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

Into the Light: behind the scenes of Courageous Minds

This is a making of video for a project with Tri City mental health services here in Pomona where I live. Mostly shows my family and how they have been a huge part in the journey of battling depression. I am so blessed and grateful to them and so many other close friends. To God be the glory!

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.

Real Community

The last month almost I have been putting out some long Facebook statuses on theological thoughts trying to get some conversations started..

Here is a recent one:

Knowing God as provider is not just material needs( food, shelter, money) and not just a job/career but God as provider also means relationships. God will/has/is the provider of friends(real friends, not just facebook peeps). If God is Father and we are one big family then He knows how important real friendship is. Disappointment from people in our lives leads us to then be disappointed in God because we say, “I thought you were a good Father, why don’t I have any friends?” Learn that God provides and also ask to understand what real community is.

Many a times we just seek to have “fun” with other Christians, but fun is not in the bible. You could call real FUN: Fellowship, Unity and Newness of life. Rather, the word points to the Fruit of the Spirit expressed in each other, building each other up and in our likeness of pursuing Christ we then enter into a joy that is much higher than just eating food and laughing together. Laughter is not always rooted in Joy and contact with others still can make one feel lonely “in the crowd.”
I have never left a hang out time with people that has not had any edification in it feeling great about life, rather it can fuel anxiety and depression. We can easily default to just talking about our past carnal life or making jokes about comic books and Dumb and Dumber( I do it all the time!) but really, really what is the point of those conversations and how deceiving is it to then call that fellowship? One problem is the ‘freely receive, freely give’ principle. We default to talking about nothingness because we don’t really have anything else to talk about, so then what does that say about our walk with God if we can’t talk about Him for five minutes with people we see all the time?

Thoughts?

Lies in the cracks

I am new to daily life,

I am new to mundane

An expert at insane,

Sugar addiction,

Love friction,

Lack of fruit for this

Cup I feel is never to

Full–

Lies in the cracks,

Lies in the backs that walk

This earth–

Oh God, I have no answers for the futures that

Await me–

Just kids play in the background–

I am weak in every way of the word,

I am on that couch again where you

Sit with me,

A couch family was rarely felt,

Its strips of rips of cloths of colors

Blurred blue now,

Embarased–for I can’t even spell it right,

Never did I like that house we lived in,

It was always shaking,

It was always faking its appearance upon

Me, mountain view behind us,

But heavy rocks upon us—

Where is wrath now?

Upon the world or in

The home? Safety was never

Found, church affairs, no one

Sees your family life, the way you

Use the knife with words to send

Your kids out the door, to tell your

Wife no more saying no to me,

I am the man, submit to me..

Hummmm…ahmmmm..

Really?

Steady

Just for fun here’s some meaning in this:

The song rollercoaster by the Bleachers..’come a little closer!’ Fruity Camper award at summer camp when I was 9 or ten years old so about 20 years ago. The fruit part was not a gay reference it was that I had a lot of Joy! It is sad now that certain upbeat emotions in a man get translated as the femininity that comes with being gay, instead of the idea that a man can be tender and cry and have a “feminine” side that is healthy in being a man. The idea of both genders misunderstanding these things has created division among the sexes. The Pizza parlor reference is about winter 2012 taking a Psychology class at Longview College and hanging out after class.

You’re a roller

You’re on the coast,

I am pushing the peddles

I am pushing the whittles of

Child with five skittles,

Fruity me,

Fruity camper,

Oh how gay,

Oh now its Paraguay,

I can’t grow without you,

I don’t want to stretch without

You next to me–come a little closer,

Is love a choice without a risk,

Without a sacrifice–

I don’t say no anymore–

This head was made for thinking

But this life made for living–

You used to go to church,

Now you are still on the search

Pizza parlor in the winter, 36 hours

Later was the coldness of December–

Closer is a myth when their lives on regret-

To make a dent, to pay the rent, to keep the

Rubber on the road with love about to explode–

Your love is the heat, I am cold, I am up, I am

Down,

Steady aim, steady heart!

Is it over yet?

Is it over yet?

It’s a tepid stream

It’s a river’s dream

It’s a fiery stream

Absurd it sounds this grace

That abounds—I am dark in the night,

Hidden under the covers,

A heated lover,

A heated freedom fighter—

It’s a free fall in this city of

Angels, this love works all the angles—

Worthy is this life I live!

For Your gifts are still being unwrapped—

I have the mind that you died with,

That had thorns in it, I am regret on

Repeat cause I still feel the heat,

It burns and keeps me up at night—

Snowflake cities they were once apart

Of my memories—presence with the presents

On Christmas morning—dad had his coffee,

Its maker on repeat, its smell like a hollow shell

Of a shaped day, his munchies, his endless fights

With death—television was at the center,

Kids are actors, no, really we were!

Center stage we took,

Couldn’t read a book,

Put it all on looks—had those bright eyes

In the night sky, had those crushes to the

Sky—a hesitant soul lived in the hollow shell

Of yesterday’s dreams—what is regret?

What is the pain it brings? Is it just a memory,

Those things you could have done?

Is it over yet?

This life you have given—

To live it the weapon to wield,

To feel the dirt, to live in the light—

To embrace pain cause it will come—

To not live numb, to face being dumb-

To be smart, to be on the edge, to be

Sharp, but to love with all your heart

It is not over yet, there is still time for

No regret