judgment = mercy

"By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. "

I Corinthians 3.10-13

I've always been taught that this verse was about the Judgment Seat of Christ, the moment of truth, when we are all judged for our deeds in life, good and bad. I always cringed at the thought of being judged by what I had actually done with my life. When the judgment day came my plan was to duck and run, bob and weave, fake left go right, RUN FOR COVER!!! I always had this sense of incredible fear at the thought of God's judgment. I even got a tattoo related to my fear of judgment. I got the Kanji symbol for the word MERCY tattooed on the back of my neck. When people asked I told them, "When I bow before the seat of judgment I just want to give the Lord a friendly reminder to have mercy on me."

Then my thinking on the judgment of God changed. I meditated on that scripture passage and started seeing it in a different light. What it's saying is that the fire of judgment will test all of our works. The things that are good, the things that have everlasting value, those things will last. The things that were bad, the things that only had temporal value; those things will be consumed by the judgment fire. So if the judgment burns up all the things that are bad and only leaves behind all that was good then God's judgment is an act of mercy. What a merciful act to take away all the things that we are ashamed of! My thinking has changed 100%. I went from being deathly afraid of God's judgment, to looking forward to the day when all that is left is the "good stuff", the things of eternal value.

So, since I've been thinking of God's judgment as an act of mercy I've also been thinking of how I could change my tattoo. I no longer felt like I needed to cower at the Judgment Seat. I felt thankful for the promise that all the things that didn't have eternal value would be burnt away. I went to my tattoo artist the other day and had him put flames all around the Kanji of the word "Mercy", symbolizing for me that the Judgment Fire of God is the most merciful thing that we could hope for.


Special thanks to Sim!


UPDATE!!! (addendum)

My brother Josiah asked me to give you guys an update again. His face is healing up really well. For the first week the skin around his eye was pulled so tight that he was unable to close his eyelid all the way. That skin has started to stretch and looks like it will work just fine without additional surgery. His lip is healing up very nicely too. Above his lip you can tell where the cut is but on the lip itself you can't even see the line where it was cut open. It's amazing how fast the human body heals itself. AAHHH the wonders of creation!! The doctors are very happy with his recovery and say that he will only need one more follow up visit!!! I can't believe it!

WARNING!!! before and after pictures coming up...

July 10th, 2005
The morning after the first surgery.
We just got this picture from the surgeon.

July 24th, 2005
Two weeks after the surgeries

My parents, and my brother asked me to say once again, thanks for your prayers.

God is good.

ORIGINAL POST dated 7-14-05
My brother Josiah has asked me to pass along his thanks for your prayers this past week. He's been checking the comments section and said that it's been "really cool" to see that people from all over have been praying for him. I know that this has been really encouraging to him, so again, thank you. He told me it would be OK to put up a few pictures so you guys could see his progress.

I snapped this picture of him this afternoon after I took him out to lunch and gave him this pimpin' T shirt I had made for him.

WARNING: Grisly pictures coming up...

This picture was taken immediately following Josiah's second surgery. Here's how the accident happened: Josiah was riding a friend's mountain bike when the front wheel got loose and came off. He was thrown over the handlebars and landed face first. He was knocked out immediately, and has no memory of the accident. No bones were broken but he suffered major facial lacerations. His lip was split open all the way up to the corner of his nose. To the right of his nose you can see where they patched up the hole that was about the size of a dime. It was open, down to the bone. They had to call in an eye specialist to do the second surgery. There was so much damage that they had to cut loose a flap of skin on the side of his head almost back to his hairline, and pull the skin flap forward to cover the void.

In this picture you can see where the surgeons cut a V shaped incision to loosen the flap of skin to cover the wound by Josiah's eye.


Thanks again for your prayers.
grace and peace, jimmy



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You are invited.
Come for a time of COMMUNION.

Talking to, remembering, worshiping, and meditating on Jesus. It will be a lot different than you expect. Come check it out. Everyone is welcome, pass on the invitation.

Thursday July 28th.
Drop in anytime between 8 & 11 p.m.

If you are in Northern California come by and be a part of this worship/prayer/meditation experience.

CLICK HERE to email me for directions to Gina's

CLICK HERE to see pictures from last time.



"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

I Corinthians 10:13

I was driving home with the boys one day recently, after a fun filled day at the park. The truck needed gas so we pulled into the station to fill ‘er up. There was a very attractive young lady on the other side of the pump and she smiled at me when I climbed out of the truck. “That’s nice” I thought, “She seems friendly”. As her car was being filled she walked around the pump and started talking to me. I remember thinking, “I may be crazy, but I’m pretty sure she’s hitting on me!” I was trying to be polite, but I was starting to get really nervous.
It’s really hard to make small talk with someone when they are totally lusting after you!
I felt like a piece of meat. Just kidding.
Anyway, it was a hot day and she was wearing a tiny little sun dress that came up very high on her legs. She kept talking to me as she leaned into her car to grab something. I thought, “Can’t she feel the breeze? Doesn’t she know that everyone here at the gas station can totally see her panties? She has no idea what she’s doing.” And just then she looked back at me over her shoulder and WINKED! I was so shocked when she winked at me that I blurted out “OH MY GOD!!!”

Just then, from the back seat of the truck Obadiah rolls down the tinted window and says, “Daddy, we don’t say ‘God’ unless we’re praying to God or talking about God!”


As soon as that cheesy ho bag heard a child’s voice coming out of my truck she took off like I was a leper with open sores moving in for nice warm hug. It was frickin’ hilarious! I guess Obadiah was my “way out” on that day.


Champagne wishes and caviar dreams...

There are lots of rich people in Northern California.
So many of them that you wouldn't even look twice if a $100,000 car drove up next to you. Every once in a while though, you come across someone who is really rich. The other day I came across one of those guys in traffic. This guy was over the top rich!!! He (and his chauffeur) pulled up behind me in this beautiful automobile.

This is the Mercedes Benz Maybach 57. The height of elegance. Unparalleled luxury. Champagne wishes and caviar dreams. This fine piece of machinery is available only to the elite of the elite. You don't buy this car to drive it. You buy it to be driven. If you can't afford a full time chauffeur, you can't afford this car. Look at the legroom in the backseat! Check out the reclining seats!!! Look at how beautiful the walnut burl is, smell the leather!

As for the price tag, if you need to ask, you can't afford it. For the rest of us curious onlookers who still want to know how much...

The prices start at $300,000.00

Through the rear view mirror I could see that the owner was in the back seat, perched right on the edge, looking about to see who was watching him.

I did what any sensible, God fearing, American man would do.


Luckily, $300,000.00 will buy you a great brake system and a collision was narrowly avoided. Unfortunately, the owner was temporarily knocked off of his perilous perch on the edge of his seat.
Hmmm, too bad. The poor chauffeur's face turned white, and it looked as if he needed to change his shorts. I laughed pretty hard (This is why I don't do "Christian" bumper stickers).

A while later I was thinking about the amount of money you have to make in order to buy that kind of car. Then I started thinking about what else you could do with that kind of money. Do you know how much good you could accomplish in this world with that kind of cash?

What kind of person do you have to be to indulge in that kind of excess?

Check this out...

Snap your fingers... go on, do it. Now, count slowly to three, and then snap again. Keep on going, count to three, snap, count to three, snap. Keep doing that while you read the rest of this:

Every THREE seconds a child dies of poverty somewhere on this planet.

That's every 3 seconds of every minute of every hour DAY and NIGHT. That's about thirty-thousand children each day. These are preventable deaths. These children are dying because of things like dirty water, no food, no shelter, no medication.
Every 3 seconds.
Doesn't that make you sick? Doesn't that turn your stomach? Don't you wish there were something you could do?

TAKE ACTION!!! Make your voice heard. Sign the declaration at http://www.one.org/, and let US lawmakers know that you want your tax dollars to help. Ask them to designate 1% more of the Federal budget to fight against extreme poverty.

Donate. Give generously to organizations like http://www.oxfamamerica.org/, organizations with a proven track record for making a difference in a real and lasting way.

Pray. Pray that America will be shaken from its complacency. Pray that "love thy neighbor" becomes more of a reality and less of a cute churchy slogan.



hit and run evangelism

I was over in Sacramento today for work. I was headed towards my destination and cranking up the air conditioning. Forecasts promised that temperatures would reach 108 by the afternoon. I've got one of those digital external thermometers that tells you how hot it is outside, but it's only got two digits. So, if it's hotter than 99 outside it keeps reading 99.
It was already stuck at 99 by ten in the morning!!!
I needed gas, so I pulled into a gas station that had the lowest prices I've seen in a while: $2.39 per gallon, what a steal!
After I slid my card through the ATM built into the pump I noticed that someone had wedged this tract into the crevice next to the pump handle:

It's been a while since I've seen an actual 70's style gospel tract. I didn't know people still handed those out. I kind of chuckled and grabbed it to take a look. This is what was inside. (Click on the picture to take a closer look)

Several things stood out to me as I flipped through this flyer.
The pages were filled with sensational, scary images, which seemed to be trying to get an emotional response by motivating with fear.
There were several statements that would be EXTREMELY OFFENSIVE to Jewish, and Catholic believers.
And the tract also seemed WAY out of date. It made several mentions of a "Russian Army", correct me of I'm wrong but didn't the dissolution of the U.S.S.R. do away with the unified "Russian Army"?
To me, it seemed that most people stumbling upon this material would find it laughable. I can hear them now, "Those stupid Christians"!

Even if the tract were completely factual and true, what about the methodology? Does this kind of "hit and run evangelism" work? Can you make a real and lasting impact on a complete stranger's life simply by leaving a piece of paper? What about relationship? What about community? What about when they have questions?

How about a quick little poll?

If you are "saved", how did you become so? Was it a tract? Was it through a preacher? Was it through conversations with a stranger? Conversations with a close friend? Sunday school? Personal prayer and meditation? Whatever...

If you are not "saved", what is your impression of the tract I've posted here?



Paradox: 1 : a tenet contrary to received opinion
2 a : a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true
: a self-contradictory statement that at first seems true
: an argument that apparently derives self-contradictory conclusions by valid deduction from acceptable premises
: one that possesses seemingly contradictory qualities or phases
Merriam Webster Dictionary

I was at the community pool with the kids the other day reading a book while the kids swam in the 2 foot pool. A great way to spend the afternoon if you asked me. As I was reading I looked up to see that someone had come over and sat next to me. A middle aged lady and her developmentally disabled daughter sat down next to the bench I was sitting on. The daughter was in a wheelchair and was wide eyed with excitement watching the other children jumping about in the water. The mother leaned over to talk to her daughter even though it seemed that her daughter could not respond.
I talked to the mother a little bit and found out that the girl is 19 years old and her name is Grace and Glory, but everyone calls her Grace. Her birth mother had drug addictions and Grace was born with mental problems. Her adoptive mother, Judy, has taken several kids into her home when the parents had problems with addictions to drugs or alcohol.
So as I sat there reading my book I overheard Judy asking Grace if she would like to read. I looked up and saw Judy pull out the illustrated children's Bible. I had the same Bible when I was 8 years old, you know, the one with cartoonish illustrations. Anyway, when Judy pulled out the Bible you could sense the excitement that Grace felt. Judy handed the Bible to Grace and told her, "you pick the spot and I'll read you a story". Grace fumbled through the book and settled on a spot. Judy gently took the Bible out of Grace's hands and read this story:

"Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie‚—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, 'Do you want to get well?' 'Sir,' the invalid replied, 'I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.' Then Jesus said to him, 'Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.' At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked."
John 5.1-9a

My heart broke hearing this loving mother, reading this Bible story to her young daughter, who is confined to a wheelchair.
My mind was racing. Why does this happen?
Why do we read about healings, and then read that we should do even greater works, and yet this young woman has been in a chair for the whole of her young life?
This is what theologians call a great paradox of the Christian faith. The Christian faith holds that healings should and do take place, even when it is totally contradictory to popular, and/or scientific opinion. And I've SEEN healings with my own eyes. I've seen people that have been deaf their whole lives utter their first words. It's a really amazing thing. But why doesn't it happen more often. Why to this one, but not the other one?

I don't get it

It didn't seem to bother Grace. She loved the story and looked around seemingly fascinated at the happenings of the community pool. She seemed very much at peace. She had a smile that showed that she had a deeper joy, something that can't be taken away from you.

"Grace, she takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
It could be her name

It's a name for a girl
It's also a thought that changed the world
And when she walks on the street
You can hear the strings
Grace finds goodness in everything

Grace, she's got the walk
Not on a ramp or on chalk
She's got the time to talk
She travels outside of karma, karma
She travels outside... of karma

When she goes to work you can hear the strings
Grace finds beauty in everything

She carries a world on her hips
No champagne flute for her lips
No twirls or skips between her fingertips
She carries a pearl in perfect condition

What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings...
Because Grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things

Grace finds beauty in everything"

"Grace, U2"

my future's so bright... I gotta wear shades

I've spent WAY too much time in the hospital in the last week. First there was the whole Josiah landing on his face thing. Then I get some kind of infection in my eye. THIS SUCKS.
I'm pretty sure I picked up the infection when I was in the hospital visiting Josiah in the first place. So I go in to try to get my eye fixed and they give me eyedrops.

"This should take care of it within two days" they say. WRONG!!!

Apparently I'm allergic to Sulfacetamide Sodium. That stuff only made it worse, WAY WORSE. It even got worse after we took this picture. Anyway, I went back to the hospital to see why this stuff wasn't working. They told me that I was allergic to the drops and that they would send me home with drops that would take care of it in a few days. And surprise, surprise, it's working.
So, I'm feeling pretty good. The swelling is going down and the redness is slowly going away AND THEN.... My OTHER EYE turns red.
After a week of going through this crap with my left eye, my right eye starts acting up!!! Oh well, now that I've got eyedrops that work for me hopefully it won't last as long in my right eye. One thing that was pretty cool though, I got the chance to lead musical worship with my shades on.

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That is SO blues brothers...


Prayer Request

Please take a minute and pray for my youngest brother Josiah, pictured here with Obadiah and Malachi. Josiah was in a bicycle accident yesterday that severely damaged his face. As I write this he is currently in the recovery room recuperating from his second facial reconstruction surgery in as many days. He hasn't suffered any fractures, or brain damage, but he is in a lot of pain, and it will take a long time for his face to heal. Join me in praying that his face will heal quickly, with as little scarring as possible, and also that this event would not scar him emotionally either. I thank you in advance for your prayers.

grace and peace, jimmy



AHHH, good times. We went straight from a week at camp to a week in San Diego! We stayed with my brother Ben, and his lovely bride Lindsay. It's always great to hang out with my brother, we were always best friends, except for when we were trying to kill each other. I think all boys go through that overly aggressive phase, where all we want to do is beat each other up! Thankfully we're past that, and there were no fights over the week. Whew!!!
We spent a day at Sea World where Obadiah and Malachi got to feed the dolphins, and sting rays, and we got up close and personal with sharks and killer whales!!
CLICK HERE to read the boy's account of the trip!!!
On the 4th we met up with my brother's good friend Monty. Monty lives on this catamaran. He heard that we were going to be in town so he suggested that we go sailing on the 4th. I've never been on a sailboat so this was really amazing to me. We each took turns steering, and Monty put us to work hoisting the sails, and shivering the timbers, and whatnot.Ben's got "a little cap'n in him...

...and a redneck T-shirt on him!!The cool thing about the catamaran is that if you sit up front, right in the middle, your feet can touch the water as you sail along! It's so cool to be moving along with only the wind powering the sailboat. It's so quiet and peaceful. This picture is in San Diego Bay. You can see an aircraft carrier in the background. You can't see it in this picture but there were a few submarines docked there too.Here are the fireworks that were launched over the bay. From where we were sitting we could see four different fireworks displays!! It was so beautiful with the San Diego skyline in the background, and the silhouettes of all the boats in the bay!

Getting back from vacation sucks. You get accustomed to sleeping in, eating out, cold margaritas, and hanging out at the beach or the pool all day, and then as soon as you get home there's laundry to be done, and the toilet needs to be unclogged!! CRAP!!!

Oh well, back to the real world.


Happy FOURTH!!!!

Happy Fourth of July!!! I made it through camp and had a wonderful time and I am coming to you LIVE from sunny San Diego. We are hanging out with my Brother Ben and his lovely wife Lindsay. I promised some more pictures from camp so here they are!!The last day of camp was very relaxing to me. I skipped out on several meetings, just to spend some time out in creation alone with God. Here is the view from a trail near the camp that I took an early morning walk on. There's an aqueduct along the path, and the sound of the running water is so soothing as you walk along. I brought a book (and the good book), found a nice spot in the shade and took my watch off and put it in my pocket.
Here is the trail. The weather has been really great. By 8am it's already shorts and T-shirt weather. It does get a little too hot in the afternoon though. It was over 100 degrees two of the days that I was there. The air is so clean up there, and the water is too!!Later in the day I went on a mountain bike ride along this trail. At this point in the trail these beautiful plants almost overtook the path. As you ride through you can feel them brush up against your legs. They were really beautiful and I remember hoping that they weren't poison oak, or ivy. I haven't broken out with anything yet.

I had the unique opportunity to teach a class on the last day of camp. I'm not a great public speaker by any stretch of the imagination, so I was pretty terrified. I think it went really well though. All week long I had gotten questions ranging from technical questions about gear, to questions about song selection, and conflict with team members, or church leadership. Knowing that there were so many questions out there I figured that I would tell them my philosophy on worship, tell them how I got involved in musical worship, and then open it up for questions. It went surprisingly well!!! I stumbled through my story, and then talked through their questions with them for about 40 minutes.
After the musical worship in that evening service I went outside to take a picture of the sunset. All week long I had been lamenting the fact that the sun sets at the exact same time as when we are all in the auditorium. So I quietly snuck out the back door and took this picture.

All in all it was a great week. Thanks again for all your prayers for this camp!!