Wednesday, June 16, 2004

The Big 3-0. Woohoo.

This from Yahoo! Happy Birthday!:

On June 16, 1858, in a speech in Springfield, Ill., Senate candidate Abraham Lincoln said the slavery issue had to be resolved, declaring, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

Neat. All the other events on that site were kind of morose -- excommunications, fourth marriages, people sent to jail and stuff. Thanks, Yahoo.

Well I'm 30 today. Crazy. I guess it would be a little more significant if it wasn't for the fact that I've felt like I was in my mid-thirties for the past three years. Anyway, thanks everyone for the kind words and well wishes. It's an encouraging reminder to me of how much people care...

Sunday, June 13, 2004


One thing I did last week that I forgot to mention was I tagged along with Roderick to his tutoring project with the YWCA shelter on Thursday. It was a lot of fun. Well, we didn't do tutoring though. That Friday was the kids' last day of school so there wasn't really any homework to help out with, so we just played games instead. It was a cool, we played the kid's version of Cranium. So funny. Except that the kids really tried to cheat a lot. An hour went so fast but I was also kind of wiped out afterwards. Roderick mentioned to me that the kids are there for only about three months or so at a time, since that's the limit for the shelter that people can stay there. So it's pretty tough. I had to agree. I think it would be hard to give your heart to these kids and then have them just sort of disappear. Anyway, Roderick has a cool idea to do a robotics lab with them, so I might still help out with that for now.

Seaside Lagoon

Dave, on the way there

Dave, serving it up


Bosco & Tanya

Nobody does it like Sara Lee.

Mm, nice weekend. Crazy week though. See previous post for that whole issue. I guess I neglected to mention that we got everything resolved, in the end. So, at least it's a happy ending. This week's meeting though ... man. I said something and this time Bergie got all worked up. We managed to talk that through too though, at least for now. Man.

Today I was pretty nervous about speaking though, as usual. I guess some things will probably never change. Anyway many people said they were encouraged and felt like it was very heart-felt, so I was really glad.

Yesterday was nice too. Ultimate frisbee was like three-on-four -- tiring but always a good workout. Then I spent about 2.5 hours working out said situation. After that Dave and I headed up to this event in LA that Sara invited me to ... I can never remember what it was called but it wasn't Singles Ignition, which was going on at the same time and was basically a dance; kind of a club scene. Actually Nicole told me today that it was a lot like a club, notably the unfavorable parts, and that she wished she had come to this event instead, had she heard about it. Oh well.

Anyway Dave and I drove up about two hours to Redondo Beach where this thing was held. Actually I drove maybe 45 minutes and then Dave took over because I was zonked out. Yah, yah, some things never change. Anyway it was volleyball and food and games and dancing; Dave and I were mainly there for the volleyball and friends. Lots of fun stuff. Nia was there too, which was great. We caught up a bit and it was cool to see she's doing well despite some challenges and stuff. I also saw Sherry, Sam, Bosco, Anna, Andrew ... it was cool. April, Rey, where were ya'll? Travis was there too, whom I had met before; he was MC actually. Loudly. Like, very loudly. Ouch.

So, I think the best thing was some good conversations with folks. Both Nia and Sara shared some tough things they were going through, which I thought was cool. Sam apparently was to sing in the choir for LA's congregational service today. *chuckle* Hope it went well. It was neat to know so many people.

When it was time to go Dave and I drove Sara home and got to meet her supposedly- effeminate cat George. I also saw Nikole and took a shot at fixing her computer. Dave had to drive most of the way home too, interestingly enough.

As far as today, we had a leaders' meeting in the morning since church was in the afternoon. As the meeting went on and on (and on) I kept thinking about the fact that I hadn't really nailed down what I was going to talk about at communion. I mean I had an idea somewhat but it was still a bit hazy. Then I had it out with Bergie and we were good to go and it was like 12:30pm. I managed to pull things together in about half an hour and I was on the road.

Finally church was over and all of my responsibilities were done. Jason, Carly, Russ and I had already planned to see Chronicles of Riddick as a matinee after church (with Nicole), but we didn't anticipate church taking so long (we watched Pitch Black on Friday night to get psyched up). We decided to go for it anyway and did the ol' "go team!" cheer and jammed out of there. Sara (Burdette) was going to join us but as soon as she found out it was a sci-fi flick she reneged (lame!). We had a really good time ... we went to Island's and Starbucks afterwards and had lots of good laughs.

All that, and I'm still home in time to do my blog. More deep thoughts later.

Communion Notes

I spoke today at church. Here's basically what I said.

What a week. Have you ever had a week where you got everyone upset? It seems like I was getting everyone on my case. We had a meeting, I was frustrated with some things and let some things fly which hurt a few people. And it turns out that we wouldn't be able to talk it through until the end of the week. And I really felt the burden of that all week.

When you are upset with someone or someone is upset with you, isn't it hard spending time with them? It's difficult to look someone in the eye really. Giving in any way -- affection, hospitality, even politeness -- becomes a chore.

What is happening is a spiritual separation. A wall or bitter root will form if it is not dealt with. And if you think about it long enough, you come to understand that any significant separation like this between people affects your relationship with God. How can we be reconciled to God, who we don't see, when we cannot be reconciled to people, who we do see?

What solves this? Looking to the cross.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

In one singular instant in time, God reconciled the world to himself. Centuries of prophecy and history culminate to this very event.

At the cross we come to understand that it takes one party to sacrifice in order to bridge that gap. And with God, we see that he has done that, through Jesus.

It was a costly sacrifice, but God considered it worth it. With the cross, God is saying, "I want to be with you."

When you are at odds with someone else, you start to realize that it requires a sacrifice as well to bridge the gap. Someone needs to initiate, someone needs to say, "hey, can we talk about this face to face?" Someone needs the courage to believe that it can be worked out. Someone needs to have enough faith to see that something good can come out of it.

And we see that this is what God has done -- when we were still sinners, he came to us to be reconciled. God was courageous enough to initiate it. God had enough faith to believe that something incredible will come out of this. He thinks we, he thinks YOU, are worth it. He wants to spend time with you, he thinks you are special.

With that, we have the strength to go and be reconciled with each other.

Stuff I didn't end up using:
Reconciliation and friendship with God really form the basis of all rational and true enjoyment. -- S. Miller.

Reconciliation defined:
The reestablishing of cordial relations; restoration to harmony; renewal of friendship. Reduction to congruence or consistency; removal of inconsistency; harmony.

synonyms: accord, peace, appeasement
antonyms: deadlock, draw, stalemate, standoff, tie, antagonism, disagreement, discord, dissension, dissidence, friction, strife

Saturday, June 5, 2004

Rock 'n' Roll Marathon of a Day

Buca di Beppo

Man, what a day. This morning I was helping out packaging canned foods for a food bank. It was lots of fun; I just hope I don't have nightmares about putting the chicken can on top of the peanut butter jar. Repeatedly. Over and over.

Kat and I hung out for a while in the afternoon which was tons o' fun. And I guess there were a lot of people down here from San Fran to run the Rock 'n' Roll marathon, and Sara wanted me to go out with her friend (Isa)Bella. Thus the pic. We went to Buca di Beppo which was nice and loud but at least the waiter was really cool. Let's see if I remember everyone there: Charles, Tina, Valerie, Bella, Jessica, Angel, ... whoops (Offa?), Sara, Steve. Fun stuff.

Now I am tired. Tomorrow I am having the Talk with the BT. *Fingers crossed*. Let's see how it goes.

Nikki Tran just asked if I wanted to go to Yosemite with him sometime in July. Crazy! July is already getting booked up! This unemployed thing is really taking off.