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If you are going to be in
Northern California tomorrow night
Come pray, meditate, hang out,
& catch the vision
Worship night at Gina's house
December 30, anytime between 7-11pm
Everyone is welcome
Bring friends

CLICK HERE to email me for directions


merry Christmas

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The Byzantine Museum-Athens


tattoo stories

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I got this "half sleeve" done over the summer. Each part of the tattoo has significance and I thought I'd take a minute to show off my ink! The symbol on my shoulder is known as the "Sacred Heart". It's a Catholic symbol. It symbolizes the heart of Jesus Christ. It has a crown of thorns and the side is pierced and blood and water both flow out of it. The cross at the top is symbolic of death, and the cross is being consumed because Christ conquered death and the grave.

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On the back of my arm is a drawing of Hudson Taylor. Hudson Taylor was a missionary to China in the late 1800s. Hudson dressed, ate, worked, and spoke as the Chinese when missionaries typically told natives that they needed to become "western" in order to become Christian. He had become one of them and had earned their respect. As a result the missions organization that Hudson founded, "China Inland Mission", is to this day the most successful Chinese missions organization.
I've always considered Hudson Taylor a kind of hero in the faith.

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Oh, by the way... Did you get your tickets to the GUN SHOW?!?!?!?

I have the Greek word "Doulos" tattooed on the inside of my arm. Doulos means "Slave, Servant, or Bondservant". Doulos has a connotation of service, not because you seek reward, or because you are were purchased as a slave, but that you are compelled to serve. As if something within you compells you to serve this master, no matter the reward, or the cost.

I also have a tattoo on the back of my neck. You can see a picture of it, and read the story behind it by CLICKING HERE.

Yes, they hurt.

The inside of the arm hurt the worst, especially up towards the armpit. The top of the shoulder was pretty bad, and right on the spine on my neck didn't exactly tickle either. The outside of the arm was cake though, I actually fell asleep in the middle of a 4 hour session.
The whole half sleeve took about 20 hours altogether.
I can see what people mean when they say that it's addictive but I'm pretty sure I'm done. I'm not planning on any other major pieces anyway. I'll probably have a little black and gray clouds in between the waves and the Sacred Heart at some point, but that's all I'm planning now.

I'm really happy with the way they turned out!
Sim does a great job if you're looking to decorate your temple. www.simtattoo.com


semper reformanda

Semper Reformanda:
Forever Reforming

At my church we recently had a series on the attributes of God. One of the topics was: God is Immutable.

Pronunciation: (")i(m)-'myü-t&-b&l
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin immutabilis, from in- + mutabilis mutable
: not capable of or susceptible to change

We illustrated the point that God never changes by showing in contrast how much we as human beings change.
Our bodies change as we grow. Our fashion sense changes as the years pass by. Our opinions change as we become educated.

We are "Always Reforming", always changing. In a very real sense without change there is death. Our human bodies are finite, and ever changing. Some changes are more visible than others. For example, my hairline is slowly receding, and gray hairs are starting to pop up on the sides of my head, while my belly is not quite as tight as it used to be.
Some changes are completely invisible to us. At the molecular level our bodies are in a constant state of change.
The only time that the process of change stops is at the time of death.

And that's only the physical change that our bodies experience. What about the way that we change our minds?
When I was 18, I was pretty sure that I knew it all. I had it all figured out.
Then I got to 21 and realized that I had been totally wrong about many things at 18.
When I turned 23 I got married and realized how truly juvenile I was back when I was 21.
Then when I turned 25 and had my first son I realized that I was just a kid when I got married.
Now I look back and wonder "who are you?!?!?"

Katie says, "You're not the man I married." And I say, "Yeah, no kidding, I've been like three different people since we got married!"

It's fascinating to me that we constantly go through change, we are always "in process". I'm thankful that God understands this and that God does not change. His grace is always available to us so that we can live the lives we should. His mercy is always there when we jack things up.
God is much bigger and more complex and more beautiful than we will ever be able to comprehend with our feeble human minds.

It's a challenge for us to realize that we are still in process. It's tough to admit that we don't have it all figured out just yet. It's important for us to realize that we are "semper reformada".

We see through a glass darkly.

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modern day job

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"Job hearing of his ruin" by Gustave Dore

Sheriff's deputy Andy McDowell was forced to live a parent's worst nightmare twice in a matter of minutes.

After he was taken to the site where his 23 year old son, Rory, was killed in a car crash early Wednesday, McDowell was driven past another fatal accident. Only later did he learn that the fiery wreck took the life of his only other child, 21 year old, Cory.

As a father my heart aches for the loss that the McDowell family is experiencing right now. Join with me and pray for the McDowell's as they deal with this unimaginable grief.

CLICK HERE to read the article, "Brothers die in crashes just minutes apart"


emo driven life

"Every man has a Jessica Simpson fantasy. Here's mine: Jessica, hold your sister Ashlee down so I can kick her in the throat!"
Dave Attell

I'm not a huge Ashlee Simpson fan. I definitely don't dislike her as much as Dave here does, but I'm not lining up to buy her CD or Tivo'ing her latest reality show, so when the latest issue of Blender showed up with her on the cover I almost didn't open it up. I somehow got a complimentary subscription to this magazine, probably because I subscribe to other music mags like Rolling Stone. Anyway, I haven't been all that impressed with the writing or the reviews so I rarely even open up the magazine when it arrives. Last night I had some time to kill so I flipped through the pages and came across an article entitled "Emo Driven Life". Much to my surprise this secular magazine had an eight page spread on the worship team "Team Strike Force" of Mars Hill Church in Seattle! I've never seen this much attention given to a church organization (other than maybe Saddleback, or Willow Creek) in a secular publication. The article was surprisingly complimentary too! It even had a nifty little timeline that featured the history of Rock n' Roll in the church.
The best entry in the timeline was this: "Circa A.D. 30; Jesus establishes rock & roll credentials by hanging out with a prostitute, Mary Magdalene, and turning water into wine at a party. Your move Tommy Lee..."
The article talked a bit about the Church, the pastor, and the different worship teams that lead at Mars Hill.

Here's a small excerpt: "A thousand people are on their feet for Team Strike Force tonight. The band, in Converse and corduroy, smash out the power chords of an emo anthem. 'Give me a heart, a heart that is full,' moans Luke Abrams, his dirty blonde bangs flopping over his brow, his slight frame bent rapturously back. Matt Johnson smacks down the drums, sweat dampening his Dischord Records T-shirt. The room shakes with the crowd's singing. Hands raise invisible lighters aloft. This moment should be followed by cold beers in the dressing room as Dave Grohl drops by to say hello, a couple of skater babes in tow. But in the green room at this particular venue, none of that awaits. There is a deli tray with olives and turkey sandwiches, but the only alcohol is a chalice of sacramental wine resting next to a worn Bible on a side table.

'Our church attracts the young, urban, hip, arty, cool, play-guitar-on-the-weekend, workin'-a-desk-job-during-the-week, people. Some have grown up with church experience. But most haven't been for a couple years. This is cool enough that they can relate.'
'Many of us were going to churches where the music was cookie cutter and dry' says Claudine, 31, who's been attending Mars Hill for three years. 'Team Strike Force is something we can understand.' Pastor Mark Driscoll and his team of church elders have invested much thought and energy in making the physical environment of worship one where people like Claudine feel not only comfortable but impressed.
Everything in this vast former hardware store is sleek and modern, even the church motto: MEANING. BEAUTY. TRUTH. COMMUNITY. Aside from a distressed-metal cross that looks more like a design element than an icon and the shifting images on the 'digital stained glass' video screens, this could be any room Fall Out Boy would play on a nationwide tour."

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CLICK HERE to check out Mars Hill's website. Click on the downloads button to listen to music from Team Strike Force.