Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Free Fallin' [a John Mayer cover]

This is amazing!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008


"You have an obligation to strive for excellence. You don't have to be perfect; you just have to do the best you can with what you've got..."
- Nelson Searcy

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Top 5

Lately I have been in conversations about movies, tv shows, bands, songs and such. So, I thought it would be cool to do a "Top 5" post. I would also like to know what everyone else's Top 5's are so if you feel like it then post yours on your blog as well. Well here we go...

Favorite Bands:
1] Coldplay
2] Dashboard Confessional
3] The Fray
4] John Mayer
5] Jimmy Eat World

Favorite Songs from those bands:
1] The Scientist by Coldplay
2] Swiss Army Romance by Dashboard Confessional
3] How to Save a Life by The Fray
4] Why Georgia by John Mayer
5] Sweetnes by Jimmy Eat World

Favorite Movies:
1] Gladiator
2] Braveheart
3] The Patriot
4] 300
5] Elf

Favorite Trilogies:
1] Star Wars [the original 3 - episodes IV,V,VI]
2] Back to the Future
3] Beverly Hills Cop
4] Indiana Jones [the original 3]
5] Rambo [the original 3]

Favorite recent/current TV shows:
2] 24
3] The Office
4] Seinfeld [technically this is classic but I put it here to b/c it fit!]
5] Anything on the History Channel

Favorite classic TV shows:

1] Macgyver
2] Quantum Leap
3] Cheers
4] Save by the Bell
5] Leave it to Beaver

Favorite Resturants:
1] Native New Yorker
2] PF Changs
3] BJ's Brewery
4] Tum Nuk Thai
5] Sullivan's Pier

Favorite Fast Food:
1] Chick Fil-A
2] Filaberto's [yeah that's right and it's not cat meat!]
3] Wendy's
4] Jason's Deli
5] Pirate's Fish and Chips [thanks Mitch!]

Favorite Places I've been in the World:
1] Switzerland
2] London
3] Kenya
4] Rome
5] Australia

Favorite NON-Fiction Books [other than Bible]:
1] Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell
2] Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
3] Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
4] Lone Survivor by Marcus Lutrell
5] Sex God by Rob Bell

Favorite Fiction Books:
1] The Grail Quest Trilogy by Bernard Cornwell
2] Byzantium by Stephen Lawhead
3] The Shack by William P. Young
4] The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell
5] The Iron Lance by Stephen Lawhead

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Discipline - Do You Not Know?

Since reading Lone Survivor, I cannot stop thinking about and wrestling with the concept of discipline. I don't know about you, but the "D" word kind of scares me. Somehow I believe Jesus intended his followers to be a whole lot more disciplined than we realize. I hear much more talk about being blessed by God today than I do about being stretched by God. I mean, think about it for a moment. In today's consumeristic society do we [the Church] focus too much on what we receive as Christians? We want so much to be the recipients of God's love and grace and forgiveness. We want Him to bless our lives and make us prosper. Don't get me wrong. All these things are gracious gifts that God freely gives to us. But what is our response to these amazing gifts? A simple 'thank you very much'? Or is there a responsibility to respond in obedience and commitment? Well duh! We all know the answer to that is a resounding "YES!" Why is it so hard though?

Growing up, sports were my life. I am so thankful that my parents kept me active as a child and taught me the simple disciplines that would later make me successful in life. I did everything as little kid. I remember wrestling at the age of 4 and up. I remember playing competitive golf when I was so young that our tournaments were only 3 holes long! I participated in BMX racing. I was on the Plantation Swim Team (still have my iddy biddy speedo :-). I played soccer, little league baseball, YMCA basketball, and of course Pop Warner football when I was finally old enough! Football was my favorite. I remember as a kid I had it all planned out. I still remember sitting in Skipper's, my favorite seafood restaurant in Boise, Idaho and laying out my future plans to my parents. "I'm going to USC to play for the Trojans and then get drafted to the Buffalo Bills." That was the plan and it was going to take a lot of hard work, dedication, and a lifetime of discipline.

I did continue to play sports in junior high and high school, choosing to focus on football and track. One thing God gifted me with is speed. I didn't really have the size for football (5'9" and a buck thirty), but I had speed. I had the fastest forty yard dash time on the Mountain View football team, my personal best time being 4.43 seconds. Again, if I really wanted to see my NFL dream come true, I would have to be more disciplined than I could possible imagine. If there was a place for discipline, it was at Mountain View High School.

Mountain View had a huge reputation for their sports program. They were the best at everything. It wasn't quite as hardcore as Navy SEAL training, but it sure was close - at least to a 16 year old. I remember getting up at 5:30 and hitting the track and running till some guys would puke their dinners up from the night before. I remember being in the weight room every day, pushing our bodies to the limit. Day after day. It was rough and there were times when I wanted to quit, but I stuck with it. While I was at Mountain View we went 40-1, winning two State Championships. The one loss came in triple overtime of the Semi-finals my senior year. Discipline? I will tell you those few years of my life were the most discipline years I have ever experienced.

God got a hold of me my junior year of high school and convinced me that the NFL wasn't truly my life's dream. Honestly, I never would have made it to the NFL anyway, but you can't fault me and every other young guy for wanting that! Nevertheless, on the spring break mission trip to Mexico building houses, God revealed to me that our world is full of broken and hurting people. He needed some more workers and asked me if I might consider joining His team to bring His Kingdom here on earth. That is when I heard the call. I responded. "Lord, take my life. It's is Yours."

The rest is history.

Sorry for the long explanation, but now that I am a pastor I am sitting here wondering where the discipline went? If there was some sort of spiritual football or Navy SEAL training, would I have what it takes to make it through? Honestly, I think a lot of times my approach to the Christian life is that I have accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior and now it's just time to enjoy life and coast on cruise control. This is not how the Apostle Paul saw the Christian life.

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."

This speaks to me. I know what it is to run a race. I know what it means to compete in a game. Do I view my life as a disciple this way? Paul did. William Barclay writes,

"Paul was always fascinated by the picture of the athlete. An athlete must train with intensity if he is to win his contest; and Corinth knew how thrilling contests could be, for at Corinth the Isthmian games, second only to the Olympic games, were held. Furthermore, the athlete undergoes this self-discipline and this training to win a crown of laurel leaves that within days will be a withered chaplet. How much more should the Christian discipline himself to win the crown which is eternal life."

I want to wrap this up and I apologize for this going on, but this is where I am at. I can't get this word discipline out of my mind. Part of me hates it because I know it means pain. But we all know the saying, "no pain no gain." Thus, please help me as I seek to live a more disciplined life. Let's help each other as we spur one another on towards living godly lives. Here are five things in my life that I am choosing to be more disciplined in. Pray for me and keep me accountable to the 'strict training' that is being a disciple of Jesus. Thank you in advance!

Five areas I am disciplining myself in:

1) My relationship with God - uninterrupted quality prayer, daily time in the Word, listening to Him speak and guide me

2) My ministry and relationships - taking the time to give myself to people (family, friends, the broken and the hurting)

3) Education - reading and listening to podcasts to learn more and sharpen myself
(I made a goal this year to read 25 far I have read 15)

4) Honing my musical skills - taking voice lessons and working on improving my guitar skills

5) Physical fitness - running 3-5 times per week, working out, and eating healthy

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