20/20 hindsight

“‘On your deathbed you will receive total enlightenment.’  So I got that going for me, which is nice.”

I was golfing the other day with my brother and my wife’s cousin’s husband (cousin in law?). Unrelated to what I’m about to share but fairly pertinent to those who wonder, I’m terrible at golf. I don’t make enough money to be good at golf.   So I golf once a year and since I set my expectations accordingly, I’m still able to have fun. I enjoy hanging out. My brother makes me laugh a lot and my wife’s cousin in law is a good guy too and fun to spend a day with.

Over the course (get it?) of our time together we touched on a variety of topics, one of them being God. I have a pretty significant God involved in golf story that I like to share as appropriate. Well this time it led us into a pretty robust and friendly conversation about the almighty. Read more »

apologetics, Evangelism, Uncategorized , , , , ,

Killing Christmas – a Christmas movie review

He makes it look so adventurous and fun – where is truth in advertising?!!

You tried to warn me, internet, but I just wouldn’t listen. We were having a family Christmas night and thought it might be nice to rent a movie. Against the overwhelming advice to the contrary we went out and rented Saving Christmas.

Now I know that Christian films can be…how can I put this delicately…lame. But I figured Kirk Cameron is a professional entertainer. He has been in several productions and knows how to tell a story. Besides my expectations were so low – I figured we’d at least be able to enjoy this a little bit. Right? Am I right? No. I was wrong.

So so wrong. Read more »

Christmas, Movies , , ,

Famous Last Words

“Make Disciples of All Nations” – Jesus

These are some of Jesus’ last words on earth. Make disciples. As a member of a missionary organization like Cru, I think I have often interpreted Matthew 28:18-20 as “Do evangelism in every place.” Now this would be similar to Jesus’s final last words found in Acts 1:8 “And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and all the ends of the earth.” This one might well be interpreted and you will “do evangelism” in all nations…

Of course making disciples is way more complex than making converts, but I think the idea I’m trying to express here is that we often create a false dichotomy between evangelism and discipleship when Matthew 28 links them together.

Over the years, I’ve often heard students express something to the effect of, “I’m not called on staff or stint with Cru. I see myself in more of a discipleship ministry.”

I remember a terrible movie that came out when I was younger – I believe it was called CHUD (which stood for cannibalistic humanoids underground dwellers). And I remember thinking, “well that society won’t last long!” Not sure how you can build a long lasting society based on “eat thy neighbor.” Read more »

Evangelism, missions , ,

Making Lemonade out of… Lemonade

This is a story that goes back to my days working at Disneyland.  I was in outdoor vending which means that I sold popcorn, ice cream and balloons on most days and during the hot summer months our department added one little cart near Small World that sold lemonade.  The lemonade was sold in small cartons and kept in a large cooler next to an ice cream wagon that looked like a train.  On hot days, lemonade sold fast.  My only celebrity encounter was while selling lemonade there – when I saw Gavin McLeod who played Colonel Blake on the TV show, Mash.  I loved that show.

It was July 4th.  75,000 people were in the park that day and it was over 100º out there.  I had one job that day – to make sure the lemonade wagon was stocked and the lemonade worker had some breaks. Read more »

Contentment, devotional thoughts, rest ,

Against the Grain

I’ll be teaching at LifeSong Community Church in a few weeks.  I love teaching and I love it when they assign me passages to teach from.  It sharpens me and causes me to dig deeper into the word if for no other reason than not to embarrass myself.  So they are going through the New Testament book of Titus.  They gave me a few verses in chapter two.  And I’ve been reading it often.  Here’s the passage:   Read more »

Christian Living, devotional thoughts ,

What am I doing Here?

Every time I get up to speak at church or at a retreat I think of the irony.  Who would have ever imagined the guy I used to be standing up here and teaching the Bible for crying out loud! And the thought has often come to me, “what am I doing here?!”  You think it’s odd for me?  Think about Isaiah!

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings; with two he covered his face and with two he covered his feet and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

Holy Holy Holy is the LORD of hosts!

The whole earth is filled with his glory

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called and the house was filled with smoke.”  Isaiah 6:1-4

I’ve read this passage a bunch of times but today I wanted to stop and think about Isaiah’s point of view. Can you imagine being this guy? This is a horrifying scene! There are these six winged angelic beings calling out to one another in some language and somehow, Isaiah was able to interpret it. What did that sound like? In my mind it sounds loud and foreign and mysterious and glorious and the result is that the whole foundation of the thresholds were shaking (violently) and the whole place was filled with smoke.

Isaiah responded in a way that made total sense. “What am I doing here? I’m a dead man! Woe is me! This is it. I don’t belong here because I’m a sinner and all my friends are sinners. What AM I DOING HERE?!” Read more »


The Dropbox Movie – my review

A couple of years ago I was speaking at the Cru meeting at USC. I was speaking out of 1 Kings on the life of Elijah and talking about living life in exile – how to be a believer in a culture going the opposite direction. It was a good message but I wasn’t super confident about my ending and final conclusions/application points. When I sat down, a student came up to share with the room.

His name was Brian Ivie. He had seen a newspaper article about a man in Korea who had built a mailbox in his home for abandon babies. As Brian told us the story it was clear he was moved by this man’s life and he told us of his decision to make a film about it. He told us about his kickstarter campaign to raise the $ necessary to produce this movie.

On Thursday, I went to watch the Dropbox Movie in the theater. Read more »

Adoption, Movies , , , , , , , ,

Why I do What I do

Natalie and JennaSometimes a picture is all that’s necessary.  I saw this one on my facebook feed.  Here are two friends – one from UCLA and one from UCSD.  I remember sitting down with each of them to talk about what it would be like to take a year and go on stint.

What is stint?  Recent graduates (and some undergraduates) taking a year to reach students in locations around the world.  It’s a great opportunity – learn some language, learn some culture, learn to love your team, learn dependence upon the Lord and share the greatest message ever with students.

When I grabbed coffee with these two, I had no idea that it would lead to a colorful chalk fight in South Asia, but I”m not surprised.  Stint is an adventure.  I had no idea what kind of ministry success they might have, but I was privileged to be there and celebrate a spiritual conversation one of them had with a student who trusted Jesus.  I had no idea what the Lord would do in them, but I know the Lord has been working powerfully in each of their lives during the course of the stint year.

I love what I get to be a part of.  Thanks for participating with me.

missions , ,

Desiring the Most Desirable

Re-Reading some of my own writing this morning and I came across this post from several years ago.

There is a certain kind of book that I enjoy reading devotionally.  Like Forest Gump often said, “I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.”  I enjoy chatting about theology, but I don’t like reading about it.  I enjoy the implications found in philosophy, and the intellectual pursuit of that, but reading it takes work and it is not refreshing.  What works for me in terms of devotional reading, aside from the Bible itself, are books that point me to the majesty of Christ and the joy of knowing him. Read more »

devotional thoughts, eternal perspective ,

Remember and Cling

You will cling to the LORD your God…Joshua 23:8

The key moment in my favorite Christmas movie is when George comes to the realization that he has had a wonderful life.  Even with a busted lip, a broken car and a warrant for his arrest, Clarence had done a great job in helping him realize how great his life really is.

In Joshua 23, God is doing the same thing to Joshua, reminding him of all the blessings from Egypt until now.  “I made a promise, Joshua, I am fulfilling that promise.  I have gone before you and helped you to wipe out enemy after enemy” (Joshua had a military record of 31 wins and one loss.  31-1!) Read more »

Christian Living, Contentment, Uncategorized