Friday, April 24, 2009

More Twitter

Yesterday I sort of rediscovered Twitter. Along with everyone else, apparently. Twitter has grown 700% in the last year. It's crazy. And I'm enjoying it, following dutifully along on Tweetdeck.

I'm also a little overwhelmed. How in the world can I keep up with this? Should I even try? And who cares what I'm doing right now? Who really needs to know?

I'm also convicted. What else could I be doing with my time? How often do my kids see me with this blasted computer on my lap? Do I spend as much time living my life as I do tweeting about it?

Relevant Mag wonders what Twitter is doing to us. It's a good article. Read it here. My good buddy Tony Gapastione wrote a thought-provoking post on his blog a few days back. Check it out here.

I started to write a song today. (I used to do that, before I was consumed with Facebook, Twitter and blogging.) The first part goes like this:

I have 1,223 friends
So why do I feel so alone?
Sitting here in the glow of the screen,
Afraid to pick up the phone.

I think this new technology is amazing. I can network like never before. I can keep up with friends - old and new. I can connect with people I meet and find out all about them. I can share my life in video, photos, thoughts, songs, etc. I blogged about it here right after the election.

But does all this "connection" really, truly enrich my life? I guess the real answer is... Sometimes. In moderation. Yes and no. Not when I get obsessive about it. Not when I forgo real, face-to-face interaction with people I care about in favor of "connecting" with people I hardly know.

So now what? It's not practical to just pull the plug. But I don't typically do "moderation" very well. God, give me wisdom... I want to honor you with my time and use this technology for YOU.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


It reached its tipping point yesterday. You could feel it, couldn't you? Might as well join the party! Come follow me on Twitter.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Access Live @ The Warehouse

I'm working on my wife's Toshiba laptop because my Mac is in the shop. Thank God for AppleCare, but I'm bummed that it could take up to eight business days to get it back.

Access worshipped in a new location on Sunday, and it was great. After five months at Ashford Oaks, we had grown too large to meet there on Sundays. Our vision has always included an arts community center where we can worship on Sundays and reach out to the community the rest of the week through music, tutoring, community groups (movies, food, sports, etc.) and Vox Culture events. This new space will be so great as we continue to change and grow over the years.
Here are some pictures taken by Ted on Sunday. It's still pretty rough, but you can get an idea of what it was like, and if you have any imagination you can tell it will be amazing once it undergoes the Access treatment.

Of course, for me, Sunday was challenging in many ways. I love Access/Vox, and it's exciting to see us/them moving in a really cool new direction. But at the same time, I am on my way out. Six more Sundays and we'll most likely be moving back to California, at least temporarily. As always, we deeply appreciate your prayers for direction and provision as we once again leap into the unknown.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Thoughts on Personhood Inspired by Susan Boyle

Many, many people have already blogged and tweeted all over themselves praising Susan Boyle's performance in Britain's Got Talent this season. And for good reason... It's a really fun, uplifting story. Susan has gone - nearly overnight - from a frumpy, middle-aged, unemployed, never-been-kissed nobody to a worldwide celebrity with a fansite and everything. Will she get a makeover? Some say she shouldn't, and some say she should. Even the big stars are weighing in. Ashton and Demi tweeted about it. Patti LuPone, the Broadway star who originated the role of Fantine in Les Miserables in London's West End (Patti's rendition here.) was on CBS This Morning, saying that the performance brought her to tears and wishing Susan luck.

Eugene Cho has a great post about seeing the inner beauty in people rather than judging by outward appearance. And then he reminds us of the Bible's teachings on these things... Check it out here.

Why do we love these stories? (Remember Paul Potts? Same story, different gender...) I know for me, it's a reminder that no matter what people may think about me, no matter what I may think about myself, no matter the successes or failures I've had in my life, no matter whether I'm hearing yes or no from churches I apply to... I have value. I'm not defined by these things. There's a little bit of Susan Boyle inside of me too... that Imago Dei - "Image of God" - that will not stay buried forever.

I remember what Brian Rhen taught me to say to my kids... A great little theology of personhood that you can teach even your babies... First, grab a hand and shake it while you say, "God made me." Then grab the other hand and say, "God loves me." Move to a leg. "God has a plan for me." Other leg: "God will help me."

Get that? Man, do I need to hear that sometimes. You do too. Say it with me:

God made me.
God loves me.
God has a plan for me.
God will help me.

Susan Boyle is a beautiful creation of God. She is loved deeply, and God has a plan for her. God is there for her with everything she needs if she will only turn to him... Look at how he's reminding us ALL of that...

I dreamed a dream - Susan Boyle from Phuc Mai on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Finishing Strong

Here I am again, walking the fine line... Knowing that my time at Access is short, wanting to love and serve the people of this community well... and at the same time praying, seeking, searching, hoping for the "next step" in this journey to come, and soon.

It's a place I've been before. I've written pretty extensively about it here and here on this very blog. It's not comfortable, that's for sure, but it's the place that God has me and my family for now. And so my prayer, again, is to live this calling well, to finish strong, to be fully present as I serve Access. Just because I won't be their pastor much longer doesn't mean I'm not their pastor now. And honestly, I know I will continue to be a pastor to some of these awesome people long after I'm gone - because of the great relationships we've built and the life we've shared. I continue to be grateful for the love and support we feel even from the community we're leaving. This is how followers of Jesus walk through transition! This is good.

Many have asked: Our family is doing well. Still in the dark in a lot of ways, but God continues to give light to our path, one step at a time. Luanne and I often wonder how this will all work out, and sometimes we notice the signs of stress in our kids a little bit, but we all know that wherever we are, we're home - as long as we're together and as long as we are following Jesus. We're confident that He is at work in this situation.

I had a phone interview earlier this week with a church I'd be really excited to serve, and we're waiting to hear whether or not we'll candidate. We certainly appreciate your prayers and support.

::UPDATE:: Looks like Luanne and I will most likely be visiting in the next few weeks to get a feel for the church and community. I got the email minutes after publishing this post. Thank God!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pieces of My Heart...

Last night's Tenebrae Service at Access was really beautiful. We sang, we prayed, read the scriptures, we took communion together... I was so glad to be a part of this community of believers here in Houston.

Here are some photos Ted took:

Tenebrae - Rehearsal

Tenebrae - Candle Extinguished

Tenebrae - Communion

Tenebrae - Communion Elements

As I left the place where we had gathered, I remembered the many times I had led Peninsula Covenant Church through Tenebrae Services. I knew they were in the middle of theirs, and I wished I could be with them.

And I had been texting some friends from Newport Covenant in Bellevue, Washington, earlier in the day, so I was a little bit lonely for them too.

And I miss our family in Simi Valley and our family in Indiana. It's a strange feeling to have little pieces of my heart scattered all over the country.

I must admit, I feel a little bit like a man without a country sometimes. Where will we land? We have about six weeks left here in Houston. I'm talking to several different churches, but nothing is solid yet. Thank God we are secure in His loving hands. He will guide and protect and provide.

Thank you for your love and prayers.

Friday, April 3, 2009

So Now What?

I want to thank everyone who has been so kind to our family as we begin this transitional time. Your encouraging notes and emails, your tips and leads, even some financial gifts... They've meant the world to us and reminded us of the presence of God in our journey. We are still not at all sure what's next for us. We're talking with a few Covenant churches, and we're thankful to be in a wonderful denomination... We'd love to stay in the Covenant if at all possible, but we're looking wherever there are positions open that look like they could be a fit.

Please pray with us for God's will to be revealed in a powerful way! Pray for peace during this season of uncertainty. Pray for provision. Pray that we will find a place where our kids can settle, where they can go to school for at least 4 years... Josh enters high school this fall. We'd love to be settled where he'll graduate. And pray for the timing of all of this. We are here in Houston until May 31, and then everything is completely unknown. The kids are out of school on June 4. After that, anything's possible.

"I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for." - Jeremiah 29:11, The Message
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