Archive for November, 2004

So we saw the movie “National Treasure” last night. I’d say it was pretty good, not great, just pretty good. It was an entertaining movie about a man obsessed with a treasure and he uses clues that the founding fathers left behind to find it. It also briefly alludes to the Freemasons but doesn’t really go into any details about them. This movie could have been easily made into an Indiana Jones movie because it does rely much on history and historical knowledge. I guess it’s one of those historical fiction type movies except it’s set in the present. I’m not sure if that even makes sense. Oh well, there are better things to worry about I suppose.

So according to the Bible, faith, by definition is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Since Christianity is a so-called faith based religion, faith must be really important. Of course, faith is a difficult concept because our Western minds do like anything that requires us to believe in anything that cannot be physically tested or requires us to believe in something that does not have a tangible result. But further on in that chapter it also says that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (11:6), so if I try to live my life without faith, I will definitely not please God. Why am I going down this track? Well, lately it really seems like my faith is being tested. I know that the Bible says and I am trying to live it, but you know, it’s tough. But, I guess that’s what faith is all about…trusting God and believing that he “rewards those who earnestly seek him” (11:6).

Now that this year is coming to an end, I have many options ahead of me. I have no doubt that any number of options could be chosen and I would be blessed by God no matter what I choose, but I also believe that there is a “best” option for me to choose. I guess I am still praying into it and trying to figure out exactly which option is the best and what God wants me to do. Sometimes I just wish God would tell me or show me what he wants me to do, but I also realize that if I knew everything, I wouldn’t have to rely on him anymore. If I could “see” what the future holds that would no longer be within our definition of faith since it is “the evidence of things NOT seen.” Hmmm, not sure if I’m even making sense. I seem to be kind of rambling and talking in circles. Well, guess I’ll wrap this up because I am not really sure where this entry is going. It may be going no where. I just wanted to kind of sort out my thoughts but I think I may have confused myself even more. Oh well. I’ll just keep praying…

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Well, well, well. It seems like such a long time since I wasn’t too tired to write. Actually I’m fairly tired right now but I want to record some things that happened tonight so I won’t forget them. But before we go any further I must make mention of an incident that occurred on Tuesday night during our regular shepherds’ meeting.

Classic Quote of Tuesday night: We were in one of the classrooms for our meeting and it happened to be the one that Krystie uses to teach her Sunday School class. She was reminding us to clean up after ourselves because she uses that room.

Me: “Oh so you’re going to make the room look all pretty?”
Krystie: “I make the room look pretty every time I enter it!”

Anyway, back to the events of the night. So tonight we went Ice Skating for our Ignite event. I was really good. We needed 25 to qualify for a group rate and we ended up with around 40 (albeit some was from Gabe’s MiniChurch). But as we lined up, I told the cashier, Nicole, that we were a group and could she please charge us accordingly. Apparently there was some miscommunication and she overcharged the first six or so people by fifty cents. So I was in the back of the line talking to everyone back there when they summoned me to the front. Nicole, the cashier, asked if I would come into the front office so she could speak with me. I thought we were in trouble so Gabe came with me. It turned out that we weren’t in trouble at all, they actually wanted to refund the first guys their fifty cents. Well, not one to waste an opportunity to have some fun I told Nicole I was going to pretend that I was angry since everyone in line could see me but they couldn’t hear me. So I explained that I was going to make some big arm motions and throw up my hands in disgust. Then I told her that I was going to point at her and put my hands on my hips and shake my head. It was really lots of fun. It was a good thing that she had her back to everyone because she couldn’t stop laughing. Neither could Gabe. When I went back outside everyone was asking me what went wrong and what did she do. I couldn’t help but laugh.

So with that taken care of, my only other crisis was Malia getting lost and now knowing how to get to Ice Palace from the airport. It’s amazing how you can live on an island your whole life and never venture far out enough away from your hometown to know how to navigate. So I had to guide her to Ice Palace which was no easy feat since she didn’t really know where she was. Most of our conversation was me trying to guess where she was. I had to ask questions like, “are you heading towards the mountains or the ocean?” and “okay, what’s on your left now?” In the end though I figured out where she was and made sure she made it in.

The rest of the night was rather uneventful. We skating in a nice counter-clockwise fashion until it was 9:00pm (I’ll have the pictures up later) then some of us went to the curry house to eat. That was also uneventful until Fred* and Schmegan* showed up. Okay, actually the funniest part happened after we left and were standing outside cruising and talking story.

Classic Quote of the Night: I was talking to Keiko about what she looks for in a guy because I said I would take her list of qualifications and standards and try to match them up with a compatible suitor.

Me: “Keiko, you can’t have such high standards.”
Schmegan: “When I was younger, I USED to have high expectations.”

*Not their real names, but it is very possible that their real names rhyme with the clever aliases.

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So here I am at 11:00pm sitting in my office updating my journal. Why am I sitting in my office? Do you really want to know? Because I wouldn’t want you asking if you really didn’t want to know. Well, since you’ve twisted my arm, I’ll tell you why I am sitting here in my office at 11:00pm on a Saturday night writing in my journal. It’s because God has a wacky sense of humor. What the heck does that mean you may now be wondering. Allow me to explain.

It all started this morning when my alarm clock went off way too early. It was only like 8:30am when it first started trying to wake me up. You see, today was the women’s conference at church. What does that have to do with me? Well, to backtrack further, Marjie called me earlier this week to ask if I could help with the child care at the conference. I’m assuming she asked me this because she knows my love for children. Probably not I surmised since she didn’t really want me to watch (or shape young minds) the children, rather I was to walk around the classrooms making sure that the teachers were okay (I was the hired muscle I guess). Sure, I thought. No problem. I was going to be at church anyway helping to decorate this place getting it ready for Christmas. God, in his wonderful sense of humor decides to make it the hottest day of the year. Seriously, it was hot! We were all outside in the heat trying to put up all the lights. Of course, since I’m borrowing this motorcycle, I decided to ride to church. Fast forward a few hours.

Tonight my friend Stacey was preaching to her kids at Hope Chapel West Oahu. I wanted to watch her preach since it would be the last time in a long time that she would be preaching. Linda called and wanted to watch too. Great I thought. It couldn’t have worked out better since I am currently having problems with my clutch on my car and I didn’t want to ride all the way to Waikele. I instead just rode to church and Linda drove from there. We had a really good time and I thought Stacey did a really good job. Afterward we ate dinner at Chili’s and got to hang out with Pastor Stacey. Well we get back to church and of course the gate is locked since everyone went home. Linda offered to drive me up to the bike, but I thought, I have never walked up the driveway before, I should try tonight.

So I get out and despite Linda’s reassurance that she could drive me up, I declined. Here’s where the “fun” begins. I give Linda a last wave good-bye and she drives away. As soon as I turn around to face my adversary, the driveway, all the lights, which apparently are on a timer, go off. I mean as I was looking up the driveway I realized I couldn’t really see it anymore because the lights went off. I should have recognized the bad omen and immediately called Linda to tell her that I reconsidered and she should take me up the driveway after all. But, I didn’t want to wuss out so I pretended to be brave and started hiking up the driveway. After walking about 100 paces or so I began to feel a few small drops of rain. Funny, God real funny. First he makes it the hottest day and now he’s going to rain on me. By this time I didn’t know what to do. I really wanted to just sit there and cry but I knew if I did that I would only get wet and no one would come and rescue me until the next morning. Plus, I knew I couldn’t sprint up the hill since I just came from Chili’s and I would have either tossed my cookies or simply passed out. Therefore, I continued to trudge up the hill. After a few minutes, it really started coming down. I mean rain in sheets. Linda, bless her heart, calls to tell me it’s raining really hard (of course, I knew that because I was suddenly much wetter than I had been in her nice, warm, dry Honda). She offered to come and pick me up and drive me home so I wouldn’t have to ride home in the rain (so nice yeah?). But I was really stuck in no man’s land. I couldn’t go back down (because I was already too far up to give up) and I still wasn’t near any covering and I was still in the dark. So to make it much more anti-climatic, I ended being soaking wet and tired as heck from hiking up that darn driveway. So subsequently, here I am waiting for the rain to stop so I can go home and dry off. Actually, I think the worst of the squall has ended, it may be the time to make a break for it. I think I’m going to try to go home. If I don’t make it, this will indeed be my last entry. If you hear from me in the next few days, it means that all is well and not to worry.

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In response to my last downer of an entry, I do have to say that it is getting better all the time. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because I sometimes feel so low that the only way to look is up, other times I think it’s because I know that God has a wonderful plan for my life. I just need to be obedient to him and his calling and most important to his timing.

I hate it when you hear from God and he tells you to do something that you don’t want to do. I think the Bible says you have to die to yourself. Yup, that sucks. Dying to yourself. Today I opened up our washing machine which I was informed by my brother last Friday (that right folks, one week ago) was broken. He said it wouldn’t drain. Guess what I found when I opened it up? Yup you guessed it, half a washing machine’s worth of stagnant water. Wonderful I thought to myself. Just what I need…stink water. So here’s the dying to myself part. God told me to empty it out. Why should I do it I argued with God. Because he said. Great, just because. So rather reluctantly I did it. Do I feel better now? Honestly, not really. I just don’t understand why my brother didn’t do it when it first stopped working. Or at the very least he should have left the machine open. At least this way some of the water would have evaporated instead of just sitting there and growing organisms. Oh well, it’s better to be obedient to God than to try to prove a point to anyone else.

Tonight we had a guest speaker at church. Salamat from Pakistan came and shared. Sometimes it’s hard to understand him since he has a thick accent but there is no denying that he is a man of God and a powerful man of God at that. He challenged us to be “burning bushes” in our community. We don’t necessarily have to do everything ourselves, but if we can attract a “Moses” through our lives we will do more good than trying to do it all ourselves. It was a really good word. He offered prayer for anyone that wanted prayer after the service. I believe that whenever we have a guest speaker we should take the impartation that he has to offer. I convinced Malia to come with me and Krystie joined us up there. Malia got prayed for, then Krystie. You know, somehow I just knew that Krystie was going to go down. I don’t know how I knew, I just knew. Anyway, she did end up going down and I was there to catch her. Must have been a word of knowledge or something. When she came to, she told me that she didn’t know what happened because that had never happened before. It was beautiful. God is so incredible. When Salamat was praying for me, I also felt like I was going to fall. I also suspected that there wasn’t any one behind me to catch me so I fought him. In retrospect I wish I didn’t fight so hard. I miss those times on the ground where the Spirit just has a chance to minister to me. Maybe I can sneak in the prayer line later this weekend.

Tomorrow we’re going to make the campus look all pretty for the holidays. I must go home and get some rest. Those are always long days. Decorating a church campus isn’t easy. There’s lots of work to be done. At least they always make it look super good.

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So recently I’ve been thinking of this thing called depression. Sometimes I find myself fighting it. Not to the point that I’m going to jump off a building or anything, but lately I’ve been really tired all the time, I think my stress level is a little higher and I can definitely feel myself sinking (or swimming). Last week I saw this documentary thing called “Supersize Me”. It was really good. It’s about this guy who goes on a McDonald’s diet for 30 days. That means that he can only eat McDonald’s food for 30 days. The guy in the film discusses depression and how he feels depressed because he’s consuming a high-fat diet and lots of caffeine. I wondered if caffeine was helping my depressive moods. I tried a little test by cutting out the soda I’ve been drinking. Not completely, but significantly. I’ve only had two Diet Cokes in the last week (as opposed to one or two a day). So far the results have been inconclusive. Not really sure the cause. But I see the effects and I don’t like them. For one, I severely lack motivation (not sure about that one either). I knew going in to this year that it would be tough and now that the end is in sight, I just don’t care either way. Therein lies the problem. I know that God told me that this year would be tough and to just stick it out and here I am six weeks from the end of the year and I feel like throwing in the towel.

Other than that depressing part things are going pretty good. I just had a great MiniChurch. I really love them a lot. I got to play golf with Kawakami today. He smoked me 8-1, it was pathetic. I couldn’t chip or putt to save my life. My drives were also inconsistent and my ball-striking was terrible. But, it was still golf so I had fun. I also mowed the lawn today. I was getting lots of comments on the length of my grass so rather than wait for my brother to take care of it (since he assumed responsibility of the yard by deciding that the guy we previously had mowing are lawn should be replaced) I just decided to do it myself. But our washing machine is still broken and now the shelves outside fell down (possibly because Charlie knocked it over). So many things to do. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed (maybe this is how depression creeps in).

Yesterday during staff discipleship we heard this guy talk about pastors being people first. Therefore, we need to take care of ourselves as people first before we can take care of ourselves as pastors. I think what I really need is a vacation to just get away. Maybe I’ll be able to take one at the end of the year or early next year. I hope so. I’m feeling pretty licked. Boy this turned out to be a kind of a bummer of an entry. Sorry you had to read this. Oh well, I suppose if you don’t like it then you can read something else. Anyway, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). All right guys, keep the faith. It’s important.

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Well it seems like it’s been a month since I last wrote on this thing. However, in reality it has only been a few days. Wow, so many things have happened since then. Where to begin? I know, I’ll just give a quick recap of everyday with the pertinent highlights.

Friday: I had lunch with Dexter on Friday which was really good. It’s been awhile since I saw that guy. It’s neat to hear that God is constantly moving his people around for his purpose. He’s doing well and I think he’s seeing/dating this girl so that’s wonderful too. It’s interesting to see that God has moved both of us so far since a year ago when we first met. That night after church we saw the Incredibles. I really liked it a lot. If you haven’t seen it yet, go watch it. It’s worth it. I also got to hang out with plenty of the singles so that was fun too. I’m glad Frank knows about the “safety seat” otherwise it may have been uncomfortable in the movie (well that and if Jen didn’t sit between us).

Saturday: Italian cooking class! This was really fun. We had around forty people show up at Rob’s house to cook and eat. Even though I had to miss the UH game it was still worth it. The food was great, the fellowship was great. I got to meet some new people. Hang out with the old people. Plan our MiniChurch fun night coming up.

Sunday: I had to play for the Soldiers of Light at Olivet Baptist Church. I took Keiko with me because she wants to do a hula for our Japan trip next year and the Halau o Kama ‘Ula do a really good dance to “the Prayer” redone by Maila Gibson and Ho’okena. I was really impressed that they had to perform at a Japanese language service before the main service. They actually sang a song in Japanese and one girl even gave her testimony in Japanese! I felt like I was at KBF. She didn’t even need a translator. Very impressive. The girl doing the second testimony was also very good. She is a pretty girl that hated looking in the mirror because she thought she was ugly. Keiko wrote her a note of encouragement I think (I suspect she wrote something like, “next time don’t cry because the puffy, red eyes do nothing to improve you appearance” but that’s just a guess). Afterward we got a call that Reuben was getting baptized so we went to Kaneohe Bay to help him celebrate. It was great. When I got home I found out that my dog was bleeding from his tail. We took him to the vet to get his tail chopped off and $700 later he’s home and all depressed. I couldn’t believe that it cost that much! I told them to just keep him and I’ll use the money to buy a new non-defective dog. I think they thought I was joking (and I suppose I was in a totally serious way). Oh well, now Charlie has a much shorter tail.

Monday: Monday was very non-eventful. I had lunch with Krystie at Costco. I heard an interesting term on Sunday night: back-up girl. Someone alluded that Krystie was my back-up girl. I’m not sure how to take that. There may be some validity to it, but I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll just ask Krystie. While I was waiting for Krystie to finish class I did get to see the new Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club. It’s pretty nice but I think I like Costco better. Who knows?

Tuesday: You know what I hate? I hate it when you go to class but since you missed the last class, you find out that class may have been canceled. There were four of us in class today. None of us had attended class last Thursday. We suspect that class was canceled and that they announced it on Thursday. So after five minutes we split.

PS-I also figured out that it’s really hard to force-feed dogs pills. I had to wrap it in bacon before Charlie would eat his anti-biotic and pain killers. Tomorrow I’m going to check out an ad that I saw in the paper. Pray that it goes well.

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Ahh perspectives. Point of views. Isn’t it wonderful when you can make someone finally see what you see? I believe that so many problems would simply vanish if everyone could see things the way I see them. I know that it’s a pipe dream, but what’s wrong with dreaming.

Today was a pretty normal day. I was walking aimlessly around Manoa looking at how much mud came down from the flood (it was significantly muddier) when I heard someone call my name. Now normally, I just kind of look around casually because there is still a certain level of cool that I must constantly maintain, but since I immediately spotted who was yelling my name, all cool went out the window. I’m not sure how Krystie spotted me walking since I am part ninja, but she spotted me none the less and invited me to lunch. Apparently she eats lunch with Branden every Thursday and since I was skipping class I decided to join them. It was a good lunch. I didn’t eat since I had already eaten, but listening to their conversation was somewhat fascinating. I we were walking out of the Taco Bell/Pizza Hut area I ran into an old friend (literally). Actually he bumped into me. He is an old friend that I knew from church when I was in Jr. High. I’ve tried to call him and invite him to things in the past but for some reason he never calls me back or comes out to anything. Oddly enough I bumped into him today. Was a chance encounter or divine appointment. I’m going to guess that it’s the latter so I’m going to call him for MiniChurch next week (he already said he couldn’t make it to Italian night).

It was exciting seeing him. I also got to chat with my friend Derek (Faulk). He was a little under the weather so I tried to pray for him and encourage him. It seems like there is a lot of sickness going on. I guess that just means that I need to pray harder. Anyway, he’s going to set up some email addresses for us so it was good talking to him too. He also ended up encouraging me too. Does it get better than that? Two Christian brothers separated by the Pacific Ocean encouraging each other on the phone. That’s what love is all about.

Then my day kept getting better. I had dinner with Blaine. We haven’t eaten together in a long time so it was also good to just catch up with him as well. He’s such a great guy. I wish he wouldn’t be so hard on himself. My challenge was to stay positive about himself for the next week. I know that I’m supposed to be mentoring him, but I almost always walk out of our dinners feeling encouraged. It’s wonderful.

As I said, my day kept getting better. Tonight at MiniChurch we had two new people come. One of them is a brand-new Christian. I love having brand-new Christians in MiniChurch because they’re like big sponges ready to soak up all God has for them. It’s really cool. Plus, they tend to get every one excited because they’re so excited. It works both ways. Thank you God for all the people that you had me cross paths with today. I sit here and write feeling very encouraged. God is so awesome. His timing is always perfect. I need to remember that whenever I try to rush things and do them on my own. It’s not in my time, it’s in his time. The only bummer about MiniChurch tonight was that Malia didn’t come. She was also sick. I need to share with her my philosophy about MiniChurch is where you should be if your sick because everyone there can pray for you. Oh well maybe next week. I did get to pray with her on the phone so that was cool. I know that my God is bigger than any sickness she or Derek has and that they will be healed. I am really looking forward to MiniChurch next week since Malia (one of the new people) and Kevin really liked it and want to come again.

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Wow, you don’t write in your journal for two days and it seems like everything happened. But to keep all of my readers from having to read a full novel I will try to give you the abridged version. So let’s see, the last time I wrote was on Sunday night (during an unfortunate poker game in which I was eliminated first) so that brings us to Monday.

Monday was actually a pretty good day. I got to sleep in late and I spent some time just cruising with God and getting some studying done. I also spent the greater half of the afternoon trying to convince my cousin Jenn to go on a blind date with a certain “friend” of John-John and I. Hopefully she’ll regain her lost senses and go on the date. I don’t understand what the big deal is. I mean it’s not like she has to marry the person that she’s going on the blind date with. And besides, the real question is what else does she have going on anyway? I mean if I wasn’t dating anyone (and I’m not) and someone wanted to set me up I don’t think it would be too much of a problem. Plus, it’s a friend of John and me. It’s not like it’s a complete stranger from the internet or personals. So what I guess I’m trying to say is if you know Jenn you should convince her to go on this date.

Anyway, that night we had the kick off to our new series called “We Have Liftoff”. I was the speaker/worship leader and I was kind of excited about speaking. Anyway, I was a little disappointed at the lack of a turn out, but also encouraged because I know who is really involved (hence the verse above). But I actually did have a good time and I know that God does indeed have great things in store for this ministry. Afterward we went to Zippy’s (the usual hangout) to eat dinner. Seven of us went so it was a pretty good turnout. The real fun began when everyone went home and I got to chat with Nikki and Sally for an hour or so. It was super fun. We got to speculate about who was interested in who and who we thought that certain people should marry. Good times. They also decided that I needed some lessons on hugging since I am a “patter” which means that I pat on the back when I hug people. I’m not sure how they became the experts on hugging but apparently if you pat someone on the back whilst hugging them it means that you’re insincere. So Sally kept making me practice. Yuck, I had to hug those girls waaaayyyy more than I wanted to.

Tuesday was election day. That was kind of exciting. Even though I voted two weeks ago it was still fun watching the election results come in and constantly flip between CNN and Fox News and the local networks. It’s amazing the different spins that all the networks placed on the election. I also saw Ray, the Ray Charles biopic during the afternoon. It was a pretty good story. I won’t say anything else in case anyone hasn’t seen it yet. I am glad I saw it though. It’s one of those movies that I’m glad I saw but I don’t need to watch it again. Then I went back home again and watched more election results until it was time to go to my meeting.

Someone remind me never to have meetings during an election. It was really hard to keep my focus and everyone else’s focus when everyone seemed to want to keep checking the updates of the election. We did get a lot of calendar things done which is a very good thing. We also got to pray with each other which I think is excellent. The groups didn’t quite materialize the way I envisioned it but that’s also very good. I kind of thought that everyone would congregate with the people that they felt most comfortable with but that wasn’t the case at all. So praise God for that. Anyway, afterwards it was off to Zippy’s again. The thing I like about Peter is that he really likes chicken katsu. I notice he orders that a lot. I think it’s kind of funny. He says it’s because he knows that it’s safe. But, at Zippy’s there are plenty of choices that are nice American meals.

Pastor Ralph made it back from the mainland safely so he was back at discipleship. It was good to see him and hear that everything went well for him in the mainland. We had a good discipleship. We are also starting a new book soon too. That should be fun. By the time we start the new book I should be done with most of the reading for school so it shouldn’t be too stressful. Speaking of which. Tommy Lasorda is the commencement speaker at UH’s graduation. How exciting is that? I would never have thought I’d ever see Tommy Lasorda live in person. I think the only other Dodger I would rather hear is Orel Hershiser. Anyway, it was a good day. I got a lot of things accomplished. Tonight is my regular “date night” with Gabe. I think we’re going to watch “Supersize Me” tonight. I also have to write a creative story since we’re going back to school tomorrow. Shucks. Oh well, we would have had to go back soon anyway. Only 9 more days of classes! Woo hoo!

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