the dash between the dates

Andrew, my roommate, and I just had a profound conversation about bucket lists.  My philosophy:  It’s not the things you haven’t done, but rather, the things you have done that make your life meaningful.

I’m reminded of the movie UP. I believe this clip will explain it better than I can:

The conversation carried on and he decided, “Too many people write bucket lists.  It’s the ‘Here’s what I need to do in order to make my life meaningful,’ people that don’t get anywhere.  But it’s the people who say, ‘My life is meaningful, but here is a fun list of to-do’s that one day my kids, grandkids and signifciant others can look back on and say, ‘That was a good time,” that get the most out of life.”

I completely agree.  I’d love to go to Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Italy, Israel, China, and maybe Africa (I know right… so countercultural). I’d love to to go skydiving, be on a Michael Jackson Music Video (welp… ), live for a month like “Man vs. Wild,” be a regular on a one-hour comedy television show, perform on broadway, meet Meryl Streep, and possess telekinesis.

I am not focussed, nor am I wasting any of my time hoping to ever have the opportunity to experience any of these things.  Ultimately, these are just things I’d like to do.   It’s similar to saying “I want to eat an entire truckload of ice cream and have the magical power of not getting sick or gaining a pound.”  Yeah, I know.  You’re thinking that has nothing in common with my previous list because obviously you can’t eat an entire truckload of ice cream and have the magical power of not getting sick or gaining a pound.  That’s not the point.  The point is this:  If I set my sights on something that might not ever happen, if my goal is to experience X, Y and Z before I die, I set myself up for disappointment.

Do not think I’m being “holier than thou.”  I recognize and acknowledge that I definitely have a tendency to come off that way; however, I think it is ultimately just a misunderstanding.  Naturally, each person is his toughest critic.  I am also a person, and therefore I am my toughest critic.  My short-comings are so numerous, I’d be a fool to to EVER say I was holier than the next man.  That being said, leave this notion at the door as I continue.

I used to want to go to Broadway.  That was my all-encompassing ambition.  Theatre.  My passion. My life’s dream and joy.  Transitioning from Broadway to the big screen.  These were all thoughts that consumed my mind.  They weren’t bad, nor are they bad.  Wherever I had made up my mind to go, I would share the gospel.  But God saw fit to direct me to the foreign mission field, i.e. cross-cultural church planting among the unreached people groups of the world.  I have gladly adopted this ambition as most precious in my life.  I can completely relate to Paul in Romans 15:20.  This passion replaced Broadway.
All other things pale in comparison to this ambition or goal, if you will.  And my goal pales in comparison to knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

If I ever get to live or visit or see or do or experience any of the things on “my list,” it will be because God has allowed me to do them.  I will relish in the delightful time I will have.  But I will not intentionally make time in my life for anything trivial when compared to my life’s purpose, i.e. to make sure worship of the one true Lord is happening everywhere, to the glory of God the Father.  I am not going to plan trips to Ireland or Scotland (unless of course, this is where my honeymoon is to be), and no, I might not ever shake Meryl Streep’s hand.  But there will be no misconception in my mind of ever having the delusion to do so.

I’m writing too much and it’s late.  The Bible is the final voice of reason, so consider Paul’s wise words in Philippians:

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith- that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”

And last but certainly not least:

“To live is Christ; to die is gain.”

While we still live on this earth, we need to be solely dependent on and solely focussed on Jesus Christ.  Dying is gain, because it means standing in the presence of the object of our lives and our faith.

OH! I almost forgot.  What does, “the dash between the dates,” mean?  Well, mine begins with 1990 and is to be determined;  1990 – ?

That dash is thin and short.  Consider James:

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.  What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little and then vanishes.”

We have just a little bit of time.  Don’t focus on the little things.  Focus on the eternal. Make the most of life.  Live Christ. =]

the uncritical temper

This is the most convicting piece of literature I’ve read in a while.  I think that Chambers pins the issue down.  Matthew 7:1.  No escape. Buckle up:

“Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Criticism is part of the ordinary faculty of a man, he has a sense of humour, i.e., a sense of proportion, he sees where things are wrong and pulls the other fellow to bits; but Jesus says, ‘As a disciple, cultivate the uncritical temper.’  In the spiritual domain, criticism is love turned sour.  In a wholesome spiritual life there is no room for criticism.  The critical faculty is an intellectual one, not a moral one.  If criticism becomes a habit it will destroy the moral energy of the life and paralyse spiritual force.  The only Person who can criticise human beings is the Holy Spirit.  No human being dare criticise another human being, because immediately he does he puts himself in a superior position to the one he cricises.  A critic must be removed from what he criticises.  Before a man can criticise a work of art or a piece of music, his information must be complete, he must stand away from what he criticises as superior to it.  No human being can ever take that attitude to another human being; if he does he puts himself in the wrong position and grieves the Holy Spirit.  A man who is continually criticised becomes good for nothin, the effect of criticism knocks all the gumption and power out of him.  Criticism is deadly in its effect because it divides a man’s powers and prevents his being a force for anything.  That is never the work of the Holy Ghost.  The Holy Ghost alone is in the true positino of a critic; He is able to show what is wrong without wounding and hurting.


The temper of mind that makes us lynx-eyed in seeing where others are wrong does not do them any good, because the effect of our criticism is to paralyse their powers, which proves that the criticism was not of the Holy Ghost; we have put ourselves into the posiition of a superior person.  Jesus says a disciple can never stand away from another life and criticise it, therefore He advocates an uncritical temper, “Judge not.” Beware of anything that puts you in the place of the superior person.


The counsel of Jesus is to abstain from judging.  This sounds strange at first because the characteristic of the Holy Spirit in a Christian is to reveal the things that are wrong, but the strangeness is only on the surface.  The Holy Spirit does reveal what is wrong in others, but His discernment is never for purposes of criticism, but for purposes of intercession.  When the Holy Spirit reveals something of the nature of sin and unbelief in another, His purpose is not to make us feel the smug satisfaction of a critical spectator, ‘Well thank God, I am not like that’; but to make us so lay hold of God for that one that od enables him to turn away from the wrong thing.  Never ask God for discernment, becuase discernment increases your responsibility terrifically; and you cannot get out of it by talking, but only by bearing up the life in intercession before God until God puts him right.  “If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and He shall give him life for them that sin not unto death.” (1 John v, 16.)  Our Lord allows no room for criticism in the spiritual life, but He does allow room for discernment and discrimination.


If we let these search-lights go straight down to the root of our spiritual life we will see why Jesus says ‘Don’t judge’; we won’t have time to.  Our whole life is o be lived so in the power of God that He can pour through us the rivers of living water to others.  Some of us are so concerned about the outflow that it dries up.  We continually ask, ‘Am I of any use?’ Jesus tells us how  be of use: ‘Believe in Me, and out of you will flow rivers of living water.’


“Judge not, that ye be not judged.”  If we let that maxim of our Lord’s sink into our hearts we will find how it hauls up.  “Judge not” – why, we are always at it!  The average Christian is the most penetratingly critical individual, there is nothing of the likeness of Jesus Christ about him.  A critical temper is a contradiction to all our Lord’s teaching.  Jesus says of criticism, ‘Apply it to yourself, never to anyone else.’ “Why dost thou judge thy brother? . . . for we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ.”  Whenever you are in a critical temper, it is impossible to enter into communion with God.  Criticism makes you hard and vindictive and cruel, and leaves you with the flattering unction that you are a superior person.  It is impossible to develop the characteristics of a saint and maintain a critical attitude.  The first thing the Holy Spirit does is to give us a spring-cleaning, and there is no possibility of pride being left in a man after that.  I never met a man I could despair of after having discerned all that lies in me apart from the grace of God.  Stop having a measuring rod for others.  Jesus says regarding judging, ‘Don’t; be uncritical in your temper, because in the spiritual domain you can accomplish nothing by criticism.’  One of the severest lessons to learn to is leave the cases we do not understand to God.  There is always one fact more in every life of which we know nothing, therefore Jesus says, ‘Judge not.’  We cannot do it once and for all, we have to remember always that this is our Lord’s rule of conduct.


Oswald Chambers


Thoughts?
Chambers, Oswald. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. 1960 ed. London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1960. Print.

am i a soldier of the cross?

Why must Chris Tomlin and Hillsong (no offense) replace this beautiful literature by Isaac Watts?  And please don’t be deceived into thinking it’s about “cultural relevance.”  That’s not viable anymore since outreach is no longer fulfilling its intended purpose, as it use to.  Every member of our congregation knows the songs we sing in church.  They have been playing on repeat for the past 20 years.  I think it’s time to start thinking beyond the silly analogies of our generation such as “if God’s grace was an ocean, we’d all be sinking.

Oh, this song!  My favorite hymn.  What truth and boldness such as I have never seen in any of the worship songs of our time.  I am actually challenged every time I read this.  The “hymns” of our age are few and far between that ever challenge me and my walk.  The members of our churches need theology in their worship.  Christ saturated, challenging, and thought-provoking songs.  Not analogies.  Not emotion.  If our worship services are based off emotional experiences, the church in America will fail.

Experiences run out.  Feed the congregation theology in worship, and you will reap a congregation quenching for more of Jesus Christ.

Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follower of the Lamb,
And shall I fear to own His cause,
Or blush to speak His Name?

Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease
,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?

Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?

Sure I must fight if I would reign;
Increase my courage, Lord.
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word.

Thy saints in all this glorious war
Shall conquer, though they die;
They see the triumph from afar,
By faith’s discerning eye.

When that illustrious day shall rise,
And all Thy armies shine
In robes of victory through the skies,
The glory shall be Thine.

-Isaac Watts

“Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity…” -Hebrews 6:1

wrapping it up.

blah blah blah I haven’t blogged in a while blah blah blah.   So here’ goes:

This semester has been fun.  Lots to tell.  Talking points?  Okay.

IMG_0306

Mutemath at the House of Blues

  • Bon Iver at Hollywood Forever

    Got tickets to Bon Iver’s sunrise concert at Hollywood Forever with an appearance from Megafaun.  Phenomenal concert! Mutemath at the House of Blues in San Diego, opened by As Tall As Lions.  Both of these with Paige Alyn Hoddick. Both of them mind-blowing.

  • Having a WAY better job than last year.  And I get to use my hands to be creative, paint, saw, shape, and build things! Aaaaand besides all the fun stuff, I have more hours, and the obvious implication of this? More pay.
  • I have been going home almost every weekend (for orthodontist reasons mostly… most of my friends here at apu have been getting upset with me.  Bitter-sweet.  Moving on.) and seeing my family, church friends, and Paige.  I don’t think this will happen as often next semester, but God knows.
  • My dad got a new lease on life having received his new kidney on his birthday this year!  Definitely a God thing to be noted.
  • I have been granted an awesome apartment (probably the coolest bachelor pad – minus the mess – EVER) with two fantastic roommates, Andrew Keahey and Chris Speed.  I’m honored.
  • My awesome D-group.  We read through the first two books of C.S. Lewis’ space trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra.  Very creative and interesting books to think about, analyze, and enjoy.

Plenty of other exciting adventures took place this semester.  Besides this short list of excitements, probably one of the climaxes of my semester was the entire process of performing in The Philadelphia Story, directed by Erin Gaw.  I have been in about 16 musicals in my life, and this was my first straight play performance.  I learned priceless lessons in acting, technique, and centering that I will take with me the rest of my “acting career.”

So, up to this point, all my classes have been easy-sailing and mildly enjoyable.  After having registered for my classes for Spring semester, my conscience screams, “Buckle up.”

Picture 15

Here is my class schedule.  Other than Health, I think the semester is going to be pretty tough, considering that four of these classes involve large amounts of reading and writing; in the same breathe, I think that this coming semester will probably be one of the most enjoyably challenging experiences I have ever had to confront, on many levels.  I can’t wait.  I’m starting to take a couple classes for my Philosophy minor, which was inspired by Mr. Ryan Cowden, and I really cannot wait to take them.  Shayfer Wayne will be in my Contemporary Christian Thought class and I believe Mr. Garrett Graves and my roommate Andrew Keahey will be taking Comparative Religions with me.  Next semester will be fun and difficult, but I’m excited for the fun part.  On top of this, I have been finally scheduled to get jaw surgery.  January 27th, 2010.  Yeah, right?  It’s been a long time coming, and it will be hard to take a week, maybe two, off of school.  Just another challenge in the realm of my organizational skills.  Bring it.

This semester has been filled with new experiences, new friends, plenty of late nights and early mornings filled with 7-eleven runs, 5-hour energy drinks, intellectual conversations, and studying and papers, new professors, and new challenges.  All of these things are just a small step on the road to maturity, both physically and emotionally, and  mentally and spiritually.  With integrity, I can look in hindsight and say that most of my stress was induced from a lack of responsibility and efficiency with my time, energy, and especially sleep (but I guess time is a part of all three of those things).  This is the wrong I wish to correct going into Spring semester.  I am trusting that God will give me the strength daily to face each day head-on with a positive attitude, a bright perspective, and a contagious smile.

instead of blogging =|

So stupid facebook wouldn’t let me post this video because it was a “third-party copy-write infringement.”

 

Whatever.

 

All you people on facebook will still get to see it.  Don’t worry.  Tonight, I was going to write a two-part blog. The 1st being about my apartment/roommates and the 2nd being about Uta Hagen and her amazing philosophies on art and life.  “Welp,” neither got done.  I started taking pictures of the apartment… and then I had a brilliant idea.  Just take a short clip of the apartment and put it to music.  Best idea EVER.  So Chris got home and eventually we got everyone (everyone being Chris, Andrew, and myself) in on the imminently infamous debut of “702.”  Here it is. Buckle up.

CAST:
Academy Award Winner Chris Speed
Nobel Peace Prize Winner – Andrew Keahey
theatrical debut… miles grimes =|

Awayo: Fear to Faith

This is the brand new New Tribes Mission video.  Great example of the work NTM does and the Christ-like transformation that takes place in the hearts of people all over the world who have never heard the name, Jesus.

undisclosed exposure?

Written on Friday evening:

I don’t like it when people talk about brokenness. It’s stupid and usually sounds fake.  Because when I think of brokenness I think of Adonirum Judson, missionary to Burma (modern day Mayanmar). Gives up everything to bring the gospel to a place where people have never heard of the fullness of God’s pure holy joy and perfect all-redeeming plan of salvation.  Who lost his first wife to health complications.  Whose three children  had all died within two years of their lives.  Who remarried to a woman who shared in the humility of sacrificing comforts  and ease to live amongst smelly tribes, in hot humid jungles rampant with illness and risk of imminent death.  Who suffered the loss of that same wife and the loss of even more children.  Who spent 6 months on a boat at sea in hopes that the salt water air would rid him of illness and disease in order that he could return back to the task for which he felt called by God. THAT is true brokenness.

So often I get upset with the dramatics of my generation who beg for attention by singing, “sweetly broken, wholly surrendered,” at the top of their lungs, “arms high and heart abandoned.”  Give me a break.  I’m sorry, but I think that’s a little dramatic.  Of course I know I’m judgmental.  I’ve always recognized and called myself that before, but only now am I realizing how much of my precious time is wasted on my evaluation of other’s motives and relationship choicesWho cares?! What a complete wast of my energy.  Gossip destroys not only the subject of gossip.  Gossip destroys the gossiper and the listener. It’s foolish and it destroys.  It’s a deceptive tool the devil likes to call, “venting.”  That’s ridiculous.  Lord, may I have the boldness to stand for what is right and just and true and holy in YOUR eyes.  Not what is right and just and true and holy in the estimation of my childish friends, of whom I count myself one.  So there you have it.  I’m a judgmental gossiping fool.  And I encourage those reading this rant of mine to learn from my ere and take a look at yourself.  If you talk about anyone behind their back in a way that does not bring glory to God, you are guilty of gossip and are lying to yourself and to your creator God who MADE you to reflect his glory.  That hurts me so much.  To realize what a gift and privilege God has entreated me with and to come to the realization that I waste it and trash it.  My stomach and my head hurts right now.

Tonight was kind of fun. Well… eh… I didn’t have a great time.  Here, let me put it this way: “It was real, it was fun, but it wasn’t real fun.”  That kind of negativity pretty much sums up my night.  It was great to see people and hang out, but I have no idea why I was in such a bad mood.  Maybe it was the food.  Maybe Katelyn’s snicker doodles or Paige’s chocolate-chip cookies that got to my head.  Maybe the carbonated Pineapple juice.  Maybe the fact that I was a villager twice in werewolves.  Maybe because I think there is a guy crushing on the girl who I’m no longer dating but still very much like.  Who knows?  Because I really have no idea what silly little inconsequential “thing,” for lack of better words, made me so discouraged and produced such a negative attitude in my soul.  I’ve been feeling this way for a while.  Several people have called me out on this in the past week, amongst other things.  My sister called me out on falling asleep in my four-hour-long Spanish class.  My mom and dad called me out on not contributing enough around the house.  Both Paige Hoddick and Cody Warwick  called me out on the fact that I make an overabundance of awful assumptions about people and their perceptions of me.  In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a pretty messed up, immature, and completely irresponsible guy.  I’ll finish this later.  My eyes are going…

(and continuing on Saturday afternoon…)

Man I look like I have it all together.  I fool myself into thinking I do sometimes anyways.  As I was driving home that night, I came face to face with what an awful person I am.  I fully realized how unholy and unworthy I am to even ask the Lord Almighty to let me into his presence.  I was extremely mad with the night I had produced for myself and even more angry with myself for other reasons.  It was an awful feeling in which I find no hint of pleasure or joy.  I want never to feel that way again.  Despite how terribly cliched and overused the phrase sounds, I am a broken wretch.  I acknowledge that the degree is a fraction of that brokenness which some people experience on a daily basis.  So I humble myself in this moment and share with you a piece of myself.

Here is some more pity-party information for you; wallow in it.  My financial situation at home is not good.  We bought our house at the top of the housing market… right before it failed.  Do the math.  Because of this, I have to take out all my school loans in my name… That’s $20,000/year.  I had trouble finding a cosigner for my loan at first. Thank the Lord who knows all and works all according to his good purpose for those who love him, the one of the signatures went through.  So I’m going back to Azusa with empty pockets and a prayer. A prayer of gratitude and relief.  Moving on to more pity –> My dad has been diagnosed some years ago with a genetic kidney disorder known as polysystic kidney disease.  Basically, a bunch of growths start populating the kidneys and start growing exponentially faster with old age.   (and the rest is written on Sunday evening…) Last fall my dad’s neurfrologist (kidney disease doctor) told him he needed a new kidney.  Surprisingly enough, this is where things start to look positive.  The paper work for receiving a donor is so extensive that the doctors give it to their patients a year in advance in order to have the completion of the paperwork land before the kidney is actually needed.  My dad finished the paperwork in 3 months.  My dad is awesome.  AND a year later he is getting a new kidney… ON HIS BIRTHDAY! September first, you can be praying for my dad as he will be in surgery getting a renewed subscription on life; however, this means he will be out of work for two months, and as the primary financial care-giver of our family, that is a bit devastating.  Although my mom is working, it’s really insufficient compared to both of their monthly incomes.

I have been staying up extremely late this past summer and it has done damage to my mental and physical health, and even indirectly, my spiritual health.  Because I’m prone to sin (um… duh?), every shortcoming is amplified with a lack of sleep and lack of health.  This means I’m much more selfish, judgmental, and make assumptions that much more quickly and thoughtlessly.  If you are reading this and I hurt you in anyway, I want to make a confession and ask you for forgiveness.  I’m sorry.  I can’t do it on my own, and I realize that.  I’d appreciate your prayers more then anything in the world.  You don’t have to let me know you’re praying, just do.  As you can tell from this post, I’ve been in a sort of negative spiral, and it all came to a head with these experiences.

Harold Clousing

Harold Clousing

Now on a positive note.  A few things:  I’ve worked out some issues with a dear friend of mine.  There is an understanding on both sides and an excitement for what God has in store for us both as individuals.  I had a conversation with her tonight and it was full of grace and understanding and although the hurt is still present in us both, I couldn’t be more happy with where we stand now, and I think she might feel the same way.  I believe both of us walked away with joy in our hearts and a final contentment about the matter.  Big breath of reliefThe Lord, he is God.  I’m going back to Azusa!  Many new and exciting things are happening this coming year and I can’t wait to be a part of them.  I’m in a show (my first non-musical) called The Philadelphia Story and I have a main role.  Awesome.  My choral director was just accepted into the American Choral Director Association, which means APU Man Choir will be doing some excellent and prestigious performances this up and coming year.  Can’t wait.  Many of my old friends including Jeff Asper, Cameron Szcemka, Lauren Thompson, John Foster, Kensee Hobson, to name a few, are either coming or transferring to Azusa.  So stoked.  I’m living with two awesome roommates, Chris Speed and Andrew Keahey, and next to three of my closest friends at Azusa, Garrett Graves, Adam Rupp, and Shayfer Wayne.  Can’t contain my excitement.  I’m hoping that the Lord uses me this year, and have no expectations.  The Lord, he is God.  My dad is FINALLY getting a new kidney!  AND it’s from a good friend of ours… AND it’s on my dad’s BIRTHDAY!  The Lord, he is God.  And besides all of this, the Lord is working on my heart and shaping me into a man after HIS own heart.   I’m learning and experiencing so much, and knowing full well that I haven’t arrived and won’t ever truly arrive till that day Jesus Christ calls me home, I do  know that what little I’m experiencing NOW is a huge part of the man of God I so desire to become.  The Lord, he is truly God.

So this post started out negative and ended positive.  Sorry I don’t have any scripture right now to quote.  The truth and reason is I am actually writing in the dark.  I’m a HUGE advocate for God’s spoken Word.  In fact, I think it should be the topic of or at least mentioned in every “sermon” or “teaching” that happens to be preached.  I just don’t have a light right now, thank you to Paige Alyn Hoddick (www.paigealynhoddick.wordpress.com) who forgot to lend me her macbook pro charger tonight. =]

Oh! And the title.  I learned in my Psychology class in high school (thank you to Mr. Clay, most passionate teacher ever) that true love is undisclosed exposure.  Revealing things about yourself to people regardless of what they might think of you afterward.  That’s what I’m doing.  So, in other words, I’m trying to love everyone who reads this.  Or just everyone.  I may fail time and time again, but I will get better at it with each day I wake up, God help me.

ONE more thing.  True love is more then undisclosed exposure.  True love is this: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” There is some scripture for ya.

So if I don’t see ya soon, “…good afternoon, good evening, and goodnight.” -Truman

Good ole Truman

Good 'ole Truman

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