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.