Saturday, February 26, 2005

our next series

hollywood and the ancient text
Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

so we are starting our second annual series on "hollywood and the ancient text" where we bring some of the years best films into dialogue with the scripture. this year it was somewhat tough to pick the films we wanted to talk about, since many of the good ones, like hotel rwanda are not available on dvd quite yet. though we got permission from the studio to get some clips, it came a little late. next year we hope to get legal access to some of the films early. we will have to start earlier to do so.

this series we will be covering these films:

spiderman ii
maria full of grace
eternal sunshine of the spotless mind
the passion of the christ (easter)
finding neverland

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

preparing for impact

i often feel like the guy at the circus who spins a couple of plates on his fingers, and before you know it he is spinning plates on his feet, nose and wherever else he can find a bit of room. i was thinking about this question today: how can i accomplish all i sense God wanting me to accomplish with a sense of peace and joy and godly priorities?

for me, the answer is preparation. spiritual, emotional and physical preparation. early in my ministry i just used to go, go, go. i hardly took a day off, or a vacation. that is really bad. someone once told me, you don't need to take a day off after all the devil never takes a day off. but a wiser person posed a question: who are you trying to imitate, God or the devil?

God, of course took a day of rest, and so in time i finally have learned the vital practice of taking one day off a week. for me it tends to be thursdays. i don't talk ministry, take calls or do anything work related. i sleep until i wake up and do things that help bring physical, emotional and spiritual stength back. in engage in things that emotional recharge me, spiritually refuel me and physically refresh me.

the other thing that helps me move forward, though i have many objectives, is to take the first part of everyday to study, exercise, and other soul and body enrichment exercises. then i take time to plan my year, month, week and day with God. planning enables me to accomplish so much more. the balance of planning and flexibility can be seen in the proverb "a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." i plan and remain flexible for the leading of the holy spirit.

those are some ways in which i prepare myself to be effective in life and ministry.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

sit, walk, stand

so this past sunday we wrapped up our series on the new humanity, where we went through the book of ephesians. some commented to me that the message this past week was the best message that they have heard me share. i'm not sure i agree, though i think it is a vital message to comprehend. you can check it out for yourself and see what you think. it is entitled sit, walk, stand and can be downloaded at no cost.

i took my title from watchmen nee's well known book on ephesians, though i haven't looked at the book in 10 years and couldn't find it on my book shelves anymore. i must have lent it out, never to see it return. oh well.

as i concluded this series, and thought about an overview of ephesians, i really do think that you can hang the whole book of ephesians on those three words - sit, walk, stand.

sit. christ invites us to sit with him and soak up his love and his plan for the cosmos. in fact he chose us and transported us from the rotten atmosphere that each of us were born, and SEATED us with Christ in an atmosphere of love, mercy and forgiveness. and as we sit in that new atmosphere with our brothers and sisters from diverse backgrounds, God reshapes us.

walk. after three chapters of sitting, paul finally urges us to walk. but only after sitting. we can only get to God's destination of a new society by first sitting, then walking. but then we are to walk and imitate christ in all that we do, our personal lives, in our marriages, families and at work. and when we begin to bring a greater sense of the kingdom of God to our neighborhood, we will face opposition. and then we must learn how to

stand. we must learn how to face the onslought of evil that comes our way when we enter into enemy territory. the devil doesn't give up his ground easily and will fight us tooth and nail. so don't be surprised at his attack, instead be ready for it by putting on his full armour. there is not one piece you can leave behind.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

maria full of grace

having just watched this movie, it had me thinking more deeply about the sad reality of our world. it breaks my heart to see the poverty in so many countries, and to hear about what people have to do to try and get by. to know the sad reality that young women are used as "mules" to carry herion in their stomach from columbia to the u.s. is profoundly difficult to bear. while i have chosen to live on the "other side of the tracks" when it comes to hollywood, when i look around in my apartment, i realize that i have so much. God has been calling me to live the simple life, but my simplicity doesn't really compare to what most people have to endure in most of the world.

this film makes me want to be more active in really helping those who are being used and tossed around like trash. why do we have to degrade each other in order to "get ahead?" can we really be moving forward in our life if we are pushing others backwards? i need some time to think about these things. catalina sandino moreno does an impressive job acting, i can see why she has been nominated for an oscar for best actress.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

planning for trip to kenya

planning for trip to kenya
Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

so in about a month, about four of us will be taking a trip to turkana, kenya. james a friend of mine spent a summer their and got to know a pastor kaaleng, who is from the turkana tribe. God has used him to start thirty different churches in his tribe.

in his first visit to the states, i had the privelage of meeting pastor kaaleng. he spoke at our evening service and then we had him over my place where he shared many stories with us. during the time, someone asked about how we could practically help his people, who at this moment are experiencing a famine due to the drought. in some tribes people can only eat one meal every three days. as typical, we discovered that much of the money given by countries doesn't actually address the problem at hand, so with God's help we are coming to bring a little relief. we will also hold a conference for the pastors and leaders there.

being that this trip is just a month away, the team and i had to get a number of shots to prepare us. on monday i got three more shots, one being for yellow fever, which is a live dose. i woke up monday night about 3 a.m. and i was shivering from head to toe. i felt every fiber in my body shaking, and it continued for a while. i was thinking, i think the nurse must have given me a larger dose than she should have. i piled thick blankets over my to no avail. before i went to bed i was reading eph. 6:10-23 in preparation for my talk this sunday, about the powers and the principalities. that didn't help the situation.

but i'm good now. though i have been testing in other ways this week, which is very typical when i start talking about spiritual warfare. it is always good to remember that he who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. peace out.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

after grammy parties

another cool thing about living in la is that as a city we get to host some of the major events where those who shape culture through music and movies meet, the big award ceremonies. this past week the grammy's where held at the staples center, in a couple of weeks the oscars will be hosted just down the street from me on hollywood blvd at the kodak theater.

so this year i decided to check out some of the after grammy parties happening in la. a friend of mine invited me along. we first went to this pre-party in the posh penthouse suite right in the heart of hollywood, a stones throw away from the kodak theater. the view from their huge and i mean huge balcony or roof i should say, was breath taking. there we met some very interesting people from new york to chicago to la.

afterwards we attempted to get into a private party that was hosted at a mansion in the hollywood hills. i say attempted, for our first attempt was unsuccessful. we didn't bring the right person with us to get through. every party like this has a list and since this was after the grammy's, if you weren't on the list you could just about forget it. so we went to a hip hop party in hollywood and after we ran up with who is known as big george, we went back to what was a interscope record label party at the mansion in the hills.

i'm not sure exactly what big george does, but he knew the owners of the mansion, and though they weren't throwing the party, they were renting their house out to interscope, the owner was able to get the whole gang of us in. most rock stars had one or two invites they could bring, and there was eight of us who got in, which was a small miracle.

some of the people walking out when we were there were cheryl crow and lance armstrong. it was funny how many limo's were dropping people off, and there i was with my toyota corrola and my surf rack trying to find a place to park.

we got to the party at the mansion as it was ending around 3 p.m., and so the most famous person that i actually had the chance to meet was quentin tarantino the director of pulp fiction and kill bill. we had a very short interesting conversation.

it was quite a learning experience being at these after parties. it gave me a better sense of the la scene. i was basically a keen observer through the night, taking in things through my different senses. watching, listening, eating some good food, and connecting. i finally got to bed at 4:45 a.m. only to wake again at 9 a.m.

Friday, February 11, 2005

local and non-local ministry

i always find taking trips to be interesting, exciting and heart expanding. right before i leave on a ministry trip, i am able to do quite a bit right before leaving and that is always cool. then there is the coming back, which i enjoy as well. i don't always like the backlog of phone messages, e-mail messages and basic duties that don't go away.

but i really love where i live and what i do. in fact i often miss being away from my community and all that is happening locally when i am traveling. while i love to travel, there is nothing more special than doing ministry locally, in the context of community with people you get to be with on a day to day basis.

so while non-local ministry is part of God's call on my life, which i thoroughly enjoy it because of the way i feel God uses me to help other churches get started or get stronger, there is nothing better than being on the front lines of church planting locally. local ministry tends to be richer and deeper.

Monday, February 07, 2005

plugged in

plugged in
Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

so yesterday the la times magazine ran a story on kairos. you will probably get a kick out of reading it. feel free to let me know what you thought of the article.

leaving amsterdam

so tomorrow i am leaving amsterdam, to warm sunny los angeles. today was great, i was able to meet up with the leaders of the church for a few hours this morning, then meet up with my friends tijmen and frans this afternoon, along with bret, and tonight I will be meeting with theo, a bussiness man here in amsterdam. the trip has been rich, but the weather out here is really cold for me. i think that i have gotten a little spoiled living in la.

Friday, February 04, 2005

from amsterdam

so the last couple of days have been extremely full but also fulfilling. the church here is amsterdam is doing well. i have been working from early morning to late in evening, so this is the first chance that i have had to write anything.

i feel that people are grabbing a hold of the e4 philosophy and the e4 project fairly well. i sense that God has been able to use me to help encourage and strengthen the saints here. God is good. I want to thank you so much for your prayers.

i think i am able to take a break tomorrow. i hope to shoot some photos. i got an e-mail from my friend tijmen and we are planning on meeting up this monday, and maybe tomorrow. that should be a blast. pray that he might come to know Christ.

heading to bed.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

leaving for amsterdam

Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

so today i will by flying to amsterdam for one week. i have the privelage to minister to a church right in the heart of the city, as well as some pastors from different parts of europe. i am asking God to use this time to encourage and strengthen his body. i will be talking a little bit about the e4 philosophy that paul gives us in the book of ephesians. please keep me in your prayers.

i am also hoping to meet up with my friend tijmen, who is getting more and more interested in jesus. pray for God to open up his eyes so that he might see the truth.

i think i may have one day to take some photos of the city. i'm looking forward to that as well.