Churching in Seattle

5 01 2009

mars-hill-ballardChristine and I decided to visit Mars Hill’s Ballard campus yesterday morning. We had some trouble finding the campus at first (my GPS is crazy), but got there on time since we left really early. Although we were hoping to hear Pastor Mark Driscoll, who was off on vacation (we missed him by a week!), we were not at all disappointed by Tim Smith’s message from Psalm 73. He spoke for over an hour so we felt completely at home, and the message was really, really good (I looked online this morning and they hadn’t posted the sermon). The whole service was pretty impressive with the funky music and the lights. We even got to sit in for their baptism service and took communion there, too. It is a huge church and we had to sit in the back because we didn’t want to disrupt the service with the baby. All in all, it was a really great Sunday. I’d love to go back and visit again. Maybe next time, we’ll get a chance to hear from Driscoll. =)

It was weird not being at Lighthouse. Whenever he goes away, John tells me he thinks about what is going on at LBC. It’s funny that I was doing that, too. I would think, “Oh, they’re probably singing right now,” or “They must have just finished the sermon and Peter’s introducing the hymn.” Although it’s great to get away and get some rest, I miss home. I can’t wait to be back with my church family. I’m sure 2009 will be a busy and tiring year (celebrating 10 years!), but hopefully it will be a good tired at the end of it. I’m so thankful for the church and am blessed that I get to serve together with the family at Lighthouse.


Go Bolts!

31 12 2008

chargers1So it’s past 2:30 am and I’m up in Seattle (if you think about it, that could mean different things). Anyway, I figured I could pass the time by jotting down some thoughts in the Brain. Initially, I thought I could get started on my resolutions for ’09, but I didn’t want to do that with a half working brain. Hmm… there goes any chance of having a deep theological entry as well. Sports it is!

In my opinion, it is a great year to be a Chargers fan. Honestly, this season has not been the Chargers’ best. There have been too many last minute losses in games that we should have won. The defense has let us down on more than one occasion. Norv’s coaching has been suspect at times. The referees seem to have this thing against us. But still, it is a good year. Here are some reasons why:

1. We’re riding under the radar. Even going into the playoffs, almost every sports writer and analyst already has counted us out. They are so confident that “MVP-to-be” Peyton Manning will tear us apart that they don’t give the Chargers a chance. Of course we are playing Indy when they are at their best, but that will make winning that much sweeter. I like being the underdog. It’s a good place for this team.

2. No All-Pros or MVP candidates. The Chargers are playing team football at its best. Even with all the struggles on the field, it seemed like the media needed to make up stories about problems in the locker room. Every Charger fan should be happy that we are not Dallas. We don’t have whiny players who get unhinged after a bad loss. Our guys stick together and back their coach. I like the fact that Rivers can play as the top rated QB in the league through the playoffs and not be in all the buzz about MVP.

3. Robbed by Pro Bowl voting. How Brett Favre gets into the Pro Bowl before Philip Rivers is beyond me, but there were others on the Chargers who I think got snubbed. Scifres totally should have made it. And Sproles was a good candidate for a special teams position. Jamal Williams is crazy at nose tackle as well.

4. Everything isn’t riding on how LT plays. I don’t think LT is done. His injuries obviously slowed him down early in the season and got this team to rely on a passing offense. But what I do like is that even when he has an off day, others shine in spite of it. Rivers is having a terrific year. Sproles is playing so well, he could be a legitimate starter. Floyd and Jackson seem to catch everything. And Gates is getting back in the mix. Perhaps his groin injury won’t be that hurtful to the team afterall.

5. The defense is playing better. I didn’t say well. We’re still giving up a ton of points. But still, at this point, if we score 30 points, we’re probably going to win. They seemed to improve more and more dramatically with each successive later game in the season. I’m sure this will carry on into the playoffs.

6. Kaeding is the man. This hasn’t been his best season, but his 57 yarder against the Bucs was the man.

Some of these might seem like negatives, but honestly, I like the fact that this hasn’t been an all out spectacular season. I really hope the Chargers go all the way and win the whole thing. It would set a good example for the NFL about how a team should play, overcome hardship, and stick together in low times. The Chargers have been all about beating the odds this season (sorry Denver). Let’s hope they continue the trend.

OK, in order to avoid posts like this in the future, I need to stop taking afternoon naps. =)

I’m Still Alive!

16 12 2008

I know it’s been a long time since my last post. Since Pastor John has been on medical leave, it has been difficult to update at all with the busier schedule. I’m hoping that in the New Year, I’ll have more regular updates both here and at the church blogsite. I haven’t given up on updating my “brain.” Just took a break from it. In the words of the Govenator, “I’ll be back.”

Calling All Troops

17 09 2008

“Life is war.” John Piper expressed this thought in his book, Let the Nations Be Glad. In the calm comfort of San Diego living, oftentimes it is easy to be lulled into a numb passivity where we forget that war rages all around us. A good friend reminded me this week that Satan hates godly leaders and godly churches. The more Lighthouse strives to be a church that upholds a high view of God and His Word, we can be sure that spiritual attacks will abound. But are we in a state of readiness? Are our days reinforced with prayer to withstand the onslaught of attacks? Do we remember Christ’s instructions, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5)? Please pray for the church, for one another, for the leaders, and for our pastor. Pray that even though we undergo serious times of spiritual warfare, Christ would see us through. Now is a particular time where the church can rally together in prayer, encouragement, and support.

Happy Birthday Eden!

3 08 2008

An hour after the doctor told us Christine was at 9 cm, it was time to push! We couldn’t believe how fast we got to that point. The nurse came in and prepared the room while she was explaining every little thing she did. The next thing I knew, the nurse was explaining to Christine the directions for pushing the baby out. Pushing actually proved to be a little bit of a challenge since Christine couldn’t feel anything in her legs, but she soon got the hang of it. After only about half an hour of pushing, Eden Cassie came into the world!

Born on August 3, 2008 at 2:04pm, Eden weighed in at 6 lbs. 10 oz. and was 19.5 inches long. She is an absolutely beautiful little girl and is recovering nicely. It all happened so fast I couldn’t really think too much about what was going on while it was happening. I just remember looking over as Christine’s mom was crying. Angella An, who was also in the delivery room, was squealing with excitement. The next thing I knew, I had a daughter! I was actually more concerned about how Christine was doing because the doctor was cleaning her up and getting her stitched. He looked at me and said, “You know, you can go see your daughter.” That’s when the first emotion hit me. I was proud of Christine. I remember just looking at her and feeling so proud that she was able to deliver our baby.

Even now as I am sitting in the recovery room with Christine and Eden both sleeping near me, I can’t really say the emotions have sunk in. It’s weird thinking that the baby’s mine. I keep thinking her parents are going to come soon and pick her up as if I’m just watching her for a while. It’s just awesome to think I’m a dad. It’s even weird to type those words, “I’m a dad.” =)

Our All Nighter

3 08 2008

Christine’s been feeling contractions off and on for the past couple of days, but last night they got a lot more intense. We got to bed at around midnight and by 1:00am she was up and in the shower because of the frequency of the contractions. We counted contractions until about 2:30am and that’s when we left for the hospital.

When we arrived at triage, it was a bit disappointing for us both to find out that she was only at about 2.5 cm. But they told us that the doctor said she could be admitted anyway. They just had us walk the hallways for about two hours. By the time we got back to triage, she was at 3 cm. At this point, the contractions were about a minute or two apart and the pain was pretty intense, so they wheelchaired her up to her room.

Once we got to the room, after the initial paperwork and stuff, they got the anesthesiologist to put in an epidural. That really helped alleviate the pain pretty quickly and we were able to get some sleep. Four hours later, they checked again and Christine was at 6 cm. They let us know they started her on pitocin and that really got the labor going. An hour later, she was at 9 cm.

By the way, the nurses and doctors at Mary Birch are really awesome.

That’s where we are so far. We’re taking a little break. Christine’s trying to rest. We’ve got George Winston playing in the background. And I’ve had a chance to update the brain so I don’t forget all this. =) It’s crazy to think that Christine will be pushing soon and Eden will be here in no time! How exciting!

Meditations from Proverbs 26

27 06 2008

As I mentioned in my previous post, I spoke on the connection between the heart and the tongue this past Sunday. Jesus, speaking in the context of exposing the Pharisees’ wickedness, gives some helpful insight about how the tongue works and how our speech reveals what is going on inside. In Luke 6:43-45, He uses the simple illustration that a tree is known for its fruit. Good trees produce good fruit and bad trees produce bad fruit. This is not a deeply profound thought. It is well-known even today. Why would anyone go to a thorn bush looking for figs? Jesus uses this illustration to show, however, that by examining a person’s speech, you can actually see the condition of their heart. James uses a similar illustration in James 3:9-12:

9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God;
10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.
11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?
12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.

Our speech reveals what we are inside. If our speech is wicked, deceitful, slanderous, and malicious, it reveals the sinfulness of our hearts. We would do well to remember that sin is not just the behavior of our lives but begins as a condition of the heart. Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.

The majority of Proverbs 26 is devoted to describing the one who works evil with his tongue. The author writes:

18 Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows and death,
19 So is the man who deceives his neighbor, and says, “Was I not joking?”
20 For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down.
21 Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
22 The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, and they go down into the innermost parts of the body.
23 Like an earthen vessel overlaid with silver dross are burning lips and a wicked heart.
24 He who hates disguises it with his lips, but he lays up deceit in his heart.
25 When he speaks graciously, do not believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart.
26 Though his hatred covers itself with guile, his wickedness will be revealed before the assembly.
27 He who digs a pit will fall into it, and he who rolls a stone, it will come back on him.
28 A lying tongue hates those it crushes, and a flattering mouth works ruin.

This passage has much more than can be covered in one post, but it does provide some helpful insights that cause us to examine our speech.

1) Verses 18-19 speak of the joker. This passage really hits home to me because of my tendency to find pleasure in the confusion of others. People who have spent enough time with me know that it is often difficult to discern whether I am being serious or joking in certain contexts. This kind of cruel deception does not serve to uplift the body but can actually tear down. Out of a desire not to be like the madman throwing about firebrands, arrows, and death, I need to put a guard over my mouth and consider the person I am deceiving before looking to the pleasure I might receive in deceiving them. It really does lend added meaning to the premise behind “April Fool’s Day.”

2) Verses 20-22 speak of the whisperer. This is the gossip and slanderer who spreads contention and strife through his words. In verse 20, the author makes a direct corrolation between whispering and causing contention. I mentioned this on Sunday, but many would probably dismiss gossip as a sin that “isn’t that bad.” The writer of Proverbs understands its damaging effect and how it really can work to tear down a person and cause contention.

3) Verses 24-28 provide some of the most insightful words in this passage because it reveals the hypocrisy of those who sin with their tongues. They disguise hatred with their lips because they are deceitful in their hearts. They speak graciously but must not be believed because their heart is full of abomination. But this deceit will be uncovered. The hatred will be revealed. Why? Jesus speaks of this in Luke 6:43-45 — bad trees are going to produce bad fruit. If this is what is going on in your heart, it will come out. Just give someone long enough to talk and they will reveal their heart. These are the people who dig a pit for others and then fall into it themselves.

This whole study on the tongue has been eye-opening. There is so much I need to work on myself. I talk a lot! There is no sense hiding what is going on inside in the heart. It will be found out. At the same time, there is no sense just trying to superficially change your speech. If the heart is the source of the problem, the heart is what needs to change. Praise God that He is in the business of changing hearts!