Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Operation Christmas Child

Our church is doing something super cool this year and my family is jumping on the ship to help out (Now I know this isn't the first time our church has done this but it is the first time my family has)!  We are partnering with Operation Christmas Child to help get presents to underprivileged children in other countries.  Now Operation Christmas Child (OCC) is going to use the shoebox that we filled with presents as a way to present the Gospel to these children; this excites our family!  

One thing that Charity and I have committed to is helping our daughters understand the need to help.  We are in a place in life where we can help others and the focus doesn't always need to be on self.  To help with that, this year, we decided to let the girls fill the shoe boxes for OCC.  Charity and Leah went to the store and bought the suggested items for the boxes one morning.  Later that night we took the time, as a family, to pray for the children who will receive the boxes and then fill them.

We let the girls pick the items that would go in the individual boxes so they got to feel more ownership over the process.  They had a great time picking out the toys, hygiene items, markers, and socks that we put in the boxes.  We asked them if they would like to write a personal card for the girls and they choose not to but they did want to color them a picture and put it in the box.  One thing that we chose to do was pay for shipping online so that we can track the boxes!  Our girls are super excited about this and we are really stoked to see how God is shaping their hearts with compassion. 

Leah posing with her filled box

Monday, October 29, 2012

Disneyland 2012

This summer, while on sabbatical, we took the girls to Disneyland for their first time!  Needless to say we had a blast with them!  Here are some of the unforgettable moments.

Sophie and Leah getting their first time at Disneyland button
Family in front of the big castle
Sophie wanted to drive but then decided her candy was better
Sophie rockin her hat and my shades

Friday, October 26, 2012


When we moved up to the Bay Area one of my friends in ministry sent me a Facebook message telling me about this guy up here that I needed to connect with.  It took a little while for me to land, and for us to figure out a time, but we finally met up this week.  I drove up to the city and connected with Matt.  We had breakfast, talked about life, shared about our different ministry contexts, shared our faith stories, bragged about how cute our kids are and talked about reaching the Peninsula for Christ.  Everything my friend told me about Matt was true.  He is a friendly guy, a catalytic leader and super rad (I added that).  I left very encouraged this week after connecting with Matt.

Later that day I was driving home from the office and I started thinking about how connected we are as a society.  Now this has been my rant before but I came to the conclusion that we are more connected than ever but more disconnected than ever!  

Let me explain that thought before you close this tab

I feel very connected when I am on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, my iPhone or Email.  I can FaceTime People, Skype, Message, Text, Tweet and have entire conversations with never opening my mouth.  We can decide solutions to problems, talk with relatives and look at screens but there is something about sitting face to face with a person.  

My hope coming from this post would be that you find more conversations to have face to face with people.  I am the person that uses almost every social media avenue so I don't think they are bad; I would just prefer to have more human interactions.  That conversation with Matt reminded me of that.  I love finding other people who are passionate about reaching lost people and Matt is one of those guys.

Now take it a step further.  What would it take in your life to really find true connections with people in your local area?
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dating Your Wife

Note to the reader: I am by no means an expert on this topic.  I have had my fair share of failures in planning dates for my wife and more times than not my selfishness has reared its ugly head in our dates.   The words that follow are from my heart and hopefully can serve as a reminder of the importance in continuing to date your wife.

When I look back on how Charity and I fell in love there are times I wish we could return to those days.  We have frequently talked about how nice it was being interns, with little responsibility, and no significant bills in our lives.  We would work, leave and have the rest of the days to ourselves.  When we officially started courting (dating) we had San Diego Zoo passes and Disneyland passes.  We lived in San Diego and could go to the beach as we desired.  We knew all the places to eat, when to visit the zoo and even went to Disneyland at least once a month.

Fast forward our lives almost ten years since we met and things are much different.  We have two young girls, almost eight years of marriage under our belts, I started (and finished) seminary and recently moved to a new city.  One thing we have done our best at is fighting for a date on a weekly basis.  Pretty much every week this looks different but here are some things to consider as you date your wife:

Make Dating Your Wife A Regular Occurrence
Many times in life I have heard the line: "Fake it until you make it".  This line can be applied to dating your wife.  You may not totally understand what it looks like because life (kids, ministry, job, church, family, pets) have overcome you.  The first time you do this it may feel awkward; fight that and press on.  One thing that Charity and I do our best at is having a regular, weekly, date with each other.

Be Creative
We don't live in San Diego anymore.  We don't have Disneyland passes.  We don't have San Diego Zoo passes.  The beach is close but its cold up here.  This means that I have to think of new ways to date my wife. This may mean that I bring her flowers at random times in the month.  It could be leaving a love note for her on the kitchen counter.  There are many new ideas that you can do when you date your wife but it requires some time to think and research what she would enjoy.  We have done random things like: Monster Trucks, Mixed Martial Arts, Hiking and Feeding the Ducks.  Don't think of the date as an occurrence but as a constant way of life.

Fight For The Time
This is a big deal for us.  We have to fight for the time to have a regular date.  There are always going to be things that want to steal that time away from you: soccer games, Monday Night Football, a ministry event, a sick kid, and the list goes on.  When we sit down and do our weekly calendar we are intentional to slot out some time for a date. This may mean we have to get creative but we find the time.

Keep Learning
I actually have a tag for date night that has a whopping three posts, now four, under it.  I am not trying to say that I am the best person at this.  There are weeks that I forget to talk about our weekly date and Charity kindly reminds me.  Don't stop!  Keep learning what this means and what God wants from you as you lead your home and date your wife.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Sea World 2012

While we were in San Diego we took some time to head over to Sea World to make sure Shamu was doing ok and eating his vitamins.  Sea World holds some very fond memories for me from my childhood with my mom, sister and grandma.  While on sabbatical I was blessed to be able to take our family there for an amazing day with my wife and girls.

This was the girls second trip to Sea World; the first time we went was for Sophie's 2nd birthday and at that time Leah was only 6 months old.  This time was great for both of the girls to see all the sea life and get to spend some quality time as a family.

Before heading in to the Shamu show we decided to stop by and see the whales real quick.  This was a huge treat to be able to see the whales up this close!

While in the show Leah wanted to take a picture of her and Shamu.  This was a huge treat for me because I think when I was younger we weren't able to afford getting a stuffed animal when we went to places.  This time we made sure to save up so we could eat all the popcorn and pretzel's we wanted (thanks Charity).  In addition to seeing Shamu we basically did the entire park (except see birds on the map that Sophie noticed).  We saw the sea turtles, the sharks, the penguins, the polar bears, the dolphins, the sting rays and The Sea Lion and Otter show.  I wish I had a picture of Charity and I from this day because I am so glad that she encouraged us to take the girls to Sea World.  She knew how tired I was and how much I needed this time with our family!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Beach Week

So I have been slowly giving some updates from what we did on our sabbatical this last summer.  I know the info is dated but it has been extremely helpful for me to relive these moments.  As I have already said, sabbatical was probably the best thing I have ever done in my life.  I shared that prior to my sabbatical I was near ministry burnout and I am so thankful for South Hills Church Community providing this opportunity for my family!

View from our house
The "Second Chunk" of my sabbatical we planned to get away and to things that refresh us.  This meant taking a month long road trip all our California that we ended up dubbing our "West Coast Tour".  The West Coast Tour started out in beautiful Oceanside, CA where we stayed a beach house for the week.  This week was filled with seeing great friends, eating great food, relaxing on the beach, eating ice cream, going to church, catching sand crabs and watching dolphins jump.

In true fashion Charity has all the good pics on her phone but I have the memories in my head.  It was great seeing Tanto and His wife, having Conrad, Karen, Deagon and Bobby over, meeting up with Matt for lunch, seeing Lauren and her family.  The BBQ with the Bower's and Berry's was great for my soul catching up with guys I love and respect.  I was so thankful that JP drove up to see me for a little and that we were able to grab dinner with Trish and Bella one night.  Finally getting to meet Justin's wife.  I really appreciated how many of our friends prayed for us and prayed for us to have strength and renewed strength in ministry!

When we started out our week in San Diego I knew that I was still spiritually drained and we were pretty active while in San Diego but I was so thankful to be able to spend time with our friends.  Good friends really do cheer up your soul!  Thanks friends!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Confessions of a Pastor: September 2012

The more I confess the better I feel.  Now I am sure that I am not alone on this confession but it is something I struggle with.  I don't have ADD or anything like that but I am prone to distraction (even at church).  For the last two years I have carried a little device in my pocket that allows me to access almost anything from anywhere.

My confession is that I check my phone during church
(Now that I said it I feel much better)

I love my church.  I am super stoked to be a part of what God is doing on Peninsula but every now and then I find myself checking my phone.  This didn't just start since we moved but it has been a reoccurring problem in my life.

I usually avoid this during the message but there are that I find myself "checking in" on Facebook during the announcements.  I am usually pretty good about avoiding checking my feed so that is a plus.

Then it gets worse.  Sometimes I like to quote something that we are singing or a point that my pastor shares.  I open this amazing app called Twitter and go for the post.  Since Twitter automatically takes me to my feed I tend to find myself checking it for about 20 seconds and then quickly lock my phone so I can stay dialed into the message.

The real confession begins now because we are in a time of the year that I love: Football Season.  When Football season comes around I find it easier to justify checking my phone.  I want to see how the Chargers are doing and who the Raiders are loosing to.

The only solution to this problem that I currently have is to keep my phone in my pocket during service... but that doesn't always happen.