A whirlwind, life happenings, & other musings…

Feels like I have been trying to live in the middle of a whirlwind of activity for the last 2 years… last week was the ‘high point’ of activity, centering on a family road trip to Los Angeles for my graduation ceremony from LIFE Pacific’s MASL program. Pardon the bullet points, but I have a series of fragments floating around my brain I am attempting to put into some sort of pseudo-coherent stream.

  • We drove. A lot. Nothing in Los Angeles was close to anything we needed to go to. By my calculations, we drove about 700 miles while in LA. Boom.
  • Spending time with thePastyGangster & his girl Alex was excellent.
  • Being able to have my whole family together, albeit for a short time, was the highlight of my time. The older I get, & the bigger my kids get, the more & better I understand this. Time together is precious.
  • I need my own bed like an engineer needs their Excel spreadsheets.
  • We stayed with theBean’s auntie Janet – she graciously accommodated our invasion of her home & space – it was a joy to be able to get to know her, & to have her see & get to know our family.
  • The pomp & circumstance of the actual graduation ceremony cracked me up – the outfits we wore (cap, gown, & HOOD,) as well as the get-up worn by the Doctoral faculty of LIFE were from another era… Looked like they were headed to a Renaissance Faire (with an “E”).
  • Now that I have walked in the graduation ceremony, it is now time to buckle down & finish my final project so I can be done
  • Disneyland on Mother’s Day was empty. It must have been the 100 degree temperatures that scared away the locals. We rode the underground & indoor rides as much as we could during the heat of the day.
  • We saw Stevie Wonder in the Main Street ice-cream store at the end of our night. ThePastyGangster waved at him. True story.
  • Dropping Pasty & Alex at the airport on Monday was a sad day. My heart hurts.
  • iDoey went home with my parents Monday, & it was down to theBean, theWeez & me. My heart hurts. Again.
  • I spent most of Monday & all day Tuesday in “Blue Sky Session” meetings discussing & working through the preferred future for the tribe we are a part of… it was encouraging, beautiful, & time well spent.
  • Got home late Wednesday & hit the ground running – wedding rehearsals, youth group, 4 weddings on Saturday, church Sunday, council meeting after church, Mexico mission team meeting after the council meeting… then home. And I crashed.

Tonight is our monthly book talk for “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” (which I wrote about HERE. To say I am excited about this would be an understatement… the opportunity to discuss one of my favorites with people who are discovering it for the first time gets a big “BOOYAH” from me. And even a “Hey Now!” One of the reasons I love the book is, to me, Peterson captures a central truth of the Christian faith: we are “DISCIPLES who spend our lives apprenticed to our Master: Jesus Christ. We are in a growing/learner relationship always… Further, we are PILGRIMS who spend our lives going someplace, going to God, & our path for getting there is the Way, Jesus Christ.” I can’t wait. But I have to.

Over the last several weeks between Easter & Pentecost Sunday, I have been challenged to expect more. I want to be a person with an exercised, growing, supernatural faith – these last few weeks have been full of miraculous God interventions in our church family, both financially & spiritually. It reminds me of the Scripture in James 4 that tells the reader that they don’t have because they don’t ask. I have to ASK…

Sigh. Time to engage… Until next time…


leftover thoughts from Dallas Willard, & other musings on a monday…

I spent some time in Los Angeles about 3 weeks ago for the on-site/beginning of my Masters program. One of the speakers was Dallas Willard… He brought up a series of questions that have stayed at the forefront of my thought processes for the last weeks… Specifically, the questions address what it means and looks like, lived out, to BE a Christ-follower, practicing the disciplines. He asked:

“Why do you fast? Why do you practice solitude? The other disciplines?” Simply, it’s NOT doing what you want, and it IS doing what you don’t. It’s a declaration of FROM WHERE and from WHO do I draw my strength.”

I’d read something similar in the reading for the class, but hearing him say it brought ‘depth’ to it. I’m confronted with the reality that the practice of fasting in my own life had often been done as an exercise of (supposed?) obedience, but NOT as a way to rely on Christ as my source of sustenance. Willard’s words brought to life the scripture, “Man does not live on bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Looking to Christ instead of food, or to Christ in place of human companionship all of a sudden came into clearer focus. These disciplines are for leaning fully into the LORD, and reminding my flesh where my help comes from.

Loved the Super Bowl. Though neither the Packers or Steelers are my team, I was pulling for the Packers… A good game, mixed in with theBean’s wings & other yums, an adequate amount of shouting at the television (gratifying to know that I’m not the only one that does this,) made for lots of fun. TheBean watches the game for one reason: the commercials. I thought they were mostly weak, though I enjoyed the VW/Darth Vader “Use the Force” spot.

Down to my last week of my 1st masters class – everything is done & turned in except a 12 page paper outlining my ‘personal leadership development plan.’ Here I go. Booyah.


/ˈrɛzəˌlut/ Spelled[rez-uh-loot]

  1. firmly resolved or determined; set in purpose or opinion.
  2. characterized by firmness and determination, as the temper, spirit, actions, etc.

The New Year is knocking on my cold, cold (have I mentioned it is absolutely frigid?,) front door. Which leaves me taking stock of me & mine, & of life… pondering, musing, thinking & re-thinking through, almost ad nauseum, as I am oft want to do.

New things are here. Sigh.

I start a Masters program through Life Pacific College with a week-long intensive starting 1/10. For the last month, I’ve been trying to read through the ‘pre-intensive pre-requisite’ books. I’ve found 4 of the 5 to be great, more than I could have hoped for.

Thought provoking. Challenging my status quo. Antagonizing, even, in the best sense of the word.

I’ve got pages & pages notes that I’m transcribing from scoey-scratch & notepads to the Mac so I can easily search & access them when it comes time for The Writing.

And then there’s the One book. The 5th of the 5. I got 1 chapter in & laid aside my notepad. Put down my pen. Muttered a ‘you have GOT to be kidding me,’ or 3. Put it away to save for a time when I need: a) a cure for insomnia, or b) something to tick me off so I can get through a 90 minute kettlebell marathon workout.

For reals.

Thinking through the next weeks where my crafted routine will undergo massive change. Part of it is flexing time so that I can take care of the school requirements (reading & writing, no rithmatick :) , but a bigger part of it is wanting to grow, develop, learn, & be becoming as a husband, father, & pastor – which means heading into new areas with new things to do.

I want to be ‘resolute’ – set on becoming the man God made me to be, knowing that I can’t plan for every eventuality, but I can prepare to take whatever waves come my way… & to do all that I can to be ready in-season & out of season. To set my will upon God’s purposes, with a face like flint, not easily discouraged, cowed, or frustrated.

To not be a complainer. Or whiner. Which makes me wonder, “Was I whining about Book 5? Or was it just commentary?” Hmm.

My brain whirs. Music helps.

Rich Mullins. A little Tears For Fears. David Crowder. Akiko Suwanai’s interpretation of some great Bach.

Suddenly, I realize It’s there.

You are a failure.

Where did that thought come from? From some dark recess, some pit of despair & fear, the place where the accusations & lies come from, recounting past & present stumblings, mocking me with memories of my shame, my lowest points. Words biting, some spoken in ignorance, others in spite, by people who have passed through my life’s 41 years.


Failure? No.

It’s taken practice, learning to take thoughts captive. At times, (like today,) its an all-out battle. But who & what I am, the purpose I live, cannot, WILL not be valuated by a liar, no matter how many old stories & current challenges are dredged up.

Cause I’ve been made to be someone who stands. And to remain standing. To look for opportunities to put into practice God’s commands. To hold tight to His Word, hiding it deep & secure in heart & mind. To intentionally & strategically look to encourage & pass on what I’ve learned to others. To never give up, never turn aside, never quit.

Failure? No. Cause I belong to Christ. Forgiven. Changing. Transforming. Growing. Loving. Encouraging. And I’m not gonna stop… I’m

/ˈrɛzəˌlut/ Spelled[rez-uh-loot]

  1. firmly resolved or determined; set in purpose or opinion.
  2. characterized by firmness and determination, as the temper, spirit, actions, etc.