Friday, December 21, 2012

If There Is A Loving God Why Do Good Things Happen?

Because of last week's shooting in Connecticut many people have been questioning how a loving God could let something like that happen. That's a fair question. People much wiser and more intelligent than me have thought deeply about this question, and if you're still wondering about it I encourage you to read this article written by Billy Graham in the aftermath of the shooting. Another great resource dealing with the suffering of this world is a book by C.S. Lewis called The Problem Of Pain.

I have often been posed the question, "If there is a loving God why do people suffer?" In my experience it is one of the top questions from those doubting the existence of God. But there is a question we should ask back: Why is there joy?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Should You See The Hobbit? (A Christian Perspective Movie Review)

I love The Lord of The Rings (LOTR) trilogy. I would say that the first movie, The Fellowship of The Ring, is my favorite movie of all time. The first time I saw it I got lost in it like no movie before or since. I didn't want it to end. I was literally dreading the ending.

If you don't know, The Hobbit is a prequel to the earlier movies. It takes place 60 years before LOTR. The story is going to span three movies and cover almost every detail of the 288 page book. You don't need to know anything about The Lord of The Rings to enjoy The Hobbit.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Atheist Shouldn't Go After The Manger Scenes (They Should Try To Stop The Giving)

Los Angeles landlord has gotten in the giving spirit of Christmas. There is hope for humanity, ha ha! But seriously, everywhere I've lived all my landlords and managers have ALWAYS been super particular about getting the correct rent amount and getting it on time. I can't blame them... it's their job. The one time I thought we got a break on our rent it turned out the office had just mis-charged us and then took extra out every month for the next 4 months. It's amazing how much just $70 off the rent would help during Christmas.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Levi, The Amazing Down Syndrome Baby!

I think most know by now, but Allie and I have a new baby boy! His name is Levi Alexander Rhodes. I'm super excited about the potential held within this tiny child. The first time I looked at him I wondered, "What does God have in store for this little guy?"

He was by far Allie's most difficult pregnancy. As many of you know Allie struggled to keep the amnionic fluid at a safe level. Three weeks before his due date he finally decided it was time to see the world. He was just in time too, because his fluid had dropped to a dangerous level. They were going to induce Allie if she hadn't gone into labor on her own. He was born 1:28AM weighing 6 Lbs. 10 Oz. and 19" long. Levi was the smallest of our children for sure, but, to be fair to him, he was the only one who didn't go to or past his due date.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Trust Me I'm The Doctor

Life has been cray. Thank God Scaremare is over and it was successful, the election has ended, and Levi has been born healthy! So, it's time to get back to blogging.

In the past few months the Lord has been teaching me a lot about trust. There have been times in my life where things have been bananas, but since I've been married nothing has compared to this season.

It all hit us at the same time. There were moments where I wasn't sure if the baby Allie had carried was going to live. Our finances, despite me working more, got tighter. Through all that I had to try and keep my school grades afloat. You've been there (maybe you are there), and you know what I'm talking about.

Friday, October 19, 2012

New Idea: The 5 Year Marriage Wedding

WARNING: Let's start this whole post out by saying I'm weird. I do and say weird things. I live my life in a relatively weird way. Oh and also, this post is probably going to offend you (Especially if you're a woman). Ok, let's get to it.

I'm pro-marriage... I just don't know if I'm pro-wedding.

Throughout my 27 years I've seen many marriages crumble. So many that I can't recall them all. Sometimes the marriages seemed strong, and other times I saw it coming. I've seen friend's and family member's marriages fall apart. I've seen multiple Reality student's lives torn through divorce. In every case my heart breaks. I still have a friend who I get sad about from time to time. They didn't just divorce their spouse, they divorced their life and started a new one.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Scaremare Video is Stupid!!!

This isn't going to be my main post for the week, but I thought I'd give my interpretation of a recent video we made for Oceanside's annual scare house called Scaremare. Watch the video and then read my interpretation of my video.

Many have criticized of the video, and that's cool. I welcome it. But I also think some people have misunderstood the video.

Some Say It's Not Scary:
Well that isn't the point. It's supposed invoke feelings of fear, but I don't think most people's hearts will start beating quicker while watch the video. I think for the most part people will just be creeped out. And that IS the point. It's supposed to peek their interest in coming to Scaremare. Where, by the way, they will be thoroughly scared.

What Does It All Mean?:
In the beginning you see the young girl lying on the ground in a puddle of blood. Then we fade to her running. My intention was to portray that you are jumping inside her mind at the moments of death. At that point she is trying to out run death. Many have said that the, "Zombies" are not very zombie like... Well, that because they aren't zombies. They are a physical representation of death chasing a person. The idea is that no matter how hard she runs she cannot outrun death. It finally catches up with her. And I want to get the point across that death doesn't play favorites. The girl in the video is young, healthy, and shouldn't be dead, but she is. That's how life is. It could end at any moment. Death doesn't care how old you are. It doesn't even care if you're a good person. It does its job. You die.

The smile at the end could be interpreted many ways. My interpretation is that she is relieved that the chase is over... my hope is that though her death may have been tragic her life is now complete in Heaven.

Thanks Guys:
Finally I would like to thank everyone who participated in making the video. Some sacrificed school grades and others sacrificed their well being. Thank God we only came out with two injuries. It was hot, and those death chasers ran and ran and ran and ran. Everyone was very tired by the end. I think everyone had a great time. You guys are incredible. I'm looking forward to working with you at Scaremare.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Oceanside Is Having a Christian Scare House. Is That Even Possible?

Make this image your cover photo on Facebook, THANKS!

Halloween is definitely the holiday of broom riding witches and black cats. There are seriously some evil things that still happen on October 31st. My wife tells me that in years past, before we were married, they would have to hide their cats because they would get stolen and sacrificed. Seriously!

Friday, September 21, 2012

iOS 6 Maps: Trading Substance for Shiny

I have an iPad, a Macbook, and I'm thinking about buying an iPhone. I really enjoy Apple products. But, I know this may be hard for you to all understand, Apple isn't perfect. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking I'm crazy. What kind of lunatic would say something like that?

My case in point, who remembers Antennagate? When people held their iPhones in a pretty normal way their reception would face-plant. CNN ranked Antennagate as the top tech fail of 2010.

Well, there is a new controversy bubbling up in the soap opera that is the tech industry. Apple recently threw all Google's built in apps out of the proverbial window, and proceeded to kick Google out of the house of iOS. There is no more Youtube app on your iPhone, and worst of all there is no more Google Maps app in iOS 6.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pastor Youcef, A Winner Is Him

"A WINNER IS YOU" The grammar is so terrible, but somehow satisfying and endearing. You really think, "Self, you is a winner." This funny phrase according to comes from the 1986 game Pro Wrestling for the NES...
...wherein the player was given a short congratulatory message after beating the match opponent. Similar to other poorly translated videogame messages, its broken English grammar certainly stuck with those who’ve seen it and continues to be celebrated today.
We all like to win, but if there is a winner there is usually a loser. There aren't many win-win situations in life. When they come around it's something really special. I mean the worse that could happen is that a winner would be you. And that ain't bad.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

What is a Pastor's Political Place?

The question I want to ask today is: What is a pastors place in politics?

I'm a pastor, as if you didn't know that already, and I keep up with politics. I go through stages of greater and lesser of interest, but for the most part I'm somewhat up to date.

As a pastor I'm also an United States Citizen. I was born here. I vote. I believe that if you are able to vote you should. It is your duty and privilege to do so. This is a special time in the history of the world where your voice actually matters. I also feel like as voting citizens of the United States we should stay up to date on the political going ons of our nation. How else are we going to know who and what to vote for?

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Call To Action For The Kinetic Festival

First, I want to say thank you to everyone who has already sacrificially given to the Kinetic Festival.

Second, I'm going to be straight up with you. Kinetic Festival is in a tough spot financially. Originally we had a $10,000 goal. That was our dream amount. We didn't know if we could hit it by September 9th, but we were going to try. So far we've received $694 of our $10,000 goal. That's way below our need amount. And that hurt a little bit.

But, we're giving it one more try! Read the letter that Pastor Trey and I wrote in our effort to better express the vision for the Kinetic Festival.

If you're looking for a regular blog, I plan on having one up tomorrow. God bless!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

UPDATE: Bill Nye (The Science Guy) Thinks I'm Hurting My Kids

This is a HOT video on Youtube right now. Do you guys remember this science guy called Bill Nye? I do! Man, I loved his show. It was fun, interesting, and helped me learn quite a lot about science.

From an early age my parents equipped me with an evolution antenna. When I heard evolution spouted from the TV or radio, whether Bill Nye, Discovery Channel, or others, all I heard was, "Blah, blah, blah..." When they got back to the science I was back on board.

I grew up with my dad having loud conversations with the Discovery Channel. He would call out their inconsistencies and quote scripture at them. It's as if he thought they could hear him. But there was always this nagging question if our TV had a secret microphone inside. I don't think so, but I never checked. I liked to believe they were getting an ear full of pastor wrath.

I'm not really the, "shout at the TV" type. I like to listen, think, and respond. Well, this video has changed me. I've turned over a "scream at the screen" colored leaf.

Bill Nye this week was interviewed by Big Think. Big Think is a website that is trying to consolidate ideas that will change our lives (That's a summery of their mission statement... you can read all about them at the link).

They interviewed Mr. Nye on evolution. There was something about this interview that grated me the completely wrong way. I like Bill Nye, as I said, I grew up with his show, but this made me lose a lot of respect for the science guy. This was the part that really got me.
So, once in a while I get people that really—or that claim—they don't believe in evolution. And my response generally is "Well, why not? Really, why not?" 
And I say to the grown-ups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that's completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that's fine, but don't make your kids do it because we need them.
When you watch the video you'll see he is saying a bunch of things and just hoping no one ever fact checks him. He speaks as if those who believe in the Bible don't know anything about science. How about all the great scientist that came before Darwin and his theory? Were they not capable of discovery and progress? Nah, they were idiots like me. Bill then has the audacity to say our world view is complicated... What planet is this guy living on? Evolution is the definition of complicated. Someone get me the duct tape, my heads about to explode.

When did he become Bill Nye the evolution evangelist guy? When did he become such a man of misplaced faith?

I always liked Beakman's World better anyway.

What do you think about this interview with Bill Nye the Science Guy? Agree, disagree, or don't care?

The always awesome Creation Museum responded to Mr. Nye's video. You can watch it below.

And what kind of response would it be with out Ken Ham the Creationist Guy?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Old Habits Die Hard or How to Pay For a Mini-Van, Baby, & School

You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes. Philippians 4:19-20
This is going to be a more personal post than normal. Next week I should get back into my normal musings. I want to tell you guys about what's going on in my life right now... ya know, to keep you in the loop.

Allie is currently about 25 weeks pregnant. She and the baby are healthy. December 1 (or sometime around then) we should be welcoming a new baby boy into the world. So far our name for him is Levi Alexander Rhodes. Who knows that could change, but right now, that's what we're thinking.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Help Us Raise $10,000 for Oceanside's Kinetic Festival

This week for my blog I'm sending you over to Oceanside's Momentum Giving Page. We're trying to raise $10,000 for our Kinetic Evangelistic festival. To get a better idea of what we're doing this October  check out the video below and then head over to

Friday, August 10, 2012

Camp Day 4 (Finale)

I wanted to make sure I got all the Camp Kinetic videos up on my blog. If you want to come watch them at any time, this is a convient place for them to be found.

This was the final day of camp. In this video you'll not only get a taste of more awesome games, but you'll also get to take a peek at the moving worship times. As much fun as the games are... most of the students will remember to experiences that had in worship. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Rocketman and the Search for Truth

The Rocketman on Mars 
Fred Randall: Hey, Commander, were you ever afraid of monsters under your bed? When I was little I used to think there was a baker under my bed.
William Overbeck: No.
Fred Randall: You ever look?
William Overbeck: No.
Fred Randall: Then how do you know there wasn't a baker under your bed?
That's one of my favorite quotes from the hilariously stupid movie Rocketman. But it serves as a funny reminder that we'll never know if there is life on Mars if we never look.

I don't know if you've heard, but we landed another rover on Mars. This one is called Curiosity. NASA took out all the stops with this mission. I guess you could say Curiosity is kind of a big deal. The other rovers were about the size of a large remote control car, but this newest one is the size of a Mini Cooper and weighs around a ton. NASA wasn't playing around this time! If there is or was life on Mars they're going to find it. At least that's what they're telling us.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Camp Day 3 Video (The Walking Dead)

 Day 3 of camp is when everything started coming together. Students were actually getting into the worship time and responding to the Gospel.

The video that you're about to watch has an intro to it. One of the games we played on Day 2 was called Zombie Apocalypse (Everyone is into zombies these days). So in honor of that I tried to mimic the Walking Dead intro. It's meant to be funny... enjoy!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Camp Day 2 Video (Uncharted Treasure Heist)

This is the first day everything started coming together. Uncharted was one of my favorite games to film during the week. Uncharted is a game that Allie and I developed by taking cues from the actual video game Uncharted 3.

The golden bleach bottles they are carrying were filled with about 25 pounds of uncured concrete. They were rather heavy. The game was exhausting and intense. For the roars at the beginning I dropped all their voices about 3 octaves. It was all quite fun. I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Kinetic Camp 2012 (CAMP VIDEO)

Worshiping the Lord during a night session

It is really difficult to put in words what happened last week, but I'll try. Last week's camp was, in my opinion, the best camp I've ever been a part of. We had a great time during the games. We enjoyed just hanging out during free time. But the best part of the week was the time spent with God.

On Tuesday and Wednesday nights we had worship times like I've rarely been a part of. The students were singing, dancing, and yelling. I believe that all of it was an out pouring of the Holy Spirit.

Lives were changed. On the second night 12 came to the Lord! That's something to celebrate. That usually doesn't happen until the end of the week. When people were surrendering to Jesus that early in the week I knew something special was going to happen.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Many Perils of Traveling to Camp: Camp Creation 2010

The green Ford van: Overheater extraordinaire.

This week I'm going to tell you about all the crazy camp trips we've embarked on. Pretty much every year something insane happened. It should be noted, everyone made it out of these situations alive and healthy.

In an effort to prevent your bordum I won't tell you every little camp trip incident that has ever happened. But I will tell you that in 2008 and 2009 a similar overheating problem occurred. But we just pulled over at a gas station and waited for our van to cool down.

The year was 2010. The van I talked about in the last post was long retired and sitting in a parking spot on the side of the church. We bought a, "New" van in 2008 for our mission trip to Mexico. It doubled as our youth transportation system. This van should have been better than the other one. It was newer and the air conditioner worked... sometimes. Well, it worked all the time, but we couldn't really run it because when we did the van would CONSTANTLY over heat. Time after time we tried to fix the problem, but never could. So we just kept it full of fluids, tried not to get stuck in traffic, and blasted the heater in emergency situations.

We were driving from Mt. Pleasant, SC to Mt. Union, PA. Camp was going to be at the Creation music festival. We were taking a load of about 20 students 11 hours away. It was our longest camp trip yet. For precaution I had done hours of maintenance on the van. We were going to make it to camp without any trouble. I mean we had driven almost 30 hours to Mexico two years earlier! How difficult could this 11 hour journey be? I was so nieve.

Everything was going like kicks and giggles all the way up until Mt. Airy, North Carolina (The town Andy Griffith's Mayberry was based after). The mountains were getting too steep for the old van. The Engine overheated... and by over heated I mean I was afraid the engine block was going to be an actual block of steal if I kept going. I pulled the van off the road, opened the hood and watched the coolant bubble out the radiator. I knew we were in big trouble.

We sat at the edge of the interstate, in a ditch at the base of a man-made carved cliff. We were stressed and out of ideas. This was seriously one of the most stressful times I've ever been through.

We were almost half way to Pennsylvania. I didn't know what we were going to do. I had to get the students to camp, but we didn't have a van, and the guy we found to replace the radiator said it wouldn't be finished for a few days. Our music festival would be over by then. That wouldn't work, I mean, we were going to have some angry students and parents. They dished out some serious dough for this trip (To this day it is our most expensive camp).

Stuck on the side of the road.

All the counselors met together and thought up a plan. Using our Creation camping equipment we would stay at a camp ground, and we would rent cars to take the rest of the trip the next day. I called up my wonderful cousin who works at Enterprise Rental Cars and he got me a discount on two small cars.

We smashed every piece of luggage and food we needed in those two cars and squished students in between it all. It was seriously one of the funniest things I've ever seen. For the rest of the seven hours the students were crammed. A clown car had nothing on us. I looked back at everyone and said, "We're just making memories guys."

We eventually made it to Creation, and we had a blast. We picked up the van and for the first time ever the radiator worked properly. We got home super late. We were all more tired than we'd ever been before, but we were home safely.

This is a verse that I've come to love about God giving us protection, peace, and safety.
Dear friend, guard Clear Thinking and Common Sense with your life; don't for a minute lose sight of them. They'll keep your soul alive and well, they'll keep you fit and attractive. You'll travel safely, you'll neither tire nor trip. You'll take afternoon naps without a worry, you'll enjoy a good night's sleep. No need to panic over alarms or surprises, or predictions that doomsday's just around the corner, Because God will be right there with you; he'll keep you safe and sound. Proverbs 3:21-26

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Many Perils of Traveling to Camp: Camp Unleashed 2006

This is as good as a picture of the van as I could find. It was being used for our Border Patrol Ministry here.

This week I'm going to tell you about all the crazy camp trips we've embarked on. Pretty much every year something insane happened. It should be noted, everyone made it out of these situations alive and healthy.

Though we went to camp in 2005, I don't remember anything too eventful happening. So, I'll start with Camp Unleashed.

The year was 2006. We had the privilege of bringing a small group to camp with Forestville Baptist Church. It was going to be an experience like we'd never had before. Student's would be rocked and the trajectory of many lives would be changed. Camp Unleashed was great.

We had a church death trap van. It was a modified '82 Dodge 15 passenger van that a gracious church had given to us a few years early. It was modified to fit inside the confines of the law. Around that time a law was passed that wouldn't allow any more than 12 passengers on a formerly 15 passenger van. Blah, blah, blah, something about them not being safe, blah, blah, blah. Really, nothing too important.

Dwayne Humphrey was the name of our driver. He had the task of getting us to and from camp safely. We were on our way to camp. We were just at the point where we were leaving the highway and entering onto the interstate. While Dwayne was accelerating up to interstate speed a rear tire exploded. I was driving a mini-van in front of him. I remember looking back at his van in the rearview mirror, and seeing whole van rock form the explosion. In an attempt to get everything under control Mr. Humphrey compensated by swerving all over the road. The front left bumper of the van dipped to the ground as if to catch itself, the back end rocked like a boat in rough waters, and panic was on the face of every passenger. I sincerely thought it was over. The van was going to flip, and I was scared for the lives of everyone along for the ride.

By the grace of God the van never flipped and Dwayne was able to get it under control, slow it down, and pull off the road. We replaced the blown tire with the spare and continued our trip to camp without any more incidents.

On the way home, Pastor Trey was driving this time, ANOTHER tire blew. We didn't have a spare because we had already used it. We ended up being stuck in Walterboro, SC for about 3 hours. We threw all the luggage out of the van and laid on it out in the grass while we waited on the van to be repaired. For one of the first times in camp history I used a now infamous line, "We're just making memories guys."

We DID make it home safe and no animals or students were hurt in the writing of this blogpost.

Oh yeah, and this is just the tip of the iceberg that is our trips to summer camp.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Top 5 Zombie Bible Verses

Let’s have a little fun this week!

Zombies are a big deal these days. They’re on TV shows like The Walking Dead, and they have been all over video games and movies for decades. Games like Plants Vs. Zombies and Resident Evil are top sellers. There has also been a rash of real life flesh eating people recently. I don’t know what’s up with that, but maybe the Bible does. So, in an effort to gather more blog views I’m shamelessly writing a blog about...


5. The Walking Dead
Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life. Romans 6:4

The Bible is full of examples, illustrations, and figurative speech about being dead and brought back to life. This passage is one of those. It talks about spiritually killing off our old sinful self. It’s only after we’ve killed off our old self that Christ spiritually raises us back to life. This is what happens when you make Jesus the leader and forgiver of your life. This is also what immersion baptism represents. Dying to the old sinful self and being raised again in new life. Pretty cool stuff. I encourage you to go and read all of Romans 6 to get the full understanding of the passage.

4. A Dead Army Back to Life
I prophesied just as I’d been commanded. As I prophesied, there was a sound and, oh, rustling! The bones moved and came together, bone to bone. I kept watching. Sinews formed, then muscles on the bones, then skin stretched over them. But they had no breath in them.

He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath. Prophesy, son of man. Tell the breath, ‘God the Master, says, Come from the four winds. Come, breath. Breathe on these slain bodies. Breathe life!’”

So I prophesied, just as he commanded me. The breath entered them and they came alive! They stood up on their feet, a huge army.
Ezekiel 37:7

This is a fantastic prophesy about how God is going to raise up Israel, His people, again. I wish I could have been there. It would have been really creepy, but also really awesome. Again, no flesh eating or anything like that, but it’s a great example of the dead being brought back to life, and this time as an army. An undead army.

3. Back From The Grave
The tombs were also opened and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And they came out of the tombs after His resurrection, entered the holy city, and appeared to many. Matthew 27:52-53

There is no denying that Christ’s death was powerful. It shook the earth and opened tombs. Then we also see how powerful the resurrection was. Those who were, “Asleep” came alive again at Jesus’ resurrection and walked out those opened tombs. In the strictest sense I guess these aren’t zombies either. It seems they came to life and acted like normal people. There was no flesh eating happening. What is interesting is their rising from the dead from out of their graves... Maybe they weren’t zombies in the strictest sense, but they seem to at least have a case of the undeads?

2. Rotting flesh, a Plague, and Enemies of the Lord
This will be the plague the Lord strikes all people with who warred against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. Zechariah 14:12

This passage points forward to the second coming of Christ. The beginning of the passage talks about all the evil things the enemies of God are going to do to Israel. In an act of punishment God sends a plague against His enemies that causes their flesh to rot while they walk around. Their eyes and tongues will also rot. Interesting factoid: Common punishments of the day included the flaying of skin, the gouging out of eyes, and the cutting out of the tongue. Zechariah points to all this happening through a plague and not with the hands of people. Sounds a lot like the undead to me.

1. Sorry, No Dying
[The locusts] were ordered to torture and not kill... When this happens, people are going to prefer death to torture, look for ways to kill themselves. But they won’t find a way--death will have gone into hiding. Revelation 9:6

A common theme in most zombie flicks is the inability of the undead to die... again. A zombie’s arms can the ripped off, legs can be severed, and they can even be decapitated, but they still don’t die. Imagine a horrendous car wreck where the person CAN’T die. They feel all the pain, but would walk/crawl around for five months without dying. Boom! Zombie. If you combine the Zechariah verse with the understanding that this happens right in the middle of the apocalypse, we get what seems like a real five month zombie apocalypse.

Next time people say that the zombie apocalypse isn’t going to happen maybe you’ll want to point them to some of these verses. I’m going to give you a pro-tip: If you’re a Christian you won’t be a part of the zombie apocalypse. You’ll already be in Heaven. Maybe today’s lesson could be: Become a spiritual zombie through Christ so that you don’t become a physical one.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

What The Rocket Summer Taught Me About A Bad Life

I recently went to a music festival called Creation. Let me give you picture of what it was like. Think about standing on the surface of the sun and then someone hands you a baby. Yeah, it was hot, and we had kids, but it was also AWESOME!

While there we saw the one-man-band named The Rocket Summer. It's front man is a guy named Bryce Avary. I've been following him since Allie and I were dating. This guy is incredible. He has more talent in his emo hair than I have in my entire body.

The Rocket Summer's new album is titled Life Will Write the Words, and in the title track he writes these lyrics,

Life will write the words, but you choose your own melody.
Yes, life has given me hurt, but I choose my own melody.
And sometimes it's that sad, sad song I'm singing all my day long.
I'm just trying, trying to find the right notes.

I absolutely love this line! If you're waiting for life to happen to you, believe me, it will. Life is going to take you out back and kick your butt at some point. It's never fun. Life will write the words. There is a story that you are a part of. It's not always good... just to be honest, it seems most of time the bad out weighs the good. Life can be hard. This is what the Apostle Paul says,

And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. Romans 5:3-4

Through all the junk that happens we rejoice! What? Whatever it is, as much as it probably sucks we are supposed to rejoice in the bad stuff that happens to us. Talk about being freaks. People are going to think something is wrong with you.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. James 1:2-3

Get this, you are being blessed when life is terrible! Be happy you freak, because that is when your faith is squeezed out.

Even Jesus jumped on the be-happy-when-life-stinks-bandwagon when He said,

Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me... You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even! Matthew 5:11

Listen, life is going to hand out some major troubles, but you get to right the melody to your life story. Are you going to go through life singing that depressing melody or are you going to sing a beautiful praise chorus? Sing the praise chorus, it doesn't make it all better, but it does put your life in perspective.

I'm tired of seeing all these defeated Christians on Facebook. They are admittedly going through some really tough times, but don't tell the whole world how depressed you are.. Why? Because Jesus, James, and Paul said rejoice in your afflictions. Next time something goes wrong praise God. You have victory!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Jimmie Rustled Is A Jimmie Saved

Recently a meme phrase was brought to my attention. I usually know these things, but this one slipped by. Do you want to know the phrase? I'll give it to you in it true meme form... a picture:

It derives from a 1950s phrase that means something has upset you

Well, that phrase has been going around in the circles where I hang. We joke and laugh about it all the time. It was in good fun until...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Highlighting Camp: Games

This is the first in a series of post where I'm going to break down each section of camp and explain why we do what we do.

Here is how camp works. We rush around like raging mad lunatics trying to get everything settled. We eat dinner, go over all the rules, and then send all the students outside to spray paint their flags. The designs range from awesome to, "And what is that?"

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

7 Wholesome Family Netflix Streaming Movies You Can't Miss

I love Netflix Instant Stream. In our home we've decided to forgo cable and just use Netflix. Pro tip: It's huge savings. We only pay $8 a month and get all the TV and movies we can handle. Doing without cable actually saves us enough money that we can support God's work with our tithe.

Anyway, this isn't a comercial for Netflix Streaming... because, like with everything, there is good and bad. Today I want to give you 7 wholesome Netflix movies. I encourage you to sit down with the fam, pop a bag of corn, sip a root beer, and enjoy (most of them).

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

7 Reason Camp Is The Best Thing Since Sandwich Sliced Pickles

Some people ask me if camp is a waste of time. Every summer since 2005 Oceanside Church has taken its youth group to camp. We always create memories that many of these students will keep for the rest of their lives. Camp, It's kind of a big deal. Let me tell you why.

1. Students' Lives are Revitalized: This is the part that parents look forward to the most. I actually have parents who force their kids to go to camp. They know their student will be different when they return. The tricky part is making that revitalization last longer than three weeks (But parents will take what they can get). Every year there are some that are changed forever.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"SHUT UP YOU IDIOT!" And Other Things Heard on Summer Road Trips

Yep, that's about right...

"SHUT UP YOU IDIOT!" was a phrase uttered from the back seat by one of us cousins on our annual summer four hour trip to the mountains. Inevitably we'd be at each others throats (and I don't mean figuratively). I can remember my grandmother probably wanting to kill us when she would peer into the rear view mirror with an almost plastic smile and say, "Unh, uh. I only want to hear edifying words." I didn't know what edifying words were, but what I lacked in knowledge I made up for in contextual understanding. Those glaring eyes and that plastic smile meant that if we didn't stop trying to kill each other it was only a matter of time before she would save us the trouble and take one of us out as an example to the rest.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How To Be The Best Failure You Can Be

This week has been full of bombs. I don't mean the kind that explode. I'm talking about Facebook and Battleship.

All over the web I'm seeing articles on what a disaster the Facebook IPO was. It lost something like 30% of it's value over the last few days. That's kind of a big deal. I mean, seriously, Mark Zuckerberg is only richer than the entire Gross Domestic Product of Jamaica. Poor lil' guy.

Also this week Paramount and Hasbro put a bet down on Battleship. Yeah, the movie based after the, wait for it, board game. The first time I heard about Battleship I knew it was going to be a stinker. Even the awesome shnoz of Liam Neeson couldn't save it.

Did Facebook set out to tumble downward in its first few days on the NASDAQ? No, of course not. Did Paramount and all those involved with Battleship set out to make a terrible movie? Maybe... Just kidding, of course they didn't! In both cases the goal was success.

Many times in life we have great dreams and big visions. You think it's the best idea and can't figure out why no one has thought of it before. Maybe you had a dream to be an entrepreneur and your business tanked. Or your dream was to be to be a brain surgeon, but you flunked out of med school. Those kind of failures are not only disheartening, they can also shake our faith in God.

Here are a few words of encouragement for you today. Just because you fail it doesn't mean that you aren't made for greatness. Some of the greatest people in history were serial failures.

  • Lincoln
  • Gates
  • Isaac Newton
  • Henry Ford
  • Jobs
  • Edison
  • Beethoven

And that's just a few of them. They became great because they never gave up.

Use your failures as learning experiments. Never make the same mistake twice. Move on, do better, and grow. The truth is, as long as you're on God's side you're never a failure.

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? Romans 8:31

We may lose battles. We may fail here and there, but if we're on God's side He is at ours. Ultimately will win the war.

A person’s steps are directed by the Lord, and the Lord delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be thrown down headfirst because the Lord holds on to his hand. Psalm 37:23-24

The best place to be is in God's will. If you're there and your dream is failing remember that life is full of growing moments. This is one of them and God is preparing you for something awesome. As long as you're following God you're not a failure. Don't give up!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Are you a Fan of Jesus?

In small group we've been going through a study called Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman. He asks the question, "Are you a fan or a follower of Christ?" Fans of Christ are cool with Jesus. They might even really like Jesus, but they are not fully devoted to following him. Kyle encourages us to be followers of Christ rather than fans.

I don't know if you know this about me, but I like NASCAR. I know, it's super redneck, but I can't help it. Racing is awesome. Anyway, I'm a Jeff Gordon fan and this past weekend I stood in the stands cheered for him. When he wrecked I wasn't happy, but I didn't rip my garments off my chest and scream to the heavens then proceed to wear a burlap sack and cover my head in ashes. I was upset, but I wasn't in deep mourning because Jeff came in last place.

Third Lap Salute 

BUT... there are other NASCAR fans followers.

Friday, May 11, 2012

7 Ways to Train Your Kids

7) Train them to carefully select friends
The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20

6) Train them to be generous.
A generous person will be enriched, and the one who gives a drink of water will receive water. Proverbs 11: 25

5) Train them to be responsible
Go to the ant, you slacker! Observe its ways and become wise. Without leader, administrator, or ruler, it prepares its provisions in summer; it gathers its food during harvest. Proverbs 6:6-8

4) Train them to guard their minds
Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life. Proverbs 4:23

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Parents Priority Step 2: Lead Our Families

Just having a little fun!

A Parent's priority is to gradually transfer a child's dependence away from them until it rests solely on God-Craig Groeschel

Ok... How do we transfer dependance? I'm going to give us two steps out of Deuteronomy 6.

1. Love Our God
2. Lead Our Families

These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Basically, God is saying, "In everything you do and everywhere you go I'm supposed to be in your life." God-like talk isn’t just a Sunday morning thing. It's an all the time thing. Our children have to see our Christian walk as something we are, not something we do. And if we're not the ones taking the lead on living out Christ... they usually won't. Why? Because, parents, you are the leaders of your family.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Parent's Priority Step 1: Love God

Um... Not exactly what I'm talking about, but still hilarious.

A Parent's priority is to gradually transfer a child's dependence away from them until it rests solely on God. -Craig Groeschel

How do we properly make that transfer? Step 1...

Love Our God With All We Have

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5

If there is one thing I can pick up from that verse, it's that God wants every part of our lives. The word, all is used 3 times! God doesn't want a small piece of our life. He wants it all. Our children will recognize if God is a thing that we do rather than a way we live our lives. We can't expect them to live devoted to God if we're not first setting the example.

I heard a message by Craig Groeschel, the Pastor of, where he stated that it is dangerous to give our children a little bit of Christ. He argues that if God is only a part of your family identity then you're essentially immunizing your children to God's power.

Though Immunizations bring up bad memories of almost passing out as a seventeen year old at the health clinic, they also serve as a sobering illustration of what a little bit of God in our families can do. Immunizations work because the doctor gives you a little bit of the virus. Your immune system kicks in and learns how to destroy the virus, then you become immune.

Christian living isn't just a Sunday morning thing. It has to be an all day, all the time effort. If we want our children to become immune to the Gospel and immune to the radical power of Christ, give them a little bit of Jesus. Our lack of commitment to Christ sends a message to our kids that God or church is a, "Thing" we do.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Christian Perspective Movie Review: Should You See Avengers?

If you're one of the three people who haven't seen The Avengers don't feel bad. It's probably because you had a really busy weekend, or maybe you were just being a good parent and you weren't sure if it was right for your kids. I can't do anything about your busy weekend, but hopefully I can inform you on whether or not The Avengers is right for your family.

As a movie I thoroughly enjoyed The Avengers. There were zero moments where I felt bored. The whole flick is a ride. I also laughed out loud during several parts. My wife told me I was laughing so much I was embarrassing her (and it takes a lot to do that). Maybe it was just my type of humor, but I really appreciated the lightness of the film. If you've ever read and Avengers comic this movie has the same tone. Sarcastic humor mixed with intense fighting and incredibly high stakes.

The best movie Hulk ever

I was also pleased that Marvel has finally figured the Incredible Hulk out. I've seen both recent Hulk movies and I wasn't fond of either of them. Hulk was so much fun to watch. He steals the scenes he is in. And as an added bonus Hulk is not embarrassing to look at. In the two prior movies hulk fell way to deep into the uncanny valley. I don't know what they did different, but it worked!

If the only thing keeping you from this movie is whether or not it's entertaining, stop reading. Go see it.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Quitter's Can Win... You just have to do it right

I am blessed to work a job I love. That doesn't mean I always like my job, but I really do love it. There are so many different aspects.
  • Youth Minister
  • Hanging Outer
  • Landscaper 
  • Graphic Designer
  • Counselor
  • Public Speaker
  • Musician
  • Technical Support Agent
  • Social Media guy
There's more, but I think you understand. Those things keep my job as a pastor interesting. Some weeks the days fly by like surfing Stumble Upon (If you don't know what that is... good for you. It's a little like Web crack)! I find myself waking up and saying, "It's Friday already?"

I know too many people who have the opposite problem. They're stuck in a job that they don't like. They make money to fund their lives outside work. The hours of life spent at work feel a lot like death. Those people can't wait until they are off. Friday can't come quick enough. Do you relate?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another Heart Attack at the Heart Attack Grill

Literally a heart attack on a bun

I've been listening to a book on tape by Jon Acuff called Quitter. The book came highly recommended by Dave Ramsey, and I like Jon (Plus I got the audio book free from Quitter is all about going after your dreams, and chasing that thing you are most passionate about. I highly recommend it.

At one point in the book Jon Acuff talks about, "morning" and, "nighttime Jon." He said that his morning self hated his nighttime self. Mainly because his nighttime self was a jerk. It stayed up late reading about sports and watching movies. Morning Jon would always wake-up dragging and angry at nighttime Jon.

I can relate to that problem amazingly well, except I stay up watching Dr. Who reruns, surfing Stumble Upon, and playing Draw Something. Regret begins when I set my alarm and realize I only have 5 hours to sleep. OUCH!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Make-It-up Monday: 8 Instagram Tips

So this may be a tall order, but I'm going to try expanding my blog. There are some things I love doing that don't always involve church. I know that may be hard to believe seeing as that seems like all I post about. I really love design. The design of buildings, comics, websites, photos, cars... It all interests me. I love shapes and I love how shapes fit together to make the world more beautiful. We all love beauty, but many times we don't know what makes something attractive. I want to write about the things that make the world beautiful.

I'm not claiming to be the best. I just want to share. Many times I'm not going to talk about things I've created but about what others have created. I hope you enjoy.

Instagram is an app on iOS and Android. It is a photo enhancing app and social network. In its simplest form it takes regular pictures and makes them look better. It does this by adding filters, boarders and some simple effects like tilt shift.

The results make the picture look like something taken 40 years ago. But it also makes the picture warmer.

Tip 1: Don't Use It To Take Your Normal Photo
Instagram is not a service you want to use to take your typical family photos. I think it is being used best when it's used to capture abstract scenes. Some of the best pictures I've seen on Instagram aren't of whole houses, entire bikes, or complete guitars. The best pictures are of the parts of those things that create shapes that make the eye smile.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cool Story Bro: The Insane Car Alternator Part 2

The car

Catch the foxes for us- the little foxes that ruin the vineyards- for our vineyards are in bloom. Song of Solomon 2:15

Previously on "Cool Story Bro" click here

It was a tiny plastic piece that connected my alternator to the rest of the Toyota's electrical system. Was it really one little piece causing all this trouble? At first I shrugged off Mr. Alberti's highly experienced opinion. But the more I thought about it the more I trusted his evaluation of the problem.

So, I borrowed Mr. Alberti's truck and me and the fam headed out to LKQ self service junk yard. I combed the imports section by looking inside every Toyota Corolla regardless of year. After much prayer and a lot of searching through hundreds of cars I came across the tiny piece that I needed. Strangely it was in a model several years newer than mine.

By this time my entire day off was used up. I had wasted it in the parking lot of an Advanced Auto. I was not happy about that, but what was I supposed to do? I didn't have a working vehicle.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cool Story Bro: The Insane Car Alternator

Pop the Clutch!!!

Catch the foxes for us- the little foxes that ruin the vineyards- for our vineyards are in bloom. Song of Solomon 2:15

In the middle of last week my car's battery warning light started sporadically blinking. Concern set in because we sold our other much newer car a week earlier. A quick look into my '94 Toyota Corolla owners manual told me the alternator was going bad. This wasn't a terrible repair. It was something I could do myself, and it wouldn't drain our emergency fund too much.

Everything seemed to be running fine for a couple of days. But being the responsible man I thought I'd pick up a replacement alternator from Advanced Auto before I actually needed it. I'd change it when I got the time. The time came sooner than I had imagined. When I tried to leave Advanced Auto my car wouldn't crank. The battery was dead and the alternator was finished.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Fray, the National Anthem, and a Poorly Chosen Chord

The Fray

Last night my Facebook and Twitter feeds were blowing up about The Fray butchering our national anthem at the NCAA championship game. I like The Fray and they're a Christian band, so, I decided to see how they desecrated on the national anthem.

When I watched the video I thought I was going to be bombarded with complete disrespect and awfulness. I was greeted with an unconventional version of the Star Spangled Banner, but it didn't appear to be disrespectful. A drum similar to one that might have been played by a drummer boy during the revolution was beating, two acoustic guitars were harmonizing, and the singer was pretty straight forward in his interpretation of the melody.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Is The Hunger Games Wrong for You? A Movie Review from a Christian Perspective

For my blog this week I am reviewing The Hunger Games movie. I realize that many people will have already watched the film by the time this review is out, but if you're up in the air about whether or not you or your children should see the movie I hope this review will help. I have read the books and watched the movie. Hopefully that perspective can help you make an informed decision. Maybe this review is for the parent in limbo whose kids are begging them to see it this weekend, and hopefully it will start some interesting discussions.

Is The Hunger Games A Particularly Christian or Anti-Christian movie?
No. In the books and the movie spirituality is almost completely absent. The most spiritual the film gets is a use of God's name by way of the expletive, "Oh my God." The lack of spirituality is good and bad. The good thing is that you don't have to worry about the director or writer trying to shove their theology down your pie hole. You can avoid awkward conversations about the theology of Katniss Everdeen (The protagonists of the film). There will be no need to combat the evils of witchcraft or the demonic nature of vampires.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I Can Judge You Because I'm a Christian

"Don't judge me," Is a phrase said around the U.S. (if not the world) by Christians and non-Christians alike. No one wants to be judged without being known. Yet we do it every time we meet someone new. We look at their clothes and car to determine their socioeconomic status. We look at their skin color and make decisions on where they probably live. We check their style and calculate their cool factor. We do all this in about three seconds. Before a word is said we've pidgin holed a person.

Is that wrong or just human nature? What does it mean to judge someone? Should Christians have a special exception on the no judging rule? Some would say yes. They may argue Christians have an advantage over the average person... They have the Bible.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

How to Face Opposition Part 2: When Things Turn Violent

Debates are the Presidents best forum because he is well prepared

You can read part one about dealing with insults here. It is a fact of life that we run into opposition. Seemingly no matter the size of the project there will be people that argue, disagree, or even sabotage what we're doing. Therefore if we know it's coming, we must prepare. Let's look back about 2500 years to see how Nehemiah stood against opposition.

You can read the remarkable story of Nehemiah here
Quick background on Nehemiah:
  • Cup Barer to the most powerful man in the world, King Artaxerxes.
  • One day while doing his courtly duties the king noticed how sad Nehemiah was.
  • The King asked how he could fix Nehemiah's sadness.
  • Nehemiah said that if he could go rebuild the walls of his home town Jerusalem he'll feel better.
  • The Persian King makes the Jewish Nehemiah governor of Jerusalem
  • Nehemiah travels 1000 miles to build a 12 mile of walls around Jerusalem.
  • During the 52 days it took the Israelites to rebuild their city's walls they faced much opposition.
  • Eventually the walls were built!


The Fight:
When insults weren't enough to deter the Israelites Nehemiah's enemies decided violence was the next step. This is the point where Sanballat and Tobiah stop just hurling insults, organized, and pick up their swords. Nehemiah and his work crew were moving way too fast for Sanballat and Tobiah's tastes. Their wealth depended on Jerusalem's walls remaining in rubble.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How to Face Opposition Part 1: Dealing With Insults

Leonidas faced some crazy opposition in 300

My Sermon on Knowing the Will of God that leads up to this blogpost.

It is a fact of life that we run into opposition. Seemingly no matter the size of the project there will be people that argue, disagree, or even sabotage what we're doing. Therefore if we know it's coming, we must prepare. Let's look back about 2500 years to see how Nehemiah stood against opposition.

You can read the remarkable story of Nehemiah here
Quick background on Nehemiah:
  • Cup Barer to the most powerful man in the world, King Artaxerxes.
  • One day while doing his courtly duties the king noticed how sad Nehemiah was.
  • The King asked how he could fix Nehemiah's sadness.
  • Nehemiah said that if he could go rebuild the walls of his home town Jerusalem he'll feel better.
  • The Persian King makes the Jewish Nehemiah governor of Jerusalem
  • Nehemiah travels 1000 miles to build a 12 mile of walls around Jerusalem.
  • During the 52 days it took the Israelites to rebuild their city's walls they faced much opposition.
  • Eventually the walls were built!
This is the lowest form of criticism. When people are just shouting insults at you and your cause take this as encouragement. Typically that means they can't think of any real way to oppose you. Those people are stooping to that level because they want to devalue your work.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Where's Waldo, Geo Caching, and Lost and Found

Almost every week Oceanside provides me with Monday as a day off. It's a family day where we can recover from the weekend's ruckus and relax. The funny thing about having kids is relaxation rarely comes by sitting around. A day inside leads to parents driven to insanity. So we try to bring the kids to a park, Chuck E. Cheese's, or something fun outside the house. This week we went geocaching!

You may wonder what geocaching is. Here is a video that will explain it better than I can.

Allie has acutely trained eyes (It must be all those years of playing Where's Waldo). She can spot almost anything. While walking down an oak shaded path on the edge of Daniel Island Allie honed in on a small black book bag under some thorns and fallen branches leaning up against a young oak. She screamed, "Ivey, I found the geocache!" I sauntered over disbelieving she could have found it that quickly. I was right, she hadn't found the geocache, but she had found a bag belonging to a woman named Amy.

We eventually found the geocache under a walking bridge. It was filled with old Burger King toys and halves of discarded Family Circle Cup tennis balls. Searching for the geocache was the fun part, but the real find of the day was that little black backpack.

When we got home I quickly examined the contents of the bag. I found a check book, a wallet filled with everything except a phone number, a biography, and a spiral bound college rule notebook. I was glad the box hadn't fallen into the wrong hands. Because I didn't find a phone number I went to Google for help. I entered the name on the license into the search bar and within minutes I had her phone number. By 8:15 PM that night she had her six month lost bag in her hands. She told me she had given up hope. She gave us a small gift to say thanks, but the most rewarding thing was seeing the joy on her face when she got her bag back.