Sunday, April 30, 2006

Out of Pocket

I’ll be out of the country for the next couple of weeks so there probably won’t be any new posts after this one until then.

In the meantime, here some links to some previous posts:

Über Christ Followers series
Take a test
Read book reviews
Funny pages

Here is a list to my favorite podcasts if you’re looking for something to make you think, tickle your funny bone, or help you dig into the Bible:

Ravi Zacharias
Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me (NPR’s hilarious take on the week’s news)
Dan Plourde (Pastor of Calvary Chapel Jupiter)
Bob Coy (Pastor of Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale)
Bob Franquiz (Pastor Calvary Fellowship)
Mark Driscoll (Pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle)

Über Christ Follower Series

Jeff Jackson
Archie Valerio
Aaron Mondok
Gayle Erwin
Chuck Smith
Bob Coy
Rob Douglass
Ken Graves
Wes Bentley
Kelly Lyon
Carl Mims
Stephan Tchividjian
Gennarino DeStefano
Clay Hecocks
Mark Davis
John Chinelly
Don Dukes
Dan Plourde
Chris Goeppner
Jeff Thompson

Take a Test

Super Hero Test
Stupid Test
Nerd Test
When Will You Die

Book Reviews

To Own a Dragon by Donald Miller
Safe Baby Handling Tips
Recapture the Wonder by Ravi Zacharias
A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian D. McLaren
Elements by Bob Franquiz
The Barbarian Way by Erwin Raphael McManus
The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen

Funny Pages

OkGo Video
Rejected Hallmark Cards
I Can’t Drive 55
Dick Cheney
Reporting Weed Video
Benefits of Shopping Online Video
Calvin and Hobbes
Women Drivers of the Year

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Über Christ Followers – Part 19 – Jeff Jackson

Change is easy; once you’re on the other side of it. But while you’re going through it, it’s difficult; sometimes torturous. I met Jeff Jackson during a tricky transitional period in my ministry life. Our meeting was providentially arranged and I’m grateful for Jeff’s friendship.

Jeff’s wisdom and experience have always given me a realistic and sobering view of my situation. Usually when the prescription I need is a little truth applied in love, it stings a little – or a lot. But when Jeff gives me the scoop about my current reality, I walk away hope filled knowing I can actually grow through it and still live a life that glorifies God. Jeff’s wisdom is never on display or held over anyone’s head. His wisdom comes in the form of simple conversation from an older (not by much) brother in the faith who has already walked before me.

When I say that I walk away from conversations with my friend changed and mentored, I mean every conversation with him is like that. Words are not wasted when they come from Jeff.

“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17

Jeff is the founder of Shepherd Staff, an organization that facilitates and trains people for world missions. When I thought I knew all there was about missions, Jeff opened my eyes a little wider with serious cross-cultural training and experience. He is co-founder of Send the Message with John Michaels of Calvary Chapel Spring Valley and Matt Ellison of 1615.

A couple of years ago, the wind was knocked out of me when Jeff called and said that his life would be shortened by ALS. Jeff says that the Lord has seen fit to move him into another area of influence to pastor and encourage a group of people not many of us will have a chance to minister to. What an attitude.

Recently Jeff was invited to Washington, D.C. There he will attend sessions given by leading researchers, meet ALS advocates from around the U.S., and spend time belly-button-to-belly-button with U.S. Congressman soliciting support, legislation, and funding for ALS related causes and bills.

I was asked once, “Bryon, how do you want your life to be remembered.”

My answer to that was, “the damage has been done.”

Jeff Jackson is living the kind of life that will be remembered.

Friday, April 28, 2006


My wife took the Super Hero test. I always wondered what Catwoman would look like without her disguise.

Susan's results:

You have had a tough childhood, you know how to be a thief and exploit others but you stand up for society's cast-offs.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Picture of my Grandaughter - Ali Rae

This is one of those 3D sonogram images.

I can't believe I'm gonna be a grandpa.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Super Hero Test

I found this super hero test out in blogland. Who I turned out to be was an unpleasant surprise, but it makes sense. I think.

Tell me who you turn out to be if you take the test...

You are a wanderer with
amazing strength.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Covenant with My Eyes

Years ago, when I lived in Northern California, I worked in the woods as a timber faller. Some jobs took us a long way from home and we had to carve out camps in very remote and rustic places. The work was exhausting and mostly satisfying. Evenings were spent around campfires that were sometimes lively with conversation and sometimes quiet depending on how the days work went. We had a saying: “Some days you get the bear, and some days the bear gets you.”
My experience with the internet has been like that. It’s a great tool; an unbelievable way to communicate, to learn, and to get your work done. It’s also a place for distraction, wasting time, and wandering into places where traps have been set for you.

Open communication with accountability partners have been the key for my internet use. Job 31:1-4 has been a guiding verse: "I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust upon a young woman. What has God above chosen for us? What is our inheritance from the Almighty on high? It is calamity for the wicked, misfortune for those who do evil. He sees everything I do and every step I take.

A couple of weeks ago, to my kids dismay, I signed up for one of those “My Space” accounts. I said just like that to my eighteen year old daughter, “I signed up for one of those ‘My Space’ things.”

To which she said as she rolled her eyes, “Dad. Why?

“So I can communicate with (un-named extended family members)

“They don’t want to see you on their My Space,” she said.

I knew that. But I didn’t care. And I set up the account. But here’s the thing: everyplace I went to try and get my page set up had all kind of adds with huge chested (can you say, "silicone implant"?) women, chat rooms for lonely singles (or married folk pretending they're single), and foul language. I was afraid to have my wife walk in the room. And I couldn’t even have one of my extended family members post thoughts on my account because I was blown out of the room by “F” bomb after “F” bomb. I definitely couldn’t link from here (my blog) to there because most of you guys know I’m a pastor. So I deleted the thing, frustrated.

As you know, last Thursday was April 20 or 4/20. That’s the day pot heads unite to party and smoke out. I thought it would be fun to post something taking shots at the event and googled 420. The second link I clicked was porn. I slammed shut the lid on my laptop as fast as I could and ran to tell my wife. She gets sent a list of all the websites I visit courtesy of every couple of weeks so I thought she should know that it was an accident. I swear.

But that’s what I mean. “Some days you get the bear, and some days the bear gets you.

We’re surrounded everyday with shiny, pretty things to attract our eyes and our lust. Even at church, our sisters attract our attention in a way that, well, we don’t look at them like sisters. Below is a graphic I found on Andrew Jones blog that says it all:

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Über Christ Followers – Part 18 – Archie Valerio

The first time Archie met me, I pulled into the driveway on my 1983 Suzuki 750 with his daughter on the back. I was sporting an earring in my left ear, a tank top, and tattoos.

The second time he saw me I was sitting in the back of a police car vandalized by me. I was jammed into the cruiser by five or six cops in a pretty foul mood.

The third time Archie saw me was in church, giving my life to the Lord. His wife and daughter prayed me into the kingdom. He and his wife, Dot, were the counselors assigned to new believers the day I stood up for Christ in church.

That was twenty years ago in Margate, Florida. Archie immediately took me under his wing, made his home available as a refuge, and showed me what it meant to be a Christian and a man.

Several months after that, I married his daughter, Susan. Since then, he has showed me how to be a husband and a father.

Archie always assured me that God would do big things in my life. He’s one of the few people in my life that knew me both before and after Christ transformed my life. It pleases me to know that he’s proud of me.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Aaron song 5

Rad mouth noises:

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Self Evaluation

The gift that keeps on giving this year the Garmin Forerunner 201. My wife gave me this gadget for Christmas to time myself make a map of my runs.

It sat in its unopened package for about six weeks which didn't get me any brownie points. Behavior like that doesn't "fill" Susan's "love tank" says she.

It stayed in its box because I didn't want to read the manual and figure it all out. It works off of satelites and such. Besides, I really don't think I can keep pace with an object hurling through space or orbitting a planet.

But once I figured it out, it's been very cool. I can plot my runs on a map and it tells how me fast I'm going. It gives me my best pace and average pace over the distance of the run. It also tells me how far I've gone. So it's helping me do better. Although today I kind of sucked, but I wouldn't know if I didn't have a way to measure. But I really want to get faster. Especially now that I'm getting ready to be a grandpa and all.

For the past twelve years or so, I've kept a journal. I write down what's going on in my life and what it seems is happening in my spiritual life. When I thumb through past journals I've kept, sometimes I've grown and sometimes I really suck. The new gadget I got for Christmas uses global positioning satelite technology. To measure my spiritual growth, I use the Bible.

God's Word is the perfect measuring tool, but for me, unless I write it down, I can't really evalute things very well. Or look back and see the course I've run over the past few years. Sometimes, I resist opening my Bible and writing down what God's doing because I don't want to read the manual or figure anything out.

But it's in times like these that God really wants to fill my love tank. And so I need to run to Him and allow Him to do just that.

2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

Aaron song 4

This is a really fun one called Late Night Skinny Dipping Party at the Beach. Johnny makes a special appearance on this song.

Give it a spin.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Where's Dad? a book review

I just finished reading Don Miller's To Own a Dragon. It was a great read, although, someone will have to explain the title to me.

Reading Don Miller is a lot of fun. He makes you think. Blue Like Jazz was the book that put Miller on the map. My favorite book of Don's is Searching for God Knows What. Don knocked it out of the park with that one. I couldn't hang in there long enough to enjoy Through Painted Deserts, but my wife liked it.

To Own a Dragon was good, though. Miller really does have a writing style that is engaging and keeps the reader turning pages. I had a difficult time with one chapter: MANHOOD: The Right Equipment. In this chapter, Miller takes pot shots at all that we real men hold dear like NASCAR, football, trucks, eating wild game, and Promise Keepers rallies. And he didn't seem to care for Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge, either. But the most disturbing thing in that chapter is he said that "God's definition of a real man is a person with a penis!" All you need to be a man is to own a penis - hey, maybe that's what the title means.

Apart from that, I loved the book. The book is mostly about the mentors Don had in his life. He dedicates the book to men who are mentoring younger men and I love that. Don tells about elephants in one chapter; that part of the growth cycle in a male elephant's life is to be mentored by an older, experienced male elephant role model. Older elephants teach younger elephants how life works. If, for some reason, this very natural cycle is interupted, elephants grow up violent and dis-oriented in their world. Miller then explains that 85% of men in prison grow up without a father.

This book is full of wisdom and great information for guys who have a heart to disciple young men and teach what it means to be a man that follows Christ. Definitely pick it up.

Tyler Durden, played by Brad Pitt in the movie Fight Club, ranted about being part of generation abandoned by fathers and raised by women. Miller's book would have quenched Tyler's rage. But that would have ruined a really manly ending to the movie.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Aaron song 3

Pent up pubescent rage.

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Über Christ Followers – Part 17 – Aaron Mondok

No one has taught me more about my relationship with my Heavenly Father than my own son. Holding him and praying over him as a baby taught me about a father’s love for a son. I never knew I had the capacity for such love, or a desire to protect, provide for and nourish. I am conscious of the transition I made from being just a man to being a father. I’m grateful for that awareness. It helps me begin to understand God’s passionate love for me.

Being a dad means I have to live differently. I learned that I was responsible before God for the man that my son would become. Now, the years that I have him to pour into are almost gone. Very soon he will be standing on his own, responsible not to me, but to his Heavenly Father.

Aaron is the most outstanding and godly young man I know. This boy has only expressed a desire to serve God where ever on this planet God desires.

I took this boy to Africa with me – to South Sudan – and he established a ministry to children that is still up and running. I took this kid to Mexico where he served kids in English speaking clinics, painted the dormitories of orphans, and taught his peers the Bible.

Here at home, he serves in outreaches on high school campuses, leads a small group in middle school ministry, serves as a sound tech in youth group, and teaches his peers the Bible. This kid is so far ahead of where I was at seventeen. I marvel at the power of God’s Word and the grace of His Spirit to cause a young boy to grow into a godly man.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Über Christ Followers – Part 16 – Gayle Erwin

Every morning, Gayle Erwin gets out of bed, walks to his closet, and asks himself, “Which shirt will clash most with these loud suspenders?”

Despite his non-GQ-ness, Gayle has written a pile of practical and unpretentious books on following Jesus. Jesus Style impacted me most. This book portrays Jesus as a real man and demonstrates true servant-leadership better than anything I’ve come across. Erwin has real talent for humorously helping us see ourselves in the faulty disciples Jesus surrounded Himself (and continues to surround Himself) with. Characters from the 90’s sitcom Third Rock from the Sun are taken more seriously than the stuffy religious people we find parked in a pew. People like me. People like you.

Forget all the systems to holy living you’ve tried and failed at and simply try these two things:
  1. don’t take yourself too seriously

  2. demonstrate you love God by serving your brother

Here are some other pointers I’ve picked up over the years from watching Gayle teach:

  • loosen up

  • make sure its simple enough for kids to follow

  • if you have fun, your listeners will, too

  • come out from behind the podium – once they see you, your listeners will feel better about themselves

The bottom line is that if communicating about God is the goal, it has to be interesting and you are hereby permitted to have fun. Let the Word of God you’re teaching and God’s Spirit change people. Don’t think people are going to follow Jesus just because you’re smart and really religious and theological.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

OKGO video

I wanted to re-run my favorite dance video. I know you can't get enough of it.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Aaron's Song 1

Some people carry around pictures of their kids in a wallet. Others decorate their refrigerators with works of art created by rugrats. I put them on my blog.

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I've posted the silly songs my son and his buddies make on my boy's Mac.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Shooting Our Wounded

Earlier today I read an interview with Brian McLaren and blogged about how much I enjoyed the article. In the article, the interviewer asked McLaren, "What kind of questions should young church leaders be asking as they minister in the twenty-first century?"

One of McLaren's answers to this question was "How do we make real disciples? Why are so many of our church members mean spirited?"

Well today I had some time to just hang around on the couch and surf through blog-land. I did a search to find out if anyone from my hometown of Eureka, CA, was blogging about anything interesting. I found a link to the following MP3 files in an article named A Pastor Is Fired.

The recording is of a meeting that takes place and sounds rather boring; like a church committee meeting. But the drama is incredible. In my opinion, the pastor was railroaded.

The MP3's take a minute or two to download because they're pretty big files. The quickest thing to do is to right-click on each link (there are three files), select "save target as", then save each file to your desktop. Then you can double click the file and listen to it on your computer's media player.

1. Introduction
2. Grievances
3. Endvote

The whole thing takes a while to listen to. But I think that once you start, you'll have to finish.

download iTunes

Interview with Brian McLaren

Bob Franquiz posted a few really good links when writing about a Mark Driscoll article. I followed the links and grabbed this great interview with Brian McLaren in the Criswell Theological Reveiw.

Of everyone in the "Emergent or Emerging" Church discussion, I think McLaren (I know this makes some of you mad) makes the most sense.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Belly Busting Book Review

This book is hilarious. Somebody dropped this book off to my daughter last night. I was up early this morning making coffee and busting a gut while everyone was still in bed.

Here's a couple of more pictures that are in the book:

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Über Christ Followers – Part 15 – Chuck Smith

He reached a generation he never planned to reach. He simply taught the Bible simply. He loved the ones who rejected society. Society was happy to return the favor. But Chuck Smith knew that God didn’t reject them and did whatever it took to love an unlovable generation.

That was in the late sixties and early seventies and that generation was the “Me Generation”; the “baby boomers”; the “hippies”; the generation that most of our parents came from. Pastor Chuck drew fire from many Evangelical Christian circles for the way he reached this generation. He didn’t make these young people clean up or put shoes on or cut their hair. He didn’t make them sing songs from moldy old hymnals. He loved them and taught them God’s Word. Pastor Chuck was aware of the times he lived in.

Listening to Pastor Chuck Smith teach the Bible is like listening to Dad. Pastor Chuck brings the Bible to life through his humble style of teaching. He discipled a handful of men who in turn planted churches that made disciples that have planted churches world-wide.

No one has had a greater impact on modern culture for the cause of Christ than Pastor Chuck Smith. The list of men mentored by Pastor Chuck is a roll call of mega-church pastors. Greg Laurie is at the top of the record and is kept company by Raul Ries, Bob Coy, Skip Heitzig, Jon Courson, Mike MacIntosh, and Jeff Johnson, just to name a few.

If one were to judge by results by numbers of people impacted by his teaching and life, Smith could very well be the greatest, modern-day Bible teacher in the world. His impact on the current generation is under-estimated and under-rated, but I don’t think the notoriety, or lack there of, concerns him. He continues to love his congregation in Costa Mesa, CA, and simply teach them the Bible simply.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Funny, but No

I found this article about cards that don't make the cut over at Hallmark. Here's a card I made after digging through their rubbish bin:

Other losers are:

"Christmas just wouldn't be the same without peanut brittle." Then, inside: "Or Jesus."

Another is a drawing of a cuddling couple on a couch with a nearby friendly bearded man, wearing a robe, sandals and a turban. The woman says, "Honey, this Afghan your mom gave us is really warm!"


Saturday, April 01, 2006

DaVinci Decoded

This story is on NPR's website today:

For nearly 2,000 years the Dead Sea Scrolls sat undisturbed in tall, earthen jars hidden in a honeycomb of caves in the Judean desert. For the last 50 years, these ancient texts have been preserved in Jerusalem's Israel Museum. Now one of the most important scrolls has left the Middle East and is making its first appearance in the United States, at a museum in Cleveland.

The exhibit, which opens April 1 at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, includes many ancient treasures, including bronze and silver coins dating back two millennia. Curator David Mevorah brought the coins and other artifacts from the Israel Museum. The coins are being arranged on a pedestal to illustrate the annual fee that worshippers were charged when they visited the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem during biblical times. Mevorah says that is what prompted an angry Jesus of Nazareth to kick the moneychangers out of the courtyard. "[It's] a way to make that story more on a factual basis," he says.

The Cradle of Christianity exhibit is designed to give visitors the sense of walking through chapters of the New Testament, with physical objects attached to biblical stories: a cornerstone bearing the name of Pontius Pilate; a rusted nail that was used in a crucifixion. In all, 15 tons of artifacts are on display. Taking up just an ounce of that total is the Temple Scroll -- three scraps of slightly yellowed parchment, illuminated by a dim spotlight that slowly pulses on and off at 40-second intervals.

Through the glass of the refrigerated display case, the Hebrew calligraphy etched on the fragments is clearly legible. Mevorah says reading it makes his hair stand on end.

"The fact that you take a document, written in Hebrew, from 2,000 years ago, and you can just read it fluently -- practically every school boy can read it -- is amazing," he says.

The scrolls survived hundreds of years in the cold, dark caves that run along the Dead Sea before their discovery beginning in the late 1940s. Israel Museum director James Snyder says that today, each of the restored scroll sections is stored in a "completely stable environmental seal, inside a glass sandwich, so nothing touches it."

The authorship of the Temple Scroll is unknown, but it reads as a critique of religious practices of the time. It had never traveled outside Israel; the fact that it's now in the United States speaks to Snyder's desire to put his collection on tour. The stop in Cleveland speaks to a personal friendship between Snyder and museum founder Milton Maltz. Officials at the Maltz Museum say they've already taken reservations from people around the country who are coming to view the U.S. debut of these ancient links to history.

Charity's Home!

Thank you all for praying for my daughter. We brought her home from the hospital yesterday. She's on bedrest for the rest of her pregnancy which is about three more months.

She is still having some contractions from time to time, so keep praying. This daughter of mine is incredibly restless and staying in bed is going to be torture for her (for some reason I get a teensy bit of satisfaction from that).

We're praying for a healthy baby and a full term pregnancy.