Chirstmas Album 05

If you want to see what my Chirstmas looked like, check it out here.

Merry Christmas

It's a day late, but Merry Christmas from Alison and Aaron. Hope your Christmas was great, and filled with family, friends and celebration of the birth of Jesus.


Welcome to my Blog

I know that there's been many new people reading my blog recently. I thought I'd give you a quick tour. These aren't a best of, but a sampling of what I'm thinking...

Welcome to my blog! Drop me a comment, or tell me about your blog.

About me:

Thoughts on scripture and life:

Creepy BK guy

I don't watch too much TV, but when I do, I don't want to see any more of the creepy Burger King guy. I really don't know what their ad agency was thinking. Let's sell more burgers by scaring the crap out of people. Please take these commercials off the air! Hopefully I haven't tainted your view of the commercials. If you want to read some deep thoughts about media, read Justin's blog.


Christmas Album

I am very privileged to have had the chance to play and sing on my friend Justin's Christmas album for the past few years. You can hear it yourself here.

My Friend Justin

This one I've been waiting for. My friend Justin has begun a blog! He is a Pastor at the A.D. Venture in Portland, and an awesome guitar player.

You should check it out!


Good Business

Our youth group just purchased a new projector because our old one was darker than a black hole. So I went to get machine screws to mount it today. I headed to the Home Depot and thought I found the right size.

I headed back to church and found out that they were the wrong size. So I grabbed the projector and took it back to Home Depot. The guy said that it was a metric size and that they didn't carry them. When I asked who carried them, he thought for a sec and then sent me to Oregon Bolt.

They had the right size and gave me the 4 screws for free! I couldn't believe it. All he wanted me to do was pass their name around.

Gladly! If you're in the Portland area and need a bolt or screw...go to Oregon Bolt.

My friend Dennis

I miss Dennis. He was a my old roommate before I got married. I you ever needed a good laugh, or a take on politics or sports...just talk to Dennis.

Well, Dennis decided to begin blogging. I don't know if it will last. But while it does, it should be pretty funny...maybe. :)


It's snowing!

It's finally snowing! My wife and I made it to the video store after church today, (we rented 24). As we pulled drove there it started to rain ice pellets. Then at the video store, it turned to snow! I can't believe it! Finally! If more comes, I will give you a few more pictures.


Free Christmas Music

If you're up for some folk/odd/cool Christmas like free stuff...or you like Sufjan Stevens, you can get it here. (Thank you Josiah Q. Roe)


Sound back on!

I finally found some free web space at And consequently I have sound back on my site!

I'll try to update the songs semi-regularly, so those of you that are semi-regular readers won't get too board.


Prepare the way

I had a great night last night at our High School program. You can read all about it and see some pictures on our Youth Pastor's Blog.

I appreciated the time that we had to ask God what was in the way of His coming to reach us. One student's response can be too familiar in my life too. This student said that they realized that they had been so busy with school and life this past term, that they had become numb to God, and what He is doing.

It is easy for me to be involved in life so much that time with God decreases. Especially being a Bible college student, and a ministry worker! I find that Christmas and summer vacations tend to get me re-focused on what I really care about. Back to God...Not that He's out of the picture during school, but I have a tendency to place Him on the back burner.

Last night was a great time to reflect on my own complacency when it comes to my relationship with God, and a time to ask that He would be number 1 again.



Updated 12/15: You can now listen to this song by looking on the right side of my blog and finding Pray. Enjoy!

If you have $0.99 to spend, you should buy Kendal Payne's song, Pray off of Itunes. Sweet song:

I will pray for you now for you have been my faithful friends
While the road we walk is difficult indeed
I couldn’t not ask for more than what you’ve already been
Only that you would say these prayers for me

May your heart break enough that compassion enters in
May your strength all be spent upon the weak
All the castles and crowns you build and place upon your head
May they all fall come crashing down around your feet

May you find every step to be harder than the last
So your character grows greater each stride
May your company be of humble insignificance
May your weakness be your only source of pride

What you do unto others may it all be done to you
May you meet the one who made us
And see him smile when life is through

May your blessings be many but not what you hoped they’d be
And when you look upon the broken
May mercy show you what you could not see

May you never be sure of any plans you desire
But you’d learn to trust the plan he has for you
May your passions be tried and tested in the holy fire
May you fight with all your life for what is true

I have prayed for you now all of my dear and faithful friends
But what I wish is more than I could ever speak
As the way wanders on I’ll long to see you once again
Until then, would you pray these prayers for me?
Oh that you would pray for me.


A Consumer of Worship

I was typing up my notes finally from the National Youth Workers Convention, and I came across what Louie Giglio said about worship. He asked the question, Are you a consumer of or a consumee in worship?

He provided a fun but serious list of differences. I find myself being a consumer more often than a consumee. How about you? Take a look at his list.

A consumer of worship...A consumee in worship...
asks 'what'’s in it for me?'asks what does God want from me?
is concerned with styleis concerned with surrender
buys (purchases) worshiphas already been bought
worships because it is enjoyableknows that worship is costly
says it is about what I prefersays it is about what God requires
says it's about songssays it'’s about actions
says it feels goodsays it hurts good
approaches it as a segmented, concrete thingknows it's a live thing
says it'’s my choicesays it'’s His will
thinks it'’s temporaryknows it'’s eternal
downloads worship (ingests)bows down in worship
does it because it makes me happydoes it because it makes God happy
says it's about meknows it's about God


Back at it....(Here is our King)

Whew! The last two weeks of my life have been hectic as I've written two term papers and my wife is doing projects and taking finals. But I finished my last class today! All I've got left are 3 finals next week and I'm home free...'till January. :)

If you've heard the Crowder album, collision, you probably know the song Here is Our King. It's a wonderful song to which I've heard rumors as to its origin. Apparently it was written in response to the earthquake and tsunami that struck Asia last December. If that is true, then the song is quite an amazing take on the incident.

But the song also has some strong Christmas themes too. It seems to be all about Jesus coming. Coming to save us, coming to bring rest, healing, new life, and grace.

When they sing Majesty finally here with power, I think of the woman at the well in John 4, who exclaims, Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?...Could this be the one who is to save us, the one to bring us hope, and peace, and rest? We've been waiting so He our King?

Yes! It is Christmas...and we celebrate the coming of our King.

From wherever spring arrives
To heal the ground
From wherever searching comes the look itself
A trace of what we'’re looking for
So be quiet now and wait

The ocean is growing
The tide is coming in
Here it is

Here is our king, here is our love
Here is our God Who'’s come
To bring us back to him
He is the one, he is Jesus, Jesus

And what was said to the rose
To make it unfold
Was said to me here in my chest
So be quiet now and rest

Majesty, finally
Majesty, finally here


Trust God! and a blessing too

My title is reminiscent of our Mexico mission trip of '04, when our sports ministry leader had all of us guys shout out Trust God! at the top of our lungs.

So this past Thursday I had to preach a sermon in my narrative preaching class at Multnomah. This one came from John 4:43-54, where Jesus heals the royal official's son. The point was that the official took Jesus at his word, believed him, and life was to should we trust God, and take Jesus at his word.

Part of my sermon included a story about how I recently left my job at Costco for a part-time position at my church. Taking this step meant following the direction that God has laid out for me, but talking a pay cut too. One promise that I've relied on is that Jesus says seek first His kingdom and all these things (contextually - food and clothing)will be given to you as well.

So I taught Thursday about all that, saying that each month has been 'fun' to trust that God will provide enough money...and He has...of course there isn't room in the budget to go out to eat, or rent movies, or buy new clothes, but we can eat and pay rent. both very good things in this life if you want my opinion.

So Thursday, my wife calls me and shares a story with me. Her boss called her into his office and shut the door. Gulp! He said, "I don't know if you know, but this is the time of year we give out raises." Alison thought, "No, I didn't know that."

He gave her a raise and then told her that she would also get a bonus too! (Which they don't normally give out.)

My thoughts in this order were. 1)Thank you God! 2)We can buy Christmas presents for each other and our families now! 3)Woah...I just talked about trusting God this morning for taking care of us...and He just more than provided for us even beyond our needs! Thanks God! (and my wife for working hard...and her boss for valuing her employment at the firm!)


A Quick Funny

My cat hates to be scratched on her back or stomach...but last night, I found a secret spot right above her tail along her spine. When you scratch anywhere around this spot...she looks mad and begins to attack...but when you scratch this matter how mad or complacent she is...she begins to lick. It starts with the tongue peeping out of the mouth...and then she licks...and licks...and licks! It is the most amazing thing to watch...and provides minutes of laughter!



Snow, please come
   Oh snow, please
Oh please come
   Oh snow come tonight and
   let school be postponed for a warmer day.


A History of Confession

Many recent influences in my life like Brian McLaren, Tony Campolo, Don Miller and Jim Wallis have shown me the necessity for confession. Not just confession of my own sins and wrongdoings, but confession of my past.

By my past, I mean my Christian heritage...e.g. the age of slavery done in the name of Christ, the crusades done in the name of Christ, the Holocaust even done in part in the name of Christ...and even our brothers in the Catholic church and their recent allegations of abuse...even the way Christians in general today treat each other and those outside of our circles with contempt and anger instead of love and compassion.

For these things, I am sorry. I am sorry that my brothers and sisters in Christ have committed acts that turn people away from God...and I can only ask that those who have been hurt by the church and Christians would give Christ a chance. Take Him at His word. I am also sorry for the times that I have acted in anger and pride instead of compassion.

I also found that the Israelites did this very thing. Confess for the sins that the generations before them committed. In Ezra and Nehemiah, they ask for forgiveness of the sins of idolatry and for walking away from God for their ancestors...not that their ancestors would receive forgiveness now dead, but to recognize that they are linked with the generations past, and that they need to move on forward in ways that previous generations did not.

Let's follow the example of our predecessors and seek to fully turn away from the sins of our ancestor's past.

Blogbox part 2

And just like that...blogbox is gone. :( I'm hosting my mp3 files at Yahoo's "Geocities"...for free...which means that I have a bandwidth limit, and after a few dozen page loads and song listens...I'm out.

So, until I can find a better host with more bandwidth, You'll have to read my blog in silence.



It's been a few days, geesh, almost a week since I last blogged. It's been busy around here, schoolwork, and Thanksgiving and all.

If you're reading this blog from the web (i.e. not from an rss feed), then you'll notice the sound of music (if your speakers are on). I'll try to put new songs up each week so that you won't get too bored, and if you want your own mp3 player for your blog, go to It's a bit have to know basic xml, but worth it!

Let me know what you think!


Happy Thanksgiving

Happy thanksgiving to all who read this blog. I hope that God blesses you greatly and that you would see all the good He has done and brought in your life.

Now go eat some turkey... ;)



After my awesome yet tiring weekend, my wife and I came home to a rearranged apartment.

We asked her brother to feed our cat, but he went much further. He and his fiance flipped our living room around...couch, coffee table, rug, and three chairs...all opposite where they normally were.

Next, our glass cupboard was switched with our dinnerware, the pots and pans switched with the tupperware, the silverware switched with the cooking utensils, and finally, the toaster oven with the knife holder, coffee and espresso makers.

We spent an hour cleaning and re-re-arranging our house, while finding fireworks hidden around the entire place.

Good grief!

Retreat & Photos

What do you get when you take a few of your best friends, car loads of sound gear, 300 mid-schoolers and their youth leaders, a cold weekend in November on a lake in Washington and put them all together?...You get a great retreat.

I went back up this weekend again to Lake Retreat to play electric guitar for my friend Justin and our informal "band." There might not be anything better than getting to lead worship for a bunch of mid-schoolers that want to praise God.

Over the weekend, many students came to begin a relationship with Christ, and others began to work on healing the hurts in their life. It is so exciting to see what God can do in a young life.

The pictures are of around camp...hope you enjoy.

O yeah, on the way home, my car hit 100,000 miles!

The blob and water trampolene on the lake.
Foggy lake in the morning
Sunlight coming through fog and a tree
Moss on the roof outside our cabin window
100,000 miles baby!
Not Us - the band


More Fall Photos

Hope you're not bored to death, but I wanted to share a few fall pictures that I took at school today. Thank you God.


Fog over the West Hills

Do you remember that Everclear song where they sing, I would buy you a big house way up in the west hills. Well, I live on the hill that faces those beautiful west hills. And this is the view I had as I came home from my coffee meeting this morning. It was beautiful. Fog draped over the hills and covered over the base of the two towers. (One of them is council crest)

I love fall, and all the beautiful colors and interesting weather it brings. I just can't wait for winter...hope there's snow!


Do it anyway

My mom came across a poem by Mother Teresa that I'd like to share:

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful you will win some false friends and true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.


Day of rest? (Day of free food)

I had the distinct pleasure of attending 3 church services and one meeting today, making for a lovely 11 hour day of rest.

It began at youth group this morning, where I lead worship for the mid and high school groups. It was a great morning. All three of the major high schools in the area just won their first football playoff games, so there was added excitement in the air. I also bet 1 penny against the youth pastor that Tigard would beat Southridge. We sang one of my favorite songs again, Wholly Yours, by the David Crowder Band.

My beautiful wife and I then ducked out early and headed to a nearby Presbyterian church for an assignment from my Bible College class on the church. I really enjoyed the atmosphere, the choir, the liturgy, and the message.

We continued back to our church for a youth staff meeting...good times of praying for each other and discussing the next few months of group. plus free food.

Finally, we went to Greater Portland Bible Church where I led worship for my friend Justin, who is just getting back from Guatemala. What a wonderful church. I love the open space they have in the back and sides of the room for prayer, contemplation, and other activities. After that, they had dinner for everybody, then different classes you could attend.

All in all, for a long day, it was pretty refreshing! Thank you God!


Pat Speaks Again

Well, after implying that we should assassinate Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, Pat Robertson's comments got the New Tribes Missionaries expelled from Venezuela.

Now he's just proclaimed destruction on Dover, PA.

I'm very tempted to say something like Why does his voice have to be the one that speaks for Evangelicals? But then I'm reminded by watching Rob Bell's Bullhorn Nooma video that maybe my voice isn't loud enough. Maybe my love isn't loud enough. What am I doing to actually show the love of God to others. (instead of complaining how other Christians speak of God)



Sweet...I'm Rich!!!!

I just found out that I am richer than 5,335,730,918 on this earth. Not bad eh? Especially considering I'm a part-time church worker. That's not even a pastor's salary! I am in the top 11.07% people in the world when it comes to income.

I guess I have it pretty good. Want to see how rich you are? Go to and enter in your annual salary.

Hmm...maybe I should join the one campaign, like my friend Jon, or give more to Compassion International or World Vision.

Nah. I don't really have that much money.


Misplaced Identity

I often forget who I am. I forget where my identity comes from, who my identity rest in. I begin to think that my identity is found in my marriage, or in my job, or in the lives of students that I may have impacted, or in the cool guitar lick that I figured out how to play, or in the analogy I came up with for a lesson...or in the knowledge of computers that I have, or in how much stuff I can get, or in my past sins and current failures.

But none of those things is where my true identity rests. My identity is found in God. In His story. But I forget that sometimes. Sometimes I even think that my identity in Christ will keep me safe. But I am reminded that I am expendable. (Thanks Grant.)

I can't help but think of the students that I minister to. Of course they are searching for identity. Some find it in sex, some in 'substances', some in their friends. Some are waiting for identity to begin after high school, some after college, some even after that. I know I always was waiting for the next thing to come along. But their identity is now, who they are in Christ...the part they play in God's story.

I watched the movie thirteen which I'm not officially recommending, but it shows one girl's search for identity and the rabbit trail of destruction she brings upon herself as she looks in the wrong places.

So how can we help students find identity and faith? A great article put out by YS gives some great ideas derived from a recent study of high-schoolers passing on to college.

One of the ideas was that we need to provide an environment where doubt and questioning can be expressed. I know that when I had those chances, my faith grew. But it seems that the general culture of the church is not one where doubt and questioning can be expressed without people thinking that you are faithless.

Your thoughts? Solutions?


Life is short

I came across a tragic story today while reading Marko and Doug Pagitt's blog. Apparently the pastor at University Baptist Church, where the David Crowder Band leads worship, died of electrocution while in the church baptistery.

I guess even the 'best' of us really has no idea when our time is up.

After reading those blogs, I put in a CD that I got from the YS Convention and heard the Superchick song, We Live, that says:

We live, We love
We forgive and never give up
Cuz the days we are given are gifts from above
Today we remember to live and to love

So what am I going to do with my day? With my time? Time is short. I hope that when my life ends, that I will have loved as God would have me. I know that I'm not on that path yet. But God is working...

I'm sure that University Baptist Church and their pastor, Kyle's, family could use your prayer.


Cool Illusion

You must check this out!

Out spinning the ring

I was going around the YS blogring that you can see on the lower left side of the page, and came across this blog. I like his take on the old, they will know we are Christians by our love song.

On a somewhat lighter note, we have our High School Messy Day today. It involves peanut butter, toothpaste, whipcream, flour, water, puffed rice cereal, yogurt, life savers, and more. It should be fun.


Happy Anniversary

Okay, so it's only our 5 month anniversary, but I love my wife. We're heading out tonight to th Newport Bay restaurant, complements of a wedding gift card, and then to see the Weather Man.


A nice little slogan generator

Okay, so I stole this one from another site to which I've lost the link. If you follow the 'next' button for a while on my YS blogring, you'll find it. But there's this cool site for marketing exec's that are up against a deadline.

Here's a few good ones I got.

Don't Leave Home Without Aaron Geist.
The Best Aaron Geist Under One Roof.
It's Aaron Geist Time.
We Don't Make Aaron Geist. We Make Aaron Geist Better.

Wholly Yours

One of my new favorite songs off the new Crowder album is the song Wholly Yours. It is filled with beautiful imagery of how messed up we are when seen in the light of God, and how amazing God's grace is. The first verse is listed here:

I am full of earth
You are heaven's worth
I am stained with dirt
Prone to depravity
You are everything that is bright and clean
The antonym of me
You are divinity

What a certain sign of grace is this
From a broken earth
Flowers come up pushing through the dirt

It amazes me how God could love messed up people like me and everybody else. Thank you God.


Rescue is coming

Last Wednesday night, before youth group, I had a lot on my mind. I was thinking about different students that were messing up their lives, mourning over their decisions. I was thinking about my own family, with my mom's cancer and other things that are going on. I was thinking about the hard times in my friend's lives, the pain that they are going through.

And I felt like God said, be still.

We had just spent a Wednesday night in silence and stillness, which is something I don't get a lot of, and I knew that is what I needed to do.

I prayed for the different things that were going on in my life, and the lives of others, for the 30,000 that die daily.

And then I silence.

A song came into mind, a song that I had been listening to recently.

Rescue is Coming

The lyrics repeated over and over in my mind, and the thought brought a few tears to my eyes as I remembered the hope in Christ. That His justice, and love will rule.

Rescue is Coming

P.S. That song is track 19 off the new David Crowder album.


Learning lab

Going to Multnomah Bible College, I'm required to take a student ministries class and lab. For once, I feel like the lab is decent. My lab instructor is a youth pastor up in Vancouver, WA. His discussion topic yesterday was about the reality of starting in ministry.

His first point was the one that made the most impact on me. It was:

Know who you are, who you're not, and live it out.
He has seen so many people fail and even himself in certain times, because they tried to be someone who they weren't, someone God didn't call them to be.

I can only begin to imagine what this means for me. I guess for starters, I want to be a more authentic leader. Able to show my struggles as well as my victories.
When you are who you are, you give freedom for people to be who they are.
         -Rob Bell


I know that ranting is a popular thing today. Many talk show hosts have their rants, one of the seminars at the Convention I just attended was about a rant; and this from their president. But in Matthew 23, Jesus has a rant. I suppose His rant would be a decent rant to pay attention too.

There is much to say about His rant, but one part caught my eye for the first time this morning. Maybe it is because Jesus uses a word that's not English or culturally relevant...who knows. In verse 5, speaking of the Pharisees, Jesus says

Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long
I'm sorry...a phylacterie? Is that some kind of disease?

I noticed that the word had a little superscripted a next to it. So I looked down at the bottom of the page and saw
That is, boxes containing Scripture verses, worn on forehead and arm.
Then it hit me. Of course Jesus makes points like this clear in other places, but visualizing these leaders, the teachers of God's word, actually wearing boxes on their arm or head to hold little verses of scripture, made it crystal clear. They would wear scripture on their body, but wouldn't follow it! Jesus called them hypocrites.

So...what about me? I know I do it too, I don't wear any Christian t-shirts, or bracelets that quote some passage and then not follow it, but I do have God's word even closer to me. I have some memorized, in my heart, and yet, I choose to do otherwise. I guess I'm pretty glad that God has grace!


Messing up our status quo

Why does Jesus always have to mess things up? I read Matthew 20 today and right after telling a story where the point was that many who were first would be last and vise vesa in the Kingdom of Heaven, James and John's mother comes and wants them to be the two right-hand men in His kingdom. He replies and ends up telling them the same thing (First-last, last-first) and that our way of viewing greatness, is way off. Jesus thinks that greatness has to do with becoming a servant, even a 'slave' to others. He sure does like to turn things on their head. Funny that we still struggle with theses issues 2000 years later, after we've been so Christianized. ;)


Two Articles

I just perused The Ooze and rhymed my way to get you to stay.

Sorry, no more where that came from.

Anyway, I read two articles. The first one was a very well written re-telling of a gentlemen speaking to a gathering about how some Christians have become biblioloters: worshippers of the Bible instead of worshippers of the Creator.

The second article was an interview from someone who left the institutionalized church in 1988 with a modern-day church goer. I think that he has a lot of good things to say about our current model of a church service, but seems to throw biblical leadership out the window.

Both are good reads, if you have the time.


Go Beav's!

I must tell you that I am a Oregon State Beavers fan. I must also tell you that they beat #18, California today! How exciting...and if my former roommate, Dennis, is reading, they'll beat your Ducks too!


Disc Golf

I'm a beginning amateur disc-golfer. If you haven't played before, you must. Some people go a bit overboard with their passion, but it's quite fun.

There are driver discs, approach discs, putting discs, discs that turn to the left, to the right, and some that go really straight. Is there a distinct difference between straight and really straight?

Anyway, I played yesterday at Pier park in the St. John's area of North Portland. It is a beautiful place. A lot of long holes, and many, many trees. All of which seem to be disc magnets.

Another great place to play in the Portland area is the Lunchtime Disc Golf course. It is hosted at the facilities of Greater Portland Bible Church, where my friend Justin is a Pastor at their A.D.Venture service. Both courses are fun, and have challenging spots.


Missing my honey

I'm going to miss my wife. She's heading to downtown Portland this weekend with a few High School gals for the Revolve Tour. It looks like it will be a great time. But she won't be with me. :(

The up-side is that next weekend, I get to go play electric guitar in a worship band led by my friend Justin, for a ton of mid-schoolers at Lake Retreat in Ravensdale, WA. Can't wait!


Matthew 15 - Tradition

I'm about 24 minutes away from taking my ecclesiology exam at Multnomah Bible College. I hope it won't be too hard, but the professor likes to put shrewd questions (not trick questions) on his tests.

One of the valuable things that I've learned in his class is about tradition...specifically religious tradition. Everybody has it. The Catholics acknowledge their tradition, while the Protestants usually say that we don't have it. But we have tradition. It is inevitable.

We like to say that we go sola scriptura, the Bible only, but we have our ways of doing things and our ways of interpreting.

"Tradition isn't bad," our professor says, "only bad tradition is bad!"

I read Matthew 15 today where Jesus tells the Pharisees that their tradition is bad because it nullifies the word of God. In other words, their tradition actually went against what God had said. But in other places, Jesus practiced tradition that wasn't mentioned in the Old Testament. It was helpful tradition.

I guess the question should be, What tradition does my church and denomination practice that help out...that aid in following Jesus and His word? And what traditions actually go against what scripture teaches? They can be tough questions to ask, especially if you don't realize that you have traditions!



I am prone to fear. I know that I am supposed to fear God, but I fear other things. Recently, I had some odd health conditions that made me fear heart-attack, and brain eeriness. I’ve also always had a subtle fear of the big earthquake that is supposed to hit the Northwest one of these years. You can imagine that the past two Asian quakes haven’t helped my fears.

Part of my fear is because I travel across the Marquam bridge every day to go to class. If we had an earthquake, I could be on the bridge…or the other side of the bridge, and be separated from Alison. I don’t like those thoughts.

But it has all made me realize that my fear is not in the right place. It has made me realize that my life is fragile, and that my Creator could end my life at any time.

So what should I do? Live life the way it is meant to be lived. Every moment for the glory of God. Of course it isn’t easy…and I should know this by now. But maybe I’m finally experiencing this reality.

I want to live each day to the fullest, do what God asks of me, and not cower behind fear of injury, or what people think.

Psalm 46 has been important in my life recently.

1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
10 "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
Wonderful words.


Getting older

Now, I'm not complaining here, I know that many of you are older than I. and doing just fine I might add. But two recent things made me realize that I'm getting older.

  1. I was at Starbucks a few weeks ago and saw the 10th anniversary edition of Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette. 10 years??? I thought. That album was popular when I was in High School!. I can't believe that it has been 10 years already.

  2. The middle schoolers that I just went on a retreat with and I weren't even born in neighboring decades!


WOW...What a weekend!

I still can't believe what an incredible weekend I had down at the National Youth Workers Convention in Sacramento. It was a great time of refreshment, relaxation, learning, and growth.

I got to hear the music of David Crowder and Chris Tomlin live! So good. Especially the Crowder. That guy has got some hair! If you don't have his new album, Collision, you must hear it, it is great! Especially track 11, which is a take on a Sufjan Stevens song. Very relaxing. I think that my friend Jared's church even used it for communion.

Another singer, Kendall Payne, sang for us. She has a beautiful voice. She played songs off of her new album, Grown, like Supermodels and Pray, both good songs.

Anyway, if you are a youth worker and haven't been to one of these must go.

I learned about space, silence, and rest from Doug Fields. And much about postmodernism and the emerging church movement from people like Dan Kimball, Lilly Lewin and Tony Jones.

There is a lot of information to process, and much to work out, and frankly, it's kind of scary, but I'm confident that when God leads, He doesn't lead the wrong way!

Well, I'm finally back to my least for now. We leave this weekend for a Mid School Retreat. She's gone the next weekend with the High School girls, I'm gone the next weekend at another Mid School retreat, and then the last weekend of the month we're having our first ever Messy Day...lots of messy things happening.

Well, thanks for reading, leave me a comment.



In Sacremento

I'm currently in Sacremento, CA at the Youth Specialties, National Youth Workers Convention, and having the time of my life! However, I miss my wife. :( I'll write about it soon.


Leaving the Post Modern Era?

I'm not up on all things post-modern, but I do tend to believe that there is a drastic cultural shift taking place. I came across a quote from Time magazine from Alexandra Jacobs, who was one of the passengers of the Jet Blue flight that safely landed after their amazing 3 hour circling of Los Angeles. She said:

We couldn't believe the irony that we might be watching our own demise on television. That seemed a little bit post-post-modern.

I didn't know that we were progressing that quickly! ;)


My house is my house darn it!

While in Mexico, we spent a day at La Bufadora, a tourist area South of Ensenada, where you can see this giant blow hole, and do some shopping.

We decided to purchase a nice little sign for our front door that said My house is your house in Spanish.

About a week after we put it up, I came home from shopping and read the sign hanging by our front door, greeting everybody with...

Mi casa es mi casa...My house is my house? Oops.

Oh well, it makes a great conversation starter, as I've already found out with our UPS guy! :)

Yard work

Today was wonderful. Alison, my brother AJ, and two students from the youth group teamed up with Project Linkage and did some yard work.

We traveled from South Tigard to North Portland - about 20 min. - and mowed, chopped down trees, cut back hydrangea, roses and ivy, demolished blackberry bushes, and trimmed hedges. It was a great day for it. About 70 degrees.

The gentleman that we helped was a man that had a brain tumor back in the 70's. He's been fine until recently when fluid has increased in his brain, causing swelling, and pain. If fact, he was in the hospital on Friday but told them that he wanted to go home so he could make sure that we took care of the yard. Tough times for the gentlemen and his wife.

I highly recommend doing this yourself, even linking up with Project Linkage. They provide all the tools and equipment that you'll need. It only takes about 6 people and 3 hours on a Saturday.

Thanks for reading.

Hoping that we can grow in love for our neighbors.


New Cat, New counter

It's been a while since I've blogged. I see that my friends Jon, Brian, and even Chris have all out blogged me. I don't mind, but apparently Jon and Brian think it's some sort of a competition...but it doesn't matter, their blogs have all been great recently.

I thought I'd try to be cool like my friends and add a counter to my blog. So I can see how many people don't read it.

Alison and I finally moved her cat to our apartment. She is a great cat. Soft, fairly cuddly, and most of the time doesn't scratch. Her name is Misty, but Ali likes to just call her 'kitty'.


Also Tragic

How do we respond to Katrina? Of course we're going to try to find someone or something to blame...the President, the governor, the Mayor, global warming, humans developing the wetlands, and God.

But what should our response be? I tend to think that we are supposed to respond in love. Especially for those who claim to be followers of Jesus. Should we stand, mock, and condemn those who have been through the most tragic situation of their lives? Or should we respond in love by supplying for their needs? It seems obvious to me.

My friend Brian wrote a short blog about 2 churches that had very different reactions. I hope that you'll read it and that it will help your heart grasp how we should love.

You can read it at


Full update on the engagement

Okay, so I've taken the liberty, with permission, to share my moms version of the story of the engagement. Pictures are at the bottom. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 31st, our Annie got engaged to her friend of six years...boyfriend for two... Matt Beghtel (pronounced bek'-tl) -- a wonderful Christian man.

Matt came and requested permission to ask her about two weeks ago, then on Tuesday of this week brought over a bag of props to set the scene which he visualized in our backyard.

Wednesday he took her out to dessert (both casually dressed) and he called us from there when he knew they were heading back here. Annie came in to say hi to us, and then she heard Matt calmly call her to come look out in the backyard.

She was befuddled when she saw the flickering votive candles ringing the patio, the petal strewn pathway, and the single red rose next to the bowl of candles on the tablecloth covered table. Her first thought was that we had had some romantic dinner out there! "Go on out," Matt said, pulling out a Puma shoe box. (Matt had worked in the shoe department of Nordstrom this summer and had talked about getting her some great running shoes, so when he asked her to sit down so he could try something on, she willingly complied.) "I know this looks like a lot of fuss just for shoes."

He got down on one knee and opened up the box. She was further confused when he reached into the packing-peanut-filled box and pulled out a huge ring...a paperweight "solitaire diamond ring" that they had seen while shopping last spring. Then he spoke his love for her and told how he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, and asked if she would she marry him. Huh? He asked her again. Are you kidding? Will you marry me? he repeated. But where's my shoes? she wanted to know. The fourth time he asked it fully made sense and we heard her squeal, "YES!" He explained how he wanted her to pick out her own ring and all the pieces finally fell into place. Matt reached down and flicked on the CD player playing, "Just the Way You Look Tonight". They danced and talked in hushed whispers and finally came in to tell us about a half hour later. We had sparkling apple cider and hugs waiting.

They plan a "next summer" wedding after she graduates from the University of Oregon. Matt graduated from there and this past week started work as a Credit Analyst for Umpqua Bank in downtown Portland.

Here are some photos for your entertainment. The proposal scene is re-created 30 minutes after the real deal.

Happily and lovingly, Jan and Dan


Matt 14...uh...I mean Matt Beghtel

So I have the second best news ever (to my own engagement). My wonderful sister is engaged! Woohoo! She is engaged to Matt Beghtel. Darn cool guy. I am so happy for them. Congratulations!

Matt 13

So I'm reading through Matthew 13 now, which is all about the kingdom of Heaven, and this seems to be a big subject for Jesus. He talks about it a lot and says that those who have been taught about the kingdom are like those who bring out new treasures along with the old.

I've read the parable of the scattered seed before (Matthew 13:1-23), but maybe it is my recent brush with poverty, or my growing desire to see those in need be helped by others. But I noticed how Jesus describes the thorny soil.

He says that The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.

And I wonder how many times my "soil" has seemed real thorny, thinking only of my needs and how I can meet them. How many times have I traded my desire for things, and money, for giving to those who really need it? Am I really living out the Kingdom life that God desires? Is the vast majority of our country?

9.02.2005 thoughts...old thoughts

Well, I'm back in school. Started yesterday. I hope that it is going to be a great term. I'm taking four classes, of which the titles aren't interesting at all. One is on Monday nights from 6-10pm! Ughh... But I guess it's better than 8 am, four days a week.

I spent the last few weeks finally getting our apartment cleaned and organized. The office...formerly a gigantic junk now usable and I feel like I can function at home. So, I'm back to writing.

Down in Mexico, a great singer and missionary, Frank Grubbs, spoke to us about the 30,000 children that were dying each day from malnutrition, lack of clean water, and preventable diseases. He said that if an American plane carrying a few hundred passengers crashed, it would be a huge news story, and the people would demand an answer for why this happened, and how we could stop it from happening again.

So why don't we hear about the 30,000 children dying each day? Is that not a bigger news story? Doesn't someone need to speak out for them? What am I doing to help? That might be a better question, and a better place to start.

Hurricane Katrina caused massive devastation and over one thousand lives were lost. But a disaster 30 times stronger happens each day...and we don't hear about it. I still enjoy my clean water, need some more coffee. I must seem like a big baby.


Don't read...(well you can, but it's going to change)

This is just an official reminder for myself to blog about what Frank Grubb's said about 30,000 kids dying each day.

Like I said, this will change.


Freaked out pigs

I read the story in Matthew 8:28-34 where Jesus confronts two demon-possessed men and casts them out into a bunch of pigs. The pigs go wild and run down this big hill into a lake and drown.

I don't know if I would be laughing or scared silly, but the people of the village get freaked out because their livelihood, pig farming, has just been destroyed. The whole town comes to see Jesus and pleads with him to leave.

I always thought the people of the village were kind of idiots...I mean, you don't just tell Jesus to leave when He's performing miracles. But then I got thinking. I wonder how many times I do that. Not knowingly, but when God is doing something in my life and I don't quite see the big picture, do I ask, "What's goin' on? I wish this would end."

I hope that I will have the faith in the future to trust God, and not kick him out of my life. Maybe after He's gotten rid of the pigs He'll find me a new job! ;)


Faith that astonishes God?

We've been talking about faith a lot recently at our Church, and in our youth group (180 is the name). We've talked about faith not being something you just think, or believe, but backing those things up with action. James describes that kind of faith as complete.

I've been reading through Matthew and I read the story of the Centurion's Faith. You can find it in Matthew 8:5-13. What amazes me is that Jesus is astonished by a human's faith. I don't think that my faith has been astonishing...growing yes...but astonishing? Wow.

I pray that my faith will become astonishing before God. Not to say that I am a great person of faith, but because I know that's where my faith should be.


Something Ironic

I just wrote a blog and spell checked it. In that blog, I talked about Jon's blog. Ironically, the word 'blog' was not recognized. :)

Mexico Updates

By the way, if you want to read our trip updates, see our photos, and hear from the students, check it out!

Go, Going, Gone....Back

Well, I'm back from Mexico. We, I, had an amazing time down in Ensenada. So much was accomplished for the Kingdom of God. A desperate family of 10 received a new house that our team built in four days. Over 100 filthy poor people receive new clean clothes for their families. About 50 different kids that don't get to eat very much were served breakfast every day. It was amazing.

It was very eye opening, seeing their poverty, knowing that there is zero chance of them ever rising above that poverty, and also knowing how much I have back here in the States. I mean, this poor family of 10 lived in a 1 room shack, made of scraps of wood. They slept on two beds, had a dirt floor, an old card table to cook on, and the world's worst bathroom located right outside their house. They got their water from this big tank with a garden hose running out of it. They would pinch off the hose between some rocks when they were done using the water.

They were poor. We built them a 16 x 20 (320 sq. ft.) house that had two bedrooms and a loft, along with a main living space, on a concrete slab. This is going to dramatically improve their life.

Yet I come home to my 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, nice kitchen, separate living and dining rooms, 1 deck apartment and am not sure where to put all my stuff.

I was encouraged this week by the clothing distribution that we did. We often say, "Dios le bendiga" - God bless you - when we are down in Mexico. I felt very much that I was living out the Kingdom of God that Jesus spoke of many times as I was able to give someone clothing that they desperately needed, and say, "Dios le bendiga."

But now I'm back to reality, well, my reality. My nice (small?) apartment. My TV. My internet. My bed (only 2 people are in this bed, not 5 like in Mexico). My car. My wealth. I want to live differently, I want to live out the Kingdom of God with my resources now, here, not just in Mexico.

I was thinking about our trip...about going. How we left, physically packed up and went to do God's work. But then we returned. I don't want to return the same. In my thinking about 'going', I read Jon's blog on the word 'go'. I recommend the read. You can find it here:


The Last Week

Here I am. The last week of my job at Costco. I've spent the last 7 1/2 years of my life - well, at least 5 days a week - clocking in and helping people. Helping people find a new TV or computer, helping them look at jewelry (one time even interlocking hands with a gal so she could feel how her new fiance's ring would feel :) ), helping people find their lost film, and stocking out my department.

So what's next? Well, I've been an intern at my Church for 3 years now, spending 15 hours a week assisting the youth pastor with the youth group...leading worship, teaching lessons, creating retreat ideas. But as his job has grown, his family too, there aren't enough hours in the week for him to fulfill his responsibilities.

But that's kind of nice, because I've been hired as a part time (25 hours/week) 'Student Ministries Assistant', doing the same things and more with a little bit of money. I know that I'm not making as much as I did at Costco, so it will be a bit of an adjustment for our new budget. I'm sure I'll learn, and I trust that God will provide.

It's both with both sadness and joy that I leave Costco and move on. Those of you who read this can keep me in your prayers that I would work with all my heart at Church.

Thanks, Aaron


My Grandpa's Life Tribute Video

As you've read in my previous post, my Grandpa passed away recently. He was an amazing man who loved God with his life, and loved his wife, family, and neighbors.

My Uncle Dave created an amazing video of his life as a Tribute to my Grandpa. If you would like to watch it and see what his life was about, you can view it on my Uncle's Blog. It is under - Watch My Tribute Video.


Learning from my Grandpa

I returned yesterday from a trip to Sunnyvale, CA. We spent the weekend just being together as a family around the time of my Grandpa's memorial celebration. (A graduation service if you will)

I learned many things this weekend. Some of which I learned from the book, Blue Like Jazz, of which I have a link on the right side of this page...I will write about those later.

One thing though that I learned - finally - from my Grandpa was one of his favorite verses: Colossians 3:23:

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord..."
I think that I have been living a version of this verse. "Whatever you do, work at it with half of your heart, as working for yourself."

When it comes to school, work, church, family, and life, I don't give it my all. I don't do it all for God. Yet He deserves it all. My selfishness gets in the way and I get lazy or rely on my own strength. I'm done with this. I spent time praying on the car ride home that this would end. That the life that I live for myself would be done, and that I would live my life fully for God, in every area.

I know that I'm not alone in this position. I know that I need community to help me through. This is another growth area for me, and one which I'll write about soon.

Thanks for listening.



My Wife!

Okay, So finally I get to post my Wife. She is, after all, a pretty big part of my life. ;) She doesn't like this picture because it was so bright that she had to wear my dorky sunglasses. But she does look great in them. We've been married since May 28th of this year, and it has been the most exiting time of my life! I highly recommend it!

My blog name

It occurs to me that you may wonder why my blog name is "renmusic."

Ren is short for Renny. My sister Annie couldn't say my name when she was little, so she called me Renny. Later, it got shortened to Ren.

Music, because, well, I love music. Playing guitar is one of my favorite things to do. I listen to music just about all the time. On top of that, singing and playing music is one of my favorite ways to worship God.

So, that's my name.

Don't wear it out ;)

My first second lame post this isn't my real first post. I believe that Jon was the only lucky one to see that. This is my second official post, but my first one that many of you will see.

I've got to admit, who would want to come and read what I'm thinking. I know I wouldn' I'm guessing that this site won't get many hits. Oh well. It sure is a cooler way to journal though. I haven't been doing that recently anyway.

So what is this site about? I suppose many things. Maybe my wife, maybe ministry, maybe just my thoughts. Who knows.

I hope you get something out of this, even if that something is that my life is boring. :)

See you soon.