Saturday, July 30, 2011

Claudia's 1st Announcement Video

A few weeks ago Claudia shot an announcement video with some of our other middle school students. She did so great! Enjoy!

Announcements 7-10-11 from The Wire on Vimeo.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Puppy Fakes Own Death

Unlikely Middle School Student ... Just the Kind of Kid God Uses!

Last week we wrapped up a 4-week series called Unlikely. During the final week we had several of our adult leaders share and also heard from Cody, one of our middle schoolers, about his life and desire to allow God to use Him to make an impact in his school.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Game Night

Last night we had over 100 middle school students show up to our Game Night. We had a ton of fun doing things like Bat-Spin Relay, Frisbee Touchdown, Ultimate Sock Dodge, Dodgeball, Bedlam Ball, and Capture the Flag. We were whooped when it was done, but man, did we have fun!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Justification by N.T. Wright

I just finished reading Justification - a very excellent, historical, biblical look at God's plan for the world and how Paul understood and communicated that plan in his writings! Fascinating and refreshing!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Adriana's L.A. Birthday

Yesterday was Adriana's birthday, so we took her to Los Angeles. We spent a few hours on Olvera Street which was exactly like being in Mexico. We enjoyed watching some performers in the plaza, browsing the market, and having a nice lunch. We had some Mariachis serenade her with "Happy Birthday" and some other romantic songs. We also drove to West Hollywood and enjoyed walking Rodeo Drive. Back in the desert we stopped on El Paseo and had a nice dinner together. A great day!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Serving Thermal

Over the past two days we took students from our high school and middle school ministries and went to a trailer park in Thermal, CA to do a VBS in partnership with the Narrow Door Mission. It was not dissimilar to doing a missions trip to Mexico or Central America, and it was great seeing our students our loving God by serving others.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Coachella Valley At Night

The other night we took a night drive up the mountain on Route 74, a part of the Pines to Palms Scenic Byway, to view the Coachella Valley at night. It was very pretty (like overlooking Los Angeles (minus the big buildings). We forgot our good camera, so the images aren't that great. I lightened the photo a bit (pic #2) so you can see the smaller mountains in the foreground. Next time we go up I'll get better pics.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cousins Don't Shake Hands ...

This morning I got a call from my cousins Heather and Susan (formerly Lynch) who were driving through our area on their way home to Phoenix from a trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain. We haven't seen each other in at least 16 years. We met up at In-N-Out and had a fun lunch together. So great seeing them after all these years!

Sonny of P.O.D. Punk'd

Funny Videos

Friday, July 15, 2011

Why Persevere? by Philip Yancey

There is an inherent difference between relating to another human and relating to God. I go to the grocery store and run into a neighbor. Judy just went through a divorce, I say to myself. Seeing Judy prods me to act. I ask about her life, check on her children, maybe invite her to church. "We must get together with Judy and the kids," I tell my wife later that day.

With God, the sequence reverses. I never "see" God. I seldom run into visual clues that remind me of God unless I am looking. The act of looking, the pursuit itself, makes possible the encounter. For this reason, Christianity has always insisted that trust and obedience come first, and knowledge follows.

Because of that difference, I persevere at spiritual disciplines no matter how I feel. I want to know God. And in pursuing relationship, we most come on God's terms, not our own.

Old Testament prophets set our the preconditions for knowing God, as in this verse from Micah: "And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." The New Testament epistles tell us that acting in loving ways toward God nurtures the relationship and leads toward growth. I do not get to know God, then do God's will; I get to know God by doing that will. I enter into an active relationship, which means spending time with God, caring about the people God cares about, and following God's commands - whether I spontaneously feel like it or not.

"How shall we begin to know You Who are if we do not begin ourselves to be something of what You are?" asked Thomas Merton. God is holy, Other. I can no more get to know God apart from some common ground than I can get to know a Hungarian person apart from common language. Merton adds:

We receive enlightenment only in proportion as we give ourselves more and more completely to God by humble submission and love. We do not first see, then act; we act, then see.... And that is why the man who waits to see clearly, before he will believe, never starts on the journey.

(Grace Notes: July 14th, from Reaching for the Invisible God (89-90))

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Believe: The Words and Inspiration of Desmond Tutu

I enjoyed reading the short book Believe: The Words and Inspiration of Desmond Tutu. It's a great little coffee table book filled with thought-provoking quotes and inspiration from this man who is an incredible gift to our world! Here are a couple of those quotes to whet your appetite:

"In a happy family you don't receive in proportion to your input. You receive in relation to your needs."

"My father always used to say, 'Don't raise your voice. Improve your argument.' Good sense does not always lie with the loudest shouters, nor can we say that a large, unruly crowd is always the best arbiter of what is right."

"Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another."

"We humans can tolerate suffering, but we cannot tolerate meaninglessness."

Two Awesome Soccer Goals - David Beckham and USA Women's Team

I'm not a big soccer fan, but here are two sweet goals from this weekend - one is a corner shot directly into the net by David Beckham, the other is a perfect pass and header by the USA women's team!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pastor Bob Thune Resigns

This weekend at Southwest Community Church our Lead Pastor, Bob Thune, announced that after 7 years, he is resigning. Thune’s tenure has "been highlighted with high moral integrity and a deep commitment to the word of God," elder board chairman Don Bennett told the congregation. While these moments are sad (as we well know), there is also the anticipation of God turning the page and the beginning of a new chapter, so for that we are filled with hope and anticipation. Here is a writeup on Please keep our church in prayer during this season of transition.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Monday, July 4, 2011

Check Out Orlando's Next Big Thing: One31 Music Video

One of our Smothtown Gospel Tabernacle friends, Jane Snyder sent me this new video of her son William's band, One31. They have a great sound! Watch the video and Like it/Comment on it.

The Office ... Planet Impact Style 2010

Today someone asked me about these videos that we made for the Winter Retreat 2010, so I thought I'd share them with you. Enjoy the creativity and work of Planet Impact (written by the legendary Michael Troche).

Rich Collingridge Visit

We were SO happy to have our good friend Pastor Rich Collingridge come out and see us this morning. He and Esther are here in California for a family reunion, and it was very kind of him to drive out and visit with us. (Does that mean we are family?) Rich and I went out for breakfast then we went back to our condo where he was able to visit with Ady and the girls. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Trip to La Jolla Beach

So happy to see Melissa Carey, one of our great volunteers on Long Island!

Natalia sees something in the water.

It's a ...


The Coachella Valley where we now live.