More than flashing lights and sounds…

Hola blogworld.

It’s been a while, so I thought I would take this somewhat mellow evening and sit and write for a while. It’s not often that I have an open Friday night to myself, and as lame as it might seem, I’m kind of excited to take a while and write out all of the things that are on my mind. I hope you have a while to sit down and read, and I hope this post brings you a time to pause, rest, relax and maybe even ponder.

Sermon.
I got to preach again last Sunday. I still get nervous when I preach, but this time around it got a little better. Although, my jamba juice breakfast was not sitting well afterwards, and I went to the bathroom thinking I was going to throw up. The worst part was that I left the lapel mic on, so a few people heard me trying not to heave. Classic naked gun embarrassing moment.

Broken.
That was the title of the sermon that I preached. It’s something that’s been on my heart for a while, and a word that is having a major impact on my life.

Brokenness breeds humility. When I start to realize who God is in comparison to who I am, I really have a hard time holding my head up trying to brag about the things that I have done. More and more I am realizing that the things in my life that I have done that are good, are things that God would have me do. At some point we are all humbled before God, either by confrontation or destination. I am tired of being humbled by confrontation. Why do I wait for disasters for God to show me who He is, and how He works through the toughest of times? Maybe I should purposefully seek God out before I am in need, before tragedy. I think of all the people that came to Jesus to get healed, and how they came before Him completely broken. Lepers ostracized from their families, cripples confined to the dirt streets, they were broken. And because of their faith, their humble faith, Jesus healed them.

Brokenness leads to healing. Human muscles are odd. In order for them to grow, they must first be torn apart. But when they do heal, they come back stronger than before. If we never own up to anything being wrong in our lives, how will we ever get better? I hate going to the doctor. It’s a last resort option for me. I don’t know why I am this way, but I will try everything under the sun, including ignoring the pain, before I break down and go to the doctor. But that is what they are there for, to prescribe what we need to be healed. Here’s the amazing thing about the people that Jesus healed, they always got more than what they asked for. A blind man comes to get his sight restored and not only does he walk away with vision, but a clean soul as well. We ask Jesus to make things in our lives better, and He forgives us of our sins.

Brokenness builds community. One of the things I like about our church is how much our facilities are used. The fellowship hall on our property has been used by Alcoholics Anonymous for almost thirty years. Recently, a group split off to start a men’s only group on Tuesday nights, and in just over two months they have gone from 6 to 25+. Their ministry is built around a shared brokenness, and the journey to be healed. Those who are farther along share their struggles with those who are still weak. In the book of James it says that when we confess to God our sins are forgiven, and when we confess to each other we are healed. Jesus said that a hospital is for the sick.

One of the thing I love about my youth group is the crazy stories we tell. It’s how we start off every class. My favorite stories are about people tripping and falling in the mud. We’ve decided that at some point, pretty much everyone will fall in the mud. Here’s what amazes me. Kiddos will call me up in the middle of the week and tell me that they tripped and fell in the mud, and they couldn’t wait to tell someone. We have turned one of the most potentially embarrassing moments and things that I dreaded the most as a teenager into something that we celebrate as a group. We have built community around falling in the mud.

If the number one complaint of non-Christians is that church is full of hypocrites, maybe we should embrace our brokenness, and start talking more about how Jesus builds us back up.

When I went to NYC for Christmas, I was fortunate enough to visit the statue of liberty and ellis island. I think this is where the word broken entered my heart. I start thinking of how many broken people came from other countries to start a new life here. How many people today are blessed because of what our ancestors suffered for us. The strength of our country has always been based on those who are willing to break their backs so that we may become stronger. Our communities are melting pots of cultures that have had struggle to be here.

The base of the statue of liberty reads:
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

I think of my ancestors seeing this copper statue dominating the horizon after months of being on a ship. What a sight! The torch raised high in the air offering light to all those that are willing to follow. I like to think that even better than that sight, is a man standing there with His arms wide open and a sign that reads:

‘Give me your poor in spirit, your mourning, your meek, your insulted, your persecuted and your thirsty. Send these who are pure in heart to Me and I will bless them with My Name.’

summer.
It’s always a busy time for me, and this year is no different. I’m kind of behind on my summer planning, but with the help of awesomeintern we are quickly making up ground. Here’s a copy of our summer calendar, and these are just the events that we have planned, nothing in there about just hanging out with kiddos. Fortunately, I am so worn out from the past few months that I have already started calling on God to bless this summer. I’m trying to put into practice destination versus confrontation. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

Calendar.
summer calender 08

Freedom.
Oh yeah, I’ve been in a really creative mood lately as well. I knocked this painting out for threeve’s youth group a couple of weeks ago, and I’m really stoked at how it came out.
freedom painting

Upside Down Kingdom.
I did this painting during a class at the Pepperdine lectureships last month. I did it as part of a class on creative worship. It was the most fun I’ve had doing a painting in a long time.
DSC01095

Thrice.
5-29-2008-pelicancircasurvivethrice-at-avalon-450
I finally got to see thrice in concert last week. It was absolutely unreal. Even if you don’t like the music, I encourage you guys to check out the lyrics of the Alchemy Index albums. Lead singer Dustin Kensrue is quickly becoming my favorite lyricist. Here’s one of my favorites:

Moving Mountains
I speak in many tongues to many men;
Argue with angels and I always win,
But I don’t know the first thing about love.

I prophesy and know all mysteries;
All hidden things are opened up to me
But I don’t know the first thing about love

I have the keys to open any door;
I give all of my possessions to the poor,
But I don’t know the first thing about love

And moving mountains ain’t nothing to me;
I’ve faith enough to cast them to the sea,
But I don’t know the first thing about love

But all other things shall fade away;
While love stands alone and still holds sway
All other things shall fade away;
Into the ground into the grey.

I give my body up unto the flames;
And never once have I denied your name
But I don’t know the first thing about love.

Here’s another one of my favorites:

new hat.
On a realy superficial level, I kind of had to laugh at myself the other day. I had to return a birthday present to the sporting goods store the other day without a receipt. I was offered store credit, so I set out to find something that got me near to the $26.86 allowance. i had the hardest time trying to shop. I don’t really need anything, and most of the time if there’s something that I really want, I save up and get it. In the end I got a new Yankees hat and a half-straw hat as seen here:

B1005555706

Needless to say I felt like a goof spending a half hour trying to find something worth buying. But I do like my new hat.

Moving.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Helping people move is the modern day version of washing people’s feet. We helped this family move on Sunday, and it was an interesting experience for me. One hand, I was glad to get a chance to serve, on the other hand it was tough to be knee deep in so much unnecessary junk. So much of me wanted to be frustrated at a family that has money problems, and I have to literally wade through piles of stuff to get packed up and sorted. But I put that aside and focused on the goal, and fortunately had a thought that made the day easier. This family was only going to be able to take what they could fit in their car, and our place was to help them unload all of the unnecessary stuff in their house. What better way to give someone a fresh start than by helping them sort through and get rid of the junk that holds them down. Days like that turn from frustration to blessing to when you take a step back and look at the ministry that is going on.

Quotes:
I leave you tonight with several quotes from the youth group. They made me smile.

“I guess we married into a pretty rich family.”
– after a discussion on Jesus referring to Himself as the Bridegroom.

“How would it sound if we took their god’s name in vain and said, Oh my money?”
– during a class on idol worship.

“Going to Church is like time off to me. It’s a break from all of the pressures I have to deal with.”

“To me, Church is the place where I feel the most free. I don’t have to be anything to anybody and I can just be myself.”

“When I was little I used to be confused because I thought Jesus healed the leopards. That’s why I always wanted to go to the zoo.”

“I used to think it we were singing, It is well with Pine-Sol”
– in response to the previous quote.

“I don’t think we should try and figure out what Jesus looked like, we should just assume that everyone we meet could be Him.”

“I think they call it the New Testament because you learn something every time you read it.”

“What time is Church over?
“Never”

one love, one heart.

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Author: djiverson

I am a Christian, son, brother, artist and friend. I am blessed to be the Youth & Family Minister at New Vintage Church in San Diego. Know You Are Loved.

1 thought on “More than flashing lights and sounds…”

  1. hey dj, just came across your blog again and am so encouraged by your thoughts. what a wonderful ministry you are working in! neat thoughts about helping others move too–“modern day foot-washing”, it really makes sense. may your summer be blessed!

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