I started writing this a couple of weeks ago when I got the call that John passed. It’s taken me a while to get back to this post, but I think it’s def worth while.
Well I had a pretty sweet weekend up in LA for the Risen Conference up at Glendale CofC. I also had about a 4 hour drive back to SD yesterday, so I had a bunch of time to process through all of the things I learned, re-learned and realized.
First off, I have to give props to Schackmann and the crew up at Glendale for being great hosts. they’re a tight group that are def focused on community and fellowship. Everyone was so welcoming, it felt like I had known them for years. Also, I think I may have found my duplicate Mom.
As for the conference itself, I have to give my respect and admiration to a few guys that gave some great talks.
Tim Jang had a great talk about not putting church ahead of God. He kept reiterating that the purpose of reading scripture is to get to know the heart of God, which is a great way to get past a lot of the petty arguments that divide us. I have a lot of respect for guys like Tim, who’s relationship with their church family is centered on God, instead of their relationship with God centered around their church. If that’s not very clear, call me, we’ll talk it out.
Jordan Watson is quickly becoming one of my favorite people. Years from now I think we’re going to look back and see that God has used him to make a massive impact on SoCal. That is, if he stops jeopardizing his life by whom he chooses to visit on vacation. I kid, I kid. Actually, Jordan has a noble heart, and his strength is his ability to translate the ideas on his heart into action. He did a great talk using Fight Club as a platform to talk about how Jesus calls us to abandon our cultural definition of success and reach for things that are much more satisfying, and meaningful. Needless to say, he’s exactly what SoCal needs.
Then there’s Storment. While I’ll probably never ask him to help me pull off a joke again, I will def continue to seek his insight into scripture. I’ve never heard anyone communicate the Bible the way Storment does. His gift is taking a story that you’ve read a thousand times and adding layers of depth that you would never figure out in a lifetime. More than once this weekend, myself and a few other Biblical scholar wannabes looked at each other and asked, “how does this guy figure all of this out?” I have another friend who is big into movies, and can sit down and tell you why a movie is good or bad. He’s the guy that really gets the movie on a level that most popcorn dwellers like myself skip over because a car just exploded onscreen. Storment does that with the Bible. I highly suggest you read his blog over at:
So here’s what I’m processing through right now:
I am blessed with a wide variety of friends, who all draw me closer to God in different ways.
I started the weekend catching up with my friend valleygirl, who leads the most interesting life out of all my friends. She lives smack in the middle of Hollywood, and will be famous someday. She’s a part of a culture that defines lack of morality, but stands out distinctly among her peers as a person who never waivers when it comes to upholding a high moral standard. She is by far the greatest example among my friends of someone being in the world, but not of the world.
On Friday, I got to chill with Schackmann for a bit, which was cool because he’s a SoCal guy who decided to head into ministry. I’m always encouraged to see the local guys step up. I’m also impressed with Schackmann taking on a role that not a lot of other guys are looking into. He’s a great example of walking confidently with God at your back.
I also got to chill with Storment, who I mentioned above. For the past year he’s been setting a great example of how to examine the depth and relativity of the Bible. He’s like an approachable Rob Bell. He’s already my favorite speaker, and I think within a few years there will be a lot of people who say the same thing. More than anything, he’s caused me to dig deep into the Bible and try and see a much more intricate picture that God has created.
Then there are the Luben’s, who always crack me up. Mr. Luben is my musical twin. I’m still trying to figure out if we disagree on any bands. Also, he’s one of those guys you know is operating on a much deeper level than most. It’s a pretty common thing hanging around him to have to stop and think through what he just said. Mrs Luben is a blast too. She’s the last person on this planet that I would try and be less than 100% honest around. Openness is the word that comes to mind with Mrs. Luben, which is always a good thing.
Then there’s chulagirl, who called me to vent for a while about some drama. She’s one of those people that manages to constantly follow her heart, and always be into something interesting. Her confidence has really started to shine through, although she’d probably deny it. I’ve got a lot of respect for people willing to take risk in order to follow their heart. Mad props to the dreamers.
Then there’s the Glendale crew, who have a great thing going with the community they have built at their church. There’s a lot of energy there, more importantly, there are a lot of people dedicated to living out the word. I’m excited to see the dent they leave in the la area.
And finally, there’s my friend hardcore. We never really hung out growing up, but you would never know it now. He’s quickly becoming one of my closest friends around SD. We hung out last night at Chili’s watching basketball, which is par for the course with us. What’s cool about hardcore is there is not anything he is ‘kind of’ into. Stuff either rules or it sucks, there is no in-between. As a people pleasing person, it is a lot of fun to be around someone so willing to speak their mind. He doesn’t go to church anymore, which I understand. I know he still has a deep understanding of God, and I’m willing to leave that be and let God do the work on his heart. It’s been a great time for me being around him learning not to preach at people, but to care about people, trusting that God is at work. So for the time being, going to chili’s is ‘our church’ (his words) and I’m stoked about that.
In the past few weeks I’ve talked with so many more friends, each with unique reminders of how diverse and creative God is when He is at work. The community that is being built around the loss of a great man is amazing, and it goes to show how blessed we are when we have Christ at the center of our relationships. In a time of mourning I have come to realize how truly blessed I am. The teaching of Jesus, blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted, has never been revealed to me like it has been over the past couple of weeks.
So I must humbly thank God for my friends. For their love, unconditional support and interest in my life and my walk with the Lord. I pray that we can continue to be people that greet each other with ‘I love you’.
And to my friends, thank you for continuously teaching me what if means to experience God’s love. You each affect me in a different way, and I am thankful for every moment we spend together.
One love, one heart.