Memory Wars

Inspired by my last week of being 29. November 13th is coming soon to a theater near you. As a child my parent’s would ask me, “Where is that movie playing?” I would say, “in theaters everywhere.” Switchfoot songs and especially their last album Fading West has been a source of inspiration. Here’s to the memories we have..good, bad and eternal.

Remembering to often

Waiting for the coffin,

Another nail for the unseen

Hail,

Remembering those words You

Spoke way back when

That red couch was my best friend—

Anger for the stranger, anger before

The manger now I am the manager

Of my own destiny,

Now I am forgetting the nails, the side

Splitting of Your body, a doubting Thomas,

A doubting spill of the dross,

I empty the burnt things,

The new signet rings,

The sealed love of the greatest

Song to sing, one more week before

The twenties end,

One more 30 years to get it right,

To live with waste is as good as

Haste, for I cannot move forward alone—

All or nothing at all is the song I sing,

Slipping away past the memories that

Haunt me, everyone has a fractured father,

A broken mother, a lost brother, a beautiful

Sister—but is heaven really my family,

Are my enemies really actually with me?

All or nothing are these memories,

Remembering feels like a curse,

Tomorrow could be the hearse,

Tonight could be the end—I will

Never know, I will just trust today,

And live with memories that have

Shaped me

Sermon At My Church

I got to preach last month at our Sunday night service. Got to speak on Righteousness. It has been such a blessing being at New Life in Pomona. I love this place! Thank you Cody, Craig and Billy.

How to Help your Kids with Depression

My mom has helped me so much over the years be more than just a default I need your help parent but has been my rock and my friend. Just like the into the light video this is the start of a series of videos tackling depression. My mom talks about what a parent can do. Filmed where it all went down in Laguna Niguel at Salt Creek beach.

Ever Changing Terrain

Down with the roaches

Now I have all these approaches

Lowly on a colt

Lightning in the bolt, I am full of the cult

I sipped it for years—

Are we sick with wondering

Or are we just wandering?

Hopeless romantic,

Feeling pedantic,

The rules have changed

The terrain has shifted

No longer does man choose love or

Choose good or choose anything anymore?

Lovers of self, lovers up on the shelf,

Saving mercy for a rainy day,

A storm to come,

Our love is on numb,

This pain is growing

The gadgets are losing their grip

Its an endless maze of what is next—

Bigger, faster but worse and worse it

Gets—cycles of regret, adulthood is

An ever evolving force–

Its remorse, but really it is not

Its regret but really its apathy

Its pleasure, its endless pleasure

But to what measure? To what end?

To where now can we comprehend?

Its evil all around, its a lie to believe anything else

Its still a choice, I choose heaven, not Hell

Facebook Discussions: Living As Lights

Phil. 2:14- 16 “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.” Here is what I think this verse means. When you are having true community with others and focusing on Christ together not only does not complaining benefit others( also what we call comiserating) BUT now in the place of gratitude with others YOU and WE all now fulfill being lights to a dark and perverse world.

The unceasing accusation( and rightfully so sometimes) from non Christians is that Christians are hypocrites, or that essentially if you guys are supposed to love like Jesus how come I don’t see that when I am around you..you guys just grumble and complain like the rest of us!’

When we follow through with following Christ by honoring authority and doing our jobs with excellence and being faithful to being on time and showing that we care( because of Jesus!) then that in it of itself becomes our greatest witness. So, it is love but love now is reflected in the practical sphere of influence that we have in the “warped and crooked” world. This is an awesome invitation to be like Jesus!

Driven

Pain is essential to growth. To be open and to be honest of the struggles we have. To live a self-effaced life in God. To be in Christ. To be hidden. I am bothered that I sin. I am troubled that I like sin. I am bothered that those around me like it too. I am bothered that I do not believe what I read in the bible. I am troubled by Pastors and leaders who do not preach the Gospel. I am troubled by how fake things seem sometimes. I could care less about being loud or about hype or about anything that has to do with asking for revival or falling down. I believe in all that, but at this juncture in time I need the real thing. I jettison the hard verses that require sacrifice. I skip over the commandments to love others as much as I love myself.

Pain is essential to love. Without pain we would not know how to walk with God. I am convinced that we struggle much more with the verse in Romans 8 that says, ‘nor things to come!’ because the unsure future and the cloud of the unknown scares us more than anything. God is calling us to radical trust. To give away our addicted lusts of this world. I do not feel like powerful is in our vocabulary rather defeat is and shame is and guilt is. God is sitting in a chair next to my bed and waiting for me to wake up and talk with Him. He lets me brush my teeth and press brew on the coffee maker, but even so He is watching when I do that. He walks and talks regardless of how tired I feel or how out of it I feel or even so how much pain is living in me. I too face it like everyone else, but one thing is for sure Jesus faced His life. He faced His fears, His foes, His friends, His family, His betrayers, His enemies and His God.

I am driven to live like I have never lived before. I am more in touch with this pain on the inside for a world to come and for an eternity to behold. Like  that Sky Full Of Stars song I think I see God in the Sky and in the stars and in the night time and in the train track sound that wakes me up every night.

Will I walk with You today? Will I be driven again not out of fear or obligation or religion but because of love will I give myself to You God and surrender 25 years of church to still say, “I don’t know much but what I do know I give to You!” I choose love and that love demands another..it demands sacrifice and it costs everything. This love of Jesus drives us to grow and to reach and to preach truth at all costs, really, no matter the cost. I am bothered by so many things but isn’t that a sign of love and transformation? If we did not care maybe we were never changed to begin with. Now that we change and grow and forsake all that has been unfair. I did not have the best parent we all could say or maybe you say you did not even have a parent. Pain now is essential for  us to face. Pain at its core leads us to do something about the pain we feel. A man of God is the goal and that seems to require this love we talk about to live on the inside so real and so deep that all of life’s struggles and sorrows would never compare to what has been rooted deep on the inside. Driven is the hungry soul for more. Driven is the man that has love inside of Him. Driven we should be but shoulds is the fruit of a shame filled family and we are a family not driven by shame but we are driven rather by love.

Many could ask us as believers, “Why are you here?” I can tell my depression story(which I don’t want to ever elevate above another) and I can say, I am here really because of choices, because of people, because of real friends that have really loved me and have not been afraid to speak the truth to me. I can say that I am here because God has called me before I was born. I can say that my parents spoke life and truth and my mom for sure prayed like crazy and passed me down the eccentric prayer line of probably widowed intercessors that no one really knows much about. I can say that it has been a choice and it has been God’s Sovereign plan. When God wants a messenger He gives an encounter so radical and so transformative that it seems as if that one encounter with the unseen marks them forever. Paul was called and was blinded for three days but in that same passage it says that God called Him and told Him the things He would suffer for God to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. I have not found any safety in God. This walk has been a constant push and a constant reach a constant pressing in. Some would say that religion is all of our effort to get to God. I say that when love grabs a hold of you then Satan really takes notice of you and for the rest of your days you will be hard-pressed to find a day where their is not a war.

Driven is the church in love. Driven is the goal. And without His power and grace we have no drive. We have no gasoline to even drive. Let us get a hold of God’s radical perfect and fierce love for us.

I am Continuance

Always a continuing soul

Always a burning control war

Never a backup plan for this life

With wingspan—dangerous is the

Sold out soul, trouble is the one

Who loses control! I am David too,

A lover of mercy, a lover of thirsty

A bloodshed lover, a late night adulterer,

A righteous slayer of the census,

Senseless you could say, but war lives

And lies within me—I am a fighter too

I am a warrior too! I will lean in again,

Always is Your love on repeat,

Sin for the delete button,

Arrogance has me in,

But poverty is for the storage

Bin—I pull out that weakness

When You need it—is it daily?

Are we all just crazy for love?

Crazy in love?

Better than pop music is the ceiling

To stare at when lights fade and

The noise quiets down—

Forever is Your sacrifice,

Forever now, I don’t think

Twice—nothing ever rhymes

In the river of risk that runs

Through You—I am continuing

Because of You, we are here,

Always Lord, for You, for all

That You do! Make me a David

Too—fearless in mercy for it

Is furious, it is fierce, it does

Now pierce the deepest weaknesses

And the biggest addictions—I am

Educated wrongly, I am rich wrongly,

I am continuance,

An ever safe life has burned

Down now—all is for You,

A holy entity, a burning Holy

Continuing city

Meaning Behind the Prose and other Memorial Thoughts

The last few months has been a very prolific time of writing a lot of my stream of consciousness flow of poetry. This blog has had many aspirations in forms of video, some stories, mostly essays and movie/film reviews but out of about 1900 posts now at least half of those has been poetry. I am a huge fan of myself. And does it get anymore self-centered than that? Yes, it can and yes, it can.

I am a huge fan of myself through the lens of God’s saving grace. It is much more than just a one time thing when we embrace Jesus. Our lives tell the story. As Paul says in 2 Cor. 3-‘you are our Epistle!’ I am the living epistle of Christ and all He has done in me. My brothers and sisters in Christ, so are you. The greatest testimony to the world is our love for each other. When people can see committed healthy friendships and healthy loving marriages..at this point in the world that says a lot about the God we love.

I am a huge fan of the journey. A lot of what you have been reading the last couple of months has been about living on this earth and knowing that you are made for another world but that world is going to stay on the earth in the form of a ‘new earth!’

C.S. Lewis( who gets quoted more than any other person I know) said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” Of course anyone can read this and think that anything on this earth really doesn’t matter so I can do what the gnostics and Greek thinkers did and disregard this creation we live in. NO!

The Apostles desired to be present with the Lord..they had such an intense expectation of heaven, yet it was their focus on eternity that enabled them to “enter the Kingdom with much tribulations!”

The line, ‘the earth is now, the earth is future, the earth is not going anywhere’ just makes sense to me that today matters and so does the future hope of restoration and so does an established truth that the earth is not going to disappear or explode. This is not the season four finale to Lost where Mr. Linus moved the island..literally..it disappears and ends up somewhere else..now we were all really, really lost after that.

I am being a little funny but nonetheless eternity has been in my mind. We have so much emphasis on how to live today and how to pull God’s blessings into our lives right now but is that really it? Is the purpose of life to make a checklist of presents we want for Christmas and one by one God sends someone in the form of a man to deliver them to us? Is the incarnation just about gifts?

I am actually insulted by the false cookie cutter euphemisms that we champion as “the Gospel” that really just sound like a five year old getting told that Christmas morning is coming really soon and you better be good or else Santa might skip you this year. Yet, the heart behind the gift giving has more to do with how I behave in order to “receive” something. Yes, ‘we have received every blessing in Christ Jesus’ and Ephesians is an incredible book on who we are in Christ, but I think we mistake God’s blessings with earthly provision. Yes, God does provide for us so in that sense we are always to be grateful. Jesus commanded us ‘do not worry about your life’ and also says, ‘is not life more than..’physical’ things. But as followers of Christ it seems much more sound to say that before the gifts came to us the ultimate gift of Christ atoning for our sins was to be given to the world. What then was the point of Abraham almost killing his Son out of his unrelenting obedience to God? We see that God was testing his faith but God was also getting humanity ready for Christmas. God was getting the world ready for the ultimate gift in the closest form possible. Jesus as a man. Jesus as fully man and fully God. Hear gratitude in these poems and in these posts. I don’t want to relish in how much life can suck but you do have to embrace that. I want to relish in this unwavering faith in God’s goodness no matter the newscast, no matter the Drudge Report.

If you have heard the idea in the last couple of months that life is not always what we think it should be, then you are hearing correctly. I transpose the past into a lot of things so sometimes it doesn’t make sense. Here’s what I mean: “Ink from coldplay plays on repeat—” Yes, this song is so good right now and I don’t know why but I just listen to it and probably in writing but the next line is a childhood image on middle school and high school relationships: “All those past lovers, past flings, past heart strings plucked and thrown in the gutter, was it better?Was it worse? Or did I never know true love first?”

I think I want to change the world and I don’t really believe it sometimes. The other main idea here is love. Skyscraper love was from thinking about tall buildings and how the one time I went to Times Sqaure it seemed so insane how high up those buildings could go but the clouds, the darkness and the things in the air could blur the Skyscraper and the skyline. I wrote: “a city life is scary, A club drug is passed down to me, who drank this before? Come out of her it says, out for good, a shout for short, a proclamation for long!” The idea that we have built altars around sin and death and have called it ‘just having fun’ is sickening to God but heartbreaking more than anything. Our role as followers of Christ is not to point out people’s addictions( when we have our own too) but to do Ephesians 5( a passage I’ve been in for a couple of months). We walk as children of light and in this walk we expose the darkness by the way that we walk.

Memorial Day is more than just honoring the troops. It should also be a reminder of man’s identity crisis. When man does not know who he is, he is prone to violence. I don’t say this to make a trite statement against the military. It is not a small thing. I just made a presentation last week on PTSD and the treatment options in them. In the research I watched videos on these therapy sessions with those who fought over seas. It was very eye opening and something I can’t connect to. But I also want to cut through the sentiment sometimes and turn the camera on the person doing the filming. I love war movies and I hate them at the same time. I realize that my ethical compass gets broken when I see what I am seeing. Even films that add humor to mask the rather death like tendencies of war still work it for you and make you question your birthplace. I don’t understand war but I do make a RUCKUS about the Gospel. Their is something far scarier than war coming onto the planet. A great shift. The line in poems for me is “the great rearrange/ a rearrange.” Jesus returning to the earth will start the greatest war the world has ever known and it will be more severe then anything we have ever seen. Can we face this warrior Jesus and embrace his perfections and trust in His leadership?

I.S.I.S. is not our enemy. Islam is not the enemy. Though the expression in the extremists is gnarly and has yet to really interrupt our comfortable lives the forces of evil will make I.S.I.S. look like a high school shooting rather then World War 3. We love violence. We love Mass Effect and Call to Duty and Grand Theft Auto and everything and anything that has to do with blowing heads off people. For men its a disgusting perversion of how we are meant to fight and meant to war but for love. We are God’s warriors not just warriors. I don’t give a crap about trying to be tough and study how cool weapons are and how fun hunting can be( I am not slamming that) but their is a difference between thinking just being a man is being tough, violent and that you know about guns and engines. False love and false war is in us and upon us. The war against porn is in tandem to the war on false war. Why else would Jesus put anger and lust right next to each other in His Sermon on the Mount. Memorial day is about honoring those who have suffered but anything that is suffering apart from Christ just in turn is the creation worshiping itself. You will die in your sorrow without Jesus. I remember mercy and love but I do not support false masculinity. I honor and respect what the troops have done but I realize a more home front battle is being fought and it is over what the man is. A man is to be conformed to Christ and to be like Him in every way and which of our lives.

Let us remember our warrior King, King Jesus.

Still Standing

Sometimes all you need to believe are those two words: still standing. Added to his warfare adage from Paul’s Ephesians letter: don’t quit. I realize that I am weak and broken all the time. I don’t realize it all the time, rather it is a fact that I am in that state. So many of us want happiness but Jesus calls us to a happy life, one that is full of death to self and a big YES to him.

“Blessed(happy) are the poor in Spirit!”

Poverty of Spirit actually protects us from anxiety( my good friend Zack said that)

Selah.

Carpet Lover

Spending Freeze

Now at ease

Balmy breeze

King trouble

Queen peace

Those years back

Same sun

Same Son

Same mind

Same family

Do it to me—truth or dare?

Truth or tragedy? Curled up in

The corner—

Carpet lover

Blood stained future

IPOD on repeat,

I press delete until

Next chapel, until next

Chastisement, until next

Call to give all the ointment,

I saved some for Friday night

When it could be the one to rooftop

It with, to sit on the skyline with—

Carpet lover,

Burrito cover,

Ponchos at 3am, rolled tacos,

Rolled up these fears, now I am

Diving in with everything!

Attached was a detached phase

Down by the roaches

But now I can approach this throne so scary

Because of mercy!

Attached was a detached fantasy

To close on those holidays

Cold in the bold city

Of dreams—

Paced in the Orange for

Something to keep me warm—

Now silence is the norm

Cold bricks of criticism

At the flame

Memory like double edged sword

Have I wielded it yet?

Cutting through the darkness

Of the carpet,

Cockroach does approach You now,

I am dirty looking for gravity,

I am not clean looking for water to wash me-

Burn my bridges down, carpet town, I ride it like

Magic, I am the Prince You call to stay raised,

I am praised on the carpet, for You, with You,

Skyline is time to be done, peel back and reveal

This carpet we have rolled out for You,

Red , royal and ready for You to come!