come where horrible things happen to my teeth. They break, they chip, they fall out... In one, they were pulled out thanks to some Now and Laters. (To this day, I can't eat Now and Laters because of this dream.)

    But, for some reason, the past two nights have been filled with dreams that are both memorable and incredibly strange.

    Two nights ago, I dreamed that I killed a small mouse. After celebrating by scraping him off of the bottom of my shoe, I was greeted by his big brother; a beagle sized rat. And, in this dream, the rat smiled an evil grin at me. At which, I thought, "My shoe is not going to work on this guy." True, it sounds harmless enough as I recount it now. But, in the dream, I was scared to death.

    Then, last night, I dreamed I was at an unknown house where my dad was cooking supper for a large group of people. As I walked out to his truck to get something, I found my mother's recently expired body in the driver's seat. That's when I connected the dots in my head. My dad had killed my mom and was making chili from her remains. So what did I do in response to this? I went inside and used a dish towel to smack him around a bit. That is, until he sent one of his fellow cannibals after me. That's when I sprouted dragonfly wings and made my getaway.

    Yeah... Weird... I know...

    Hopefully, tonight will bring some much needed, and more peaceful, rest...

    2/18/2008

    Nalu's...

    On my way back from this weekend's interview, I decided to test out Kurt's claim of actual Hawaiian shaved ice in the OC.

    Now, I should say that I've actually been to Matsumoto's Shave Ice in Oahu. It's considered the best in the entire world and every shave ice I've eaten since has been measured against it.

    So, for lunch today, Kurt, Schwanny, Josh and I went to Nalu's in Irvine.

    Behold...


    Shave Ice + Ice Cream on the bottom = heaven. Kurt was right. If only it didn't take me an hour and twenty minutes to get there from San Diego...

    Weird Cell Phone Picture: #12 (Not All Comics are Cool)...

    I had a bit of time to kill today, so I decided to check out one of my old haunts: the Borders in RSM. Now, I don't want to go off on a rant here, but this particular Borders has definitely gone downhill. Not only did they replace their coffee shop with a ginormous greeting card section, but they got rid of all of their chairs but five. FIVE CHAIRS IN A BOOK STORE! Boo.

    Anyway, as usual, I checked out a few magazines and then headed straight for the comics. That's where I found this little gem...

    Do you like superheroes? Do you like NASCAR? Then you'll love NASCAR Heroes...

    2/16/2008

    On the Road Again...

    In a little over an hour I'm hitting the road to meet with another church about a potential job.

    Now, normally in this situation (and especially with this church) I would be beyond excited at the opportunity to be considered for employment. However, as of right now, I'm dealing with a mixture of feelings that are quite surprising to me. But, maybe I should back up a little...

    Even though I left my last job at the end of December, and announced my departure at the end of October, the process of determining whether or not I was leaving began in August. Unfortunately, the process of dealing with this loss didn't start until maybe the end of December. You see, I've traditionally been a person who, in a purely reactionary way, doesn't deal with his feelings. From the time I was fourteen, I've hid from them. I've buried them deep and soldiered on, all the while doing my best to not show my insides to anyone, especially me. I suppose part of it was that I didn't want to be seen as weak. But most of it was that I knew it couldn't hurt me if I denied its existence.

    But that's not right. That's not healthy. About three years ago, I heard (and subsequently bought) a message from Rob Bell on grief. In it, he said that we've got to fully feel our grief without being consumed or controlled by it. He said, "If you don't let it out, it'll always be in there."

    What I'm discovering now is that I haven't let it all out. I haven't dealt with it all.

    I find myself being gun shy. I find myself with cynical suspicions in regards to the church, specifically those that are employed by it. I find myself with doubts as to whether God really does have another place for me to serve in mind. I find myself almost expecting rejection even as a new opportunity presents itself. And none of these things are me. They're foreign entities floating around inside my head and heart, attacking greater things like hope and faith.

    And so, instead of excitement and wonder, I find myself somehow diluted when considering the possibility of new adventures. I feel like my hope has been punched in the stomach.

    Now, I soldier on in a different way: a wounded lion who has yet to rediscover his roar. But I want to... And I will.

    As I drive, I'll pray. I'll pray for God to lift the veil that's been over my heart for some time now. I'll pray for Him to give me clear eyes, not clouded by cynicism. I'll pray for His will to be done. And I'll pray that He'll continue to walk with me through the valleys of grief that I still have to go through...

    Allison, the Gauntlet is Thrown...

    You're the Best Around...

    Some of my friends occasionally list me on their round-ups of favorite blog posts. So, I thought I'd return the love. Here's some of my friends' blog posts that I loved from this past week...

  • Steve begins a series of posts on how Duke basketball and Coach K have added to his student ministry...

  • Alice gets excited as the big move to Kenya draws closer...

  • Julie finds a new partner in crime...

  • Kurt asks for help in naming the Student Zone...

  • Marko reports on schools banning farting...

  • Puddles can't weight to get some help...
  • 2/15/2008

    First Look at Wolverine...

    Via Superhero Hype!...

    USA Today has published a first look photo of Hugh Jackman in the upcoming movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine along with some quotes:

    The film will trace Wolverine's past as he discovers the world of mutants and, ultimately, the ominous Weapon X program, which turns people into living weapons.

    Jackman is tight-lipped on plot details, though he says the film will hardly be a one-mutant story.

    Wolverine's nemesis Sabretooth "is going to play a big part in it. And there will be a good bit of cameos" of new and familiar mutants, he says. "But you can't give too much away, because fans are pretty hard-core. Their expectations go up a level every time you come out with a new film."


    Directed by Gavin Hood and co-starring Liev Schreiber, the movie hits theaters on May 1, 2009.

    Amazing... Ripped, angry, hairy... Jackman is an awesome Wolverine...

    I Can Has Cheezburger...

    I don't like cats. Never have. I think it's because they look as if they've got something going on behind their eyes. You know, like they've got some plan going on that's possibly in phase III... Editor's Note: This is, of course, a slight exaggeration. I like Meg's cat. So much, in fact, that I bought her a laser so that I can play with her. But she's the only one...

    Anyways, a while ago, I found a website with LOLcats on it. Not sure what an LOLcat is? Check this...

    Well, I just found another website where someone is trying to translate the whole Bible into LOLcat language. Check out your favorite verse for a quick nap. Here's one of my faves:

    "I noes dat nawt dirtnappin or dancin, nawt Invisible Anglez, nawt stuff nows or stuffs in mornin, nawt lektrisity, nawt up, nawt dwn, nawt uddr aminalz, kan taiks us away frm teh luv we has, teh warm milk uf Ceiling Cat an Baby Jebus, teh Christ, owr Lord." Romans 8:38-39

    You can check out the LOLcat Bible here...

    2/14/2008

    Weird Cell Phone Picture: #11 (Blue Collar Nutrition)...

    Because nothing reinforces Southern stereotypes like your own signature line of beef jerky sold on the beer aisle...

    My World is Being Rocked...

    I mentioned here that I love teaching. And, after doing it at this retreat this week, I feel more certain than ever that it's an essential part of who God has made me to be.

    When I'm teaching, I feel a sense of connection to God that I don't feel when I do anything else. But there's some parts of it that I like more than others...

    I love studying God's Word. I love spending time getting to know my audience so that I can find the best way to communicate the truth to them. I love finding creative ways to make things more interesting. I love telling stories. I love asking questions. But, one thing I don't necessarily love (although I am thankful for) is how, in preparation for a lesson, God has a way of prying open my heart and dragging things out into the light.

    I'm of the opinion that, teaching is made better through experience. In other words, when I teach on things that I've gone through, I'm able to bring more to the table. But sometimes I have to teach on things that either I've never experienced or, thus far, have been unwilling to. Editor's Note: And by "unwilling", I mean things that I've either consciously or unconsciously kept from God.

    This week, I taught four lessons (from a series that I taught in my Middle School weekend service last May) on giving your whole life to God. One of these lessons was on our hearts. Specifically, that in order for your life to belong to God, your whole heart has to be given.

    During my preparation and prayer time before the service, I would walk in the snow, praying. Saturday night, as I stopped in the middle of some trees, I began to pray for God to open the hearts of the students and begin to show them anything that they might be holding back from Him, and then, give them the strength to turn it over. Then, God began to show me that there were areas in my own life that needed to be released.

    I began to realize that, instead of dealing with what's been happening in my life for the past 7 months (job change, relationship changes, uncertainty about the future), I've been hiding it away, hoping that I wouldn't have to face it. But my God knows that's not the healthy way to do things. So, as I stood in the snow, leaning on a giant pine tree, I began to cry. It was as if I was finally told that it was OK to have an emotional release for all of the loss that I've tried so hard not to feel. I cried because I was sad. I cried because I was angry. I cried because I was confused. And, in the midst of my outburst, I felt God reach through and ask if I trusted Him. That's a great question, God.

    As I walked back to the meeting room, I thought about the story of Jesus healing a boy possessed by an evil spirit in Mark 9. Not so much because of the boy, but because of his father. He (the father) realized while asking Jesus for help with his son, that he was still holding back. And in verse 24, he exclaims to Christ, "Help me overcome my unbelief!" And that's exactly what I ended my prayer with. Help me overcome my unbelief.

    I know that there's still so much for me to see, surrender, and deal with in my heart. But, I know that God is faithful. You can't teach unless you can learn. And I can see that I've got a long journey of learning ahead of me...

    Weird Cell Phone Picture: #10 (Winter Retreat)...

    I spent this past Monday through Wednesday speaking at a winter retreat for a private Christian school that my friend, John, is the chaplain at. While there, I made sure that my cell phone was handy to capture some of the weird things that I saw...

  • The first weird thing was this water bottle I saw at the school. A mixture of a bottle and a can, this hybrid totally confuses me. It seems like, from a production standpoint, it would be easier to make a product that's either all bottle or all can. I mean, spending time trying to get the two to breed together seems a little crazy...

  • This picture is less weird, and more stupid. For some reason, I thought 70 degrees during the day meant warm. So, I wore my sandals to camp. And then, when I got off the bus, I saw all the snow. Yes, I brought shoes. But they were my slip on Chucks...

  • I was pretty stoked to have a room to myself at camp. I was even more stoked to be greeted by this portrait of White Jesus watching over me from above my bed...

  • I really hope that the driver of this van doesn't have to rush someone to the hospital...

  • Before each chapel time, I would spend some time walking around and praying. While on one walk, I looked down into one of the streams and saw this conveniently placed port-a-potty. Now, I know that people have said before that you shouldn't drink water from streams because bears do their business in it. But now, you're telling me I've got to worry about people business too? Ugh...
  • 2/11/2008

    People Who Look Like They Never Sleep...

    I can't sleep. It's 1:13am, I've got to be on the road at 8am, I still haven't packed, and I can't sleep.

    And why can't I sleep? That's a good question. As usual, when I can't sleep it's because I can't stop thinking. And my usual method of popping in a DVD that I've seen 1,000 times (in this case, Season 8 of Friends) isn't working. Great...

    So, I figured I'd compile a list of actors who, much like me right now, look like they never get any sleep.

    Oh man... I wish my brain would shut off...

  • Vince Vaughn

  • Susan Sarandon

  • Matt LeBlanc

  • Tommy Lee Jones