Monday, October 31, 2005

stop, look, listen

train movement
Originally uploaded by loungerie.

a while back i was attending a spiritual formation conference. at the conference i learned a valuable exercise from john ackerman that i have taken into my life. it deals with the whole idea of paying attention to what God is doing in my life.

st. ignatius of loyola developed daily spiritual exercises to help people to be in touch with what God was doing in their inner and outer worlds. ackerman took some of the principles and broke it down into three simple things to do for a moment in the morning and evening.

in a real simple format it is about doing three things:

stop - quieting myself, asking for the spirit's guidance (being in a meditative environment could be helpful)

look - take a look at my life over the last day, to see what God is doing in and around me, to find the fingerprint of God

listen - listen to what the spirit is wanting me to hear, what movement or reponse comes to my heart?

write - sometimes it is good to make a short note of what i heard.

"Never to put your finger down to affirm God's presence in this place is to live forever outside his kingdom; to put it down and never move it is to mistake a souvenir for God." john ackerman

so, why don't you take five minutes to stop, look and listen. who knows, God may want to put something on your heart.

Friday, October 28, 2005

living a balanced life

Unleashed myself
Originally uploaded by PølløPätägónicø.

"Everyone wants it. Few achieve it. It's the Holy Grail in the new world of work. But is it even something that any of us can have? We asked 10 business leaders and thinkers to describe their journeys toward balance." fast company

for me my motto has been to divert daily, withdraw weekly, maintain monthly, abandon annuallly. some of my most favorite quotes on sabbath come from eugene peterson.

in working the angles he says, “Sabbath means quit. Stop. Take a break. Cool it. The word itself has nothing devout or holy in it. It is a word about time, denoting our nonuse of it, what we usually call WASTING time.”

he talks about the two biblical versions of the sabbath commandment, how the commands are identical, but the reasons to keep the sabbath differ. in exodus the reason to keep the sabbath is because God kept it. the deuteronomy reason for keeping the sabbath was just to take a day of. (duet. 5:15) while the israelites were in egypt, they went about 400 years without a day off. as a result they simply became hands, work units. not people made in the image of God, but equipment for making bricks and building pyramids. he goes on to say:

“The Biblical idea of the Sabbath is about praying and playing. It not like the Puritans Sabbath that eliminates playing altogether and it’s not like the secular Sabbath that eliminates prayer altogether. The true Sabbath combines prayer and play and makes the day more complete. I have found that it replenishes the soul. God wanted us to see the importance of rest and replenish so much, that He commanded it, though He has not commanded which day.”

one definition he gives for a sabbath is: “Uncluttered time and space to distance ourselves from the frenzy of our own activities so we can see what God has been and is doing. If we do not regularly quit work for one day a week, we take ourselves far too seriously. The moral sweat pouring off our brows blinds us to the primal action of God in and around us.”

emerging solutions and problems

Worship - 12/09
Originally uploaded by Josa Jr.

eddie gibbs does a fine job in his article at christianity today in highlighting the strengths of d.a. carsons critique of emerging churches and the strengths that brian mcclaren has been bringing to the conversation. great and fair article.

why young pastors are leaving the ministry

Originally uploaded by Peter de Krom.

young pastors (less than five years in the ministry) are leaving in droves. according to nakedreligion blog the lily foundation has poured millions of dollars into "sustaining pastoral ministry" initiatives and it's too soon to tell if whether or not their approach is working. other than the obvious reasons pastors leave, this article shares the top 10 reasons young pastors leave the ministry.

david going after goliath at church

"at a gathering sponsored by the retailer, economist will present studies of the giant's economic impact - not all with flattering result." to check the article click here to get business week online.

not only that, but wal-mart's critics are borrowing from mel gibson's promotional playbook. producers of a new documentary, "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" will show it at about 1,000 churches, synagogues and religious sites nationwide on nov. 13th in a bid to force changes in wal-mart's employment and other practices. more movies are opening at churches these days.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

blurry but visible

i remember when i was a young kid playing on the merry-go-round and then getting off. i felt very dizzy and in a daze, but in time when my feet hit the ground, i felt stability and everything seemed to go back to what it was like before getting on the merry-go-round.

for the last two years i have felt that i have been on a merry-go-round in relation to some aspects of my life. i don't think that anyone was designed to stay on a merry-go-round for quite that long. for when that happens, it messes with one's equilibrium and slightly with one's vision. in some ways i feel like i just got off of one merry-go-round and my feet have landed on the ground. it feels good, but kind of funny because in some ways it has been so long. i'm looking around and everything is kind of blurry but visible, like looking in a mud puddle.

i think before long i will be able to lift my head, look forward and start to walk toward the future as God brings it to me. after all, i am still a little kid in a big world. sometimes that world can feel big and confusing, often times that world throws me for loops. all i feel that i can do is hold on to my Father's hand and let Him take me where He wants.

sometimes He leads me to great adventure. sometimes he leads me to quiet spaces. i'm happy to go where He leads. i feel like i have some space to focus, to reflect, to rest and to walk. the future is blurry but visible, yet that is enough if i am holding His hand.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

rosa parks - a woman of courage

rosa parks refused to yield a bus seat to a white man in 1955 was a first step in the march to end u.s. segregation. though i'm posting this a bit late, due to being overwhelmed with meetings over the last couple of days, rosa was such a signficant person in the moving forward of social justice, i just wanted to post an article about her life.


photo courtesy of shkullaku

the entrepreneural mind just reported a new global study put out by the global entrepreneurship monitor project. what they found was that "just 9.8% of the world's entrepreneurs expect to create almost 75% of the jobs generated by new business ventures.

two of the key findings that they mentioned were:

1. among country groups studied, more high expectation entrepreneurial activity occurs in north america (usa and canada) and oceania (australia and new zealand) than in any other country group. for these groups, high expectation entrepreneurial activities ranges from 1% to 1.6% of the adult population.

2. among five countries studied individually, high expectation entrepreneurial activity is highest in usa (1.6% of adult population), roughly twice the rate in the uk and germany (.07%)

the nordic way - an economic social model

picture courtesy of virtual finland

if you want to learn about an economic model where you can go to college and study for seven years without paying a cent for your education, if you want to have a baby without worrying about paying for health care, if you want to take about year off of work at ibm after having a baby and get paid 60% of your normal salary to look after your baby, if you want to get paid 70% of your salary for 18 months if you for some reason lose your job, then you probably want to move to finland.

whether you live in helsinki or espoo or tampere, life in finland is much better than it was 50 years ago, according to an article in the christian monitor. "Fifty years ago, Finland was known for little more than the wood pulp from its endless forests. A poverty-striken land of poorly educated loggers and farmers on the edge of the Arctic Circle, few paid attention to ti. Today, this small Nordic nation boasts a thriving hi-tech economy ranked the most competitive in the world, the best educated citizenry of all the industrialized countries, and a welfare state that has created one of the globe's most egalitarian societies."

while their situation as they themselves would say is not necessarily "exportable" if you read the article you will probably glean some cool insights and learn something. as you read about the nordic way, you will learn that taxes are at 45%, but you will also learn that the finish people take care of everyone in their society, including the weak, extremely well. and while they like many countries have experienced many ups and downs when it comes to the economy, they seemed to collectively be ready to face the challenges of globalism with what dr. himanen calls, "welfare state 2.0"

the christian science monitor is writing three fascinating articles about britian, finland and france it is series entitled - three different models for a globalized world. it is a great way to look at three different approaches to economic models for the future. the first article in the series was entitled - is free-market britain fair enough for all?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

spinning around

spinning at night
Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

do you ever feel like you are putting effort and energy into something and it just keeps going around in circles?

well, i know what you feel like. it is during this time that we must have faith and trust God to guide and lead us.

Friday, October 21, 2005

directing is 90% casting

according to an article at fast company, "The secret of being a great Director is fielding a team of talented people who don't really need much coaching to deliver a solid performance." in the article they say that hollywood film industry veterans will sometimes tell you that "directing is 90% casting."

the article talks about how great directors are basically mentors and coaches, it's not about being "the boss." they also say "great directors- in busines and film- are content to let others take center stage." i like that because in this way the directer is simply a servant with the goal of seeing a great film come to be. the only place you typically see the director is at oscar time, if they are good.

it's a good article and i think it has great parrellels when it comes to church leaders choosing their staff. paul talked about this long before directors were around or before fast company was a company writing articles. he basically laid out requirements before people could be deacons and elders. most the the qualifications dealt with character. you find them in Titus 1 and I Timothy 3 he also said, "You have heard me teach many things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Teach these great truths to trustworthy people who are able to pass them on to others." (II Timothy 2:2)

the more i reflect on this wisdom, my experience and others i coach, the more i realize who valuable this truth is in ministry. helping to lead a church is 90% getting the right people on the bus. surely it is a bus that is welcoming to all, but when it comes to pastors, staff and leaders, the scripture says that there are things we should look for.

pros have gone digital

according to photography blog "the switch to digital has already transpired, with nearly 80% of pros owning digital SLR and 52% planning to purchase a new one within a year.

though i am a beginner, a number of good friends of mine pitched in to help me get a nikon d70 last year for my birthday. i am blessed with many good friends.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

quick ways to handle e-mails so they don't rule your life

photo by derek winston

maggi dawn pointed me to some advice on how to deal with e-mails more efficiently. it's helpful when you get over a 100 a day.

purpose-driven starbucks

photo from usa today

the usa today reports "Coffee drinkers could get a spiritual jolt with their java in the spring when Starbucks begins putting a God-filled quote from Rev. Rick Warren, author of the mega-selling The Purpose Driven Life, on its cups."

the article goes on to say, "It will be the first mention of God in the company's provocative quote campaign." so warren will join the list of muscians, athletes, politians, writers and scientists who have their quotes on a cup too.

i'm sure that rick will do a great job encouraging others through his quotes.

find a bench, grab a book

Originally uploaded by imapix.

okay, fall is here. not here in la, but probably wherever you are. no we can actually tell when it is fall here, because it starts to rain. it never rains in the summer. also the nights becoming cooler here. the fall is just perfect.

so with fall here, go find a bench in the park and grab a good book. wondering what book to get. maybe you should check out one of the books on time magazines all-time 100 best english novels from 1923 to the present. i think that is when time magazine started up, that is why they went back to 1923. the lion, witch and wardrobe made the list, as well as the lord of the rings.

so find a bench, get some hot cocoa, grab a book and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

kairos as a guiding metaphor

dance of colors
Originally uploaded by josef.stuefer.

in an article at the resource exchange entitled "Following Jesus During the 'Critical Years', d. melleby gives some cool thoughts on the greek word kairos.

i give a short definition of this multi-faceted word on the kairos los angeles site as well. what a rich multi-dimensional word. i knew there was some reason we went with this word for our churches in la.

will chavez make new tribes mission leave?

hugo chavez from bbc

the bbc is reporting that president chavez is about to expel new tribes mission. new tribes is one of latin american's largest missionary organizations with 3,200 workers in 17 countries. according to the bbc article, "The New Tribes are leaving Venezuela, this is an irreversible decision that Ihave made. We don't want the New Tribes here. Enough colonialism!" and while he has yet to sign the expulsion order, he wants new tribes to be "gathering their stuff."

christianity today reports that "Though President Hugo Chavez last week ordered New Tribes Mission to leave Venezuela, the mission reports it hasn't received an official expulsion order and says it won't leave on media reports alone."

bill cosby coming back to town

a couple of years ago someone invited me to the hollywood bowl with them to watch this day long jazz festival that bill cosby was hosting. it was cool to get the chance to meet him.

now bill cosby, who lives in new york is coming back to town. this time it is to hold one of his "call out" meetings in compton, part of his controversial effort to address tough topics in black communities, according to the la times. the article says, "Bill Cosby, who ignited a firestorm of debate among African Americans when he chastised poorer blacks on issues ranging from bad grammar to the squandering of opportunities provided by the civil rights movement, will take his crusade today to Compton, a city plagued by a skyrocketing murder rate, a dismal school system and other urban ills."

cosby has been making tours around america hosting these "call outs" in the country's lower-income communities, addressing what he feels is "apathy" in the area, "engaging residents in a dialogue revolving around parenting, education and social responsibility."

cosby will be in compton tonight. at 4:30 p.m. "he plans to moderate a session dedicated to foster parents and their children, and grandparents raising children" the times said. "I want to give them information on the wonderful opportunities in the junior colleges and community colleges," he said. "The beauty of these colleges is that you can walk in with a young adult, and they will help you find courses and education in areas you are interested in. If young people have made a mistake in life, they're not dead in the water. They can recover and become what they want to become."

his second session starts at 6:30 and will focus more closely on compton in particular "which has been struck by a sharp rise in homicides. At least 54 people have been killed so far this year, 11 more than last year. that is in a city about the size of roanoke virgina. the population of compton is 98,802.

the two sessions are free to the public, but require tickets, which are available throught the compton city clerk's office or at compton city hall. i wish i had some time to go tonight, but my schedule will not allow me to. it should be a fascinating time. let me know if you get the chance to go.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

color your life

Primary Colours
Originally uploaded by nafe3.

so this morning for our staff meeting we had the chance to connect with christian swartz, as he was speaking in the area about his new book Color Your World with Natural Church Development.

christian is warm, funny, passionate, balanced and very helpful. i was inspired by his talk that think that this book will be a great read, based on the presentation we went to today.

one quote he shared with us that he picked up from an african man that i really like was "if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to run far, go with others."

christian is best know book is entitled natural church development and has had a significant effect on my ministry.

here is a review that i have done on the book. let me know if you thought the review was helpful on amazon. i just started writing review of different books and movies. time permitting i will review more books and put them on amazon.

Monday, October 17, 2005

optical jesus

okay, check this out. i shared this with our congregation today. notice the four dots in the middle of the picture. stare at them intensly for 30 seconds to a minute. afterwards shut your eyes tightly and wait for a circle to appear and then for a figure to appear in the circle. pretty cool huh?

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." hebrews 12:2,3

and then check out the latest talk that i shared with our congregation entitled "eyes remade by story." you can pull down the mp3 or get itunes and get a free subscription to the kairos los angeles live podcasts. if you haven't got into podcasts yet, you should check it out. it's a effective way to keep up with things in which you have an interest.

Friday, October 14, 2005

the vocation of the church

Chairs in the Church
Originally uploaded by RichardLowkes.

"the vocation of the church is to be the corporate structure of God’s eschatological rule embodied in and bodied forth by jesus as messiah…. the church exists for the sake of God’s kingdom and that its calling is the same as its servant-king: to open the world to its destiny in this kingdom” rowen williams

our faith calls us to engage the world in which we live. we must move beyond the idea of privelege and irrelevance to engagement.

how are you engaging your world?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

new beginnings

Garden Path
Originally uploaded by 18mm.

"though your sins are like sacrlet, they shall be white as snow."

yom kippur began at sunset on 10/12 for jewish people. yom kipper comes ten days after rosh hashanah, the new year, and is the culmination of the days of awe, the ten days of penitence. yom kippur is a chance for a new beginning. it is a day typically set aside for worship and fasting. it is the day of atonement.

velveteen rabbi shares three different messages of what yom kippur means for the jew today.

but what does it mean for those who follow messiah yeshua "jesus christ?" while harvey cox gives a fascinating, thorough and thought provoking account of what it means for the christian. my attempt here is just to give you one simple but amazing thought.

one of the amazing things that we learn as we read the book of hebrews is that jesus is our high priest, who went into God's tabernacle to become a sacrifice for our sins.

in hebrews 10 we are told, “Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.

“But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifices for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made PERFECT FOREVER those who are being made holy.”

we of all people in the world should take sin seriously, and forgiveness just as seriously. this is the day to contemplate and confess both your known and your unknown sins, for yourself and your community. because we are human beings, we are created with the freedom to examine our lives - and with the help of God and of fellow human beings, we can mend our ways and alter our courses.

this is also the day for you to remember your savior. this is a day to look at the cross, not yourself. receive the forgiveness that jesus christ offers you. don't carry your sins with you another day. confess them to christ. then confess them to a trusted fellow "priest", and according to james, God will bring healing to your life.

in turn, that healing will bring a greater sense of wholeness, and from a greater sense of wholeness, we can live our life differently this year, than the year before. we can be more caring, more loving, more forgiving. we can bear our cross and follow jesus. we can actually learn to return evil with good and make the world a better place. no more evil for evil, but blessings for curses. wait a minute - that could change the world!

meditate on how clean christ has made you, and as you think about how christ has forgiven you, go and forgive others in the same way. today is a new day, a day of new beginnings. enjoy it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

let's party and get philosophical

so i was curious and took the test. i am either snoopy or woodstock. i couldn't decided on one question.

those of you who know me, which of these two descriptions do you think describes me best? looking for a little help.

then let me know which one of peanuts character you are!

Monday, October 10, 2005

the kairos los angeles podcast is up!

one would.
Originally uploaded by antimethod.

guess who just subscribed to the new kairos los angeles podcast?

just to let you know, if you subscribe to podcasts, or even if you don't know what a podcast is, you can now easily download the latest teachings at kairos los angeles, with a simple and free subscription through itunes, ipodderx or ipodder.

since i use itunes, let me tell you how it works with that. if you don't have itunes, you can simply go to the kairos los angeles resource page, and look on the left hand corner under podcasts. then download itunes for free. after downloading, you open up the itunes program.

you will notice right below your itunes library is a section called podcasts. you click on there. then you look at the bottom and it says ipod directory. if you put "los angeles" in the itunes search engine you should find that kairos los angeles is somewhere near the top on podcasts in los angeles. from there you can simply subscribe and download the latest.

another very easy way to start is open up your itunes, click podcasts, then go to the teachings part of resource webpage at kairos. when you get there, simply drag the podcast icon into your itunes podcasts and it should subscribe you.

the only thing necessary after that is to go to the podcasts section of your itunes about once a week and simply click the update button on the upper right hand corner of the page.

if you want to learn a little more about podcasting, apple has a very short page on it. from there you can can surf around to other helpful sites.

wikipedia has a cool article on podcasting as well. at the bottom of the article you will find some great links to learn even more.

happy podcasting to you. get your kairos los angeles podcasts and then spread the news, then you might find yourself jumping too.

okay, i had to tie the picture back into this blog.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

pakistan fears 18,000 dead - la times

picture from la times

the la times reports that "more than 18,000 people were killed when a powerful earthquake struck northern pakistan." "in a disaster that entombed hundreds of children in their schools, flatten a high-rise apartment building in the pakistani capital and devasted untold number of villages."

my prayers are with the people, and my hope is that we might be as active in helping those living in pakistan as we would if we experience "the big one" here in california. i can't imagine what life must be like for all those who have survived.

it is overwhelming just trying to keep up with all the natural disasters. may God grant us wisdom, compassion and endurance.

Friday, October 07, 2005

world values survey

i was talking with my friend fredrick hellstrom, from sweden, tonight who has a cool blog entitled the nordic influence. we talked about a lot of things, and he was sharing with me how things were in his country. it was a fascinating conversation. it reminded me of my visit to copenhagen and malmo about a year ago with my friend tijmen who lives in the netherlands.

anyway, when fredrick and i were together, we did a little surfing on the web. as we were surfing we came across a values map that he had previously blogged on in the past that one of his fellow bloggers was blogging on now. it is a world values map that shows where different countries line up on different axis.

the north/south axis is where countries line up as far as traditional/secular-rational, while the east/west axis reflects where a countries lines up in regard to survival/self-experession.

in regard to the tradition vs secular, this is primarily indicating the contrast between societies in which religion is very important (traditional) and those societies where it is not. (secular-rational) in regard to the survival - self expression axis, this deals with weather countries have a strong emphasis on economic and physical security (survival) or if they have an increasing emphasis on subjective well-being, self expression and quality of life. (self-expression)

this map entitled the inglehart values map was put together as one of many expressions of the data that was collected by social scientist from all over the world in the fourth wave of the world values survey. the findings from this extensive survey were presented by thorleif pettersson, ronald inglehart and juan diez-nicolar to a special session of the swedish parliment.

now while data as we know can be interpreted many ways, i think anybody interested in missions might find something to learn from this map and from these extensive surveys.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

the ecology of stress in starting churches in the city

picture from ny times article

according to the population reference bureau, throughout most of history, the human population has lived a rural lifestyle. in 1800 only 3 percent of the world's population lived in urban areas. by 1900 almost 14 percent were urbanites, and by 2000 about half the world was living in urban areas. those who chart these trends say that in 2030, 60% of the world will be living in urban areas.

so while the human population is quickly moving to urban areas, many churches have been moving out of the heart of the city, though i am glad to say that recently there have been some movements that are starting to reverse that trend. this is good. but living in the heart of a big city has its stresses, as you can see from my previous blog on la. besides the typical stresses that thomas holmes and richard rahe pointed out in their famous stress assessment they developed back in 1967, city living has it's own set of stresses. and on top of that there are the stresses of starting communities of faith.

while there are many benefits to living in the city, like the variety of people, cool events, food from every part of the world, opportunity, world connection, and so forth, city living has its stresses. besides traffic you have lack of space, parking difficulty, more car accidents, typically more crime, and then the daily emotional drain of strangers going off on you, needing something or just treating you wierd.

starting a church has its own stresses, let alone starting a church in a different city in the heart of the city. we can experience stresses that relate to our role, the structure of the church, interpersonal conflict, intrapersonal conflict, ministry dissappointments, unrealistic expectations, constant change.... the list unfortunately goes on.

if that wasn't enough, those who study human behavior have termed a new phenomenon that people around the age of 25 experience. it is called a "quaterlife crises." alexandra robbins and abby wilner coined this term in a book entitled conquering your quaterlife crises, in which the authors compare a quaterlife crises to a midlife crises, except that it occors twenty years earlier. they assess that the quarterlife crises is a response to "overwhelming instability, constant change, too many choices and a panicked sense of helplessness."

here is how one person put it, "it's what happens when those of us who have experienced nearly two decades in a sheltered school setting are released into a world where there is no definitive or obvious way to get from point A, graduation, to point B, successfully living independently. the endless choices and possibilities invigorate some, but prove overwhelming to others. it's everything that surfaces when you begin asking the questions: 'what in the heck am i doing with my life?' and being quietly wondering: who am i? what is my purpose? and where is God in all of this."

in essence, the quaterlife crises happens to people in their twenties who find themselves flooded with pressures of living in a fasted paced world full of uncertainties and pressures to succeed. some people get off on this, while others experience extreme fears, fear of rejection, failure or fear of not fitting in.

when we are experiencing stress in a variety of ways, it is important to assess our stress levels, because even if you are a person who can handle a high level of stress, we all have our limits. "about" has some various stress assessements as well as ways to discover your stress type. stress assessments are important, for as any good doctor knows, "problem resolution always begins with correct problem identification."

and so if anyone wants to last in urban ministry, we need to understand how stressed out we are, and how to overcome stress and burn out.

those who study stress and burnout make distinctions between these two. stress is often known as the "hurry sickness" while burnout is emotional exhaustion, or what dr. arch calls "compassion fatigue". so it doesn't matter if you are a type A or type B, all people who desire to help others are vunerable to burnout.

according to dr. arch hart burnout symptoms may include:

demoralization: belief you are no longer effective
depersonalization: treating yourself and others in an impersonal way
detachment: withdrawing from responsibilities
distancing: avoidance of social and interpersonal contacts
defeatism: a feeling of being 'beaten'

so have you felt stressed out or burn't out lately? do you even know the difference? if you are involved in starting churches, especially in the heart of the city, then you need to take some time to assess your stress level, discover if you are on the verge of burn out, and learn some healthy habits on how to last in urban ministry. this past saturday i did a talk on this for our leadership community. you can download this talk for free. it's called lasting in urban ministry and is found on the left side of the page.

soon and very soon you can simply sign up podcasts. that may be my next entry.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

you know your from la when..

good morning la
Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

You know you are from LA when….

You make over $250,000 a year and still can’t find a house.

Your child’s third grade teacher has purple hair, a nose ring, and is named Breeze.

Your car insurance is as much as your house payment.

It’s sprinkling out, and there’s a report on every news channel about “STROM WATCH!”

You begin to "lie" to your friends about where you are (i.e. "Yeah I'm like 20 minutes away") - when you know that it'll take you at least an hour to get there).

You eat a different ethnic food for every meal.

You know it's best not to be on the 405 at 4:05 pm.

You've bumped into a celebrity at El Pollo Loco.

You know what "PCH", and "the five" mean.

Your pizza delivery guy is also on contract with Warner Bros.

If your destination is more than 5 minutes away on foot, you're definitely driving.

You have a gym membership because it's mandatory.

Your TV show is interrupted by a police chase.
You can't fall asleep without the lull of a helicopter flying overhead.

You don't stop at a STOP sign, you do a California Roll.

You've lost your car in the Century City Shopping Center parking lot.

You think that Venice and Manhattan are beaches.

You drive next to a Rolls Royce and don't notice.

You have a favorite Thai restaurant.

When giving directions, you follow up with the phrase: "With/Without traffic."

Driving along, you see a high-speed police chase approaching in your rear view mirror. You don't panic or even flinch. Instead, you call your friends on your cell phone and tell them you're on TV.

You know that if you drive one mile in any direction you will find a McDonald's or a Starbucks.

You live 10 miles from work. It takes you 60 minutes to get home.

You are not happy, or even slightly exited that there may be a movie star there. You just say, "They better not be blocking my parking space."

You personally know at least 5 people with agents.

You know what In N Out is and feel bad for all the other states because they don't have any.

You've gotten parking tickets from parking in the red zone in front of your house.

The guy at 8:30 in the morning at Starbucks wearing the baseball cap and sunglasses who looks like George Clooney IS George Clooney.

The workday starts at 10am...or whenever you get out of your therapy session.

Any invitation comes with, "Starts at 8pm or as soon as you can get through traffic."

You have never met a waiter that wasn't really an "Actor."

You call 911 and they put you on hold.

You have to leave the company meeting early because Billy Blanks himself is teaching the 4:30 tae-bo class.

The three-hour traffic jam you just sat through wasn't caused by a horrific 9-car pile-up, but by everyone slowing to rubberneck at a lost shoe lying on the shoulder.

All the "cool gyms" allow pedestrians on the street a full-view of those working out. Literally, you can’t drive by Wilshire without staring into L.A. Fitness. Perhaps a new form of window-shopping?

A really great parking space can move you to tears.

As one writer puts it: “LA is not just another city, it’s another planet.”

Sunday, October 02, 2005

by faith...

Against Gravity Rule
Originally uploaded by HaMeD!caL.

here is one small portion from our 2nd year anniversary at kairos. each year we write another chapter of faith in our church planting adventures here in los angeles. we just finished chapter two and by faith are starting to write chapter three. this is an excerpt from our time tonight:

If you are familiar with the scriptures, you have probably read the famous chapter on Faith, which you can find in Hebrews 11, how by faith Abraham and Sarah left their hometown to go where God directed, and by faith Moses and Gideon followed God. I would like to share with you a brief history of this past year at Kairos, reflecting on some of the things God has done in and through us as a community. You could say that this is chapter two in our story of faith. And then throughout the evening, we will hear some more stories of different ways that God has been working in and through our lives as different segments of our body share what God has been doing in their communities. We will be hearing from our canvas groups, hope international, as well as kairos kids. So with that in mind, let me read to you Kairos Los Angeles – In the Story of God: Chapter 2

By faith, Kairos Los Angeles continued to follow God for another year, despite some set backs, difficulties, and some significant people having to move on.

By faith, Jon and Caroline Freeman joinrd the Kairos team in order to help kick off the e4 project. By faith Stephen Gordon became a student at USC in order to help Greg start a group on campus. By faith Michelle and Sarah the first undergrad students at ULCA joined up with Kairos and hosted a Bible study their dorm. By faith, “D” brought his band the Black Tongue Bells to the fountain room to perform, and the set he designed with the little shack was used to kick of the series on the seven deadly sins.

By faith, Tom Fowler moved from Columbus, OH to LA to join the staff team and give Joe much needed help in the area of finances, and brought his other gifts to serve the body. By faith, Theresa headed up the Kairos Kids ministry and Kip continued to help with the worship team. By faith Shalom started raising support so that in time she could be more freed up to help the mission of Kairos.

By faith, Jose, who lived most of his life in the ghettos of south central LA, decided to regularly attend Kairos Los Angeles, despite the fact that a bunch of gringo’s from Virginia helped to start the church. After coming to Christ he brought much encouragement and street smarts to the body.

By faith, Andy and Kim Bleyer, and a team of 18 from the rock in Columbia MO, headed by John Drage, decide that they will be moving to Santa Monica in Jan. of 2006 in order to join with Kairos Los Angeles and help them to start a neighborhood church in West LA. By faith Joe and JR have been working together with the team so that this dream will become a reality.

By faith Carla and others from Kairos and Hope helped to raise money and find toys so that hundreds of needy children in hollywood had a brighter christmas.

By faith, Pastor Kaleeng, at the request of James, comes all away from Lodwar, Kenya to share the need of his people with different Christian Leaders, riding an escalator for the first time in his life.

By faith, many in Kairos, including Rob Schickler and Annie Wylie helped to make the 2nd annual Oscar party a success and kick off the annual series on Hollywood and the Ancient Text.

By faith Nate Towery continued to help produce some of the Sunday Gatherings at Kairos as well as using his dynamic teaching gifts to build up the body.

By faith, Joe Ibatuan stepped in when there was a need and helped to lead worship at Kairos, adding diversity and energy to the worship team. By faith Hikari and Carla helped our Leadership Community learn how to tackle issues of reconciliation when it comes to both race and class.

By faith, Ava Chin, who is a seeker, wrote a very positive article about Kairos for the Los Angeles Times Magazine entitled "Plugged In" which came to the news stands on February 6th of 2005 and caused many people to come and check out Kairos. As a result a number of new Angelinos have become involved, and Larry has even began to help out with the worship team.

By faith, Kristin, Anna and others from Dustin’s canvas group, birthed another canvas group in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.

By faith Jay and Amiee conceived their first child, and Aimee while very pregnant has continued to serve on the worship team, even though she works fulltime as is in her third trimester.

By faith, as members of Kairos started to understand Jesus’ deep concern for the poor and oppressed, many have become more engaged in world issues. By faith, Kairos with the help of students in Iowa and Illinois were able to raise 10,000 to bring to Kenya to help with famine relief. By faith, James, Jay, Lisa and JR went to Kenya to help buy food and encourage pastors and people through their encouragement and teaching.

By faith, Genesis’s was deeply moved by the generosity of people in kairos and begin to dream about a foundation that could help people in developing countries. By faith he went to JR and they began to dialogue about what to do, and through that dialogue and partnership the Solis Foundation was birthed.

By faith, Joel and Modus Dei played at Kairos, helping to secure a quarterly tradition of open mic during the Sunday Gatherings. By faith Annie, Christine, Bori, Nora and others formed the Atmosphere team in order to create an inviting environment for our Sunday gatherings.

By faith, Kevin Wylie embarked on more projects for the Kairos website, which continues to bless people all over the world and bring new people regularly.

By faith Jon and JR prepared for the e4 project, and Jon with the help of Hikari, Dustin, Christine and Mike kicked it off in the summer of 2005. As a result many involved in the project are experiencing personal transformation and bringing a more strength to Kairos as a whole. By faith Peggy opened up her really nice house in the hills of Pasadena, in order to host the e4 large group gatherings.

By faith Eric and Audrey decided to go on staff to help canvas groups as well as many things that support the Sunday Gathering, including worship and the kids program.

By faith, Carla, Jed, Stacy and others have continued to help strengthen families through the confident kids program along with people from Hope.

By faith, Greg Christman helped to take over a running program at Julie’s school when a coach died, and as a result was able to help 20 kids run in the marathon this past year. And by faith Greg and Julie tied the knot and found a place to live downtown, where others have joined them in starting a Canvas Group at USC.

By faith Stephen Gordon continues to reach out to his fellow USC classmates effectively, working with Greg and others to bring the good news to the campus of USC.

By faith, Craig, Andrea and Derek birthed a canvas group from the UCLA canvas group, in order that the UCLA group can have a laser beam focus on the campus this year.

By faith, Joe Racek and Ben Hayes lead us through what it means to be the New Temple in the city of Los Angeles. By faith, Joe and Lisa have their fourth baby and bought a house in Culver City.

By faith, Hikari and a team of people from Kairos and Hope took a missions trip to Chuahua Mexico to bless the people in that city, and by faith, they look to start annual mission trips to the area.

By faith Pastor Ed, Greg and Shalom birthed the courtyard ministry, with the goal to strengthen the partnership of Kairos and Hope International.

There is not enough time to share all of the things that have happen this past year by faith, and there are many whose name is only know to God who have by faith prayed intensely, served sacrificially, counseled competently, worked behind the scenes and given financially to enable Kairos to fulfill her mission in the city of Los Angeles.

By faith, Kairos Los Angeles continues to move forward in the story of God, bring a greater sense of hope, joy, love and justice to different neighborhood in LA. And by faith, everyone can hear the applause of God as he watches his children live by faith.

santa ana winds, wildfires, blogger

picture from usa today article

blogger was down for a bit, just when i was going to do an update about the wildfires here in la. so while the news is old and late, i thought i would write something anyway.

the first santa sna winds came to la a couple of days ago. according to the usa today, there are several things that come together to create the hot, dry santa ana winds.

it begins when an area of high air pressue to the north and east of southern california causes winds to blow in clockwise from the east, pushing air from over the inland deserts of california into los angeles. obviously the air starts out really dry. then the winds blow over the mountains and desert, and as it comes down the mountians, it is compressed and warms up. because of the extreme low humidity vegitatoin drys up, creating a favorable atmosphere for brush fires, as well as create some of the warmest temperatures that we get here in los angeles.

as you know some of the brush fires had become very large. according to abc news, the fires destroyed 24,000 acres, but only three homes, because of the fast response of fire fighters. the la times talked about "the massive, rapid and well coordinated response allowed firefighters this week to successfully battle a blaze that at it's peak threatened about 2,000 homes."

i was going to go with my camera to take some pictures of the fires myself, but time has been tight for me. but if you want to see some photo's from la residents you can check out los angeles through your neighbors' eyes. on my way to visit a leader in our congregation, i saw the fires and everyday i have seen the smoke from the fires. it's a bit surreal at times. i'm just glad most homes were spared.

the national weather service meteorologist mike wofford says that "typically in September, October and Novermber we start getting Santa Ana wind events." i guess we shoul be ready, for the season has started.