Saturday, December 23, 2006


thoughts to come...


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

leaving on a jet plane...

Finally, school and work are done (at least for a few weeks), and I'm flying to Vietnam tomorrow! This is one of the few times that I've been nervous before going somewhere; I probably won't even sleep tonight plus I still gotta do laundry and pack. I'll be leaving the freezing conditions here in New York and heading towards hot, tropical weather so I gotta find all the summer clothes I've stored deep in my closet. Anyway, I get to have a fantastic dinner at Ric and Torie's tonight; I won't be seeing them and Jonah for awhile since they leave for Cali (yeah!) before I get back. Oh, and I got the Double J-man a pretty sweet Christmas gift. I hope it fits him though; the kid is like a little man.


Monday, December 04, 2006

bowl games

So, since the stupid Trojans lost to frickin' UCLA, they are left to play in the Rose Bowl against Michigan. Granted, that is gonna be a good game, but USC was this close to the championship game again. The Rose Bowl will essentially be where the national title runner-ups meet each other. And then theres Cal...I don't even know what to say about them. They play in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl(?) against Texas A&M. What the heck is that? So disappointed in Cal... My only good news is that San Jose State, who almost upsetted currently undefeated Boise St, will play in the inaugural New Mexico Bowl versus, yup, you guessed it, New Mexico. Go Spartans!


Sunday, December 03, 2006

holiday season

Christmas time is definitely here in New York...the air is crisper and chillier with the biting wind coming around again. There always seems to be more people around after the Christmas Tree is lit at Rockefeller Center. There are lights and sounds everywhere, Christmas music is heard whenever you pass by the stores, trees lined up on the sidewalk to be sold, people all bundled up in their thick coats and gloves and scarves...the only thing missing is the snow which will come soon enough. I don't like the cold so much but I enjoy this time of year in the city.


Saturday, December 02, 2006

stretched not stressed

With my upcoming trip to Vietnam in five days, cramming for finals in three days, trying to process all the things from the Ethos conference just a few days ago and working retail at the start of Christmas shopping this week, everything seems to be kicked into over-drive for, work, God, family, church, people, sleep, ministry...actually, I really haven't been sleeping since Monday night; I find myself being woken up (I'm sure by the Lord) with thoughts about strengths/talents/gifts and connecting people and creating environments for impactful kingdom-living or staying awake in order to memorize, eh, study. Either way, my brain is filled to capacity. But here's the weird part, I don't feel stressed out by any of this. Sure, I'm nervous about my trip, excited by some new ministry opportunities, and anxious to be done with my exams, but I'm not worried about any of said activities. I suppose its not so weird when I really think about it; I guess its simply God stretching my mind, my spirit, my body, my heart...all these areas are being pushed outside of their normal boundaries, and it feels very peculiar but good. I can feel my insides resisting it too. My number one prayer this whole time is that the Lord will continually break down the walls that I so want to put up immediately; that I won't flee or hide from these moments of truth and growth. This has truly been a long week with no end in sight, hahaha...

Friday, December 01, 2006


Did you see my boy drop 52 on the Utah Jazz who, by the way, are the best team in the league?! He put up 30 in the 3rd quarter alone, going a perfect 19 for 19 (9 shots, 10 free-throws) and two of which were beyond the arc. KB was straight schooling AK47; taking him to the rack, dropping J's in his eye, rippin' it through 2 or 3 defenders. The dude was unstoppable! After the game, he said it was like he was playing a video game. Hahaha! By blowing out the Jazz by 30 points, coincidentally, the Lakers are now at the top of their division, thank you very much.
ESPN SportsNation, 55% of people who voted say he's the best player in the NBA right now. Love him or hate him off the the court, the guy is lights out on the court. FoxSports:
The great thing in watching sports is the hope that you will see something you will never forget, something previously thought of as impossible. Kobe Bryant has provided his share of those moments. Thursday night was just one more.


Monday, November 27, 2006


Tonight is the first part of the ETHOS conference that some of us at the 411 are attending. Personally, whenever I hear the word "conference", a small part of me cringes and theres an instant resistance to the whole idea. I think thats in me b/c I get this image of people sitting around hearing some guy talk about church strategies on how to "win" lost people or give a list of requirements for church survival and success. They come off as contrived and dry, and I end up feeling anything other than challenged and inspired ; I've been to stuff like that before and so those experiences are always what comes forth when I'm near the vicinity of a conference and have turned me off, for the most part, to things of this nature. However, as a group, we read Erwin McManus' book which, I gotta say, is really interesting and inspiring. With his words and ideas in mind, I am looking forward to hearing what God is gonna say through him and seeing what God whats to do with my life during the course of this three-day event.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Elephant King's commercials

My buddy Tate just did two super funny commercials for Time Warner. The boy can flat-out dance!


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

"Christian Dating"

After a couple of conversations about dating with my good friends Ric and Scott who, incidentally, are the mission director and pastor of the 411, I have come to a few conclusions; well, I shouldn't say conclusions seeing how I'm still working through and processing some of the things that came up. Before I even get started, I must say that I'm not currently dating a non-Christian girl; to be honest, I'm not even really dating at all so this isn't some kind of defense to be used as justification. Basically, what started these talks is my belief that going out with a non-Christian girl isn't wrong. Now, I know the Bible talks about not being yoked together with those outside the faith; I get that...I understand how that verse speaks of committing to relationships where one's priority and values will clash with the other person who isn't a follower of Christ; this verse is mainly used as a warning against a Christian marrying a non-Christian but thats limiting its scope if you really think about (thats another conversation entirely). Ric believes dating is a means to an end, that dating someone eventually leads you to decide if marriage is the outcome of the relationship with that person. There is a long-term aspect that is attached to it. While I do agree that as a follower of Christ, I shouldn't marry a non-follower, I don't see relationships as merely a means but as an end in and of themselves as well; I can't bring myself to view every potential relationship through the lens of marriage possibility. I think there is value in a relationship on its own merit; for instance, there are experiences and lessons about yourself and/or the other person that are learned and discovered through circumstances and the journey of life together. I do acknowledge that these times and moments build upon each other and may propel two people to different levels of commitment and affection. Because of that, I kinda see the practicality in the exclusion of non-believers when it comes to romantic endeavors. However, I have a tough time forcing myself to think about whether or not I'm gonna live the rest of my life with someone before I really know her or even ask her out; thoughts on the possibility of marriage at the onset of a new relationship is a foreign concept to me. I could probably drag this on for another 15 minutes but I have, so far, concluded:
1) Different people have different meanings when it come to "dating". For some, it means a serious and committed pursuit of a life-long mate. For others, its more like "going out" or "seeing someone" where it isn't as serious. Still for others, its simply an activity single people engage in.
2) I have never been in a serious relationship; heck, I haven't even been in a relationship. Thus, I think my perception of relationships is skewered because of that. Since I've never experienced what its like to be in a committed relationship, I find it difficult to see past the short-term aspect of them.
3) Even now, my prayer in this area is that God will continue to work in me so that I'll be ready for the girl He's already preparing for me to meet. I honestly leave all that in His hands. What I'm saying is that I don't think that the mantra of "You shouldn't date a non-Christian" is applicable across the board. Again, maybe my use of the word "date" isn't specific enough. The different boundaries and levels and details of "dating" are stuff I still haven't gotten around to define yet; to me, if I have to examine and quantify and regulate things when it comes to relationships, it doesn't sound worthwhile...

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Spidey 3 Trailer-New!!!

In the words of Borat," Very nice!"


Tuesday, November 07, 2006


My aunts are taking me home to Vietnam next month...whenever I think about it, my mind races about and multiple thoughts swirl around. This will be my first trip back since I left the country when I was two. Even though I was too young to remember anything substantial, images and sounds from those two years sometime come to the forefront of my mind when I allow myself the time and space to dwell on Vietnam. Meeting relatives, seeing the places where I came from and where my mom lived, being united with those of my own ancestry, being inudated with the culture and people...and all for the first time; man, it blows my mind. What do I say, how do I act, who will I meet, will I be able to even sleep over there with all the new and exciting things that'll surely I ask myself these trivial things, I'm filled with joy to know that its not the answers that I'm looking forward to finding out but the experience of going through them. Since I've moved out here, the Lord has allowed me to have one experience of a lifetime after another; I know for sure that this will be another one of those life-changing, paradigm-altering times. God is good!


election day (again)

Today is the day to make your vote count, let your voice be heard, do your civic duty and all that good stuff...I see it as the last time I have to see all those stupid campaign ads(at least until 'o8). As a follower of Christ, I believe my votes can't be about making America a more "Christian" nation but about seeing that Christ's needs are met and that His kingdom is being established through love, compassion, and truth. And in doing so, I need to personally weigh issues and evaluate candidates; however, I need to do these things not based upon party affiliation but upon the matter of the issue and the character of the candidate. In my conversations with friends who are fellow followers, I'm encouraged to see that I share this mentality with many of them. I've talked about this plenty before and I can certainly go on and on about it so, I'll shut up now and leave some food for thought from Relevant Magazine:
"On any given even-numbered year, you can expect to be reminded of the “homosexual threat” and the downside of stem-cell research. You can also expect the death-toll from Iraq to be displayed prominently in every possible location. In addition, you can expect to hear that so-called “liberal pinheads” want nothing more than to ruin the country that they otherwise seem so interested in, and you will also undoubtedly be reminded of the fact that the Bush White House has quadrupled our national debt. And of course, this is the fault of every G.O.P. member, and not just W. Ann Coulter will tell you that liberals are “Godless” and also stupid, while Al Franken will argue that Coulter is in fact the anti-Christ, and Bill O’Reilly will tell everyone to “SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!” before muting their microphones. But in spite of all the propaganda, less than half of the country will show up to vote for our leaders, and the fed-up majority will rediscover its love of cooking, football and gin-rummy. How can you blame them?
It is important to elect Democrats if you define yourself as a Democrat and want to be defined as such. It is important to vote for Republicans if, first and foremost, you are a Republican, and again wish to be defined as such. However, if your primary affiliation, above and beyond that of politics, lies in your allegiance and dedication to Jesus Christ, then it is not a politician's party that we should be concerned with, but his or her person. Vote your morals this Tuesday, rather than your party. "

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trunk Monkey

Yup, trunk monkey...


Friday, October 20, 2006

An excerpt from TIME Magazine's "Why a Christian in the White House Felt Betrayed":

Christian conservatives trusted President Bush. After two years in the White House, I had come to realize that regardless of where the President's heart lay on the matter, the back-office Republican political machine was able to take Evangelicals for granted--indeed, often viewed them with undisguised contempt--and still get their votes. G.O.P. operatives trusted that Christian conservatives would see the President more as their Pastor in Chief than anything else. Bush had long used the podium as a pulpit, telling voters that above all he was an evangelical Christian who had been saved from his drinking by Jesus and rebuilt his life around his faith. That inspirational story was carried throughout the country by a network of prominent evangelical pastors who had been quietly working since 1998 to recruit thousands of other pastors to join the Bush team. After the election, however, those same pastors became accomplices in their own deception by not demanding that the President's actions in office match their electoral fervor.

As I finish reading this article, several conflicting thoughts swirl about. Now, I know that its easy to take shots at the President and most of the time its done from the left and in a mean-spirited manner. But David Kuo's, the writer and former second-in-command of President Bush's Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, words don't sound vehement or satirical; rather, when describing several events that precipitated his decision to write this article, the spirit is one of disappointment not only with the actions (or lack thereof) of the administration but of his own as well. Perhaps the most interesting facet to this is that Mr. Kuo is a Christian who believed in Bush's plans and promises in the arena of faith, that this isn't written from someone outside the body of Christ or even outside the body of the administration. And if he feels disillusioned and betrayed, shouldn't I feel the same? Even in the slightest bit?
I can go on and on about how I voted for Bush but did so hesitantly or how alarming it felt to discover the support from most Christians I knew was predicated simply upon his profession of faith or even how his detractors continually take shots at him which are for the most part, at best, cheap, and, at worst, malicious...however, here is a case in which a Christian on the inside is speaking out about a group of people who have been given a pass by the majority of the Christian community in America. Here is a voice that I had never heard before, a side to the story I had never seen. Now, I don't know anything about Mr.Kuo or the circumstances surrounding the events (other than what is written), but I can tell you that we share, for better or worse, pretty much the same conclusion: "George W. Bush, the man, is a person of profound faith and deep compassion for those who suffer. But President George W. Bush is a politician and is ultimately no different from any other politician, content to use religion for electoral gain more than for good works. Millions of Evangelicals may share Bush's faith, but they would protect themselves--and their interests--better if they looked at him through the same coldly political lens with which he views them."

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Whoever came up with button-fly jeans for guys needs to be fired...what a stupid idea.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006


The first BCS Rankings are up for the year. Here is the top ten:
1)Ohio Sate
5)West Virginia
8)Notre Dame
If USC runs the table, they'll face the winner of the Ohio St/Michigan game in the National Championship. As much as I'd like to see that, they've been a little shaky even though they're unbeaten. They have the toughest last four weeks against #14 Oregon, #10 California, #8 Notre Dame and cross-town rival UCLA. Plus, Cal has been playing strong and blowing away teams. Yeah, they had a huge loss to Tennessee which excludes them from the national title but I think they might very well beat USC. I really hope West Virginia doesn't make it into the championship game because their schedule is ridiculously weak with only an injured Louisville (minus their starting QB and RB) left in their way. Its gonna be another interesting ending...go Cal and USC!



On the previous post, I had stated that I work for Gap; what I actually meant was that I work at Banana Republic which falls under Gap Inc. In no way, shape or form do I work inside a Gap store. Just wanted to clarify, thanks.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Gap and Bono

I'm a huge fan of Bono but not so much for what he does musically but more so for what he does socially. His (Product)Red is really groundbreaking in terms of both its scope and implications. Being how I work for Gap, I gotta mention its partnership with Bono; yesterday, Gap launched its (Product) Red limited edition collection of clothing with half of the profits going to the Global Fund to help eliminate AIDS in Africa. Theres some pretty cool stuff, plus its gonna be interesting to see if this consumer-centric approach will work. If you think I'm biased, read this article from Relevant Magazine or even better, check out some of the links yourself:
As James put it, “… faith without deeds is useless.” If you want to be a part of the action that young people are taking, visit or to find out how you can make an impact in the world. Your life is busy, but your life is also the best place in which you can minister. Take action, and through your deeds, let the world see that your generation will be the first to rise up and reclaim this world for God. Wear your heart on your sleeve, literally, and let your deeds speak loud and clear. Above all, remember that what we do now is a start and not a finish. The world will not be won easily. As the ads imply, be “inspi(red),” be “inc(red)ible,” until this world can be “cu(red)”. None of that can come merely from the purchase of a T-shirt, but everything can come to fruition through raised awareness, through social consciousness and through our own recognizing that we ourselves can make a great difference in the world around us—even through what we wear."


Thursday, October 12, 2006


Yesterday, there was a plane crash in Manhattan at around 3pm. I didn't know anything about it until my mom called and left me a message asking if everything was alright. I think everyone's first thoughts went right to 9/11 and feared that this was another act of terrorism. It turned out not to be that but, tragically enough, the plane crash killed both passengers;and here is the wild part, the pilot turned out to be Yankees' pitcher Cory Lidle.
My buddy Kyle lived one block away from the site of the crash too...crazy stuff always happens in New York, man.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

New Orleans-Trip Two

Being back in New Orleans was alot different than the first time back in January...different in more of a good way than a bad way. I really didn't know what to expect which is, honestly, the manner in which I like to experience life so it worked out fine. The first thing that is most evident is number of people who've come back to rebuild and live in the city again; the streets are busier, more stores and restaurants are open, street lights are on...just the little things that you notice which give indication that New Orleans is slowly moving forward,and the operative word there is slowly. While alot has been done, there still alot more to do. There were parts of the city that haven't been touched...a couple of our projects were with houses that nobody has been to since Katrina hit.
We stayed at Jeff Box's church at Suburban Baptist. The last time we were here, we helped get the place ready for their first church service since the hurricane so it was cool to take part in what they've done since and see their plans to expand the church even more. I got to work in Lee and Bonnie's house as well. Again, it was good to how far along they've come since we were there in January...Bonnie was so incredibly happy with her new kitchen; being how its the center of the house and the place where the whole family can finally come together for dinner, I couldn't help but be filled with the same joy. I remember how stark and cold it looked with the ground floor and studs and now to see it taking shape as a true home was amazing. And of course it was more than just a house, the progress and work also symbolizes the mending of their lives and the healing of a broken community.
And I think thats what stuck with me this time around...I know that whenever we work, its unto the Lord but when you get the opportunity to help and serve those you know personally, its always a little more special. To be able to put a face to a name or meet the person whose house you're gutting or whose lawn you're clearing is always a memorable experience. Personally, meeting people and spending time serving or sharing with them about life, sports, God, etc., is a large part in why I chose to come back to New Orleans. I've said it before, it is a great city filled with great people.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

What the frick?

So I'm gone for the weekend only to come back to discover that the Yankees are no longer playing?! I, honestly, don't know what to do with that right now.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Just started packing for our trip to New Orleans tomorrow. Although I'm eager to get down there, a small part of me is a bit hesitant...I don't know why that is; maybe its that selfish part of me that doesn't want to take more time off work or miss all the baseball and football games during the next few days...I so need prayer.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006


The Yanks start their World Series run tonight when they play the first game of the ALDS against the Tigers. This is the batting line-up awaiting Detroit:
Are you kidding me? This is arguably the best and most dangerous line-up in the history of baseball. Joe Torre said that he could've picked names from a hat and still be happy with whatever order came out. Who could blame him?


Sunday, October 01, 2006

SNL Season Premiere

Last night's show was probably one of the top four SNL shows that I've been to...Dane Cook's opening stand-up was hilarious! Top to bottom, the sketches were funny and "Weekend Update" with Seth Meyers taking over for Tina Fey was surprisingly good. Everything had a new feel to it with a different opening montage, new "WU" stuff, and Darrell Hammond doing some new jokes during the warm-up before the show. The best part was meeting Dane Cook; that guy came out and took pictures, sign autographs, and hung out for a bit which blew everyone away. Oh yeah, The Killers were pretty good too.


Friday, September 22, 2006

U2's "Bloody Sunday" by Bush

Anna Beth told me about this video last night...I find it pretty clever yet oddly disturbing at the same time.


sport quickies

1. As of right now, both New York teams hold the best record in baseball...everyone in the city has two words in mind:SUBWAY SERIES!!! How awesome would that be?!
2. ESPN has a
feature article on the rebuilt Superdome in New Orleans in which the Saints will host the Falcons this Monday night. This is huge on so many level...its one of those times when sports transcend and become more than just sports. That is gonna be a cool game to watch.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"Prayer cannot truly be taught by principles and seminars and symposiums. It has to be born out of a whole environment of felt need. If I say,"I ought to pray," I will soon run out of motivation and quit; the flesh is too strong. I have to be driven to pray."
"The more we pray, the more we sense our need to pray. And the more we sense a need to pray, the more we want to pray."
Jim Cymbala

I can tell you right off the bat, I am not driven to pray. I think back and recall very few instances were I have been. My "prayer life" seems very removed from the rest of me, seems a bit contrived at times if I'm being honest with myself. I have been taught the formula, given the appropriate words, indoctrinated with the correct mindset but the bottom line is that when I come before the Lord in prayer, I forget who it is I'm connecting with...I dismiss the holy fear associated with encountering my King...I relegate prayer to mere words and phrases removing the essence of the Spirit and the connection of the heart. In my mind, it always seems to be "I ought to pray" or "we ought to pray" and hardly ever "I/we cannot do anything else before I/we come before the Lord". Ric is right on when he says that we spend more time talking about God than talking with Him (or something to that effect). The New Testament speaks of praying without ceasing which makes me wonder if the reason why they were always connected was because they couldn't fathom life apart from that experience of genuine spiritual intimacy with the Father. I read about the early church and can't help but see how much of their lives are dependent on God through a heart-felt need for prayer. Maybe that is why I'm not driven as they were; I've somehow, somewhere along the way convinced myself that I don't actually need God? How horrifying is that?


Monday, September 18, 2006

NO part 2

We're going back to serve in New Orleans in a few weeks...can't tell you how excited and grateful for another opportunity to help and minister to such a great city and to such great people.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Artery 2006

The first annual Artery showcase ends today with kids' gallery display. I worked tickets for Thursday's musical "Songs for a New World" by Jason Robert Brown and last night's Dance Showcase directed by Sarah and Shannon. Both events were amazing; I'm blown away by not only the level of talent around us but by the excellent quality of the arts as well. I mean, I don't know much about theatre and dance but from an outsider's perspective, I was more than impressed. Getting to experience artistic expressions from people I know was pretty cool, from Shannon's music to Justin's musical direction to Abigail's dance...very sweet.
I think Artery opened alot of doors for us and gave us more exposure to the art community...I had people constantly walking by and asking what Artery was about and who we are as a church; several people were disappointed that they hadn't heard about it or that they were bummed they missed out on some of the things we were showcasing. I hope we can use this as a springboard to reach and connect with more talented and creative people. It is my prayer that we allow God to transform us and this space into a conducive environment where people from all kinds of walks of life can search and be loved without fear or judgment. I feel that we have lost this middle ground that connects the church with those outside of the building...which is why I'm excited to have been a part of this and to see where the Lord will lead us going forward.
And, a very big THANK YOU goes to Kaiti B. for being the architect for Artery 2006. You rock!

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Redemption-Theme of Artery 2006

Redemption is often considered in the same terms as reconciliation. From the depths of pain and strife, separation and estrangement, we find a way to connect, and in connecting, find a way toward newness of life.

While those of us who are Christians believe that redemption is found at the cross through a reconciled life in Christ, there is room here for more than one worldview. For those of differing beliefs and backgrounds, redemption can take on new forms and meanings. It is the saving or improving of that which lies in disrepair or irreversible decline-a neighborhood gentrified beyond recognition, a government bent on a willful path of war, an often ignored hand that reach out for just a little bit more that the world might be willing to give.

It is in the vision of the individual artists that we begin to see for the first time that redemption is not merely symbolic. It is, no matter the medium or the ideal behind it, a true heart change-a willingness to suspend the self and reach out from within to replace the brokenness of the self and society through the wholeness of redeemed life.

Kristen Ball


two quick things

1. DO NOT go see the "Black Dahlia"!!! I can't stress this enough...there are movies that are bad, and then there are movies that are like this...a horrific cinematic mess. I'd rather watch re-runs of "The Carson Daly Show", yes its that bad.
2. It was only time that Jesus and MySpace
hooked up...I'd provide the actual MySpace page but I'm too busy gagging.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

my one year

Before the Artery began tonight, I realized that today marked my one year of being here in New York. That is so crazy...I can't believe its been 365 days already! Just goes to show that you never really know where God is leading ya. As I was thinking about all that has happened in my own life during this past year, all the happenings in my family and friends' lives since I moved to NYC came to mind as well. Here are some things that crossed my mental processes:
1) Adam moved to SF 2) Aaron went to Ghana 3) Emily graduated 4) Tommy graduated and just started at Berkeley 5) Kristi and Craig had their first baby girl 6) Jason and Jen had their first child 7) Ric and Torie had their first child as well 8) None of us are on high school staff any longer and 9) I'm frickin' 26!
There are a bunch of other things that I'm recalling even as I'm posting this...I look forward to seeing where I'm at next September 12th, and I just don't mean physically.

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Shannon Rocks!

Artery 2006 continued with the Singer/Songwriter Night and guess who opened the show? That's right, Ms.Shannon Larsen who was absolutely fantastical! Yes, you were Shan...I have proof of this on the video section and on my YouTube. Heck yessss!


Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11:5th Anniversary


Saturday, September 09, 2006


Artery was kick-offed tonight with the opening of the art gallery which was really impressive. There were submissions from very talented and artistic individuals...the theme of redemption resonated with the artwork, and it was interesting to see people's responses to them. Following that was the viewing of the film "Most" which fit perfectly with the redemptive element of the art showcase; I would encourage everyone to see it. Its only about half an hour long but it will definitely move you. It was Oscar-nominated and is pretty powerful on many different levels.
Plus, Shannon is in town visiting and will be playing Tuesday night for the Singer/Songwriter event. Pretty sweet, huh?

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I've been reading "An Unstoppable Force" by Erwin McManus which contains a myriad of things that I readily identify and concur with. Alot of stuff relating to the state of the modern church is, unfortunately, nothing new to me but I am glad the leadership of the 411 is diving into this book and using it as a springboard to seek God's heart in regards to the vision and values of the church. There is this one thing that McManus says that I keep coming back to: "We must remove every nonessential barrier facing those who seek God but have not yet found him."
When I first read that, I had to stop and re-read it several me, that is a super bold statement! Not just one or two but "every" obstacle that gets in the way of someone seeking God...and to be honest with you, I don't know what that looks like. I'm not sure if I have ever been part of a church that lives that out whole-heartedly...even if that very sentiment is there, I have not seen it exercised unconditionally. One reason being that the removal of one of those barriers may very well result in decreasing the comfort level of a group of people within the church itself. And we can't have that, right?
As I ponder what those hindrances may be in church, I've been praying that God reveal any barriers I've put in place in my own life...and that He gives me the strength and conviction to take them down. What would my life be devoid of the "nonessential barriers"? What would the church look like? Am I, are we getting in God's way?


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The most simple stroll down the block can turn into a journey of discovery and amazement. This place is perfect for people watching and casual observation (a couple of things I truly enjoy) as well...just some more reasons why I'm fascinated by this city.


Monday, August 21, 2006

DC roadtrip

Some of the guys in our Hi-Riser group took a quick trip to the nation's capital last weekend. It was pretty cool to see some of the monuments and memorials that I have always read about or seen on TV; stuff like the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, the Declaration of Independence, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, so on and so forth. The two things we did that had alot of resonance with me was seeing all the names on the Vietnam wall and visiting the Holocaust Museum: My life here in the States is a result of all the people who sacrificed their lives during that war; those men and women fought not only for this country but for people like me whom they never knew...thats just incredible to think about. As far as the Holocaust Museum is concerned, you don't visit it as much as you experience it...I mean I've read about the Holocaust, studied it in school, seen "Schindler's List" and others documentaries but this is something else entirely...the museum combines all these elements together in a very impactful and solemn manner.
And of course, being how this was a roadtrip with a bunch of guys, it had its fair share of toilet humor, girl-bashing, and jokes which all adds up to an incredibly fun time.
Thanks Andrew.


Thursday, August 10, 2006



Sunday, August 06, 2006

sports update

Cover 2? 3-step drop? Play action fake? That's right folks, football is in the air starting with the Eagles' scrimmage game tonight...I can't wait until the season begins. Watching Reggie Bush play is gonna be sweet!
Also, Tiger won his second tourney in a row to become the youngest player ever to reach 50 tournament wins.
And last but not least, the Yankees are in first place(2 games up on the Red Sucks) with the second best record in baseball. Yessir!


"I play for keeps!"

Two things that will blow your mind: 1)Will Ferrell as Ricky Bobby and 2) Travis Pastrana nailing the frickin double backflip in MotoX Best Trick!

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Happy Birthday Laurie!

Beach Baptism July 29th

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Grey's Anatomy, good... Snow Patrol, good...Grey's Anatomy's Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" video? Really good.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

"We loved you so much that we gave you not only God's Good News but our own lives, too." 1 Thes. 2:8
I've been thinking of that word "gave" friend Kyle pointed out how Paul didn't say that they just shared or invited others to simply participate in their lives but that they "gave" it as though Paul knew that it took such a complete offering in order to fully impact people. I must admit that I don't know what that truly entails or even looks like...I do know that when you give someone something, the object belongs entirely to the other person and, technically, without any strings attached. Even as I think about the implications of such action, I'm find myself uncomfortable at the thought of opening my life to what seems like drastic measures. The next question that infiltrates my mind is how am I to fully give my life to others if I still hold back some of it from Christ? I would love nothing more than to say that have I offered myself as a living sacrifice and have fully relinquished the desires of my life and heart to God...well, I've made the offer numerous times but seem to always rescind it or fail to deliver. There are areas in my life and in my heart that I don't know how to freely give to Him let alone my friend or neighbor. I don't believe this issue of holding back stems out of a lack of trust in God but born more from selfish desires to grip tightly to what little belongs to me even when I know I really don't not own any of it.
I remember having this ginormous crush on this girl named Cathy Costa in the 6th grade. All her friends knew about it, and I'm sure she knew as well but was sweet enough to not to ever bring it up whenever we were around each other. Anyhow, I had bought her these really nice earrings and gave them to her on the last day of school thinking that I'd never see her again anyway since I was transferring to another school (there are limits to my bravery). I recall being really excited and nervous and happy simultaneously as I fumbled words together in my dorky attempt to demonstrate my feelings to the prettiest girl in the world. Being such the sweetheart that she was, she gave me a huge smile and the best hug I've ever had up to that point in my life. I was absolutely beaming that whole summer long; nothing fazed me for the next few months.
I think about how wonderful and thrilled I felt when I gave those earrings to Cathy Costa, and it saddens me to think that the complete opposite happens when it comes to God; not that I desire to simply be infatuated but how I wish to explode with joy and anticipation and love as I give myself wholly to the Father knowing that He responds overwhelming better that any person ever can. I so desire to have my life driven by the love that Paul talks about in that verse and not be limited by childish fear or selfish indulgences. I just don't know how to do so; more accurately and to be honest, it seems I don't want to find out.
I can't help but to think what Paul is saying in that verse is that its simply not enough to share Christ if I don't give of myself as well...the method of delivery is as crucial and important as the message itself...that true love draws both these things out from a person...
Father, it is my prayer that you lead to a place of brokenness where only You can heal the pieces...I don't know how to give You my life any other way...I also don't think You would want it any other way...

Sidenote: Cathy ended up transferring to the same school I moved to the following year. How embarrassed was I when I ran into her on the second day of school?

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Monday, July 17, 2006

that a boy!

My good buddy Aaron just told that he's gonna be heading to Ghana in a couple of weeks to work in a hospital and I couldn't be more thrilled for him. I mean, this is something we've all been praying for and hoping would work out for the longest time, and now to see the Lord opening those doors is such a cool thing to see unfold. I'm so thankful that the Lord never ceases to amaze me...


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Happy birthday bro!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I have spent 169 hours, 32 minutes and 55 seconds talking to people on my current cell phone...thats over 7 straight days of dialogue and checking the voicemail. Is just me or does that sound crazy to anyone else as well?


Monday, July 10, 2006

Soul Survivor

I just finished re-reading Mike Pilavachi's book "Soul Survivor-Finding Passion and Purpose in the Dry Places" again...I love to go through this book because I always pick up on things I miss before. I think I've gone through it 4 or 5 times and every time, God has used different passages to speak to me; this time was no different. Here are some things Mike says that God has lead me to wrestle with:
"To attempt to change a world without being changed ourselves is a hopeless task."
"This adventure is only for those who are committed to being a voice to, and not merely another echo of, society. It is for those who want to be passionately committed to Jesus, to the King and His kingdom. It is only for those who are sick of superficiality both in themselves and in the Church. Above all, it is for those who long to be 'transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory'(2 Cor. 3:18)."
"God is not interested in a satisfactory working relationship with His people. The passionate God wants a love affair with His Church, a love so strong that we know we could never live without Him."


Friday, July 07, 2006

Emiline and Kelly's visit

This past week with Kelly and Emily here flew by so fast. I got to do some of the touristy things that I've been wanting to do like going to the Empire State Building, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, seeing the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island ferry, hangin' at Coney Island for the hotdog eating contest. (I must say that Nathan's does make some incredible hotdogs especially the bacon cheese goood!) This is such a great city, and I was glad that I was able to share it with some good buddies from back home...whether it be watching fireworks at Battery Park or exploring SoHo or walking around Times Square. Em, Kel...thanks for the good times.


Monday, July 03, 2006

block par-tay!

Last Saturday, we threw a party for the whole community at the park across the street from the church. It was such a great day; the weather was nice, alot of people showed up, there were a bunch of kids running around with balloons and face paint, popcorn and snowcones were everywhere. It was good to be in the community and connecting with the people around us. Its so meaningful to me to know that at the heart of the 411 is this overwhelming love for God demonstrated through loving our neighbors...that we do things like this not so much as to pull people into a building but to draw the hurting and broken-hearted and weary to the Father and His son, Jesus...isn't that what its all about?

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Monday, June 26, 2006

The Espys

The Espys are up for voting until July 9th. If you don't know what or who to vote for, just do what I did since I know best: Kobe's 81pt game, the Heat, Pat Riley, DWade, LeBron, Lance Armstrong, Shaun White, Jamie Bestwick, Big Ben, Hannah Teter, Reggie Bush, A-Rod, Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning, Tiger Woods...
By the way Ric, there is a reference in there about the TWO-time national champs USC.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Wow, my time back home flew by so quick! It was cool(and a bit weird at times) to see and connect with everyone. However, its good to be in New York again and getting back into the swing of things. What is up with the flippin' weather here?


“What lies behind us and before us are tiny matters
compared to what lies within us."
Ralph Waldo Emerson


Monday, June 12, 2006

LA roadtrip

So, I came up with this awesome idea to have a roadtrip to LA for my brother and some of his buddies to celebrate their high school graduation which turned out to be one of the best trips I've ever taken. We stayed in the OC Friday night, rode all the sweet coasters at Magic Moutain Saturday, and caught some sun at Huntington Beach Sunday afternoon. I'm glad I got time to hang out with Tommy and Laurie...I hadn't realized how much I miss hearing them talk or seeing them laugh until we were on the road having a good time playing Taboo. Its good to see them growing up with their own lives and everything...memories of us playing around as kids come to mind; I'm filled with joy knowing that we made some more lasting memories this weekend.

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Tomster the grad

I can't believe my little brother has finally graduated from high school. The days of waking up early to take him to school or waiting after school to pick him up or taking him to practice are all gone and done with. Now, its off to UC Berkeley next year...I'm proud of ya, bro!


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Home, sweet home!

As much as I have grown to love New York, its so flippin' good to be back home! I don't know how else to describe being back in familiar surroundings with family and friends other than that it just feels like home. I know I'm gonna have a fantastic time in the next week and a half. Yeah!


Sunday, June 04, 2006

celebration time, c'mon!

It was so good having our first worship celebration in the new church space this morning! No more unloading, setting up, tearing down and loading back up every week, haha!Its not about the building itself b/c we all know that church is the people and not the place but to have the space now to do the creative things that we have imagined is very exciting. It gives us many more opportunities to connect with people in the city as well as provide the church more contacts and exposure to the arts community. Scott and I have talked about how having this space is the next step in God bringing the vision He has given him to fruition and that more people are gonna get excited as they see more tangible evidence of the Lord's work in New York through the 411.

Father, thank you for leading me to a community of Christ-followers who have such a genuinely thrilling desire to worship you in bold and creative ways. I'm so grateful that You have prepared great works for us in advance and have instilled in us wonderful imagination and captivating talent to serve and pursue You. Its hard for me to contain the anticipation and excitement that resonates within my spirit right now as I imagine what those works may be...its time like these when I get out of the way and allow You to truly speak to my soul that I know You alone are worthy of such glory and praise.

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Eyes Open

Snow Patrol's new CD is incredible! I really like their first one but they've gotten alot better this time around. My favorite of the year thus far.


NBA Finals

I really don't know what team to root for; in terms of the Heat, I really like the Flash and Coach Riley(Lakers!) but can't stand Shaq. I mean, I put up with him when he was with LA but now that I don't have to tolerate him, I'd rather not see him hoist up another trophy. As for the Mavs, I'd prefer to put salt on my open cuts then see 1)Dirk's confused look on the court, 2) his newly acquired tongue wagging after dunks (dude, you're a 7 footer! dunks shouldn't be that hard for you!), and 3) his offensive "game" consisting of multiple elbows and traveling. Throw in the biggest dilhole in the NBA, Mark Cuban, as well as the nutcracker, Jason Terry, and you've got very "special" team indeed. However, I respect Coach Avery Johnson and Josh Howard is pretty good. So I guess its just a case of the lesser of two evils; the thing is, I can't figure out which is the lesser.


Friday, June 02, 2006


Did anyone see the 2006 Scripps National Spelling Bee? I can't believe I was that fascinated with the thing. I know it further proves how much of a dork I am but I was watching it over playoff basketball(granted it was the Mavs/Suns game). I think the fact that I love competition in any form factors into the equation, plus I like words and definitions and watching people fail.


Monday, May 29, 2006

Shaunald's wedding

Ronnie and Shaunti finally got married on Saturday! The ceremony was short and sweet; I haven't been to many weddings but this one has got to be one of the most efficient. The after-party was at a restaurant in Chelsea that was pretty cool, too. Food, drinks, music, dancing, cake, laughs, car flirting, people, pictures, smiles=fantastic time.


what a dork

Sunday, May 21, 2006

baby season

Congrats to Jason and Jen for having David Michael Jones (5lbs 10oz, 19.5 inches) as well as Ric and Torie for having Jonah Jackson White (8lbs 9oz, 21 inches). Everyone is doing well, and I can't wait to see little David when I come home. Praise God for the wonderful blessings in our lives.
Sidenote: It seems that a bunch of my friends have recently or will shortly either have kids or get married, and I still don't have a girlfriend...great.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

one more reason

"If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms," Pat Robertson told his viewers on May 8th. He also added," There well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest."
Oh really? Thats a pretty big "if" there, don't ya think, Pat? All I can say is thanks for giving people another reason to sign the
Pat Robertson Petition.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Once and for all, people

"It is not the fault of Dan Brown that we as Christians are so horribly uneducated about our own faith that we would blindly believe the fabrications of a fictitious character in one of his novels. It is utterly shameful that a fiction novel could have such a profound effect on us for our lack of knowledge and, to a great extent, even our seeming unwillingness to seek the truth. All Christians claim to believe that what we know about God and Jesus is indeed the truth; few Christians go so far as to prove it for themselves. Many write it off quickly as a matter of faith, leaving themselves quite open to attack in their ignorance. What every Christian should know is that what we believe actually is the truth, and not simply what we believe because we are too foolish or arrogant to understand otherwise."

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Hip-Hip, Jorge!

Posada came through big time last night in an amazing baseball game! They were down 9-o in the second inning!By the way, the odds of coming back from a 9-o deficit is 0.94% but c'mon, we're talking about the Yankees here! Fast forward to the bottom of the ninth where the Rangers are up 13-12. Posada comes to the plate with a man on base and two outs, and he blasts the game-winning, walk-off homer! My boy Jeter had a huge game going 4 for 5 with a homer, 4 RBIs and three runs. Oh yeah, he also threw out Texeira, who tried to unsuccessfully tried to blast through Posada, at the plate and stole third base just for kicks. We should've went to this game, Lindsey.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Clean am I before my Lord
Washed am I in his cleansing word
Though sin talons at my face
Though my lips breath curse and praise
Though verse of doubt I've too oft writ
The eyes of forgiveness see none of it

Clean am I before my Lord
Saved am I from doomsday's sword
Though thy love I've scarcely shown
Though I've wept when the cock hath crowed
Though stumbled have I in miry's pit
The pierced Savior's hand it washes it

Clean am I before my Lord
Mortality's river I shall ford
Drink will I of angel's food
Take hold the redemption of the rood
And drink the blood shed to remit
The sins of my soul, he sees none of it

Clean am I before my Lord
Washed am I in his cleansing word
Clean am I before my Lord
Saved am I from doomsday's sword
Clean am I before my Lord
Mortality's river I shall ford


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Love you, Mom.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Its so easy for me to lose sight of such beauty and majesty...its not so much that I'm too busy in general but that I too often allow my mind to concentrate on spiritual issues or matters of the faith that detract me from being in awe of His presence in my life. I find myself more, I don't know, ready or eager I guess to be involved in His kingdom work through action or contemplation than to simply be overwhelmed by the King Himself. I don't even know if that makes sense; its kinda weird, and I'm noticing it more now than ever. I don't think I've lost my passion or desire to serve and follow, but I can't shake the feeling that some of the flavor to it all has slowly dissipated...I'm sure that it has something to do with the fact that I'm in constant analysis of things; I've always seen my faith as a rational one, not one out of blind allegiance. Maybe the mind part isn't in balance with the heart part. I imagine what life would be like if I allowed my entire being to be flooded with His glory and grace and spirit and love...
...and it truly saddens knowing my life is nowhere near that and that I'm the responsible for such limitations.


Shaunald's wedding shower

Shaunti and Ronnie (aka Shaunald(for the slow ones out there, I just combo'd their names)) celebrated their togetherness in style with the karaoke shindig of the year. There was some good food along with lively entertainment. Its supposed to be "karaoke" but since most people there can actually sing, its not really "karaoke" but still good times nevertheless. I took some video of it but since the lights were dimmed, you can't actually see much but the audio is still amusing to hear. My favorite was Kyle and Justin ripping it old school with Boys2Men's MotownPhilly...Kyle doing Michael Bivins was wicked funny! (That crazy lady who threatened to call the cops on us was pretty funny too.) Anyway, Ronnie and Shaunti, you two lovebirds are one step closer to being m-a-r-r-i-e-d!


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

My Problem with Christianism

Just got done booking my flight home! And JetBlue better be all that b/c it cost me a pretty penny. In less than a month, I get to sleep on my wonderful futon, watch TV on my lovely flat-screen, drive my fantastic Civic...and, oh yeah, see my amazing family and friends. I'm going, going back, back, to Cali, Cali, uhhh!


Monday, May 08, 2006

Congrats, Craig and Kristi!

I just got word that Kristi just delivered a beautiful baby girl named Eloise(Elle or El) Linnea Nolan! I can't wait to see the new edition to the Nolan household next month when I come home...that little girl is gonna get spoiled big time! Here are the stats:
8lbs, 3 oz/21.5 inches/ darkish wavy hair/ dark blue eyes


my King eternal
my Lord immortal
my God invisible


Steven flippin' Spielberg!

Smokes, I shook hands with Mr. Spielberg last Saturday night! I mean, this is the cinematic genius responsible for ET, Jaws, Indiana Jones, Hook...the man revolutionize film-making with incredible CGI/live action integration in Jurassic Park and amazing first-person action in Saving Private Ryan. He's so much more of a compelling story-teller than a Hollywood director...Schindler's List, Amistad, Munich, The Color Purple...I can go on and on. I had a bunch of things I had wanted to say to him, but all I could manage was some gibberish about my name and a photo. Its gonna be hard to top this encounter!

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006


As I was looking at flights for my trip home for my brother's graduation, I couldn't help but think about our relationship. We don't have the best one, at least not the one I would like and a large part of that is my fault. I don't think that I've been or am a bad brother but I do recall times where I've messed up big time and was too stubborn to admit it or too proud to back down. I can see how I've acted out of anger or self-interest or arrogance during certain periods of time...done and said stupid things I knew better than to have done and said. Look, I know we all make mistakes and would like all our relationships to be better and I don't want this to sound like a pity party or anything but there were so many times when I knew it was within my power to guide him or say the right thing or set aside time to hang with him and yet, I didn't...all those missed or wasted moments kept me up all last night. I mean, I can't remember the last time I hugged my sad is that? I know that him and I are both responsible to make this thing work, but I know I'm not the big brother I want him to see me as, and that realization completely breaks me...I extended myself to and for others but neglected to do so when it came to you, and I'm so sorry for that.