Thursday, December 20, 2007

Are we a peacekeeping nation?

i have been in hiatus for awhile, so i have probably lost all of my reader. lol. so i will post this for myself and it will help me process. as some of you may know from previous blogs that i am reading the new brian mclaren book, "everything must change". it has been a slower read than some of his other books, because it takes me down many roads i have never been in regards to thinking about the greatest issues of the world. i really probably need to be processing all of this with someone who either is reading the book or understands some of these issues and world affairs better than myself. this post will be a few statements from the book in regards to the US's role in providing arms to other countries.

"... after the vietnam war era: mcnamara concluded that is would be rational to limit the armament costs by producing larger runs of each weapon and selling them abroad. the us also happened to be running a three billion dollar general trade deficit. foreign arm sales would be a way to balance the situation."

"my country (the us) can boast that we produce 53.4 percent of the world's weapons." jimmy carter said, "we cannot have it both ways. we can't be both the world's champion of peace and the worlds leading supplier of small arms."

"80% of the top buyers of us weapons were countries that our own stae department labeled undemocratic or countries known for their failure to uphold human rights, such as egypt and saudi arabia."

"it is estimated that every year small arms kill more people than the atomic bombs dropped on hiroshima and nagasaki put together."

i read these quotes and have so many emotions and thoughts. i am not sure what to think but somehow it does not all make sense. we get pissed off at all of these other countries but do not even police ourselves. we definitely as a country serve money over god. we may say that we are for peace with our mouths, but it seems our actions say something so different.

Monday, November 12, 2007

An All Around Good Weekend

i just thought i would land over here and share the highlights of my above average and maybe you could say a great weekend. the pic is just becuz it is awesome and will draw more attention to the post. lol. so here are the highlights:
  • the silver bullets (kade's soccer team) continued to reign terror in division U-8 soccer of ayso region 60. i do admit that i am not a soccer fan and you will never catch me watching it on tv, but i love to coach the silver bullets. they are a great group of 6/7 years olds who are so much fun. if you were to visit our practices you would think i am running a basketball practice. i have turned basketball drills into soccer drills. they keep space... the pass... and the play defense. i am one proud coach!
  • the trojans took care of the tree loving cal bears! it seems if we can beat arizona state next week, which will be a tough one. than destroy the care bears on Dec. 1. oh you want to know how much o love the silver bullets.. i gave up tickets for that game because i have a game at 1 pm and the usc vs ucla game begins at 1230. it is our last game and just could not miss it! so all the trojan haters get ready for us to make run for another bcs bowl. our team travels well for bowls, so as long as we stay in the top 12 in the bcs rankings (currently 11th). we will be chillin in a bcs bowl for the 5th year in a row. the dynasty is not dead!
  • i saw american gangster at 10 am on sunday while most of you were chillin in a pew :) it was a great movie and it took me about half an hour to recover from wanting to start my own drug cartel and shoot people. lol. you must see the movie. very good. denzel is always good though.
  • i watched football with friends the rest of the day and than hit the house church of alhambra to end the day. we had a great discussion on death and grieving and jesus in the middle of it. very interesting because a few friends lost people this week.
oh well, that was the weekend of j-lou! i hope you enjoyed the journey and brian's book and some people i have met lately i am contemplating a trip to uganda or some other war torn country. peace.

Monday, October 29, 2007

usc comments for all you haters!

ok... this one is for del rio (there is your link lol) and all of my friends that love to hate on my trojans! we lost. i watching the game and lacked confidence in the offense to come back as in past years that i knew they would come back swinging. but i was not as disappointed and do not see the dynasty as dead. florida lost there 3rd game this week as well, but i am sure they are not dead. we are having a bad year, we have had a lot of injuring and the back ups have not filled the gaps as in other years, but i am excited about the development of pieces. i love the haters to bring it on! it will make it all better when we rise back to the TOP! but i promise to wear my trojan gear, invite people to watch the game this week at my house and keep moving supporting the team. i remember carson palmer playing so BAD and than BOOOOOOOOM he went off. we can hopefully the same will take place with sanchez... if not mustain waits in the wings. it seems as if everyone is panicking and that the program is falling apart. yeah... i am sure pete likes that. no excuses... we lost.

oh and the care bears lost... so that always improves a week.

oh and those stinkin red sox won! i will boycott espn for three days in my displeasure for them winning! lol.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Everything Must Change

i bought this book, because i buy most brian mclaren books. i am always hoping that his thoughts and ideas will challenge me or help give me words to explain my thoughts and emotions that have evoked doing ministry over the years and bring clarity to my mission and purpose as a follower of christ. i know many people dislike brian and that is ok and it seems ok with him. it seems he has chosen to spend his time going forward than trying to defend himself to everyone who seems to be against him. i am glad to say that for some people that i meet that do have issues with him most are pretty open to dialogue about the ideas he brings up. others love to throw simple comments instead of sitting down over coffee and sharing a difference of opinion but being able to keep a great christian friendship, but that is ok also.

this book, "everything must change" has caught me of guard though. it truly has gotten myself thinking about the societal structures in our world and my place in building them up or my place in bringing them down. he makes a comment that

"for some of we are happy going through life knowing as little as possible about economics, politics and ecology. As long as we pay our credit card bill, avoid going to jail, and enjoy a cold drink, we'd rather not deal with the complexities of the societal machinary around us."

he nailed me! this was a perfect description of me for so many years, but over the last few years i have taken small steps into the waters of some of these areas. i think i have taken small steps because i am afraid of the changes that i would need to make to fully take the plunge. ecspecially, when my thinking and ideas run smack dab into the way i like to live my life some times. i think i also have walked slower, because i have issues with how people perceive me. i must admit that i like people to like me. lol. and since as i tread into the waters on these issues, many of the people that "liked me" seem to not like me. because i seem to land on the opposite side of them and than they would like to just get in arguments with me and call me names. but as i read this book and have dialogues with others on the topic i am truly challenged to walk forward and not care what people think. i already have no desire to defend myself to people who are not willing to share a true friendship first and than talk. i just do not have time or the energy for that anyway . i have two boys and barely have enough energy to be a single dad and very little energy to wait for that right girl to land my way. haha.

i do not post much, but maybe this book will push me over here a little more. but i am on facebook! so you can visit me there! lol if i do post again on this it will be about "framing stories". a little more confusion from j-lou. peace.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

bad sports week ... but there is some light shining through!

i think the title of the post sums of the week... here is all the bad things that took place
  • usc looses to the 41 point underdog team in nocal. congrats and much love to john liotti and all of east paloalto who were dancing in the streets after the game. i hope no cars were blown up in the celebration.
  • the yankees loose to the indians.... i am know an indian fan.
  • i loose to samdog by one point in fantasy football.
here is the light shining through the clouds:
  • the care bears looooooooose to notre dame. read my post awhile back and i joked that this would occur, but never thought those stinkin care bears would ruin the chance to see notre dame go 2-10. but it is always nice to see ucla loose.
  • kade's soccer team destroyed another opponent. kade even scored a goal and the team still has not been scored on all season long. i am a great recreational activity coach.
  • the basketball season is opening soon and the bulls did not trade for kobe. so i am still a bulls fan. lol.
  • mark sanchez will start for the trojans this week and the john david booty era maybe over. it will be fun to see if mark's potential and hype will live up to anything.
  • ucla (the cuddly care bears) are still unranked
i think that wraps up the sports week. so hope you have a splendid sports weekend and we will see you soon. peace.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

evan loves the tunnel after the game!

he does not play much in the game but he loves to run through the tunnel at the end of the game.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

j-lou updates

hey i just thought i would give u a few updates....

  • kade still has his mohawk and his teacher and school love it! yeah for public schools... booh private schools who do not let kids express themselves! :)
  • pray for evan... he is really having a tough time with school. he is back at his old school that he seemed to like. pray that he will adjust to the fact that he needs to go to school.
  • soccer is on! i am not a big soccer fan, but i enjoy coaching kades team. these kids are focused and are running other teams off the field. evan's team is a lot of but evan not too interested, which i am fine with. he may be more like me and have no interest in playing soccer.
that is all for now... oh yeah i was at the usc game and they are looking good. i am hoping for a usc show down in new orleans at the sugar bowl so i can meet up with whoever to watch the game and call it katrina relief. i think will help me not have to get a hotel.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

a GREAT sports weekend... trojans win, care bears and domers loose!

well, i must say so far it has been a great sports weekend that just need a few things to happen on sunday night to cap it off.... the yankees to beat the red sox and the chargers to beat bela"cheat" and the patriots. but here are some photos of the good things that have happen so far...

i would like the nation to meet stafon johnson. i do not think cornhusker fan needs an introduction after he ran through their defense for 144 yards.

ben olson and the CARE BEARS could not quite handle 0-2 utah. i think a 44 - 6 blow out from the utes is credited to dropping the care bears from 11th in the polls straight out of the top 25. oh yeah, i know u beat usc last year just in case you all want to remind me. we would appreciate you playing less like crap though care bears coming up to our game so you help make the pac 10 look better.

if it is not great enough to see the care bears flame out. i am speechless after the golden domers loose the 0fer bowl to michigan and land 0-4. i can not wait to see you 0-7 next month. oh, but u do play those care bears in a few weeks, so you just may be able to snag a victory. lol. i wander how many loses it will take to fire weis compared to ty wilingham.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

the mohawk is back

if you did not read my blog a year ago... you would not have been aware of kade's first mohawk experience that his school cut short by telling him he must cut it off. well he is at a new school and the mohawk is back and has lasted two days at school and our first soccer game.

Friday, August 24, 2007


i am so excited that football season is on its way. i like baseball, but football is great and the trojans are locked and loaded and ready to go. i have my tickets for the first game, but am waiting for my soccer schedule with my two little rugrats to see what other games i can go to. the trojans have a huge target on their backs, as a preseason #1 and most are saying they can only beat themselves. so care bears enjoy your win last year and i hope you have recovered from your beat down by florida state in your little bowl game. we cannot wait to play you in december.

Monday, August 13, 2007

house church part 1... assuming i will write about it again

i was at our house church last night in alhambra. we had a few visitors, a few old faces show up and the regulars. i usually get asked about church, because of my position working at a non profit that supports the local church in working with young people in urban areas around are country. i also get asked... what church do you go to? i am always proud to say that i attend a house church in alhambra with a few people. we have no building... we dont plan on moving into a building someday... we just meet in a living room and hope that we may inspire other to do the same. i am not against the traditional structure that most americans choose to gather in and call church. but i do think that the house church movement is better... for me at least or why would i do it. here are a few reasons that i believe that there is great value in meeting as a house church.

  • you are never just a number... if you show up than you were probably invited and you already now a few people and they will introduce you to the other few.
  • you get to ask questions and dialogue with people in regards to the reading from the scripture
  • you are able to stay engaged each others life on a regular basis... our house church had been breaking off at the end of the evening to pray for each other in small groups. we have not done this the last few times... i hope we get that part back soon.
  • it is not based on the leadership of an individual.
  • you have the flexibility to start one with your own group of friends... i have a group of guys that i am very close with that i have met a few times on my back porch.
i have more reasons that i love house church, but i am not in the writing mood. my last thoughts on this post are that i think the small aspect of church is the most important than any large gathering. it is where true community is built that is why when i ran a youth group i would tell students if you had one thing to go to each week... i would encourage them to go to their small group over going to a large service. it is where true discipleship and growth and evangelism can take place. that is it for now.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

vegas with the kids

natalia (my friend chris' daughter) and kade listen in to the details at the shark reef at mandalay bay. kids love to see sharks!

evan looking for the lions at mgm grand hotel.

the lewis boys chillin at the valet service outside 'THE Hotel" at Mandalay Bay hotel. we had a great time with pillow fights, late nights, video games, lots of food and some cool pools.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Field Trip with Kade's Class

kade, anthony, kyle and jonathan got to hang out with kade's day all day. i was the most popular chaperone and a few kids cried becuz they were not allowed to be in my group. we went tp pacific park in santa monica... a little board walk with rides and games (i hate those games that rob you of money and are impossible for a 6 year old to win)

you have to love the ability of kade to throw his peace symbol so well at the age of 6!

the bus ride home had jonathan and kade knocked out as we slowly drove back on the beautiful 10 freeway that is always ridiculous. i feel for pablo that use to drive it everyday for work, so many years ago. when i may it home... i crashed out also

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

i fell through a ceiling .... lol

it has been a great week and we have one more day of work in the bryan's home. our crew has pretty much drywalled most of the house and should finish it tomorrow. i did partially fall through the ceiling while putting insolation in the ceiling. yes, it hurt. but i think i will survive. joey from gateway also fell through and bruised his ribs. he is just trying to draw the attention away from me. oh. well. i thought i would post some pics from the trip and will put some more up next week or over the weekend. peace.

matt dunne from alhambra trying to create a hole in the ceiling!

dave's shirt shows how much we are sweating while working!

i love my glowing tennis shoes!

these are pictures of rows of trailers that people have lived in since katrina

evidence that alot of work is still needed in new orleans

Sunday, July 22, 2007

i am back in new orleans

i am back in new orleans for another week. i will be helping rebuild some home of people who have been affected by katrina. i was here over spring break with the organizations tigersgo and they are a great group of people from clemson that love jesus and their neighbor with amazing compassion.

we shared a meal tonight with three survivors of katrina. i spoke with an older lady that was moved to the superdome as katrina hit, but than was evacuated out of the city to dallas, tx. she was there for a few months and bounced in a few places, but now is back in new orleans. she explained with almost tears coming down her eyes about how she lost everything, including her two cats. i thinks she misses the cats the most. my heart was broken. they speak about a disaster that hit almost two years ago, as if it happened last week. i think the trauma from the event is immeasurable. i don't blame them because as you drive through the city you are constantly reminded of katrina. you cannot go one day without being reminded of the devastation.

i know what i do this week is a drop in the bucket of what needs to take place, but one of my desires while here is to really encourage those that are serving here year round. a guy named dave monte that graduated from clemson and chosen to move into the community and host people year round that want to serve. he is amazing. the churches that are hosting and partnering with tigersgo are amazing also. a true appreciation and a desire to learn what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. i will try to post some pics up over the next few days. peace.

Friday, July 20, 2007

kade's first broken arm...

kade fell off the monkeys bars and slightly broke his arms. he was a trooper as he got his temporary splint and we are going to get his permanent cast in a few hours.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

GBLT Issues and the Urban Church

i have not been blogging much over here, but i have been posting on the uywi blog. it has been mostly about the meeting i am hosting in a number of regions in socal. ben and i also just posted a new conversation that i am having with andrew marin of the marin foundation about the gblt community and the church. we just put up the answers from the first two questions and will be posting one a week for awhile. check it out.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

kade as rafiki in the lion king

kade leading the way...

he is focused and ready... you should see the video hilarious

kade and his classmates messing around after a great performance

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Kade Graduates from Kindergarten

Kade listening intently to the key note speaker. Look at the focus!

Kade and his friends at school posing for a shot!

Friday, June 08, 2007

freedom from captivity of the white american church :)

i have not really been in the mood to blog lately, but i wrote a piece for the uywi blog. it was a response to some peoples negative take to soong-chan rah's talk at conference.

hopefully, i will more inspired soon. lol.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

my boys are on me for good!

i always get asked if i have a picture of my boys on me... now i can always say, "yes right here on my arm"!

Friday, May 25, 2007

uywi 07 is over

well the 10th anniversary of the urban youth workers institute is over. i have heard great comments about the event and many who have been at the event numerous times have stated that it was the best ever. i am glad that people also are stating that they loved the workshops and the diversity... not to pat myself on the back, but my love language is words of affirmation, so i will. lol. it made me feel great to here the comments, because i spent most of my time since last october trying to put together an amazing team of presenters that would help bring a diverse amount of topics that will really support the urban leaders across america.

i was encouraged to here from crissy brooks of mika cdc that in her gentrification workshop that she had fifteen cities from around the country represented. i heard from other people that it seemed like more people traveled from around the country to attend the event this year. we even had someone travel from africa to be with us.

so i now have a week off and have many things i should do... but we will see what i do get down. as i am writing this post i am looking at my house that i do need to clean... but i have already golfed once and am hoping that i get two more in before i go back.

so i hope everyone of you have a great memorial and hopefully i will be able to read more and post more since conference is over. i have been intrigued with some conversation with antibaptist people, so i may read some of that... they have this view of trying to see god in your enemy... i need a lot of help with the loving enemy thing, so it may be helpful. oh yeah ... baseball is over as well, so that allows more free time to.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

what a week...

i just posted earlier today about the death of james. i also was present at a funeral yesterday for a student who committed suicide on may 2. he was a sophomore at alhmabra high school. a friend of mine mary glenn, who is a police chaplain for alhambra asked a few youth pastors and people who work with kids in the community to be present for the funeral to talk and pray with any students who needed to process. the funeral was a packed house... held down the street from the high school at 330 pm gave the students a chance to be present to grieve and mourn the death of a friend. it was an honor to be able to be present.

i also have been getting continual updates from pasadena on a student who was shot. i have been reminded this week that death is real, no matter the age or the person. all 3 people that i am connected in one way or another were killed or severely injured in different ways. as i write this i am emotionally drained, but also see the value of a community of faith. the presence of mary glenn and others in alhambra standing by the family and my friends in pasadena standing by the family as there son lay wounded. it is very evident when evil and darkness enter in... it can be pushed back by the forces of light when we choose to be jesus for people. it allows hope to creep into all of the despair.

james banez... thank you

my high school years as many of you know, were not focused on serving god in any way. my parents went to a large church.... ok a huge church. the high school group in itself is probably bigger than 95% of the churches in the country. here is a snap shot of what my sunday morning would consist of as i appeased my parents to roll with them to church. i would take a seat in the luxury foyer of the building that the youth ministry was housed in and would than be approached by different leaders who would introduce themselves to me and act like it was the first time they met me and my first time there. you see a kid with ben davis pants and a white t-shirt was not the normal attire. lol. i would usually give them different names than my real name just for fun. we met mostly as a large group in some big room. but once in awhile we would break off into small groups and not meet as a large group. this is when i met james banez... he was a college student that drove a vw van that was painted like a cow with bull horns in the front. he was the small group leader for about 5 of us. i got connected with that group because i guy that i had played basketball with before was in that group. james was filipino which was nice since everyone else was white. yeah i am white... but i thought i was mexican. haha. (side note i use to pray to god that i could be mexican... i'm not kidding, yes i had issues).

james really tried to connect with me... he always remembered my name, he was more interested in talking with us and having a meaningful conversation that making sure we got through some talk sheet or some agenda. he was interested in us and desired us to follow christ. he called and i usually brushed him off for those church beach trips and swim things or any other youth event. but in those dark days of my life... james was the one person that kept a refreshing view of christ and the church in front of me. he really meant a lot.

i am sad to say that james died last week. he was hit by a hit n run driver as he was traveling to the bay area. i have not seen his since high school but maybe once. but he did know that i actually turned out alright and i did get to tell him thanks. he leaves a wife who is pregnant and three children already. pray for his family i have no idea the pain they are feeling. i just wanted to say one more time ... thank you to james banez who gave me my first lesson in what it looks like to do relational youth ministry.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Bulls Bulls Bulls

i just had to make a quick post to remind laker fan that kobe is done for the year and the baby bulls are on to the second round. YES!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

the baby bulls are running

i had a great evening last, as i watched the bulls play a great game. this team does make me nervous in regards to knowing how to close a game, but they look as if they are growing up. they were up 2-0 two years ago to the wizards and lost the series. so we are hoping that they stay focused and keep balllllin! the second part of the great evening was watching the lakers get pummeled by the phoenix suns. now that was a beat down of beat downs. come on lakers.... i would like to see at least a good game. lol.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Jim Wallis: Abortion - From Symbol to Substance

Most Americans are alarmed at the nation’s high abortion rate, but don’t support criminalizing it. They want to keep abortion legal, but make it genuinely rare. In 2005, 68 percent of Americans agreed that abortion should be legal, at least in the first three months of pregnancy. We have supported a "consistent life ethic" - which seeks a dramatic reduction in the actual abortion rate in America, without criminalizing what is always a tragic choice and often a desperate one. Others also question if total abortion bans are really pro-life because of the likely consequences of back-alley abortions, especially for poor women.

It’s time for concrete action that would actually and seriously reduce the number of abortions in America. A better approach than the symbolic legal battle would be to gather new energy for a commitment to advancing real solutions. A constructive dialogue should include how best to prevent unwanted pregnancies, support pregnant women who find themselves in an unexpected situation, and effectively reduce the abortion rate.

Read the entire article.

shane is one of my favorite people

i have been up late most evening working on details for the uywi conference. i kiss my boys goodnight and sit with the laptop and chat with andy online who is doing the same. but ben posted this on the uywi blog and i thought i would share it becuz it was a breath of fresh air to me. here is quote from it...

But there is a common thread in many of the most horrific perpetrators of violence that begs our attention – they kill themselves. Violence kills the image of God in us. It is a cry of desperation, a weak and cowardly cry of a person suffocated of hope. Violence goes against everything that we are created for – to love and to be loved – so it inevitably ends in misery and suicide. When people succumb to violence it ultimately infects them like a disease or a poison that leads to their own death. Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus with a violent kiss, ends his life by hanging himself with a noose. After his notorious persecutions, the Emperor Nero’s story ends as he stabs himself. Hitler passed out suicide pills to all his heads of staff, and ended his life as one of the most pitifully lonely people to walk the earth. We see the same in the case of Columbine, the 2007 Amish school shootings, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and this recent Virginia Tech massacre – each ends in suicide.

The rest of the article.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

what would i do with an established church?

listen to this question that was asked to alan hirsch...

“If you were asked to steer a conventional, western church on a missional path and were given the freedom to utilize or reallocate all funds and resources in the best way you felt this could be accomplished, how and what would you do?

You have three staff members and a lien-free building. And the building is located in a neighborhood where few members actually live.”

here is his answer and 40 comments... if i have the time to think maybe i will give you my answer. if you have an answer i would love to hear it also.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

what is keeping me busy til may 20th

i know when this conference is over it will feel great to have helped get all of the 100 speakers to the campus for 120+ workshops for the 2000 leaders we are hoping to attend. so until that day, i will try to continue bury myself in my dell to get details done and not blog too much.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

the orioles season is in full swing

we are having a really fun season. the kids have been paying attention, hitting the ball and fielding the ball really well. we are so proud of them. here is chicken little ..... i mean kade up and ready to swing away. he needs that back elbow up though... i will talk to him. lol.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

a chineese poem

Go to the people
Live among them
Learn from them
Love them
Start with what they know
Build on what they have

this is a great poem that we can learn a lot from in regards to sharing with others about christ and his kingdom.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

breaking news... the gathering is not dead

i have been thinking a lot since new orleans and even during the trip. i have been really trying to figure out my current spiritual journey over the last 3 or 4 months. i have been on quite the roller coaster over the last two years. i think your wife leaving you for her personal trainer (got to love 24 fitness) can have that affect on you. (just thought i'd be blunt and let the world know, just in case you did not know) wow. i really did not think i was going to be so blunt and open as i started writing this post, but oh well.

we had a great meeting at pablos house on sunday night with a group of people that had been a part of the gathering and some who even began to follow christ through oikos. we were discussing the launch of the house church network. we even had some other people who have been having similar thoughts about church and what it looks like biblically. as i looked around the room, i saw a great group of people that have never left each other, even though we officially ended the gathering. these people were at the gathering and have continued to meet, read scripture, pray for each other, support each other and be a faith community even though we had no official name to gather under except jesus. so i came to the conclusion that the gathering never ended, it never failed, it was alive and well because i think if i read scripture that the 'church' is not the building, a place or time people meet, a name, but it is the people. if we want to get theological... it is the body of christ. what i saw sunday night was the gathering. it was even more pure, because it was gathered with no agenda but to love god and love people.

we began to explain the vision of the house church network, which is really taking the values of the gathering and emphasizing its original intent of small is better. the groups eyes were lit up with excitement. we explained a desire to live out this passage of the early church...

Acts 2: 42 - 47
They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord's Supper and in prayer. 43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity � 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.

in my opinion and i think jesus would agree, that church was never intended to be about gathering together in a building on sunday mornings to receive a pep talk so i can try and not sin for the rest of the week. the church is about us being interconnected and dependent on each other as we follow christ and his teachings. and as we are interconnected and loving our neighbor as ourselves, other will be so intrigued and desire to follow also. but it seems we value the large, we value hiding in church and not allowing anyone into our business. we value pointing out the faults of everyone around us and not noticing how despicable our own lives are and how full of pride, greed, materialism and hate. all of those things that god does not desire to be a part of our lives. but hey, what about those homosexuals... we need to stop them. shut up and stop being such a prideful arrogant bastard and maybe someone will stop long enough to listen to you tell them about jesus. as we develop this house church network, we strive to intertwine our lives together and take jesus' teaching and allow it to affect every aspect of our lives. we hope to continue stand next to each other as life sucks some time and is great some time. share a drink and cry when it sucks, but celebrate and laugh together with the joys (i.e. our childrens' birthdays, job promotions, weddings, and so much more).

i know i am no where close to what christ desires for me... i need to continue to shed those things that hinder me from allowing god to really use him in his kingdom, but i am glad to know that i finally opened my eyes to see that the gathering is not dead but is alive and well. thank you pablo, sonia, tiffany, laura, armando, james, art, teresa, michelle, danielle, kirby, jon, manuel, and all the rest that still intertwine our lives for the love of jesus and the mission of his kingdom.

Monday, March 26, 2007

kades 6th birthday

Kades 6th Bday Party

we had a great time at my house on saturday celebrating kade's 6th birthday. i cannot believe that he is already 6 years old. he had a bunch of his friends and family over to the house with the traditional bounce house being the center of attention for the kids in the backyard and the tri tip and chicken was the highlight for the adults. i am now currently in the process of assembly all of the lego star wars collections that he recieved. you can see from the pics that we were succesful on a a few of the smaller ones and i will keep you updated on the x-wing that we are beginning to assemble. it was a lot of fun and a big thanks to all of you who came out and made kade feel very special. if you click on the pic above it will take you to a photo album of the party. i hope you enjoy.

new orleans web album

New Orleans Spring Break

Friday, March 23, 2007

team dah... we are better than y ou.

here is team dah... we are better than you. i will explain later and post some other pics from the trip and a couple of stories and thoughts. but just wanted to give a shout out to team dah that will be arriving back to clemson some time today. it was good to serve alongside of you. peace.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

hangin sheet rock (drywall) in new orleans

i have been in new orleans since last thursday and it has been tremendous. i have seen a lot of pictures over the last two years, but it way different to be walking around and meeting people who have lived through the disaster. i have met countless people who have lived for the last 19 months in trailers that were not made for long term housing. i have spent most of my week at a single mom's home. jaime lives there with a few other family members and with her son eddie. eddie is full of life and reminds you of the ability for children to overcome difficult situations much quicker than adults. he is more interested in us playing catch with him than actually having us fix his home. as you may be able to see from the pics, this home was 4 feet under water. jamie purchased the home after the storm, because her home was totally demolished and had so many different chemicals there was no hope to salvage it. so she bought this home and is living in it while trying to fix it up. our hope is to dry wall most of the house before we leave on thursday. but since, we have to move there stuff in between hanging pieces and cleaning i am not sure how far we will get.

the people are so appreciative of the numerous people that are volunteering in this community. we have people honk and wave at us all the time. i met one lady that just walked up to the church when she saw the group to ask if we could help her parents that are about 70 and were attempting to fix their home by themselves. this group has been here numerous times since the storm and said that each visit more stores are opening and more life is being visible. a few more children playing in the streets. there still is a long road home, but some are determined to make it. they will not leave and they are thankful that some people have not forgotten about what katrina did to the community. and the usual statement is that the only people that seemed to not have forgotten is the people living out the kingdom of god. i am thankful to be here and hope to return and hang out with them over the summer possibly.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

late night thoughts

i have been working on uywi stuff and have had way too much coffee. so i decided to start reading some articles on-line that i have been meaning to read. i remember an article that was recently published called the "five streams of the emerging church" by scott mcnight. i had looked over it quickly, but wanted to read it more in depthly as we are beginning to start this house church experiment in alhambra. i do consider myself more aligned with those in the emerging christian conversation or a red letter christian. i think it was more ... i stumbled into the definition and saw that i was already in this category but did not really have language to define it. enough me and me trying to discover who i am and not really caring how others feel about it and back to the article.

the five streams are the following ... 1. Prophetic 2. Postmodern 3. Praxis-oriented (how the faith is lived out) 4. Post Evangelical 5. Political.

you can read the article to get details about each of the "streams" but a couple aspects jumped out to me as i was in thought about the house church network. in the third component of praxis-oriented, it hit a key strand to our ideas about the network. the house churches that are launched should/must have a missional component to the community that the house church is located. it should be striving to better understand what it means to love our neighbor and have that as high of a priority as meeting in a building or location. our spiritual act of worship should be tutoring at a school, serving at a shelter, a garden, the police station or where ever there is a need for the purpose of us being the hands and feet of Jesus. we need a theology that changes the way we act and not just worried about how we think.

i am tired, so if i write any more in will probably not make sense and i will not even understand it myself. so i will try and blog about this more later.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

new orleans bound

i was hanging out with archie honrado today. he is a ywam guy that has just got back from some time in ensenada mexico. he was saying how good it feels to get out of our normal life and serve in another area. i was excited, because thursday morning myself and chris (a good friend) will be heading to new orleans to serve with a ministry called go tigers that i blogged about before in the lower 9th ward. i have seen tons of pictures of what katrina left behind and how nothing has been done to help so many families. i am truly ready for my heart to be broken. i will put up some pics and try to post from new orleans.

Monday, March 12, 2007

bona speech at the naacp awards

this was on a few of my friends pages... jeremy and john liotti, but had to post for those that do not wander over there. i was teary eyed by the end.

house church network

since we closed the gathering down, an evening service that we ran for awhile for people who were not really interested in a tradition church service, but wanted a faith community that valued the community aspect. i have been trying to figure out what to do or where to go for "church". i had been attending a small group at pablo's house every other sunday. but a new year's resolution was to find something that i can take my boys to as well. the current bible study met on the weeks that my boys were not with me. pablo, sonia and i met and were discussing the book "the forgotten ways" that i had been blogging about and were trying to determine a few things. what does a truly organic church look like that is focused on taking people deeper, being missional in your community and bringing people into the Kingdom of God. we decided that we should experiment and take the bible study to a new level and create it into a house church network.

the house church model has a lot of things that we truly wanted the gathering to be about, but got lost in trying to create a larger gathering. we value the small intimacy of smaller groups and the value of developing leaders to lead and be active in the community. so at the end of the month, the experiment will begin. so if you are reading this and have been apart of sunday nights get ready for the next experiment. haha. you know we will be a knocking.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Evan is Back in Preschool

evan was booted from preschool back in november. he has been chilling with me, his grandma's house or joya who has a home daycare. he has been needing to jump back into preschool to be around other kids and be better prepared for kindergarten. he made it through day one yesterday and i have not been called yet today. i am hoping that he will listen and not make too much trouble. he is such a great kid, but just has that temper that blows up sometimes. we will keep you informed.

Where did J-Lou go?

i have been mia from the blogging world, because i have been busy. i think i have like 2 - 3 posts that are in me, so will try to get them out throughout the next two days. my first post will be on my 2nd year as the manager of the orioles or as the kids and some parents call them... the OREOS. oh well. i have 13 great kids... 2 girls and 11 boys. we have been practicing twice a week til games begin. we had picture day this last saturday, so it was fun to see the kids in their uniforms and if you can tell from the team picture that some how evan makes his way onto the team. he is the one in the front row... and the only one with the orange jersey. the parents were cool and let him be in the picture. hope you enjoy the pics and more to follow throughout the season.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Peacekeeping Team to Iran

Please pray for jeff carr and this group as they will meet with religious and political leaders in Iran.

Monday, February 12, 2007

the emerging church and the spider

i have had this idea in my head for a little while, but just have not blogged it. for some of my readers they probably have no idea about the emerging church. so here is a link to a quick definition for those that are not familiar with it. and those that think bad of it, too bad and not my problem.

the book, the spider and the starfish speaks out people who are caught in the old command and control system of organizations and that they do not understand organizations that are decentralized. they should learn to understand them, because a decentralized organization has the ability to really create problems for the centralized organization. here is an example. napster was created to pretty much screw the music industry by allowing people to share music or as the music industry saw it... steal music. napster had a creator. the music industry went straight at the creator to sue him and put him out of business. what happened? napster was shut down! what happened next? three to five other peer sharing music softwares were made available on the internet for people to share music. the music industry believed that if they took out the leader that they problem would be solved. you see, people want to share music and will continue to share music no matter what the music industry does because it does not rely on one person to provide it. the more times the music industry went after people, the more new softwares were made available. now there is something called e-mule that is like napster but the creator is anonymous. he/she does not want to make money and no one knows who it is, so they cannot sue him/her. the book discusses that in a true decentralized organization that you can take out someone you perceive as a leader, but really is just a person that people follow at the time until someone better comes along. the idea or organization is not built upon one person, but is built upon an ideology.

ok, this is longer than post of my posts but hang in there. i see a very similar pattern in the way that many traditional conservative christian leaders are dealing with the emerging church. they have tried to pin point people they consider the leaders of the movement. brian mclaren, rob bell, dan kimball and i could name so many more. the interesting thing is that if you ask these people they would not say that they are a leader in the movement. brian would even say that it is a conversation and is not a denomination. non-traditional churches are popping up all over the place and they are not asking for permission from one of these leaders. they may cling on to some of the ideas and practices of these leaders, but it is truly a decentralized leadership that looks toward an ideology for direction. these churches are aspiring to be missional and followers of christ. as much as many people who do not like the emerging movement think that these people follow a person, they do not. if we were never to hear from brian or rob again. this movement would not die. you would just see a new person take the place of brian or rob.

the more people try to hit the emerging church leaders over the head with a hammer hoping that they will go away. they will just be creating a multiplication strategy that is similar to the early church.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

the forgotten ways

i have been encouraged to read this book by a number of friends and is a great follow up to the spider and the starfish. the spider and the starfish has a great message to people of faith to stop trying to control the holy spirit and the people who desire to follow christ. the authors never mention anything regarding the holy spirit or issues of faith, but if you are a follower of christ the message goes right to your heart. the reason, i say this seems to be a great follow up to the book is that "the forgotten ways" shows examples of this being lived out and gives an ideology for us to follow in creating communities of faith that are organic and decentralized. here is one statement that the author quotes from another source...

'Far too long, historians have accepted the claim that the conversion of the Emperor Constantine (ca. 285-337) caused the triumph of Christianity. To the contrary, he destroyed its most attractive and dynamic aspects, turning a high-intensity, grassroots movement into an arrogant institution controlled by an elite who often managed to both brutal and lax.' Rodney Stark, For the Glory of God.

here is a link to a blog concerning the book and you will get a better understanding of the book. this quote sets up the idea that the church moving from the fringes of society to the central has over the years caused it to loose its power and influence. i have many times sense the church for the most part being controlled by "an arrogant institution controlled by an elite who often manages with brutality and lax. this book has my mind going and dreaming about a place that i would feel comfortable calling my faith community that i can share my doubts, dreams and struggles in my life as a follower of christ.

i know i have been pretty quiet lately on the blog, but i feel like this could be followed by many more thoughts that will allow myself to better understand this book and the message of Christ.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Super Bowl XLI

J-Lou is inviting you to his Spanish style house at 812 S 2nd St, Alhambra, CA for a Super Bowl party. If you are a regular reader and contributor, you are very welcome to stop by and join us. (Jeremy, i will be so offended if you do not catch an early flight from ny for this event.) I will bbq the traditional chicken and trip tip. And yes, if you have never eaten it, i will tell you how to make it afterwards because you will be asking. In regards to the rest of the food... that is up to you. I have one confirmation for spanish rice. so please reply here with what you are bringing. ie fruit plate, salad, beans, dessert, drinks, or whatever else.

The game starts at 3 pm, so if you want to come over any time after 2pm that would be great. Hope to see some of you at mi casa. Peace.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Starfish and the Spider

"The Starfish and the Spider
The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations"

ok. i was turned on to this book by a friend and i literally read the book in three days and have not been able to get it out of my head or stop telling people about it. it is the definition of a page turner. if you are running a church, organization or non profit this is a must read. here is the basic premise of the book... if you hit a spider in the head you kill it, but if you hit a starfish in the head you create five starfish. it gives some amazing stories about how decentralized organizations destroy centralized command and control orgs. i promise you will love it, but i will not be able to refund your money if you don't. haha. if you have read it let me know what you think. peace.

Friday, January 19, 2007

OIKOS Family On You Tube

thanks to ben for posting this up, paul for shooting and thanks for yesenia, tim and james for sharing a little bit of their lives.


the last few weeks have been crazy for mary glenn (from kingdom causes alhambra) and myself as the concept of BELIEVE that was in our heads and discussed with local churches about supporting the young people in the city of alhambra. but it has taken on enormous potential and life. mary had a meeting with the alhambra pd on wednesday, while i was freezing my butt off in chi-town. the meeting was amazing. they want to continue the conversation about us creating a mentoring program... they actually want to partner with us, but more conversation is needed to work out the details. they want us to have 7 mentors trained and passed life scans in the next month. these mentors would be placed with 3 students each that are first time or multiple offenders. they are interested in placing tons of students in this program. we are scrambling next wednesday to meet and figure out our strategy. but if you live near or in alhambra and have talked about being apart of BELIEVE. this is the time to step up and be at the beginning of something that could change our community.

the mentoring program is just the begining. the school district is also interested in talking with us about supporting and staffing after school programs at every elementary school in the city.
this has tremendous potential for huge kingdom impact. so please pray for doors to continue to open and for mary and myself to understand how to navigate these relationships. we are very excited to see where this goes. but BELIEVE is going to happen. amen.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

socal for life... dang chicago is cold

well j-lou jumped on a plane last night and headed to the windy city for a day. i am going to a chicago reload meeting for uwyi. letting fred stay home and chill with his family. he has been on the road way too much and i remember my days of 2 or 3 trips a month in the name of reload. i am glad i do not do that anymore.

i am currently blogging while riding the el train. as i was waiting for the train, i was reminded of why i live in socal as my ears were about to fall off and shatter upon impact on the ground. i also realized that converse all stars are trendy and cool looking for j-lou in socal. i have thick socks on and my toes are still freezing while i am sitting my but on the train. so i know noel, chris, marcos, phil, ginny, alison and so many other dear friends live here in chicago, but i will enjoy my flight back tomorrow morning and not complain about the 40 - 50 degree weather that we have been experiencing in socal and we all thought that was cold.

well i am going to be at my stop soon, so i better post. peace.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


ok. i was hanging out with a few friends last night from high school. it was nava's bday, so a few of us met up at tgif's in brea for dinner. nava is regular reader of this blog, so i thought i'd give him some love and share a story that he reminded us of from high school. a few of my friends had gone to a house party near la habra and ended up drinking way too much. if you grew up in socal in the early 90's it was the time of the house party. these house parties would have a few kegs and usually some type of jungle juice or something else. well, this one night nava, who was about 2 or 3 years older than us ended up driving this one girls car. the rest of the group (which i was not a part of that night) had been trashed. i mean they were gone. one had fallen asleep on a diving board at the house. as chris got them all in the car the adventure really began... he was driving and one need to throw up, so they rolled the window down, but it was one of the child proof windows that only go down about half way. so johnny puked first into the window which started the chain reaction. everyone in the car was letting loose. chris was like... what in the world am i suppose to do. he pulled over in the heights and drug them out of the car and stripped them down to their underwear. we than proceeded to throw them back in the car and decided that we would deliver them each home. we went to each house... drug them out of the car onto the lawn close to the door. he would than ring the door bell a bunch take of running to the car and drive away. he dropped dio and johnny off at dio's house together. he than dropped of the girls whose car he was driving at her house. he left her in the car with the lights on facing the door and rang her door bell and than took off running home. he walked a good two miles home, but had gotten everyone home.

the next morning, dio and johnny woke up in dio's room. they looked at each other, not knowing anything about chris' adventure in getting them home and said we made it. we made it home. than dio's sister came in the room and was like oooooooh. you were so drunk. me and mom had to drag you in last night from the front yard. when the girls whose car he was driving woke up and looked in the back of her car, she found like three to four inches of puke.

i am not sure why i share this story, but i laughed the first time i heard it, i laugh every time someone tells me it again and i had such a huge smile as i was retelling it. i hope you laughed or smiled and i think even dio's mom would laugh about it now, but i am sure when she was dragging her son and his friend in the house in just their boxers she was not laughing.

Mere Mission

my friend mary emailed over a link to this article by n.t. wright. it is a great dialogue about the difference between sharing with people about jesus now in our time and what that looked like when cs lewis was writing. n.t. wright is a huge fan of cs lewis and states that he is a modern thinker but he lays out a number of ideas that do get in the way of people understanding the meaning and purpose of jesus. here is the article, a great read and the following is a few quotes that really stuck out to me.

"For generations the church has been polarized between those who see the main task being the saving of souls for heaven and the nurturing of those souls through the valley of this dark world, on the one hand, and on the other hand those who see the task of improving the lot of human beings and the world, rescuing the poor from their misery.

The longer that I've gone on as a New Testament scholar and wrestled with what the early Christians were actually talking about, the more it's been borne in on me that that distinction is one that we modern Westerners bring to the text rather than finding in the text. Because the great emphasis in the New Testament is that the gospel is not how to escape the world; the gospel is that the crucified and risen Jesus is the Lord of the world. And that his death and Resurrection transform the world, and that transformation can happen to you. You, in turn, can be part of the transforming work. That draws together what we traditionally called evangelism, bringing people to the point where they come to know God in Christ for themselves, with working for God's kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. That has always been at the heart of the Lord's Prayer, and how we've managed for years to say the Lord's Prayer without realizing that Jesus really meant it is very curious. Our Western culture since the 18th century has made a virtue of separating out religion from real life, or faith from politics.When I lecture about this, people will pop up and say, "Surely Jesus said my kingdom is not of this world." And the answer is no, what Jesus said in John 18 is, "My kingdom is not from this world." That's ek tou kosmoutoutou. It's quite clear in the text that Jesus' kingdom doesn't start with this world. It isn't a worldly kingdom, but it is for this world. It's from somewhere else, but it's for this world."

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Networking with Urban Leaders via UrbNet Meetings

a group of urban leaders gathered in orlando, fl this week hosted by urbnet and were discussing issues with the urban church and youth ministry. jeremy del rio has posted virginia ward's notes for the meeting to try and get more conversation on the ideas brought to the table from some other urban leaders who were not able to attend the meetings. here is the link back to the notes of the meeting, so please comment with your thoughts about the topics and lets keep the conversation going. peace.

Monday, January 08, 2007

A Little Late... But They Made Me Think

here are three posts that i read today about the hanging of suddam. i grew up in a family that were huge advocates for the death penalty and i for so many years never really thought about it too much. i watched the hanging of saddam on the computer last week and jim wallis nailed my feeling... i felt dirty. i did not really have the words for it than but i think that best explained it. here are the three posts from shane claiborne, jim wallis, and brian mcclaren. these posts are short but each layout good questions for us to think about in regards to justice vs revenge, the death penalty, and what it means to truly be pro-life.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Some Interesting Posts that I have been reading

How Many Deaths in Iraq Before U.S. Churches Say Enough? , by Robert Parham the executive director of the baptist center for ethics.

Living Wage Calculator for Alhambra, CA , the living wage is a better reality to determine if a family can meet the needs for them in a certain area of the country. Here is a website that explains the the Living Wage. The other link shows what a person would have to make to actually meet all of their needs in Alhambra (where J-Lou lives with his two boys). I also would like someone to find some housing in Alhambra for $1100 a month. I am sure it would be grabbed up quick. And the main site that speaks about poverty in america.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

the gods must be crazy

as i sat in my living room with some friends to watch the dismantling of the michigan wolverines who by all means deserved to be in the bcs championship game. they had one lost to ohio st and beat Wisconsin, Notre Dame and the rest of the Big Ten. the usc team showed up that played like a portion of the season... not the usc team that lost and almost lost other games. we killed them and i mean killed them. we made them look average. it brought joy to my heart and made me jump around like a little school boy. i love it. i have been waiting to post this until i found the pic of jarret going deep on the secondary. my quote was from the quarterback coach and offensive coordinator when they said we will not run again and the next 30 plays were 28 passes and 2 quarterback sneaks for first downs. the play calling the 2nd was beautiful and the ability of pete carrol to get a defense ready to play was obvious. mike hart had like 40 yards. it was sweeeeeet. jeremy i would appreciate some love.... you hater. haha.

oh yeah... thanks to the lost by sc to the care bears (nice showing in the emerald bowl) i did not have to use money to get to the championship game so like j-lou said in an earlier post i got hooked up by pauls tv (the king of big screens) and got myself a 57 inch HD TV to watch the rose bowl. i do not have to pay paul til 2010. i may be dead by than anyways. lol