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!

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!

Today’s Reality, Show Me Mercy

Lovesick is the latch that is to attach

To the pain I feel, bus ride in the heat,

Humility over humidity, windy city with a

Never ending skyline, Gospel lover send it

Over, will I die as this Beloved Messenger?

Sex sells all over this God forsaken computer in

Front of me—pleasure is man’s measure to obtain

But wrath stays stored up, I now stay poored up in

The pouring rain, wasting my life in empty rooms

Praying to unseen forces, crying over the tragedy

I call sin’s sickness—this is the condemnation—

I love what I condemn, I love the darkness too,

It is not just them over there—I have wasted away

Too much money on sugar and that Eagle Eyed Cherry

Night, fighting the dawn with you, up late with the English

Patient but I knew it was the desert I had to walk in—like

Salt in the mouth it never seems to end, what now is

Religion anyway? Cause I am a pleasure renegade,

Cause I had those nights too will it seemed good to

Try to slip away, to try to hide away from the conscious

Fainted in the sin but the desire stays the same—love

Will have to proclaim me, but what does God feel?

Test today, failed it last year, one last time to get it

Right but still His face follows the trace of my outline

And an outline I feel, powerless after midnight to get

Anything right, I too am a failure and a fracture of a man

Free fallin plays on repeat for I love those old songs before

Pop music destroyed everything!

Superficial talks are no longer good enough,

Condoms are a bust even when they do not

Bust..yes, kids, as long as its safe? Really,

Hmmmmmmm..I can’t just sit around like

I am stupid because I am not but dumb is

Not in the bible but foolish is—this body bends

All kinds of ways but it will bow before Holy and

True, it will die with desire covered all around,

An imputed sound of a new sheriff in town—

King Jesus here to stay—I am not ready and I will

Not talk to kids like they don’t know what is going on—

Sure I shutter to say the word sex and naked and intercourse

And porn and scorn and shame and human trafficked little girls

And prostitutes that come to my church and tweakers in the

Skyline I call comfortable sunset time—meth addicts with no

Teeth to handle some real pleasure, some real love, some

Real mercy! We are all broken but how poor, how desperate

Are we for God, how much are we willing to give—I don’t

Know but I am pretty sure it is no less then everything

Lesser

No end to You

Find Your beginning

Find the power cord

Wield that sword

Mystery me seeks You

On my side I slept last

Night, waiting for you

To walk in-

Drive thru Encounter

Pills over the counter

Drop them, emptied them out,

Flushed them down the toilet

Along with regret and one piece

Swimsuit collections,

Magazines from the 50’s

Spinning in repeat—it was never

That bad then, it should have

Never been, James Dean love,

A rebel with a cause, a love

With a because, crossover like

Red rover, send Him the sinners

Celebrate those last dinners—

I am lame and maimed by pride

By the man that never lied,

Never stole any sort of control—

Now the last are first

Now I am a dirt lover,

A foot washer could never

Be me—a road trip affair

Over the mountain over

There—down the toilet

Goes these addictions

For these eyes have a

New set of convictions,

New sets of things to

Stir in and through us—

Holy is the Spirit we ask

For—let it devour anything

Called lesser pleasure

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!

Tell Me Something

Tell me something Something of summer

Something to remember

Backseat dreamer never

Ready for the future

Over those bangs came Those fangs, truth dug Into me,

but no one to share it with Eraser is a refusal

Memory at my disposal Blood smeared over

the backseat When those days were violent

We say the Replacements We tickled and

tempted anger, in the backseat

We were just kids, we were just fourteen

We were just to little to know anything else—

‘innocence from Shasta—innocence died

slowly, Grocery store lover,

How am I able to always go back this far

Do I have a scar called gratitude?

I do, On these wrists made to write

On this brain made to write

Made right by pain, Forged in suffering

Sharpened by despair Ready for repair,

Ready for the train tracks to pass

So I can put fear on it, so I can put

Death on it, so Your love can crush

Anything that stands in the way

Gospel preacher Mom, this is it!

This is my calling! To speak,

to declare To not live in fear, by fear!

February sin March Resurrection

April insurrection

The ingrate at the gate

May was haze, a fog, now I love smog,

now I wag the dog And look up what it means?

Polity for the frailty—who can govern This sadness?

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?

L.A. Love

Slipstream in the middle of

The team huddle, in the middle

Of the football field, trying to

Yield to peace, but I want to win!

Cannot sneeze without Your blessing—

Those basement days of the star wars

Maze, Beastie Boys pounding as

I was hiding, mom never wanted

Dark to come in, I was the story lover,

The fledgling writer since birth,

Pink sheet said why are you unique

I said because there is only one of me—

In Christ all is found including yourself,

Not just your job—free falling playing

In the background, L.A. has some sunspots

On me, its city sinks into me—mission field

Love to yield, now truth to wield—

Someone to love goes the sound on

The Santa Monica Pier, is this the

Voice to hear? Lankershim with some

Roller skates, no more Chinatown

For Gittes and his spilt nose,

No more water hose for the

Grass is gonna dry up soon!

What is this city?

Where there is to much pretty

Where there is to much sun to

Steal, to much to keep real—

Love me in L.A. with some

Citified pride—lights in the night sky

Lights to guide me, one last time