10,000 without their pillow

so as I lay here in bed on my comfortable pillow my heart is crying out for those 10,000 without homes in Louisiana tonight - as the church how do we respond? destruction is everywhere.The world is trapped within the book of Jeremiah as cities continue to be tore down and rebuilt. It will be amazing to one day see a great city built and have no fear of destruction.

and the ransomed of the LORD will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
- Luke 1 (Zechariah's Song)

Jesus,I can't wait for your return and the great renewal of your creation. I look forward to celebrating with all created things which groan now for the next age to be ushered in. I know its been asked before but come quickly Jesus, restore the world, set things right, and in the meantime show us how we might prepare the way for you, that your arrival might be the cause for the biggest celebration the world had ever seen.

take a look around

today God decided to let me in on how he is working all over Westerville through a number of our different leaders and I can't wait to see the fruit that is going to come from the way the adult leaders at Heritage are pouring into students. But, I was also struck by how much more work there is to do and how many more students need a connection. I need to pray for workers, because the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. And boy is it fun to harvest....

Here are a couple good words that relate pretty specifically to my distaste for most "Christian," music.

The Lamb has triumphed, and all creation knows in its bones that the creator God is remaking the universe, and is groaning with eager longing as it waits for it to come about. The whole world is already filled with God’s glory; that is precisely why we feel the present horror and shame of creation the way we do. There is an unbearable tension between the two realities. But the whole world will ultimately be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea, on the day when God makes all things new, and binds up every wound, and wipes away all tears from all eyes. The Christian contribution to the worlds of the arts, not least music, is therefore neither to collapse into sentimentality, to murmur the easy half-truths which comfort for a while but wither in the face of the horror of the world, nor to connive at that brutalism which, under the guise of ‘telling it like it is’, denies the very possibility of hope. The Christian contribution to the arts must lie along the line of listening to the longing and groaning of creation, a longing which is itself multi-dimensional because it is the evidence of the Spirit’s groaning and longing within the world, and expressing and portraying that longing both in its present agony and in its certain hope.
NT Wright
I don't feel like much "Christian," music lives in the tension and thats why I'm drawn to songs like "Can't Stop," from the Chili Peppers, "Why," by the Roots "Let Go," by Frou Frou, or "Letting the Cables Sleep," from Bush. Lyrics in those songs that wrestle with our choices as we live in the beauty and filth which simultaneously surrounds us cause me to praise God and pray so much more than anything I normally run into on the River or RadioU.


ancient practices

there is (in my mind) a very silly little blog debate happening here...

It is in regard to Tony Jones' book "The Sacred Way" released earlier as "Soul Shaper."
The book explores ancient spiritual practices held by the Christian church that have been swept under the rug because of the orthodox/catholic split on 1054 and the Reformation. The idea is that there are disciplines which focus on Christ in a healthy way and have a good theology behind them, but have been ignored because of other theological positions held by the catholic and orthodox communities or the way the practices might have been distorted over the years.

This book has had a profound impact in my walk with God and I have integrated many of the practices finding them to be pathways to intimacy with God. This book is the reason I now keep a sabbath every Monday. Beyond the book, I've researched each of the practices myself and found them to have a rich history and a great testimony of leading ones into the presence of God. Jones writes of these practices being, "the effort to create some space for God to act," which I've found very helpful. I even shared a seminar (which is a lot tougher to give than a message) at HSLT in Myrtle Beach this summer based on the book.

I'd urge you to pick up the book quickly and if you want a good laugh to read the blog I linked to.


ron burgundy is a very important man

while in NYC 3 weeks ago I discovered the joy of "Anchorman," a movie I'd seen a year ago and not really laughed at. This time I couldn't stop rolling in laughter - It has quickly climbed into my top 10 all time comedy list with "The Man Who Knew too Little," "Nothing to Lose," "Big Daddy," "Best in Show," "Billy Madison," "Dirty Work," "Napoleoon Dynamite," "The Life Aquatic," and "Office Space."

The great elements of that movie were the costumes, the sweet cameos (Tim Robbins, Luke Wilson, Jack Black, and Ben Stiller), the little things that Will Ferrell did to make you forget Will Ferrell was in the movie (he became Ron Burgundy), the supporting cast was hilarious and all seemed comfortable in their roles (they weren't stretching or trying to steal scenes), it is an incredibly quotable movie, and of course, Fred Willard was involved which is always a good thiing. I feel like this is a movie I will be quoting with friends (or by myself) for years.

I'm a man who discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn. That's what kind of man I am. Ron Burgundy

elegant and tired

so, the name for my blog came from the Chili Peppers song, "Universally Speaking."
The song begins...
I saw your face
Elegant and tired
Cut up from the chase
still, i so admire
bloodshot your smile
Delicate and wild

I couldn't help but think of Christ during the week leading up to his death on the Cross and imagining that this was a perfect description of what he would have looked like. and it's my hope that people would see the same wild yet delicate smile on my face even in the midst of the trials which life throws at me.

This has been a week of trial in the sense of wrestling through issues at the core of my being especially the desires and expectations that I have of myself. I too often want to be 50 while I'm only 23. Gosh, it is so hard for me being young, some people wrestle with getting older but I crave it - if I could be 50 I'd love it. Sadly, I know that I don't get the attributes a 50 year old has without going through 23-49 and I know that at 50 I'll wish I was 60 and so on. I really need God to develop a patient spirit within me. I don't want to miss all that he has for me at 23 and the fact that being 23 gives me a unique perspective and opportunity which has incredible value.
The thing is that while I'll readily admit to God my failures and don't have a problem being honest before him, but I do not beg for his strength to overcome. I ask for his comfort and support with how I'm feeling, but not his strength to change. That needs to shift in my life.

Check out this sweet passage: Buy the truth and do not sell it
Proverbs 23:23 - A very appropriate reference for this year of my life


funny, yet I could be in trouble....

"Scientists announced this week that a diet high in soy beans and high in soy sauce may reduce fertility in men. Which finally explains China's dreadfully low population." Conan

bad box office leads to great flick

wow - saw this a month ago on DVD- definitely the best movie I've seen this year. (It is an intense film that is provactive with a purpose, so be discerning in watching it)
I've been really dissapointed with the offerings at the cinema this year, especially in light of the 2004 offerings - does anyone have a good recomendation for me, I can't find anything at the theater or Blockbuster so I've been having to reach back a couple years and thankfully found this PT Anderson masterpiece.

Think about last years crop of films:
Great Dramas:
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Garden State, Mean Creek
Good Dramas:
The Passion of the Christ, Sideways, Spanglish, The Motorcycle Diaries

Great Comedies:
Napoleon Dynamite, Anchorman, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Good Comedies:
Saved, Mean Girls,
Great Thrillers:
Collateral, The Bourne Supremacy
Great Action:
Hero, House of the Flying Daggers, Spiderman 2, The Incredibles

Compared to this Years: 2 films make the list
Revenge of the Sith and Fever Pitch and neither of them are great.

The Chronicles of 8.4.05 - 8.11.05: Part 2


I woke up at 2:30am - armed and ready to go with my new ipod mini to the Greyhound Bus Station. I was supposed to be boarding a bus at 4:30 which would arrive in Indy at 7am just in time for Jess to get off her flight from Cali and come pick me up so that we could venture to the great white north, Minneapolis, for Tim and Brittany's wedding. However, much to my frustration, not only was the bus late, overbooked, and the next bus canceled due to the sickness of the driver, but I didn't get to board until 7:30.

Well, the girl in front of me, Hannah, and I were the last 2 not to make it on the overbooked bus, so we started talking and somehow we got on the subject of the Honduras trip I led and I had the chance to show off my pics (laptops are amazing) and that conversation led into us getting to share our stories with each other until I finally departed my voyage with Greyhound at 11:30 in Indy (poor Jess had to wait a long time). Anyways, Hannah believes in Karma - you get what you give and in the end you are recycled back into the earth. She did hold to the fact that there is something divine about us, so we explored what it means when the scriptures teach about us being created in the image of God and I had a great chance to share Jesus' message with her as we spoke. We spent most our time talking about the beginning and the end, either creation or eschatology. It was a great conversation, definitely challenged me, although I would have liked to hear more of what was happening within her heart. If Hannah didn't live in New York I feel like we'd make good friends. While holding different perspectives we seemed to be able to understand what the other was communicating. In the end, I think she was left with a whole different picture of what following Jesus could look like and probably more from the style of the conversation than anything communicated. Cool how God redeemed my time with Greyhound.

While on the subject of Karma, read this quote from Bono.

"It's a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma."
The interviewer asks, What's that? "At the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one," explains Bono. "And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that. . . . Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff."
The interviewer asks, Like what? "That's between me and God. But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge," says Bono. "It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity."


The Chronicles of 8.4.05-8.11.05: Part One


In an attempt to remember this last week, I'm going to be spewing my thoughts out here because I tend to be bad at journaling. So I'll be going day by day with a lot of details and running items that might bore you, but are important for me to keep in mind.

Basically, the CT crew gave me coolest gift ever, a blue ipod mini at my 23rd bday party. This was definitely one of my favorite parties ever. Old friends from CT back in the day, folks from my life group which I have been sadly absent from all summer, good friends, and even several enemies (you know who you are) made it out for a raucous celebration.

I can't tell you how excited I am to have an ipod - how can 23 not be a good year, it was Michael Jordan's number. Although, Carl did make a wise observation that I probably shouldn't try my hand at baseball.

The first sign that this is going to be a great year was when I was able to beat my ultimate rival, Danny in 2 games of ping pong. He has had a NY Yankees like run of dominance over me in our competition the last year so the time has come for me to pull a Boston Red Sox type move and run off a string of victories.

Kim, Kelly, and Paige did an incredible job decorating the house, baking cakes, and apparently inviting the world to come hang out- they have a solid career ahead of them as party planners.

I put out "washers" for people to play and I believe the game is going to catch on big time. I need to make sure to catch up with Ethan son and see how he is doing.

The evening wound down with Dolla, Jim, and DMoney watching Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey - I'm glad we've left the early 90's.


as quick as a tick in a new york minute

I'm back........the summer travels have ended and with an exclamation point at that! My Sabbath trip was truly wonderful -- I have numerous phone calls and emails to return, sorry if you are included in that mix, I didn't accept incoming calls or check my email once. Quite freeing really.

I'm not even sure where to begin with New York -- I was moved by the Spirit of God while at a haunting mass in Saint Patrick's Cathedral, I tried to incite a riot at a Yanks game by wearing RedSox gear, I contemplated long and hard what it means to embrace the pain of the city as Jesus embraces our pain, I kayaked in the hudson river as the sun was setting over the city, I was treated to the most elegant dinner I've ever known by the most elegant woman I know, and wow, so much more to come.


are there better looking Student Ministry Leaders anywhere else in the world?

further proof.....best ever!

The Heritage guy leaders with a couple ringers we grabbed from the beach building pretty much the fortress ever at the sand castle competition during the guys day out.

a long time coming

so i've been out of it for a while.....after Honduras I jumped right into the message for Heritage which went great and then had the great privelege of being a groomsman in Cisco's wedding - heck yeah! It was a great wedding, the ceremony was a sacred moment. I could definitely sense God's presence. I loved being at a wedding where I knew the stories of each person involved. Being able to look around the room and recognize how God has worked was incredibly moving. Cisco's dad did a great job leading the wedding and his grandfather gave an incredibly powerful blessing. The cool thing is that when Andy Sanchez, Cisco's pop, accepted Christ, Andy's father was quite against Christianity, and through Andy and his family's testimony his father is now a man of God.

This HSLT was the hardest ever and the best ever....more to come...need to get back to real work.

ps - Friday, I drive up to Minneapolis for Tim's wedding and catch a plane to NYC out of Minny on Sunday morning. I'll be back in town next Thursday night, August 11th. If I don't see you before then, enjoy these beautiful summer dayz! I'll be living it up in Manhattan, taking in a Yanks game for my birthday on Monday and playing catch in Central Park. It doesn't get much better than that.