December 29, 2006


The war in Iraq has me wrestling with my faith and my response. The Christians in Iraq are saying they do not want America fighting and bombing them. They say they live by another law, the law of blessed are the peacemakers, blessed are those who love their brother and their enemy. How can bombs and guns be the agent of justice that God has chosen. Didn't Jesus baffle all of us by conquering with the utmost sacrifice of love. Yet in life, are there things that we must stand up for and fight for. If a man comes to your door to kill you and your family, what action should be taken? Even if I stop fighting, others will continue to. Does that mean I must fight? Where is love? How does love fit into this? I no longer see my loyalty to my country of utmost importance. (Continue reading before you scream treason). I value the life of an Iraqi man as much as I value an American man. My brother is Rashid in Central Asia, Bill down the street, and Wong in the east. They are my family, because of spiritual ties. And my family is my first loyalty. My country is composed of my neighbors, and who is my neighbor.

December 26, 2006

My favorite quote

Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world, when in fact it is the only thing that ever has.

~I forget so we'll just call them anonymous

December 7, 2006

"You guys are all into that born again thing, which is great. We do need to be born again, since Jesus said that to a guy named Nicodemus. But if you tell me I have to be born again to enter the kingdom of God, I can tell you that you have to sell everything you have and give it to the poor, because Jesus said that to one guy too..." ---Rich Mullins

November 24, 2006

Feeling important....?

If we were to transport our most powerful telescope to our nearest neighboring star, Alpha Centauri, and look back this way. We wouldn't even be able to see earth, not even a speck.--Philip Keller

Reminds me that God is god and I am man, and there is a big difference.

November 22, 2006

Sometimes contemplating life is like watching a parade that just consists of one large marching band. Except every time they walk past you they turn the corner, change their clothes and come back around again, and again and again.

November 16, 2006

Before man. Buried underneath like a deep mystery. Before the dawn of time. Unknown to most and invented by no one. The

truth. Mysterious and shadowy to human knowledge. Only uncovered by few, yet written in unchangeable stone iwth blood

that lasts forever. Here in what seems like darkness is actually flooded with light, the secrets to life. So easy to find and

understand when you are looking for them. Yet completely counter to all that man has substituted in their place. One would

think that if uncovered and revealed they would be heralded and cherished. Not So! Man has been 'without' them for so long,

they've written their own secrets. Almost complete opposites. This treasure does not fit the mold and is thrown out like trast.

November 9, 2006

Love...the most powerful force on the earth. Love can not be beaten. When you kill love, it rises again to continue to love. It never stops. When power is on the rise, love is in the shadows, faithfully serving.

Martin Luther King Jr. said "If you beat us, we will love you! If you jail us, we will love you! If you kill us, we will die loving you!"
He who thinks that he is finished is finished.

November 2, 2006


What would you do to threaten Lazurus after he was raised from the dead?

"I'm gonna kill you..?"

I'm sure he would have just laughed at you.

How do you frighten someone who has already been there and knows the one who is going to let him out?

To Lazurus death is dead.

--Ravi Z.

October 31, 2006

October 23, 2006

Short thought (cause sometimes we write too much and spoil it)

Every moment of everyday we are becoming something...

October 20, 2006

i am loved...i love...

love. it's the root of humanity. In action it is the most awe inspiring view on planet earth, far surpassing the giant mountains and rushing torrents of water that so capture our awe and take our breath away. i would give up traveling the earth and seeing all of God's creation to witness acts of love in their simplest and purest form. and it is this that sets us apart from all the rest of creation. animals have their moments, where they care and almost see to show affection. but humans, we have unlimited creativity, unbridled passion, and indescribable feelings that drive us to wild and at times irrational displays of our love. we can choose to love unconditionally, through the hellish times of life, with a force that no creature can duplicate. and yet through all of this, it still remains a mystery. who can wrap their head around the way that a man pursues the love of his life that has captivated him. the longings to be with one person, one special soul mate, for all the rest of time. how is this explained and where else is this found?

inside of me, there is this desire to be loved and to love, and all that love entails; trust, honesty, humility, intimacy, openness...

something that says, 'you are safe' and something inside of me that lets me know this is not just a hopeless dream.

there is a god that loves me, that mystifies me, makes my heart beat fast and know it's safe.
and out there, there is a girl, one who i will love with all that i was created to love with. she will know she is safe, she has found one to trust, one who will unconditionally and passionately love...because i am loved...

October 17, 2006

NEW JOB: Day One

So first day on the new job and there I stood guarding fragments of the dead sea scrolls. I believe it was a sign, although I'm not sure what the sign was, perhaps I need to convert to Judaism...

October 16, 2006

People expect too much from speaking and too little from silence.

October 11, 2006

October 7, 2006

Trinity Part Deux (That means two)

God Among Us:

This is the part of the trinity that seems to be understood and perhaps emphasized (sometimes overemphasized by Evangelicals) the most. When people think of Christianity they think of God among us, or Jesus Christ, God become flesh. When you have those moments in life when things are the most clear and you stop and think about the implications of God among us, it is truly astounding and mind blowing. This is the thing that good stories and movies want to happen; a deity coming to live beside us, to interact with us, share life with us. And this is what did happen, God came to live among us, eat with us, face our problems first hand.

This flesh wearing part of the trinity is what makes it possible for us to commune with the God above us. Job, in his self titled book, alludes to this when he says he wishes there was one to take up and plead his case before the Father. That cry has been heard and now God among us makes this possible.

God among us.

October 3, 2006

Trinity: Part 1

God Above Us:

The trinity is one of the most difficult ideas to wrap our heads around (my feeling). Yet if we were to understand it fully would God cease to be God? 3 diViNE beiNgs, one God, no hierarchy, different roles, yet so intricately woven together that they cannot be separated, confusing stuff.

As shaky and foundational this belief is we do see clear pictures of it throughout the Bible.

God above us, the Father, the Almight maker of heaven and earth. In Job we see an incredible picture of the wonder, awe, amazing, God who controls all things and knows all. God responds to Job's questions from out of the eye of the storm. That alone is incredible, but the things he says...blows my mind and leaves me in complete awe, remembering that I am man and God is God. That is a deep truth that has a lot to be unpacked. There are many things, many many things, like Job, that I don't understand. And I'm okay with that, as long as I recognize my place, my place is as man, not God. There are some things in this life that I will not figure out, that will not make sense and will leave me befuddled if I dwell on them too long. Then I remember that God is God and if he does what he says he does in Job chapters 38-42 then I have nothing to worry about, for I am man and God is God.

God above us

September 25, 2006

Trinitarian Centered

Some Churches today seem to focus soley on Jesus, the Holy Spirit or just God. I've found it rare to enter into a church that has a holistic view. One that (and I borrow from Christian Schwartz), "is Christ Centered, stressing the absolute claims of Jesus, and inviting people to find a personal relationship with him, and living in the power of the Holy Spirit, not only teaching about, but experiencing the supernatural dimension of our faith, and all of this based on principles that God has revealed to us in creation that we share with nonbelievers, which include striving for hte preservation of creation, social justice, human rights, and peace."

this is the balance we have to have. From what I have seen, most churches nail the JESUS aspect on the head, touch on the GOD, and hint at the Holy Spirit. Jesus by himself is not complete.

I'm applying this to the way I live, so if and when I do minister to others, my life will reflect this trinitarian balance.

September 8, 2006


Perhaps we should change all of our exit signs in our church buildings to enter signs. It is out there, "in the real world" as our parents like to say that life happens. I think the reason those signs were put up was because we were spending too much time inside and so we had to let everyone know where the exits were at. If we could just reverse that so that we are spending so much time "in the real world", among the poor, feeding the hungry, fixing our neighbors car because they can't afford it, befriending those whom the 'real world' shuns. Then maybe when we 'entered' or now 'exited' our faith would have meaning and wouldn't be just a 'burnt offering (Hosea 6:6).

Remember to Enter.

September 7, 2006

Wake up and live like you were dropped into a alien race with no cultural connections. How does Jesus make a difference? What does life look like?

September 6, 2006


I was reading Velvet Elvis and I ran across this very interesting tidbit about the Bible. The first time John uses the word love in his book about Jesus is in chapter 3 verse 16. For God so loved that he gave his one and only son... The first time the word love is used in the entire Bible is in Genesis chapter 22 when God tells Abraham to take "your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love." and offer him as a sacrifice

Isn't that another awesome connection that John was trying to make.

God has written the ultimate story.

September 2, 2006

One Nation Under God??

Does God relate to the United States as a whole? We are not Israel, his chosen people. And he doesn't, how does this coincide with us living out our faith. Do we have a political duty, or a moral one?

August 31, 2006

I've been reading some really provocative and mind muddling books recently. I feel like I am in a swamp full of mud (but the mud is good mud) and I'm wallowing through it trying to figure it all out. A whole new realm of Jesus and the Father have been opened up to me over the last six months. There is a relationship that is so much like a relationship. (I understand that was a very vague sentence). What a friend I've found in Jesus has become a daily reality, even though the present journey of life has been bleak, ill-defined, and rocky, but and it's a big but, faithful Father has been there, even when I didn't want him there. Yes there have been times when I thought I would have rather not been familiar with my Father or even know him. Yet, he is there, I am learning, still walking and wanting others to know about the love of God even in my selfish moments.

July 26, 2006

Smoking is FUN!!!! YEAH!!!!

When I first saw this billboard I instantly thought of smoking. The box looks like boxes we have in America. Mind you I didn't see the part that says 'Golden Tea', because I was laughing to hard at that point. But then again, maybe they could use the same kid on a smoking billboard. It kinda makes me want to smoke...

May 25, 2006

Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

~Margaret Mead

May 18, 2006

Faith vs. Old Religious Ways of Doing Things

This thinking comes after a conversation with Rev. D. Bray and some interesting life experiences.


Relationship with Jesus, right?

Salvation it seems is saying yes to the light (knowledge of God) that we have been exposed to. Does prevenient grace cover the "what if's"? We have packaged salvation too much in America. It is more journey and relationshiplike than we have made it out to be. This being true, it makes baptism make a whole lot more sense.

May 9, 2006

April 23, 2006

In the beginning there was Creation with the appearance of age…..6 days:

Jesus first miracle, creation with the appearance of age. 6 water pots into 6 wine pots. It was 'the best wine' and good wine is aged wine.

April 19, 2006

April 16, 2006

April 13, 2006

April 12, 2006

April 3, 2006


March 28, 2006

More Ravi

The moment of opportunity is built upon hours of preparation

March 26, 2006

Ravi Asks:

Is life defined by what we pursue, or must our pursuit be defined by what life was meant to be?

March 19, 2006

Following Christ

American life is cut and dried and easy. It is so easy that we have time to think about entertainment often, and we think about it often. We are conditioned that the things that occupy our mind are the utmost important.
We are no longer cultured to lookout for our ‘brother.’ Maybe because our ‘brother’ can take care of himself or maybe because the things our ‘brother’ faces are no life and death situations.
I have a friend here who is trying to find a job. We’ve talked about it and I’ve treated him exactly how I would treat someone at home who was trying to find a job.—the occasional prayer and the ‘good luck.’ But things are different here. Getting a job is not the same because nothing is fair. He needs a job to help his family but nothings opened. He doesn’t want to pay a bribe and he doesn’t want to lie which makes finding a job almost impossible. I can’t understand it but it is much more important here than at home. As a reflection of Jesus, I need to invest my life into his in caring about this as he cares about it and praying about it as he would want me to pray for him. But have I been…no, because I’m preoccupied with self and I don’t understand the importance of the situation.
As I write this I am again blown away with the intensity and depth to which Jesus invested his life into others. ~That’s what followers of Jesus do~

March 18, 2006

Seeking to overcome self by self effort is a hopeless struggle. Self will never cast out self.

March 15, 2006


Do I live my life in a way that I am spiritually prepared/ready for God to say anything and I am in a position to respond immediately? God revealed to Abram to leave his country, everything, and that he would make him into a great nation and he would bless him. Abram’s response wasn’t to formulate a vision of how that would look or to even think and begin to get ideas of what to do. His response; he left. What made Abram so ready to just leave. I believe it was his relationship with God before the revelation came.

March 14, 2006


"The word Paradise is a Persian word that refers to a walled garden belonging to a king. Emperors would specially honor individuals by allowing them to walk in paradise with them. It became a synonym for the best and safest of places."

This adds new light to Jesus response on the cross to the criminal, "Today you will be with me in paradise."

March 9, 2006

I am the King of the Mountain that is on Fire, or maybe I'm just standing on it....

March 6, 2006

Delicious Dish

If you thought SuperSize Me was a disgusting movie, wait until they make one on this dish. This dish is pasta, yogurt, meat and tons and tons of butter. When this dish cools it is non edible cause the butter, otherwise known as FAT, all hardens. This truly is a heart attack on a plate.

February 28, 2006

Is my thinking correct??

God did not do stuff just for us. He did them for his son. We do not have eternal life cause God gave it to 'us.' Christ has life and we are included in him.

February 22, 2006

Toilet Paper for God

Worship leaders and specifically song writers understand something that I have often missed. They do something that I’ve just recently begun doing.
If you are a parent or when you are a parent, we all know that the most precious gift our children can give us are ones of their own creation. My dad loved the ‘Santa’s Workshop’ toolkits my sister and I got him every year, but it was my sister’s homemade airplane made from a toilet paper roll and colored in exorborant gaudy colors that he cherishes and can still be found to this day, front and center, on top of his dresser. We all know why this is his favorite gift, the one that touched his heart the most.
Worship songwriters pour their own hearts out in words and music and express their love and praise to their father. They sing a new song to the Lord and then they minister to us and share it with us.
It took me till last month to express myself in that way. (sidenote—there are other ways to build toilet paper airplanes for God other than singing or music)
I found myself laying on the floor singing a song to God. I am not a musician. My sister is not an artist, but to my dad she was. I don’t have excellent singing or musical skills, in fact, I didn’t even follow musical “rules.” (My sisters toilet paper airplane would have probably helped her fail art class.) But to my dad it was the most beautiful creation in the world.
My heart and soul were free and they were truly crying out and lifting their praise to God. I couldn’t sing that same song again if I tried, because it was sincere, it was honest, it was adoration, it was worship.

February 18, 2006

February 16, 2006

I bet when Jesus saw Peter for the first time and he looked “intently” at him, he saw deep in those eyes everything Cephas would do, both good and evil. He saw the many times he would put his foot in his mouth. He saw his ignorance. He saw him denying him and abandoning him. He saw all this, yet he still chose to call him “Rock.” I’m sure that moment stuck out to Peter the rest of his life. What an initial solidifying moment.

February 13, 2006

Sage Advice

Dear Josh,

Don't just get through the day. Wake to life and live it fully awake.

From and Aged Saint,


February 10, 2006

New Marketing Strategy

At the small store by my house I discovered what could be the best marketed product ever.

This is simply amazing! it doesn't.

And the best part is....I actually tried it. However, my clothes are still in the washing machine soaking in Barf, but I'll let you know how they come out.

February 8, 2006

Pickles, The Tick, and Spatulas.

The above title reveals my newly discovered secret to a popular and way cool blog. Apparently this is the way to get everyone who is cool and famous to read the interesting things that we write. I've been experimenting with some new titles that I would be willing to reveal, although I won't share all my magic. Let's see, how about, Gargoyles, Little white people, and Vienna sausages; Rutabagas, Fish Oil, and Sock Puppets; Ficus plants, Aardvarks, and knickers. Gary Larson, Grunties, and Kumquats.

As you can see by this new found phenomenon, my blog will soon rise to stardom and everyone, including the cool people will read it. I'm also fairly certain that somewhere in this mystic code lies the secret to life.

February 7, 2006

Giving Up

Giving up is usually easier than wading through piles of muck, fighting your way through the tar pits of life. However, easy is not always right and easy is not always rewarding.

February 5, 2006

Before The Throne Of God Above

Every once and a while a song will really play an important part in my life because of the words of truth that they speak. This is one such example.

When Satan tempts me to despair,
and tells me of the guilt within.

Upward I look and see him there,
who made an end to all my sin.

Becaue the sinless savior died,
my sinful soul is counted free.

For God the just is satisfied,
to look on him and pardon him.

February 1, 2006

Frank. Completely Frank.

There are moments in my life when God is frustrating to me, and I do not like the things that he does. Times when what he has done or is doing, I feel go against his character and I just can't explain it. I don't think I'll ever understand the slaughter of children in the Old Testament for example. There are others too. Some people say they have answers for them, but I don't think we have God figured out like that. If we could truly understand all that he does, he would cease to be God. HOWEVER, concering those tough and seemingly wrong issues, I have come to a point in my life where I acknowledge and truly believe (actions prove belief) that what God does is just and right. I rest on the firm fact that God does have life figured out and I don't.

January 29, 2006


It seems today that some people in North American churches are running around in ingnorance as their thoughts and actions are tainted by Gnosticism. I say this because I have seen it in myself in the past. Such thinking as, “The World is evil,” “My body is a prison,” and “I am chained to my body.” Anything in life that is not spiritual is wrong. A lot of Christians do a lot of cutting for the wrong reasons. They cut out food, sex, love, humor, at an attempt to become ‘more spiritual.’
There is also the thinking that all that matters is religious stuff and life does not connect with religion. People completely neglect politics, finances and social action. They talk a lot and have many symbols but there is no substance. It seems that they have ‘no hands.’ They know about heart and mind change, but they are not really changed.
As I understood this, I also understood the following:

God used a human body to express his fullness.

The Point

If the focus of my faith ever becomes just to eliminate sin, I've missed the point.

January 26, 2006


All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of just one candle.--Anderson

January 23, 2006


I’m positive that the “running man” has been out of style for at least 15 years in America. If you don’t know what the “running man” dance move is then you are so out of it, either that or you just were not a ‘hip’ during the time when it was ‘hip.’ (Just google it) Anyhow, I am also positive that the ‘running man’ never ever made it over the Atlantic to the part of the world where I am dwelling (I just thought of one thousand cheesy jokes I could make about the running man right here but I refrained so you would keep reading). This is where my story begins.

As you know I have a friend here whose house and family I like to visit. My friend has a name and that is Elnur. He also has a last name but I don’t know it and if I did there would be now way that I would have the correct characters to spell it and you wouldn’t be able to say it anyways. Tonight I visited his family, and like always, we ate a ton of food. God either gave these people larger stomachs or faster metabolisms because I am always amazed at how they can out eat me without even trying. We did that for a good hour and a half and then the real fun began. You see last time I was there they began teaching me how to dance their traditional dance. I’m a novelty! They love watching me and I love pleasing them. Okay, so I’m not really a pet, I do enjoy learning this type of dance. The first wedding that I go to here I’m gonna break out the moves and everyone will be so astonished that this ‘American’ can dance. That is when it happened. They looked at me and said, “Teach us your dance.” I tried to tell them that we don’t really have ‘a dance.’ But music and dance is such a part of their culture that they didn’t understand and kept asking me to show them something. That’s when I pulled it out, The Running Man, and that was just the beginning of my bag of ‘outdated and uncool dance moves in America yet new and really technically amazing here’ tricks. I did the Running Man in a small house outside the city that I’m pretty sure never had the running man performed in before. I was so on, every beat, I felt it, coursing through my blood, the rhythm, the motion. That must have been what the inventor of the running man felt. The best part came next. They tried the Running Man. I wish you could have seen it. They loved it!! Then they put on some techno and asked me to show them some more, so I followed with “The Worm”, “The Robot”, “The Sprinkler”, and everyone’s favorite “The M.C. Hammer, Can’t Touch this dance”. I was hesitant at first because of my own culture, but then I realized “they’ve never seen these before.” And suddenly I became a dancer. Everyone reading this right now would have laughed at me, but they were trying them and loving them. After a half and hour of that, we put away our dancing shoes and called it a night. I will look forward to the next meeting where I’m thinking about maybe introducing the “Mashed Potato”, “The Matt Deprez”, and “The Monster Mash.”

Moral of the story: Nothing ever loses its coolness…nothing.

January 22, 2006

2nd Question to myself.

Do I own our stuff or does my stuff own me.

January 21, 2006

Question to self (but you can all read too)

Am I loving things and using people or using things and loving people?

January 17, 2006


The shepherd left the 99 to go seek for that 1. Reckless passion. A love so deep. The 99 were safe with the shepherd, and when he left, they were still safe… but that one sheep. It was alone, it was helpless, it was lost. It was in ultimate danger, danger of never returning, danger of its very life. The shepherd understood. He knew what was at risk. He knew what was important…the one sheep.
There are three billion sheep in the world that don’t even know they have a shepherd looking for them. That has changed my heart, and will forever change my life.

January 14, 2006


One’s goal should not be to cast a vision everyone buys into, but to create a visional community where everyone who enters in begins to have wild and God sized dreams and visions.

More thoughts from a book I read.

January 8, 2006

Often times we pray and we ask God for more power or more faith or to bless what we are doing. Are we asking God to empower our flesh? Shouldn’t we be asking God to bless what he is doing. I’ve found that I have way to high of an opionion of myself and I see myself as much more useful that I really am. I am a bondservant, not an employee. I don’t need more power or more faith. I need God to bless the works that he is doing and clearly guide me into those areas that he wants me. I will faithfully serve him with everything he has given me.

January 6, 2006


What we fear is what we are subject to. Our fears define our master. Where there is no fear, there is no control. When we fear God we can only then live fearless.

January 3, 2006

Simple Fact Discovered #1

The importance of relationships is more evident the simpler life becomes.

January 2, 2006

More adventure than getting the wrong order at Burger King.

I spent a few days after Christmas in a neighboring country for a little vacation. I didn’t understand the language and I couldn’t even read the language because they don’t use the latin script. It was quite and adventure and quite relaxing and fun. However, the adventure part won out when we missed our train, or at least half of us missed the train. There we stood (half of us), at the train station wondering where our train had went that was there about an hour ago. After trying to figure out where it had went the other half of our group had gotten off the train at the next stop and taken a taxi back to the train station. We then decided that we’d try to head the train off at the pass (actually “pass” should read ‘border’ but it sounded way cooler that way). So we jumped into two taxi’s and were off. **Note—when you have to speak a foreign language everything is twice as stressful, twice as hard and twice as long. So everything that sounds easy and quick…..was not.** Little did we know that the one taxi did not run on normal fuel, like the rest of the world, but ran off of propane and it was low. So while the one taxi went to the armed and heavily guarded propane station way out in the middle of nowhere and had to get out of the car while they fueled up because propane is highly explosive and volatile, the other taxi sped to the border. I was in the taxi that got to the border first, and there sat our train. Now all that needed to happen was for the other taxi to arrive. I had in my brain to stop that train at all costs even if it meant throwing myself in front of it (maybe not myself but I could have drawn a stupid mustache on my face and tied one of the girls on the tracks). Well it worked, for at least twenty minutes but our friends had still yet to show up. What we found out later was after they visited the armed propane station they proceeded to go to the wrong border crossing. Back at our border the train left and there five of us were left, two young teenagers, two girls, and myself, standing with our bags looking like helpless orphans. The next scene was something straight from a movie, the border officials, whose average age was probably about thirty, invited us into their ‘offices’ and we talked and drank and listened to music. Actually we only did the first and the last but the nationals filled in the gap. For an hour this carried on and we even got some email addresses out of it and a picture. Finally our other half came and we decided to make our way back to the city for another nights stay. We did make it out of the country on the following day and spent New Years on an old Soviet Train. It will definitely be a memorable New Years. (Almost as memorable as last years New Year celebration Julie!,,,which was spent in Wal-Mart!)