On the eve of my best friends engagement we were having a conversation about relationships, marriage and women, all things, which as men seem to be over our heads. Although tonight was different we dove into trying to use our combined master degrees to come up with some profound insight. To no avail, there was nothing mind blowing that would give us the upper hand, we couldn’t be further from the truth. We found ourselves coming back to this paradox of laying ourselves down yet still being confident in whom we are as men. I asked him how in the world do we lay ourselves down for her and yet not get walked on? He responded, “I don’t know, that is the mystery.”

Welcome to the tension that I live in, questions with no answers and a life, which is full of paradoxes with only living to be had. Knowing that the answers may vary. You get responses like, “Depends on the person,” or “Depends on the context,” or “Man, I don’t know I just know I am called to love my wife and to give myself up for her.”

My question is then who wins?

Wrong question.

It is not who wins and does not win, it is, are you putting that other person first? If you are putting her first and she is putting you first then you will meet in the middle. Unfortunately, this is in hypothesis form only. I wish I could say that this is “tried and tested,” the formula to turn America’s divorce rate around. But until the moment comes to have my ideas put into action then they are for now, a hypothesis.

In reflection on 2 Corinthians the passage, which stood out the most, was chapter twelve. The reasoning for this is because more than a lot of other Pauline writings we find Paul writing from a place of authenticity. A place in which he is ashamed of and longs for God to take this thorn out of his side. Here in lies the greatness of this piece of text. In verse nine we read Jesus say to Paul that his grace is sufficient for him, and that Jesus power is made perfect in his weakness. Paul goes on to finish this passage by saying, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” It is almost as if Paul is saying, “Brown is the new black.” This is a phrase that says this is the new way of doing things. These are the new trends in fashion. Paul is saying, “Weak is the new strong.”

For when one finds his or herself weak they are strong. Because when we surrender our expectations or our inhibitions we can find that we are weak and in need of help from our Creator. Often in our culture and our approach to mission we try everything our way first. Then after failure happens we then turn to God for help. This is backwards if we look at what Paul has told us to do. In our weakness we need to turn to Jesus first from that point of weakness there comes strength. This is such a revolutionary way of thinking and doing things. If we were to first surrender our desires for what our King desires then we are admitting to our weakness and are in need of strength. We cannot do this on our own.
This also applies to our own struggles when we are in ministry or on the mission field. We all have personal thorns things in which we feel that we are not worthy of doing ministry, yet there is grace. There is something in which Jesus does when he takes us at our point of weakness. A place when we feel that we are not worthy of advancing the kingdom and we find Jesus saying to us, “My grace is sufficient.” If this passage is not a “sigh of relief” for us as Christians then I do not know what relief may look like? Jesus offers us something that we are clearly not worthy of but because of our weakness he is able to shine through.

We are incredibly blessed to have this opportunity for our weaknesses to now become strengths. We no longer have to live in fear that God will not use us because of our downfalls. When we live under a way of living that weak is the new strong we can experience freedom at its fullest form. Paul follows up in saying that we should not be afraid of our weakness more over we should be glad because we know that God will shine through the darkness and the light will be seen for all.

Spiritual disciplines and spiritual practices have become quite familiar in my vocabulary since coming to Fuller Seminary. In the book Streams of Living Water by Richard J. Foster he elaborates on six essential practices for Christians to experience a fuller life with Jesus Christ. However, they are not items in which are rooted in a fluffy idea or a new concept to market to the uber-spirtual. They are traditions, which are founded in Christ then observed and compared to others throughout history. Foster also holds these traditions with biblical truths. His integration of the Trinity is a breath of fresh air and is encouraging to find a book, which is grounded in history, the bible, and the work of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
In the first chapter Foster is setting up the format of where the book is going. He forms a clear outline for the remaining chapters of the book. Communicating a brief synopsis of what to expect. His writing style is easy and smooth incorporating scholarly points as well as careful reflection of what the Spirit is doing in these practices.
The second chapter launches into the body of the book by talking about the contemplative life. Which is a life that is bathed in prayer. At the beginning of the chapter he shows the history of the more important individuals who have helped shaped our understanding and growth in prayer. This level of intimacy with God is shown by the intimacy that was experienced by Jesus disciple John. The careful dissection of John’s life with Jesus is an excellent model of how John’s life was transformed by living in such close relation with Jesus. The contemplative tradition is nothing with out love. This has been a great reminder that if we are not in love with God then how are we going to ever be able to talk to him? It is so apparent that our baggage gets in the way of our relationship with Jesus and that we often are sidetracked by our lives and discouragements pulling us out of prayer with God therefore leaving us feeling as if we are not close to him at all. The contemplative tradition is vital for the Christian life to flourish.
Holiness is something that is often overlooked in our culture today. In the third chapter Foster talks about how important a Holy life style is crucial for our Christian faith. He gives great examples on the holy lifestyle is not about perfection but about being transformed into wholeness with Christ. Holiness is about the transformation of the heart not the perfection of ones life in their works. Holiness has been misconstrued in our culture. Instead of embracing the lifestyle and practice it seems that we have moved to the other side giving more grace but not pushing others to get back on track with their walk with the Lord. Foster stresses throughout the chapter Holiness is not about perfection and tries to embrace our imperfection but striving for something more than what we could ever imagine for our lives.


I am sitting in Shockoe Espresso in Richmond, VA on VACATION!!! Why Richmond you ask? Why not? My buddy Dan and his wife Kate live down here now because Dan is attending VCU's AdCenter, a graphic design institution. Tonight we are going on a Photo Safari.

What is a photo safari? Stay tuned over the next couple of days and you will have a better understanding. I will be posting pictures on my flickr account of the photo safari. However, the definition of a photo safari is when you walk around a certain location shooting pictures as an art form. I am a beginner at this stuff so hang tight if the pictures are not that great.

We are going to start doing a podcast every week for our youth ministry. I am so excited about this, you have NO idea. The purpose behind it is to remove our announcements on Sunday mornings and to also engage with culture and the things that maybe our students would like to know about. So we'll see how it turns out. Click on the title of the blog to download it. We will be putting it on iTunes as well so be on the look out.

the future

I am currently wrestling with my next step. What will it look like, will it be better than where I am currently? Will I be given more opportunities or will be merely looked at as the youth guy? Will I be given more responsibility and seen as an adult or will they continue to treat me as just the youth guy? Who only knows “on how to work with the students and does not have any relevance or validity to teach us as the adult congregation.”

My problem is not with ‘the church’ but with my current situation. I am interested in working for a church that embraces youth, not just teenagers but twentysomethings as well. The sooner that these older churches begin to embrace the youth of this nation the sooner the church will begin to see growth. True growth is not going to come from older people or boomers however; it will come from the youth of today. The teenagers, twenty to thirtysomethings are the future of the church. We need to see them as that. We need to understand that the boomers are already in the church and if there is growth of boomers in your church it is not real growth (new Christians or non-Christians) it is lateral growth. That lateral growth is comprised of people who are looking for the next big thing, the latest Christian fad, this is not true growth in a church but it is a mirage of something that is actually happening. Empower us let us take steps on our own, let us make mistakes so that we can learn and grow. Because church is not supposed to be perfect the only thing that is perfect is the God that we worship!

::drew time::

The current state I am in a dangerous one. Why you ask? Well, I had created a new post and did not want to leak my heart out to the iNet so I deleted it. I have got new music pumping in the background, acoustic rock offering a person's heart on their sleeve and a catchy progression with honest lyrics. This is a dangerous combination if you know me. It will either lead me to write 5 new songs in an evening or self reflect to the point of narcissism, which only leads to more problems then actually helping. Nevertheless, I enjoy these moments. These are the moments I enjoy being single. No worries about taking care of someone else, no worries what I should be doing. Just drew time.

no finals, no school work, no work, no responsibilites, just drew time.

hold on, hold on, hold on, would you let me know you are here. - new lyric for a new song.

p.s. here is the new t-shirt design I made for my youth group.

melting pot

Last night I was having a conversation with my roommate who shares the same name about personalities and people. He made a statement that sent me reeling. His statement was that I am not like anyone else he's meet and that I am very different (in a good way.) His reasoning for this is because I am an athlete, I like sports and go crazy about Michigan sport teams, I work out, I like to look nice with things of clothing and hairstyle (hipster), however, I am a music snob (which means I have a vast knowledge of music and am quite critical), I play music, I am an artist, theologian, and was in a fraternity, then the last pitch is a curveball. I am a youth pastor. These are all so different, just when you think you've got me pegged I switch it on you. I am not sure why I am this way, with each stage of my life there are things that are revealed to me about who I truly am, I do not negate the things of the past yet I embrace them as who I am still as well as embracing things of who I am now.

I would like to think of myself as a melting pot, rather than a chameleon. Melting pot seems to have a better connotation than a chameleon, which I thinks carries a negative connotation because you are always changing and not allowing people to get to know the real you. Nevertheless, I do allow everyone to see who I am this is central to how I live my life, transparent.


Okay, here is the simple truth. I got tired of my friends not being able to comment on my blog. So I got rid of the old template for this one. I'm not sure how long this one will stay. But for now it will do. There are some things I would like to change...we'll see. So anyways, feel free to post comments now. YAY.

crap its 2:30.

cyber people

alright, look, there are a lot of scary people out in the world. The reason why I make such an obvious statement is because I have had two random dudes show up on my flickr page commenting on my pictures. One guy commenting on my friends appearance. This guy was a complete stranger. The second one was some homosexual male with nasty pictures on his flickr account. OBSCENE!

Be careful cyber world, do not disclose to much information because the cyber freaks and geaks are watching voyeuristically with disturbing motives.

I'm excited because I am finally done with 'pimping my page'. Surf it check out my cool new photos and what I am listening to and reading. I'm so stoked about this, I am finally going to go to bed. I have chapel at Bethany Christian School tomorrow at 8:30. What time is it now? 1:47AM .... I'm an idiot!

Due to my current job (jr. high youth pastor) there is something stirring and I no longer can ignore it. Some background information first, my job requires me to make flyers and usage of other artsy stuff. In High School I was involved in art all 4 years and was interested in pursuing it in college, however, my art teacher talked me out of it because she didn't want me to hate it. There was partial truth in that, but years later I have fallen back in love with creating art in a new form. Graphic design. I am a baby in this new field but my ol' buddy Dan has inspired me by his blog which he has dedicated an entire blog to life, pictures, and his art and I thought I should be open to let you in. I say all of that because I feel that I should let you all in to view some of my new work, my life, and the pictures of the California way.

So the logo at the top was what I created for my junior high youth group. And was my first attempt at this graphic design thing.

snow capped

hello cyber world, this beautiful smog free day is truly a blessing! I mean it, no really I'm serious. Today as I was driving up to work/church I was greated with a picture of snow in the mountains of Sierra Madre. It was so cool, it was almost as if there was a bit of home that resurfaced in that moment. Nevertheless, the best part was that I could see it but not have the affects of the snow bother me. Which in my world is the best possible senario I could think of. It is much like having your cake and eating it too. Today, has also been comprised of things with an artistic bend. Worked on my mixed media piece this afternoon, this evenings festivities hold band practice for 2 hours which is one of my most favorite times of the week! I think tomorrow I'll get back to posting more serious things. However, here is a serious thought for you all, why does beauty have to only hold aesthetic value?

after months of procrastination and frusturation my perseverance over the past couple of days have paid off. I want to thank C. Wess Daniels for his help on this project. With out him, I would not have arrived with this final project. The downside of all of this is that I spent wait to much time when I could of spent more time doing something better or more productive. Nevertheless, it is....finished!

in progress

as i continue in my pursuit of changing this blog (for the better), bare with me as it goes under more surgery. Thank you Wess for your help in this matter.

Well, I figured it was time that I add something new. I am going to be changing the design and overall look of the page in the next day or so. I will post more then.

p.s. I have a mid-term tomorrow that's another deciding factor.

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