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2010-11

So I know it’s 2011 already but I wasn’t feeling like writing anything reflective until now.  If you’ve ever read this blog you know I hardly ever write anything anyway.  I really do this to clear my own head but thanks for reading!

So 2010 is over.  For the first time in my life I sat there at 11:59 (pm) on Dec 31 and thought of how glad I was the year was over and was looking forward to 2011.  I enjoyed 2010 but it was more than we bargained for.  We knew full well what we were getting ourselves into twelve months ago when Steph and I both quit our jobs to pursue our dreams.  I also know that if you told us even in December of 2009 we’d be sitting where we are we would have told you how crazy you are.  Either way we’re sitting here in our tiny little room in my in-laws home with a bed, dresser and tv stand, fully content with our decisions.  We are not however, content with where we are at in the process of our dreams, but who is?

2010 was really hard because we’re not where we want to be but we’re both headed in the right direction as individuals and a couple.  It sucks but its cool.  God continues to give us little bits and pieces of HOPE that enable us to carry on.  I continue to HOPE for God’s faithfulness, and His hand to continue to open doors.  I know I should definitely PRAY waaaay more so hopefully I can be faithful to pray the way I want to pray.  No excuses, no laziness.

Despite what you might think I really am looking forward to 2011.  Do I think much will change in the next twelve months? No idea.

Do I want to be closer to our greater goals? Of course.

Here’s to God’s continued faithfulness and continued HOPE in 2011.

 

How to Be A Coach

Our season wrapped up last Saturday with a near upset of the #1 team in the nation.  Our boys played their best game of the year and we’re done in by a horrible pass interference penalty on the last drive that set up the game winning field goal for the opposing team.  We had the ball with one minute left on 4th & 2 and couldn’t convert and they took over.  Losing sucks balls, but this loss was the best loss I’ve ever had if you can even say that.  I am a competitor to my core.  This loss was one with dignity and one with no regrets.  Yea we we’re done wrong by the call, but everything we did on our end was done to the best of our abilities and we held our heads high.

After every season I’ve coached (only 5 so far) I sit down and evaluate the year and try to decompress.  It’s never been that hard because it’s always been as a part-time coach at a high school, but because I’m so type-A I feel the need to do so.  This year was better and harder than any ever.  Partly because coaching is the path I am pursuing.  This is what I want to do for the next season of my life.  No pun intended.  This year was great in that I got to work with a group of kids and watch them grow as players and as men.  As a 6’4″ white guy with red hair I felt I was able to connect well with 13 black kids and 2 Polynesians.  Sounds funny but its true.

It was challenging because I knew in my core I could do more to help us win if I was given the chance and extra responsibility.  I’m not complaining, that’s just my belief in myself as a coach and competitor.  It’s also a testament to junior college football.  These kids are all here for a reason, most of them not good.  It is controlled chaos and for someone who likes to be organized and prepared it was a constant battle.  Nevertheless I was able to find my way and work through the madness of both the kids and the culture.

Now that the season is over the challenges are many.  We don’t know who our next head coach will be.  Will we be retained if someone new comes in?  Will someone on our staff get the job?  In a perfect world I will have an opportunity to move on to the D1 level.  We don’t live in a perfect world.  I am still going to try to connect with as many coaches as I know and hopefully the Lord opens a door.  Who knows?  I do know this…There’s a lot the Lord taught me about how to be a coach and that has absolutely nothing to do with X’s and O’s.

We we’re sitting in our life group last night with a small group of individuals and couples.  It was my first time because of the season.  I sat there and listened to people share about the “lows” in their lives and how the Lord moves and speaks in those “lows”.  (The conversation is always a continuation of the sermon the previous Sunday.)  The season only ended a few days ago and it hit me pretty hard that I didn’t know where I was.  I didn’t know if I was in a high or a low.  I didn’t even know where I stood with the Lord.  I sat there in shock and realized how poor of a job I over the past 6 months really of having balance in my life.  When I worked in ministry you never wanted to compartmentalize your life because your job is your life 24-7.  Its ministry.  Now as a coach, I feel like I have to compartmentalize my life because when I come home I want to be HOME.  I want to sit with my wife and talk about her and her day.  I didn’t do a horrible job of that but I certainly didn’t do a great job.  I was humbled and ashamed at that fact and the fact that I didn’t know where I stood with the Lord.  I know full well that I will never not have the love of the Lord, but it had been so long since I had even been intentional about being with Him and walking in His word and resting in Him.  I was almost reduced to tears because it was something I had never known.

I had tunnel vision for the last six months.  I was fully aware of what was going on around me, but if it wasn’t right in front of me I wouldn’t engage in it.  I didn’t feel the Lord convicting me.  I felt His hands around me telling me to rest.  I don’t need physical rest or mental rest.  I could go another 3-4 months no problem.  I need spiritual rest and restoration.  I need to restore balance to my life with my Father and with everyone else around me.  I need balance with HOW  I spend time with my wife.  I need to do a better job of having my faith pour out of every part of my life, not just be a part of me.  As a coach I needed to interact with the Lord more as a coach both for myself and on behalf of my players.  Especially when I’m trying to move up in this career and find open doors.  I have to compartmentalize my life.  When I’m at home I’m at HOME.  Football cannot consume my mind.  When I am at football and home I must acknowledge the Lord and rest in His presence.

I sat there last night thankful for the Lord speaking to me and in a weird way allowing me to rest in the knowledge that I didn’t know where I stood.  I was and am thankful for the lesson learned in how to be a coach.  Lord help me to be a great one in EVERY way.

Grind

Grind is a football term.  It’s one that gets thrown around in the coaching world.  To be called a grinder is a great compliment and one that shows the hard-working nature of a coach, no matter the circumstances.  Obviously I realize I haven’t posted a damn thing on here for a very long time.  No excuses.  Just been lame about it.  Now I’m sitting at my desk at a job a hate not wanting to be here a second longer than  I have to.  I’m sitting in a cube with a view out a window into a world I want to coach in.  Not live in, coach in! You see, I hate my job.  Have I mentioned that yet?  I live every day practice to practice.  I get to go home for lunch and see my wife and that gives me the boost I need to make it through the rest of work and on to practice.  Once I step out of this office I feel liberated.  It sounds funny but its true.  I really do.  Honestly it doesn’t matter what I do I won’t be content until I’m coaching somewhere at a D1 school.  There’s only three places in life I know I belong.  I know I belong because every time I’m there I feel so fulfilled and challenged there’s no doubt I’m in the right place.  Those three things are simply: being with Jesus, being with my wife and being on a football field.  I know people are called to different things and I feel called to coach.  Every part of me comes alive when I’m in that environment.  I have such a passion for the game and for working with young men it’s almost my drug.  To make it even better I know Jesus wants me to coach and I know my wife wants me to coach.  It’s a unique experience having the opportunity combine my three passions like that.  My wife has been my biggest cheerleader and support in this and she encourages me more than any of you will ever know…unless you are a coaches wife!

At the start of this year my wife and I both decided it was time to do something crazy and pursue our dreams.  Obviously mine was coaching and hers was photography!  It’s been almost ten months and a lot of transition but here I sit behind this damn desk, hating my job, loving my wife and loving our journey.  When we both resigned we lost all income.  We lived off of savings for almost six months and moved in with her parents in April.  That drastically reduced our expenses but I still had to find work and more importantly $$$.  I had to grind.  Lame, but true.  Stephanie was still developing her business and that was consuming all of her time.  Through her hard work she is now taking photos and working to continually find more clients and create more business for herself.  She is so talented and will continue to do well.

The reality of our situation is still not lost on us though.  At least once a week we talk about where we’re at and how we desire to have our own space, our own apartment, to be financially stable enough to afford those things.  We dream of the future and what it might hold, where we’ll be, what it will look like, how we’ll make it and then we’re reminded of our journey.  We decided together back in January that we were going to pursue our passions.  We both took a blind leap, together, down different paths and here we are ten months later in the middle of a grind.  We lose sight of how crazy we are and how cool this journey is.  It really is.  It still surprises us both that we each had the courage to step out and do this.  Are we crazy?  Probably.  The timing could have been better but that doesn’t matter now.  We’re in it and we’re in it deep…in a good way.   I guess in some twisted way I’m glad I’m hating my job because it means I’m pursuing my true passion.  Every day I wake up reluctantly and head out the door to do the same damn thing every day.  I hate it because it’s not what I want to be doing, not what I’m supposed to be doing, but in order to get there I have to pay my dues.  I have to GRIND.

I found this verse very recently and it give me great encouragement:

From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.    Psalm 61:2-4

There have been days where I have cried out like this begging for the Lord to lead me to a rock higher, to be my shelter and strong tower.  And in some brief sinister moment I’m thankful for this process.  It sucks ass, but I’m thankful for it because I know when I do achieve that first goal (first goal because there’s plenty more on this coaching journey) I will only be able to point to the Lord and look back with relief and emotion I can only imagine.  I am trusting in the shelter of HIS wings.

I know this post is jumbled and unorganized but I just had to get something out for my own therapy.  Here’s what I’ll leave you with I guess…

This journey is really, really, really hard.  We have had to do things we thought we’d never do.  We are in a place we never, ever thought we’d be.  We both decided we were going to be crazy and go for it and now we both have to grind!  I have a t-shirt that says GRIND: The Dream Is Free, The Journey Is Not.  Obviously.  If you have a passion or calling you feel led to pursue, DO IT.  GRIND it out and go after it.  Right now we are learning to enjoy the journey and hoping in the shelter of the Lord’s wings.  It’s the worst and best thing we’ve ever done.   I am not a courageous person at all and here I sit.  Get off your ass and  do something. It will help your marriage, your relationship with Christ, and give you a completely new outlook on everything.  Trust me.  Go GRIND!!!!!!

Here We Go

Some of you ended up here because I sent you an email.  Others already knew. Either way thanks for stopping by.

Quite honestly I don’t know where to start.  God has taken me on an incredible journey since I have known all you guys.  From college to present-day I have repeatedly had the shit beat out of me by the Lord.  He has humbled me in so many ways and has brought me here to where I am now.  I sit and write this entry humbled again by the experience I have gone through over the last six months.  Forgive me for the length of this entry but let me finally jump in.

Four years ago I felt called by Jesus to serve Him through the vehicle of Young Life.  We all serve it’s just a matter of what vehicle we use to present the Gospel.  Sometimes it’s our profession.  It could be Young Life, church, sales, finances, whatever.  I grew up in Young Life and I was excited about the opportunity.  Before I came on staff I had to look my boss in the eyes and tell him I genuinely felt called by God to be on Young Life staff.  I did just that.  My mindset was always “I’m going to do Young Life until God tells me to do something else.”  I’ve gone about the last three and a half years not ever really thinking about much else.  One day last winter my good friend Dave Canales was hired at USC to coach football.  As you all know full well I have a borderline unhealthy obsession about the game.  Dave’s hiring really got my wheels turning.

I’ve coached football all four years I’ve been on YL staff.  It was a great way to be around the game but it was an incredible way to meet kids.  Over these past four years I have come to know and coach every single kid in the program at the high school where I do YL.  It has been incredibly fruitful from a ministry standpoint.  From a football standpoint is sucks because I’m not a good high school coach.  I’m not patient enough to coach and teach football to kids who would rather be playing it on xbox.  Fast forward to this past spring.  One random day Steph and I were driving to lunch.  We were engaged at the time and in the middle of planning the wedding.  You might laugh but I did play a role in most things in that process.  Anyways we were driving and listening to sports talk radio.  Pete Carroll was on the radio and the thought of coaching popped into my head like it had a handful of times since Dave was hired.  As coach Carroll spoke my mind wandered to a day where I was a college football coach.  It scared me honestly.  It scared me in many ways, but those didn’t matter because I wouldn’t even go there.  Either way I thought I should ask Steph if she could ever be a coaches wife.  Thinking she would say NO, I would be able to put it to bed and never have to worry about it EVER again.  Without even thinking twice I asked her “so could you ever be a coaches wife?”  I was already thinking about what we were going to talk about next…what are you going to order for lunch? what do you think about the churches we looked at?  and most importantly where do you want to go on our honeymoon?

SON OF A BITCH SHE SAID YES.  For reals? Really?  She said “Yea, why?”  I was completely speechless.  I had already changed the subject in my mind.  I thought she would say no.  Hell, I wanted her to say no because I didn’t want to think about it ever again.  I didn’t want to think about leaving YL or anything else.  Damn, now we had to talk about it. Like really talk about it.  We sat there over lunch and just began to explore what that meant and where to go from there.  Over the next few months we would visit it fairly regularly and continue to process together.  In April I was fortunate enough to have multiple opportunities to go visit Dave at SC and sit in on QB, team and coaches meetings during spring ball.  I even got to help him break down film after practice.  I was in heaven.  This was big time ball and I got to experience it first hand.  This only fed the beast.  Throughout this process Dave and I would talk about my thoughts and I would pick his brain.

After Steph and I were married it was time to slow down for a bit.  We went on our honeymoon then proceeded to travel for a nice part of the summer.  Summer is a bit slower programmatically for YL so we were able to run around a little bit.  These were great opportunities to talk and process together what was on our minds and hearts with this whole coaching debacle.  You can only talk so much until you have to move.  Steph and I went to dinner one night with Dave and Lizzy Canales.  We all knew why and it was a great opportunity to sit and talk together and hear their experiences in their journey.  At the end of the dinner I told Dave all this stuff is fantastic but it comes down to two things for me.  And it went exactly like this:

You know me.  You know my gifts, my strengths, weaknesses, my personality.  No bullshit.  Be brutally honest.  Can I be a D1 football coach? Can I be successful?

With your eyes closed

Hmm. Wow. Ok………Well…Do I have to leave YL to pursue this? Because I’m not willing to do that right now.  We’re still trying to figure out if this is something we are going to pursue.

Nope.  You don’t have to leave.

Shit.  I wanted Steph to say no.  She screwed that one up.  Then a big part of me wanted Dave to say no and he screwed up.  Now it was decision time.  Steph and I took a few days to think and pray over our conversation.  We decided we would take the fall semester and seek the Lord and see if this was truly where He wanted us to go.  If so, He would open a door and we would jump right in.  If not we would continue to faithfully serve Him in YL.

These last few months have been the longest of my life.  Plain and simple.  My marriage is the best thing that has ever happened to me and if I did not have Stephanie I know damn well I would not have made it through this.  I have NEVER pleaded with the Lord like I have in this.  I’ve lost sleep, I’ve lost weight and I even had an intestinal infection caused by stress.  Stephanie has been my biggest fan, biggest encouragement and the best sounding board I can ask for.  Every morning I would wake up and open my bible seeking wisdom and discernment.  My pleas with the Lord consumed my prayer life.  I was so torn and so desperate for an answer.  I love YL with all my heart.  It has given me so much and taught me so much.  Jesus drew me to himself through YL.  It has changed my life.  I am forever indebted to the ministry of YL.  Either way this was going to be the hardest decision of my life thus far.

Fast forward to Jan 5 when I got a call from an old buddy from APU.  We played together and now he is the OC at Pasadena City College.  We had been playing phone tag and I was trying to catch up with him and ask him about his journey to PCC.  As we talked he started asking me questions about coaching.  Then he offered me an opportunity to come interview for the WR job.  Wow.  Curve ball.  I agreed.  I took my resumé and met him and the head coach in their offices two days later.  The head coach looked over my resumé, asked me some questions about my playing experience and why I wanted to coach.  I explained to him my obvious love of the game and my desire to mold young men, teach and challenge them and share with them the love of Jesus.  That may sound cheesy but I genuinely take that approach to coaching and I always will.  I also told him my goal of one day becoming a D1 head coach.  After that he put me up on the board.  He had me draw up how I would attack certain defenses in the run game and pass game.  It was freaking awesome.  Nerve wracking as hell, but awesome.  He asked me a few more questions in how I would handle situations with players.  He told me they would love to have me on staff if I wanted to join them.  He offered his help with connecting me to any and every D1 school they have a relationship with to help me take the next step in my career as the future unfolds.

With all the prayer, stress, fear, doubt, and pleading the Lord opened the door.  Steph and I talked and we decided to take the job in effect ending my time on staff with YL.  I am going to go after this with everything I have.  This is my passion and the Lord is giving me the opportunity to chase this with the most amazing woman by my side.  Two days ago (Thursday) I met with the other two staff people in our area and told them the news.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  I love both of those people with all of my heart.  They are both amazing and my biggest cheerleaders in this as I move forward.

This was not an easy process.  It was exhausting and it took a toll on my mind and my body.  In both YL and coaching you can’t half ass anything.  It’s all or nothing.  I know towards the end of the semester my work in YL wasn’t my best.  I was so torn and consumed by what the Lord was going to do I wasn’t totally present, but I stand here now scared shitless by what the future holds.  I now have to find a day job to help pay the bills as we begin this coaching journey.  Of course the Lord gives us this during this awesome economic time our country now has going for it.

Gentleman, again, I know this is long but I want you to know I share these details with you because you have helped me get to this point.  Like I said in the beginning the Lord has beat the shit out of me and has left me humbled by you, by my experiences, by this process.  I’ve come to dwell on the relationships in my life these past few months and how they have shaped me.  You have all shaped me.  I genuinely believe with all my heart that every single one of you have helped me get to this point today.  Whether or not you care about anything I’ve said until now I want you to know I’m thankful for you.  I’m thankful for your friendship.  I’m thankful for your support in college and beyond.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to live with most of you (even if I did have a big ass bed AND you puked while sleeping in it THEN moved the bed to cover it, or even if you threw the mattress down the stairs and then a bar stool at me while I had a broken wrist, and even if you slapped the shit out of me while playing drunk Tiger Woods).  Thank you for putting up with my arrogant selfish ass in college.  Thank you for supporting me in YL whether that was financially or through prayer.  Thank you for choosing to do life with me (Kimble – you know damn well you stole that line from me).  As you can see the Lord has turned me into a soft, sentimental dude these days but I don’t give shit.  It’s who I am.  I’m a soft, sentimental FOOTBALL COACH!

Please know wherever this journey takes Steph and I, you all obviously have an open-ended invitation to visit.  Maybe someone will actually come visit us now.  Either way you are all invited to any game, anytime, anywhere.

I love you all.  May the Lord bless you and free you to pursue your greatest passions as He has done for me.

AMEN.

My Veterans Day.

I know there’s a ton of people who will be blogging and writing about it, along with a ton of videos and tv specials but this is my Veterans Day tribute.

My mom’s dad “Pappy” was a veteran. He’s obviously not here anymore but he was an awesome dude. He was a horologist. Yup, that is correct. A horologist. He was a watch-maker/repair man. He owned his own shop and would also buy/sell every weekend at the swap meet. He was a product of the depression so he never gave anything away. He would go to the local Goodwill and they would have a bag full of watches for him every week. They knew him by name and he would walk in, they would say “hello Hudson.” He would grab his bag and walk on out. After he sold his shop he would go to work out in his “shop” (trailer) in the backyard. His regular customers would come see him out there and sit with him. Oh did I mention his hat of choice was an old wool cap? Yea he was an OG. He smoked cloves and would tell my little brother Tyler they were pencils. Tyler knew though and would say “Pappy is sneaking a smoke.”

Obviously he was a cool guy, and a great grandpa. Pappy was a large man. He wasn’t very tall, maybe around six-foot, but he had these large hands which was amazing because he worked with watches. It was amazing to watch him work on watches. he would be using these small tools and be working with these tiny, tiny pieces of a watch. He wore his special glasses and my mom told me he had to learn to control his breathing so he wouldn’t blow away the parts of the watch. It was such a delicate yet intense process. He was a master at his craft.

Although he was amazing at it he didn’t come to work on watches until later in his life. Before that he managed grocery stores both in Texas and New Mexico. He was Cherokee Indian and would also widdle wood. His trademark item was a pair of tiny little pliers!

Even before that he was in the Army. He fought in World War II. He was a veteran. He would never share stories of the crazy, scary, horrible things he saw. Instead he shared with us stories of his travels. We were young and I’m sure he didn’t enjoy reliving most of those things. It kind of surreal living only 4 freeway exits from the Rose Bowl knowing that when he was a soldier he lived inside the stadium for an extended period of time with other soldiers. He would tell us stories of playing football games inside the stadium only to sleep there later that night. He spent time in South Africa, Germany, England, and many other countries. He saw so many places and go to experience many great things.

While he did see many great things it obviously didn’t come without a cost. He had shrapnel bits in his leg that remained there until the day he died and he also told me what it was like to be shot. He received 2 Purple Hearts, multiple Silver Stars and other decorations. It is bittersweet to not know more details about his time as a soldier. Selfishly, I wish I knew more, but I also know he did suffer from nightmares and post-traumatic stress which would come when he did share certain stories. In spite of that he was a great father, and a great Pappy.

There was a guy I played high school baseball with who received an appointment at the Air Force Academy. He came from a wealthy family. His dad was an architect and drove a Viper. He would come to every game and scream and yell. A bit obnoxious, but still a good guy. He had his enemies around town and there were people who couldn’t stand him and people he hated, but he loved my Pappy. He would make it a point to seek him out at every game and they would talk about his time and experiences during WWII. It was always cool to see. One year he wrote my Pappy a card and gave it to him on Veterans Day. Somehow we came upon the card recently and read what was inside. It was amazing to see this man write such powerful words to Pappy. He shared his admiration and appreciation. He looked up to Pappy and appreciated him as a soldier, as a man but also as a friend. He honored his sacrifice and time as a soldier. To see a man honor Pappy that knew him and spent time with him for only a portion of two years was amazing.

I know there are people that might feel slighted by the government because their loved one hasn’t been honored for their time or sacrifice. I was surprised to see the honor Pappy got when he passed away. It feels weird saying this and quite honestly a bit morbid, but I am thankful he passed away while Steph and I we’re visiting over spring break a few years ago. We got to see him the day of just hours before. It wasn’t unexpected, in that we knew it would happen soon, but it was unexpected that it did in fact happen when it did. I guess it always is. In the process of preparing for the funeral a few days later we received a letter honoring his service. Later we received his medals and honors along with the flag. You always see it in movies and tv. It’s always being folded in front of the widow and given by a soldier in full dress. We did not get that, however we did the flag in a wooden box with a glass view. When you see that flag in person folded perfectly and framed it screams honor. It is powerful to hold and look at. I’m not very patriotic I guess, but the sight of that flag and knowing it is for Pappy and his service gives me chills. It is a powerful experience. It currently sits in front of Nanny’s (my grandma) tv in the living room. Every time we visit her it sits there waiting for us. It’s dusty now, but the power still remains. Such honor and sacrifice should be remembered.

This Veterans Day I am honoring Pappy. I am honoring his sacrifice both physical and emotional. I am honoring him as a soldier. I am honoring him as a watch maker. I am honoring him as a family man. I am honoring him as Pappy. I miss him.

How will you “celebrate” Veterans Day?
Who will you remember and honor?
I would love to know!

Inspired by the letter P

This week Lizzy has asked that we use the same source of inspiration for our blogs. It’s a letter of the alphabet and words that come to mind. This week I am inspired by the letter P…PAIN.

I’m in pain. My abdomen hurts like a bitch.

I’ve had this problem sporadically over the last few months and I’ve never understood it. Well this last week it has reared its ugly head. I have gall bladder issues. Therefore I thought I could not eat any fatty foods, now I realize i shouldn’t have any food. A strict liquid diet. Fawesome!!! I go to the doctor tomorrow to hopefully determine the issue with my gall bladder. If we don’t find anything the shit will hit the fan because I will be throwing it there.

This has been an ongoing thing with no answers until last Monday night. I woke up at 2:45am in some serious pain. I’ve experienced some painful things before with football (playing with broken wrist, separated shoulder, blah, blah) but this was bad. I eventually gave in and listened to Steph and we went to urgent care. The doctor suggested the cause was gall stones. The pain eventually dissipated as it always does, only to show up again EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Last night (Sunday) the pain obviously returned around 9:30pm. Normally it lasts between one and two hours. At 8am THIS morning I was still in pain. No sleep, no food, lots of water and LOTS of pain. This isn’t a dull pain either. It’s the pain that gives you shortness of breath and a knot in your back. It sucks ass. I slept a grand total of two hours. It was a bloody miserable night. The worst I’ve ever had.

So, once again, I am headed to the doctor tomorrow to determine what the hell is going on.

I’m not inspired by pain I am consumed by pain. You can’t get comfortable, its hard to breathe, and nothing works at alleviating it. It ends when it ends.

The letter P:
Pain – I have it
Pizza – Can’t eat it
Potatoes – Can’t eat them
Papaya – Can’t eat them
Pasta – Can’t eat it
Pumpkin Pie – Can’t eat it
Pancakes – Can’t eat them
Poop – Hard to
Pee – Too often

Pray – that I may sleep through the night along with my doctor appointment tomorrow.

Incarnation

So I’ve been meaning to blog this for a while but life is always freaking crazy.  I use a lot of italics in here so be careful! Please understand I do not write this saying “Go me!”  You know me.  I’m sharing my heart and my calling.

I had a rough day a few weeks ago.  It was a Thursday.  I was on my way to pick up a buddy who was helping me start Young Life at a new school.  I showed up at the door and he met me in tears.  I was a bit taken back.  He started with this “I cant do it dude.  I’m done.”  I’m used to hearing that.  Rejection and being turned down is a daily part of my job.  I said “Ok lets go talk.”  We walked across the street to Starbucks.  I had it in my mind I was going to fix this situation, no problem.  We’ll talk for a bit then be off to the high school to see some kids.  Alas, I was very wrong.

The toughest part, but at the same time most beautiful part about this calling, this life, this job (if you take it seriously) is meeting people exactly where they are at.  I think we would all agree that ministry at its roots is relational.  I don’t know of any ministry that is not relational.  Now at the same time, not all ministry is Incarnational.  Jesus was God Incarnate.  He came to us in our world, our culture, our circumstances.  He did the work.  He pursued, put forth the effort and never gave up.  One of my favorite passages of scripture is in Matthew 9.  It says Jesus is “reclining at the table with sinners and tax collectors.”  I freaking love that.  That is bad ass.  I see Jesus literally reclining at their table, in their world with his feet up, laughing and talking life with these people…with US!  Some people understand that concept, some dont.  Thats ok I guess, but I’m biased and I whole heartedly believe that all ministry should be incarnational.  We should go to people in their environment, where they are comfortable and earn their trust before we begin anything.  That is genuine and incarnational.  If its not then I think its selfish.  That might offend some people but this is my blog so you can go bitch somewhere else.  We are called to empty ourselves and serve Jesus by serving others.  Its not our job to lead people to Christ.  It is our job to love people….Back to the incarnation.  When you get the experience of meeting someone exactly where they are and its genuine you encounter a whole mess of things.  Some great, some horrible.  We encounter people’s joys and their sins.  We get to bear their burdens with them.  I consider that an honor.  It doesn’t happen very often, its not always fun, in fact its never fun but that is Jesus.  It’s not of Jesus, it IS Jesus.  Jesus is there in that exact moment, in that entire process.  That is The Incarnation.  We are walking with them in their world and we come out of it covered in their shit or sharing in their joy.  We don’t always offer advice or solutions we are just present.  We show up.

I showed up to the shop that day and ended up across the street at Starbucks.  Again, I’m thinking I got this.  Nope.  He proceeded to vomit his life all over the place and it was awesomely bad.  Awesome in the ruthless honesty.  Bad in the hurt, pain and lostness of it all.  I’ve had conversations like this before, but this was different because this was a full grown man and not a high school kid.  It was a life ruined by addiction to alcohol.  After a half-hearted stay in rehab and two more years not much had changed.  Still no control and a feeling of helplessness.  Friendships lost, a marriage totally ruined, a family torn apart, a failing business and some broken ribs.  The shit was all over the fan and the walls.  After a half hour I’m thinking “where are you Jesus?”  He’s sitting with us, not just because scripture says “where two or more are gathered…”  This IS the Incarnation.  He is reclining at the table with us.  No laughing, instead hurting.  We are all broken by this.  All covered in this mess.  All sharing in the pain.  We encountered this man on this day exactly where he was.  It was real.  It was brutal.  It was hard.  It hurt.  It sucked.  It was refreshing.  It was energizing.  It was draining.  I was exhausted.  I was sad.  I was…thankful?  Hell yes.  It was an honor to be there.  It was an honor to share in that.  I didn’t do anything but simply listen and ask some questions.  When we are faithful in being incarnational, Jesus pulls back the curtain a little bit.  Obviously its not always pretty.

Incarnational ministry allows us to walk through life alongside people.  Like I said something like that doesn’t happen very often.  That day it did.  My heart still hurts for him.  The reality of it is it wasn’t a happy ending.  There’s no end in sight.  Jesus never said there would be.  He just said show up and start walking.  Where will you show up? (Hint: It’s not rhetorical)