Monday, December 1, 2008

Set the Record Straight

Wrote this a little bit ago but finished it on its posting date.

Mindy had some work to do last night so after church I headed out to hold Jacob while she finished up her classroom stuff for this week. Mindy was all excited about this Britney Spears "For the Record" show. I have to admit I was intrigued. There is something about hearing it from the person that is intriguing. Britney had some detailed stories about how hard her life was and is. She talked about being enamored by fame and then struggling with it. She felt like it was so hard to be famous and she is followed all the time. I am sure there were many who were struggling with this and I certainly was. You are telling me fame is hard. Now as I think about it I am sure it has it moments. I of course think of my good friend John Mayer and how he gets so frustrated with the way he is portrayed in the magazines. I know he on several occassions has mentioned how he is thankful that his fans are loyal to him and trust his music not what the mags say. So I guess I can have a little sympathy.

I think the truth is we all feel like sometimes those big decisions we make in life are tough. There are so many times we are misunderstood for the decisions we make. And it is true sometimes we definitely mess up. We say or do things that are huge or little mistakes. And there are definitely times we want to set the record straight. We want everyone to understand why we do the things we do. The honest truth is we can't all just do a show on MTV and tell the world why we did what we did. And if we did do that there would be times like Britney we did not have the answers for our actions.

This all points back to a song I love by MXPX which is called "Set the Record Straight." They are talking about how they wanted to set the record straight also and they feel caught in between the right and the wrong they do. They say, "they believe in second chances, I believe this world is gonna end I would do anything to set the record straight if you believe."

Interesting enough we may never be able to set the record straight in this life, meaning with family, friends or co-workers that question are actions. Even we try as hard as we can we will frustrate people with our actions. I hate this; my heart wants to help others and not hurt them but I am sinner. And that is what my friends at MXPX are talking about the only way to set the record straight isn't a show on is Jesus. Not just the word Jesus but who He was. His life, His example, His Love and His death to set our record straight.

This life will be full of brokenness, broken conversations and broken hearts and there will be those times we can at least talk and attempt to explain our mistakes. Those moments we have the chance to set the record straight. The record will never be full set straight until our final days and when Jesus comes back. Until we wait and pray and trust that God will guide our steps and our interactions with those we love and/or struggle with.

Thursday, November 20, 2008



1. the state of being deprived of or of being without something that one has had: the loss of old friends.

2. death, or the fact of being dead: to mourn the loss of a grandparent.

3. the accidental or inadvertent losing of something dropped, misplaced, stolen, etc.: to discover the loss of a document.

Last week was the discovery of loss. I watched as some families discovered loss. These 2 words seem like they shouldn't go together. When I want to discover something I want it to be a good thing. Who wants to discover loss. Not to make it trivial but I used to have dreams of finding stuff. The loss of something affected me so much that I would dream about how to find it. I even would have dreams of the specific place in my house that I would find it. I hated losing things.

As an adult that has not changed. It is frustrating to lose things in my life. It is even worse when it is a person who we love and care about. Watching some of the kids in the past week has reminded of the loss of my dad and grandpas. There is such a pain with knowing you will not see them in this life again. I truly felt for those this week as I watched as they continue to work through the loss. It is a tough process but as a Christian it is at least easier. We are able to know that we will see that person again in Heaven. We can take the joy of the hope we have in Jesus. It never makes the loss easy. There are times we dream about our loss and it is in our sub conscience even when we are focused on other things.

The truth it is not just death or losing physical things but also even just friendships. Loss affects our life all the time. At one minute we have someone in our life and then they are gone. I am not sure I will ever have a good grasp on loss and the emotions and feelings that go with it. I do know one thing that one day I will never feel that loss again. I cannot imagine how God feels when he loses one of us since I can see on earth how loss affects us.

This blog has no answers except one turn to Jesus. We will always have Jesus in our lives and He will always be there for us. He understands loss and is there to comfort us in that loss. May He continue to guide each of our lives and be the one we turn to has we have empty feelings in our lives from the things or people we lose. My prayers go to those who recently lost loves ones I know you will find the hope you need in Jesus.


Are you ever some place and all of the sudden someone tells you something and you are not sure how to respond. Recently I heard this song called "Oh." It is basically about this guy who hears all these crazy things and is not sure what to say and so he says oh. There is a funny story in the song of this girl brushing her teeth on a Subway because she does not know when she will die and see God. There are a few more stories in the song that are more the too much information idea. It made me think of all those times when I am in that place. I hear something that I did not expect and am not sure what to say. I worry that my face is showing what I feel inside. You know this feeling of, "I can't believe you told me that and I don't know what to say." Regardless those times happen. This song made me think about those moments and to think about what I normally say.

In all honest we all have those moments and they go both ways. I think sometimes my biggest fear is being on the other side of the Oh. You know that you say something that the other person can't believe you told them. Regardless they exist because we are sinners. They exist because we do things we shouldn't. And as humans we do not always know what to say when a person shares something like that. This is where I feel comforted in the fact that I can tell God anything. He will never just say Oh. God responds in love and concern for each of us. The challenge is that we can do that also. Often times we are told things not to respond Oh but to show that person that someone does care enough to listen even if it is a hard topic or an unusual thing.

In life we may laugh about those times unusual things happen. I know there have been times I have laughed about what a person did in this store or that one. You tell this story about this crazy thing you saw or heard someone did and you might say Oh as they tell you the story. But it is a whole other thing to be there for someone tell you something they might have done at some point and truly need someone to talk to. I first found this song provoked my thought process and then challenged me to make sure I am truly listening and encouraging and not just saying OH.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Deep Post

It has been a few days but I meant to write a post about the election. No matter who you voted for and or wanted to vote for this year there was an overwhelming reaction to the election. The lines were longer than normal and people were coming out from all over. I am not sure whether MTV's old slogan of rocking the vote finally caught on or something else but people came out. I think there is one thing that held strong and that was that people wanted change. While my first time in California to see an election I am sure it has not always been like this. It seemed like there were people on every street corner promoting their position on the props or the president. Regardless I think it was obvious to me that people are not happy with the way things are and want something different.

This is made even more obvious when I look at a sign that was on a cork board by the mail boxes in my apartment complex. It is one of those post cards that says, "What will you do with all the extra money you save on car insurance." Underneath it someone wrote, "Give it to Arnold Schwarzenegger he knows what to do with it." I of course had a little laugh at how people can think of the funniest stuff. Comments let me see even more how unhappy people are with our government right now. They want change and things to be different. The truth is they are looking to an earthly leader.

A few weeks ago I preaching about the King of Glory. I talked about how the people at the time of Samuel begged for a king. Samuel tried to tell them to trust God as their king but the people were persistent. God gave them a king but warned them it would not be truly what they expected. They had all kinds of problems with Saul and saw how corrupt he was. There was no choice but to turn back to God. In asking for an earthly king they had forgotten how God brought them out of Egypt and how God has always been there for them. It is when our world is desperate we realize that we need God so badly. There is no doubt we need him right now. No matter who is President they will still sin and make mistakes. We will never have that savior in a man because we already had him and it was Jesus. He is the only Savior that could truly run and does run our world without a mistake. While we wait to see what will happen with the economy or our new president my prayer is that we turn to Jesus. We see His leadership and are reminded of all the things He does for us. I am so thankful today that I am not dependent on earthly leaders. Today I am thankful that Jesus is my king and my leader.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Light Hearted; Black Olives, Flooding toliets, and the underground.

I debated which post to put first and I felt that you always read the top one first, so since I was going to post 2 things today I wanted the funny one second.

There are things in life that boggle my mind one is black olives. I love black olives. Often times I could sit there and eat a whole bowl of them. As kids we used to to even put easy cheeze in them. But they taste different mixed with different things. This might just be a Will Hanke thing. Since my best friend while in town lately did say I wish I could taste things like Will does. His point is my taste buds seem to be sensitive. While I have grown to love and try many things I am picky about certain things and how they mix. You will never catch me eating and candy bar and drink a soda (I still think pop in my head but say that for the rest of you). I hate how it tastes when you mix them. You lose the taste of how awesome the candy bar and the soda are. You need the salty to compliment the sweet. Another amazing one is chocolate milk and a banana. Sure the staff makes fun of me but let me tell you that combination is amazing. What boggles my mind is how black olives taste different on subway sandwiches. They also taste different on salads. I am not sure if it is just the mix of other stuff but they do taste different. Every time I got to Subway I make the debate black olives today or not. I know it will completely alter my sandwich. I did it today and it made me think about all of this.

If you want more helpful hints on amazing combinations just let me know. I will be happy to tell you how parsley changes the taste of mushrooms and makes it amazing.

On to the next thing I hate when toilet's flood. I am serious a toilet could be completely clean and flood and I would feel like it is still nasty. Today my toilet flooded and I had just taken a shower and I thought great now I feel gross. I just don't get it why when the water is so low and then you flush again does it go to the top. It was an interesting start to my Thursday.

On those 2 random notes may I still remind you that as tough as this world is it is still a funny place to leave. While I often write deep thoughts and you got one as you read my first blog, I also want to remind you to enjoy the funny moments in life. God has created us all different and whether olives taste funny on a sandwich, you don't like meat, you hate licking napkins or you can't even stand looking at snakes life is funny. And even if you struggle with John Mayer's voice, which I can't understand, life is funny. We all are different. So while I had a deep post for my first one remember to enjoy life and take time to notice the little funny stuff that happens.

Last I just want you to know for High School kids we are starting something called the Underground. It is kind of the hidden hang out time. I talked to some of the high school guys who are going to meet me at Wing Stop in Costa Mesa on Newport Beach Rd for wings on Saturday. We are going to meet hang out and talk about life at 3pm this Saturday. This will happen a couple times a month. I will make sure it is in my blog and I will text as many of you as I can. High School can be so busy this is time to squeeze in some fellowship, hang out have wings and just enjoy the life God has given us.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Time has really taken off on me, I can't believe it has almost been a month since I have written something down. Attitude is something I have been thinking about lately. How much does it affect others? How much does it help others? The reality of the matter is that it at least affects us.

So my interesting story goes like this I was out eating lunch with the new youth staff, Heather and Christina (stop by if you have not met them, they are super cool), we had a waiter who just had one of those attitudes. You know those guys who think they are way to cool and are not sure if they have time for you. They are the ones who check your coolness factor.

I have always made it my personal challenge to try and talk to them and get them to back down from their views of thinking they are to cool to talk. Yet today I just let it be and watched as his service was horrible. He was so slow to give us anything and even gave us our appetizer the same time as our main course. Heather and Christina watched as I got frustrated through the meal and when it came time to tip you can imagine how I felt.

Ok so this guy was not the most friendly but why did I allow him to take over my attitude. I was fired up because of his actions and to be honest they had nothing to do with mine. I could have chosen to have a better response but instead I fed into it. I left a weaker tip and walked out like I had taught him a lesson. But had I really taught him a lesson? What if I would have taken the time to ask him about something on the menu, could that have changed his reaction?

This got me to think about our attitude and how it affects others. So often I think about the men in the Bible and their attitude. I know I can never be Jesus but that God had a great attitude. He knew what things to actually get upset about and what things to let roll off his back. He knew how to treat people best. I think about others in the Bible my favorite Jacob, David, Paul, and Timothy. How would they have acted to my waiter?

The story gets worse I was running that night and I saw him at my apartment complex. I was like great that guy lives here. It made me re-think my actions and of course my attitude. I am not saying he was right but for starters I could have not let his attitude rub off on mine. And I certainly have not let it bother me. And lastly I want my attitude to affect others in a positive way. We get affected by so much in daily life my challenge is that we keep smiling and reminding ourself in those tough moments God is for us. He is enough for my attitude and His gifts remind me of the joy I have in him.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

This will all make perfect sense someday

This is something I think we all often say. We look at our lives and hope that the reason we go through this tough time or this learning experience is to grow. That everything will happen for a reason. We want it to make perfect sense someday.

I think honestly right now it is not that bad things are happening as much as just life. Changes continue to happen in my life. And the reality is I wonder why Lord so many changes in one year. Of course I sit with that hope in the back of mind that it will all make perfect sense someday.

Many of you have watched the face of youth change. St. John's has grown and changed in the last several years and the changes keep coming. I will tell you that personally I am excited. In a year's time I have had the chance to look at some many things and see what is the future of youth ministry at St. John's. As a kid from the Midwest I knew it was going to look different than where I grew up. I did not know what the youth in Orange would need. After a year I wish I could tell you it all makes perfect sense but honestly I am still learning too. I am taking time to look at all of you personally and see what will help you.

But when I say help I don't just mean in your daily lives but even more in your eternal focus. Youth ministry changes because we want you to have a focus and an understanding that will never leave you.

See in an earthly perspective we all change. I used to have this on going battle with myself really to see what would be the top song on my Itunes. Right now it is Anthony Celia's I love you so (got to support my boy). Anyway I would see what song would take the top place. For a long time I had Here Comes the Night by Rob Thomas that had been played over a hundred times. But of course I always wanted a Mayer song up there also and at times I would be shocked why this song was above the others. Did I really listen to that one that much? I mean it was for multiple reasons. Maybe some of my other favorites I listened to on my Ipod while I was running. Regardless the songs changed. There was never that one song that took the list.

My point is I buy new music almost every single week and the song that taught me something 3 years ago may still have an impact on me but not be as powerful as it was then. I mean 3 years ago I could have listened to it over and over but now it is just a song that was as memory.

No matter how we look at it the changes in our life will become a memory but one thing stands alone at the end of the day. Jesus his change affected us for the rest of our lives and never loses its newness or its play ability if you will. This year as I look at our theme for the year and for youth ministry at St. John's I have come to this.

SEE the One
GET the Point

As we begin to see the one meaning Jesus and as we get the point the changes fall by the way side. We don't worry whether they will all make perfect sense because we are beginning to live in our eternal focus growing and learning about our Savior, serving others, and sharing with one another. Check out what's new on the Calendar and come to a new event it might be something that you will really love.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Spit Up

I think life is full of moments of spit up. Tonight I was watching Jake and he just spits up. I think to myself what causes that? Why in the world would he spit up just randomly? I mean there he is just chillin on the floor and all of the sudden spit up. That made me think about something...

How often do we just spit up? Actually even more than that how many times do we have the urge to spit up? How many times do we just say something nasty? There we are talking and all of the sudden something we don't like comes out. We might even be fighting the urge of saying something not so good. 

The reality of the Christian life is we all spit up way to often. We say things we don't mean and yes as much as we fight it, it still happens. That is our sinful side showing through. The challenge is to continue to quiet the spit up in our lives. As Christians we want to say encouraging things but then that urge comes up to say something bad. I am trying to fight the spit up in my life...I think the less spit up the better. I hate the spit up on Jake it makes all his cute clothes nasty.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Taking on Water

I think there are days when we wake up and wonder if this is true. There are moments when we look at what is in front of us and are not sure if we can do it this time. It just seems to hard and the journey to long to keep going.

Recently while I was at the Mayer concert I heard this song. It is a new song by Mayer. It is about deciding today is the day you brave the ocean. You ride on a raft and decide it is just your time to be by yourself with the ocean. We could go into so many deep thoughts about this. Which reminds all those readers out there why I love Mayer. His deep metaphors help me think so many things about life. We could talk about storms and being alone while facing them. We could talk about getting away. Surfers would say so often I decide to take on water all the time.

Right now Jacob, my son, in himself can feel like taking on water. His reliance on Mindy and I often times seem like such a new venture. I think the honest truth about taking on water is we all have to do it sometimes. I remember the first day of college I felt like that. I remember even the first day of Seminary feeling like that. I know that when my parents left me alone in Chattanooga for my vicarage (right Brown) I felt that. I felt like I was on this big ocean by myself and trying to figure out how to make it. When it is the ocean that is when we begin to think. What do I want and how am I going to brave this? It is then God comes in. And that amazing thing we could have forgotten to read our Bible for the last week or even missed church but God still shows His face. He still comes in and reminds us that He is there, while we might feel alone we are not. 

The idea of taking on water then reminds me of how many times I think I should do it on my own. How many times do I stand there and say it is ok God I got this one? But the reality is if I truly had this one, well then I would have been ok when I faced this or that...implying all of the times when I messed things up. 

That is my final thought while there are so many times when I feel like I am taking on water. May God remind me that He is there and more importantly that I need Him.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Am A Daddy

I just had a baby, and he has a lot of hair.