Ex-Postal Employee Kills Six, Then Herself

This happened right around the corner from where Janelle used to live in Goleta. Literally right around the corner, less than a two or three minute walk. Weird.


could they dig up dirt on me?

At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they could not do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent." - Daniel 6:4 (NIV)

Daniel's enemies wanted to get dirt on him, but they couldn't because of his integrity. He'd been placed in a high position and they wanted to get rid of him. It didn't work out the way the expected, because as much digging as they did, they couldn't find the dirt. Daniel got the job because of God, but he didn't just sit on it and slack. He did his work well, and performed above reproach. He could've probably slacked because of his favor with the King, but he didn't.

In the same way, we must have absolute integrity in all areas of our lives. I want to be like Daniel and honor God and those around me in all I do. As a husband, tenant, friend, student, leader, employee, all that. I want to deal with honesty and integrity so I can be found innocent not just by people, but by God, who knows my heart.

I think this passage also displays how living an upright life does not mean we will live a trouble free life. Living in line with God's path brings us into conflict with a lot of the world around us. In some ways it's easier in the short term to ignore living God's way, or to cut corners and slack on integrity. Trying to live righteously is no guarantee of a problem-free life - but I think it is a guarantee of a life where you can look back with no regrets and not have to be constantly looking over your shoulder hoping nobody finds out that you're really a fraud.


faith doesn't just happen once

"Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised." - Romans 4:20-21 (NIV)

I usually only think about faith as something that justifies you before God - something that once you exercise it, you are made right with God and forgiven for your sins. This is most often how it's talked about in the church. As I read this, however, I see that Abraham's (who this verse is referring to) belief that God would provide a child to him (v. 17-19) is what Paul is talking about when he says faith. This belief that God will act is the faith that made Abraham righteous.

Faith is not just something we exercise once to get salvation but something we exercise moment by moment and get the fruits of a life lived with God. Any other kind of faith isn't faith - it's something you said or believed at one point. Faith means living as if what God says is true, every day, not just one time when you said a prayer in the past. It's not easy to live like that, with all the uncertainties of life and the whole fact that God is invisible - but it is absolutely essential to living the kind of life we were meant to live.


nfl championship weekend

All I can say is that the Superbowl better be more exciting than this. The Broncos were blown out by the Steelers - and I missed all but the last 10 minutes of that game because of a meeting. Right now with 10 minutes left in the 2nd quarter, it's 17-0 Seattle.

Oh, as I was typing this Steve Smith returned a punt for a TD...maybe I should keep typing and complaining.


the mac man

I'm not sure if you know who Erwin McManus is. He's the pastor of a church down in Los Angeles called Mosaic. He's also a world class leader, speaker, and author. I first heard him speak at a conference or something a while ago, and from the first time I really resonated with what he said. His passion was clear, and it didn't take long to realize he was the kind of quality leader many aspire to be. So I picked up a couple books of his and read them. Whenever I heard he would be a speaker at an event I was attending, I was pretty excited. A couple years ago he spoke twice at the Leadership Summit and I really appreciated what he had to say. So when I found out that he would be teaching a January class on Ministry Leadership at Golden Gate (which if you aren't aware, I attend), I jumped at the chance to take it (and so did about 90 other students).

The class was all day Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week. I stayed up on campus, and had a great time. The class was a mix of Erwin answering questions on leadership/ministry and sharing some of his insights on life/leadership/ministry/following Christ/church. I took a lot of notes, and think I might put some insights up here to help me think through them over the next week or two. But it gets cooler.

I often hear that you can become a better leader by getting around leaders. So Thursday I figured I'd give it a whirl and tried to ask Erwin after class if I could have lunch with him on Friday. I was a bit too nervous to go right out and ask but I basically communicated the idea that I knew he was busy but I also know you gotta ask if you want to snag time with leaders, and he said I'd be welcome to join him for lunch on Friday. So today I went to lunch with him and the two other guys from his staff that he had present. They actually took the time to hang out and talk with me about stuff. All three were very friendly, and after I got over my initial nervousness it was very easy to be myself and enjoy the time.

Actually before lunch when I sat down to join them they were in a brainstorming session to try to come up with a pithy three-word phrase to communicate an idea at a leadership workshop they were doing the next day with the leaders at Mosaic. It was a bit comforting to see these guys go through the sort of brainstorming I/we do at Crossroads. They have to sit around and throw out a bunch of random ideas until they find something that works too. Eventually I tried to help and throw in my two cents with some name ideas. I wish I could say I came up with some brilliant phrase that they used, but I didn't. They did give me credit for being a part of the process though so that's cool.

They asked me some questions about myself, my plans for ministry, etc. I shared a bit about oneeighty and how it didn't succeed how I wanted. Erwin asked why I think it failed, and blah blah we had a conversation over lunch and whatnot about leadership and ministry. The cool thing is I never got the impression that they were simply humoring me - and as much of a celebrity as Erwin is on the Christian scene, and as much of a world class leader he is, he had the time to sit down and have lunch with some random guy wanting to learn some more about leadership. It seemed he took a genuine interest in talking to me and trying to help me out. We talked a bit about that, some of my specific struggles with leadership, church planting, overplayed worship songs, and people that get too easily offended by things. So this post is long enough as it is - I'll share a couple things I took from the lunch and then be done.

  • If you're thinking the right way, doing the right things comes naturally.

  • If you're not having fun in ministry, you're going to be a terrible leader and recruiter, because you won't want them to have to share your misery.

  • The best people to have on your core leadership team are people that don't have to be pastored or managed - people so on top of things you're almost afraid they'll leave because they don't NEED you.

  • The more real big failures you get under your belt, the better equipped you can be going into the future.

That last one - Erwin told me that since I'm 25 I still have a good two or three real big failures in me before I get it right. He told me to just try to start something so I can start the learning process. Who's with me? Hehe.

Anyway, more later. Thanks for those of you who prayed that this leadership class would be fruitful - it was an incredible three days and I think that your prayers were answered. Hopefully the proof of that will be in the pudding of my leadership, which will ideally be tasting sweeter in the future because of this experience.


they weigh lots of tons

Great White Sharks really scare me. More than aliens even. Seriously, they freak me out. I'm not the hugest fan of getting in the ocean, because once I'm in there, there's nothing separating me from those huge monsters and their teeth. Just water, which they can swim through, really fast.

Last night I had a dream where I escaped some sort of place, with a rocky shore. I escaped into the ocean, however - I think it was the San Francisco Bay - and got a little scared once I realized I had to swim to safety. The water was choppy, but in I went, knowing it was my only way. Then what happens? Right below me I see the gigantic forms of two Great White Sharks swimming around. They were huge. So I start thinking oh man, this is bad...just gotta not look like a seal, don't look like prey, just try to get to that rock outcropping over there. So I start swimming...but not swimming too much because I don't want to attract the sharks' attention.

Soon after, I see a woman paddle past me on a surfboard. This is odd, because as I mentioned we were in the SF Bay, surrounded by rocks - you wouldn't see a surfer out there. That's what I saw, though, and sure enough one of the sharks came right up and swallowed her. I was spared gore, as she was simply swallowed, but I was really scared. I was also certain the shark had seen me as it poked its massive maw out of the water. I panicked and realized I was going to die. There was another shark down there, they knew where I was, and they had just demonstrated an affinity for manmeat.

I was so scared, I wanted to get out of there any way I could. It was about that time that I considered the possibility that I was in a dream. Maybe this is a dream, I thought. Then I'd be safe. Please be a dream, please wake up, please wake up... And then I woke up. I'm not sure I've ever had as much residual fear after waking from a dream. I got up and went to the restroom but the whole time I just had this sense of terror over me from the freakin sharks.

Man. Great Whites. Why do they have to exist?! Next time I dream about them I better be riding them into battle or something. This getting chased around stuff isn't going to cut it.


redemptive movie watching

Happy New Year to you all! Hope you had a great New Years Eve. Mine was pretty good - we had a lock-in, all nighter with the youth group. I thought it went by the fastest of all our lock-ins to date, and was pretty successful.

I came across an article today that I thought you guys might enjoy. It's about "redemptive movie watching," that is, watching movies appropriately from a Christian point of view and finding something redeeming in them. Many times Christians get all reactionary and contentious about movies and say "oh this world is going to hell in a handbasket" and try to cover their eyes and ears and talk about how terrible everything is. But this guy offers a better way to look at movies. Check it out. A brief excerpt:

A reactionary spirit is quick to speak and slow to listen, and therefore more easily misses the point of a film and doesn’t have the time or ability to speak redemptively concerning it (more on that in a sec’). The world has little interest in listening to this response, not because it is a dissenting voice, but because it often is incapeable of a understanding the movie.