So there's a bit to tell you about! I spent all of last week in San Luis, Mexico. It was so cool. I went with a group from Eugene who goes every year to build houses for needy families. We were literally in the desert. Some of the houses in the area were a bit nicer, built out of brick and stuff. An empty lot in San Luis goes for about three thousand dollars. A lot of the places were just shacks though, built out of used shipping pallets. I led one of the three projects we took on this year. It wasn't a full house, which would have been easier, but we added a fourteen foot by sixteen foot room onto a shack. The shack is owned by a lady named Esperanza, a single mom with five kids. Her shack was about the same size as the room we added on to it. Normally the group would have built her a whole new house, but she didn't want to tear down her shack so we did it this way. We pretty much just built a standalone structure with a door opening into the shack. I had a great time. I learned a lot too... leading that sort of a team was a whole new challenge for me. The work itself was easy, but I had anywhere from 15 to 25 people at a time on my site who didn't really know anything. Everyone had a really great attitude, which was awesome. I dove into it at the beginning thinking I could get a lot done and keep everyone organized and working at the same time. Yeah right. Maybe there are people who could do that but not me. I had to learn to chill out, step back, and organize and lead in a whole new way. When you're a builder you speak a whole different language than most people, so I had to slow down and make sure people new what I was talking about. It was cool. There were so many great people to get to know as well. From Austin, the 12 year old who worked his butt off digging a ditch; to Howard the guy in his late 60s who grew up in Texas. So cool. I really enjoyed it.

It rained on the Monday night we were there... at three in the morning. I was sleeping outside so it woke me up pretty quickly. At first it was just a light sprinkle, so I just rolled over and hoped it would stop. However we had a pile of sheetrock in the open on my project that we hadn't covered up. It didn't occur to me that it might rain in the desert. So when it started to rain a bit harder I packed my bed up and put it in the back of the bus, and a guy named Kevin took me to go cover the sheetrock. He was with a group from LaGrande (eastern Oregon) that met us there and worked with us. They didn't have a bus. No, they had three 2009 suburbans. Now, an 09 suburban is not exactly a car you see in a shanty town in the Mexican desert. To boot, in the dark... we couldn't find my site. We knew the basic quadrant it was in, so we started trolling slowly up and down streets trying to find it. At 3:30am. Yeah. That might have looked a bit suspicious. We were driving down one street, actually the street that ended up being where my project was....

and got pulled over by a police officer. As we pulled over i realized that my ID and phone were back at camp. So were Kevin's. I was pretty sure we were going to Mexican jail for a minute. After a remarkably stressful exchange with t a Mexican cop who didn't speak hardly any English, it finally occurred to Kevin to show the cop the insurance papers for the suburban. It worked and he let us go. I'll tell you what I think happened. I think he realized he couldn't communicate to us that he wanted a bribe so he gave up on us. What a relief. So then we found the site, and Esperanza had already covered the sheetrock up with some plastic. So we hadn't even needed to go out. But it was an adventure.

I had to leave a little earlier than the rest of the group.... so I could make it to the airport on time to pick Deborah up :). That's right, she's here in Oregon. Which is freaking cool. And a bit surreal. But so awesome.


Return from the silence.... I hope.


Nice to 'see' you. I received a friendly reprimand from a good friend the other day (you know who you are) on my lack of blogging as of late. I'm feeling motivated again - hence the new look. Life is going to be leveling out soon - in a sense. So with that, and with some of the changes that have happened in me over the last months, this blog may start to look a bit different. Less of what I'm doing, and more of what I'm thinking. Hopefully it has value. One of the things that has discouraged me from really articulating my opinions and philosophies here is the pure volume of opinion available on the internet. The incredible spike in volume of information has resulted in the direct reaction of an incredible drop in the quality of "literature," so to speak. The arrival of the internet has given a voice to millions of people all over the globe who would not have had a voice at any other time in history. The question I have is if we actually have a voice, or if it just perceived. How many bloggers are there on the internet who nobody reads? Books could be written, and have, about some of the ideas I'm touching on so I won't try to expound any further, but the point I'm trying to make is that is some of the journey I've been moving through in regards to the blog. However - it is simply selfish to let my own trivial emotional issues affect my activity here, because there are people who are interested in my life and maybe even my opinions on life. I'll get more into that thought a little later.

Anyways, so all that to say I hope to re-ignite this blog, and do a much better job keeping up with it. It really doesn't take much energy. I'm sure I've said this before, probably right before I went black for 6 months or something ridiculous.

I'll give you a bit of a window into where I'm at: The last few months at Welcome Bay Church were... in a word... a nightmare. I won't dwell on the negative, but from many objective viewpoints the whole experience was a complete failure. It was undoubtedly the hardest eight months of my life to date. But it was worth every second of it for the lessons that I learned about myself, life, and community. Part of my lack of blog activity was directly related to that. I would sit down with the intention to write, and just have nothing to say. But I'm motivated today - I'm entering a new season of life, and perhaps that is accompanied by a new season of blog activity. I'm also thinking I'll start doing a little music and book reviewing, we'll see how that goes.


So…. I’ve been given a computer. Toshiba laptop, hand-me-down. Nothing special you know…. But I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am to finally consolidate all of my music digitally. So great. Welcome to the world of mixes, playlists, DJ-ing for myself…. Good good good. Also what that means for you is it makes it a heck of a lot easier for me to keep up a little better on the blog. I don’t have interweb at home but I can type something up and give it the ol’ copy-paste when I get a chance. So… good news for you right? I guess… that is if anyone reads this anymore….

So as I’ve mentioned there’ve been a number of things over here that have been frustrating. Also lots that’s been awesome. “Stuff” has levelled out over the last few weeks. I quit the music team at church. Now… the old people didn’t like me much. I can deal with that. But my pastor was still pushing me to be “contemporary” at the same time as make them happy and it simply doesn’t work. Even having a conversation about the “style” of worship seems so petty to me. I feel like the feel of the music and the atmosphere of the church should be fuelled from the inside out not artificially created to try to keep a church alive. I don’t know maybe I’m off the rails but that’s how I’m feeling about it. Be who you are… who God made you… and figure the people who don’t like it will find fellowship with people they do understand and relate to. The more transparent you are the quicker it will be realized, which is good. What that means for WBCC? Stop trying to be artificially relevant to a phantom audience you wish you had… and feed the people who are invested in the church. I don’t know though.

It’s labour day here…. It’s freaking beautiful outside. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this but the colours here are extra intense because of the UV index thingamajig. We’re right under the hole in the ozone I think. New Zealand has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, or so they tell me. The other effect of that is the difference between shade and sun even on a hot day is huge. Hopefully we’re pretty well out of the rain now.

I spoke at men’s breakfast a couple of weeks ago. There were about 15 guys in the room. I was the only one under 55. Felt a little awkward.

Saturday night I went to a show up in the Coromandel with a few mates. Katchafire and Opensouls. Got home at 3 am. It was pretty fun. It was at this place called the Coroglen tavern… some random little bar with a sweet outdoor venue out the back. Opensouls was pretty gospel/soul and Katchafire is straight reggae. I have a special warm place in my heart for reggae but after about an hour of it I was ready to shoot myself. Reggae shows sure get heaps of fascinating and unique individuals though. You’ve got your tranced-out stoned types, total hippies, moms… the whole spectrum. I do appreciate that.

I’m trying to work out my schedule for the first part of next year and I’m in a bit of a quandary…. I want to go to Samoa for a couple of months and build. Habitat for Humanity is organizing teams to go and I think it would be a cool thing to do. But… I’m not sure when. I kind of want to go to Samoa in February and March, then back to OR for a bit around April. The other option is to come to the states in Feb and hit Samoa a little later in the year… but the climate shock to come from dead of summer here to dead of winter there would be… traumatic. However certain people who are quite close to me are getting married in February and March and it would be cool to be there. I guess either way it doesn’t really matter too much. Samoa probably needs the help sooner but I’m sure there will still be plenty to do a bit later on. Maybe I’ll pop round to Tonga as well. I got a taste of island culture in Guam but just a little taste. It would be pretty fun to hang out in the islands, build during the day and play guitars around the campfire at night. Eat coconuts and pineapples… get bit by mosquitoes…swim in the ocean. Sounds alright. For a little while anyway.


Sorry it's been a while

So what's happening..... the last month as been packed busy, between people visiting, a road trip, work at church and otherwise. I'm trying to learn how to do this thing. The thing being life. Honestly right now I'm over it. The learning being learning how to give it to God rather than taking the yoke upon myself. I really, really, have no room to complain. At a point right now where I'm reevaluating... just about everything of who I am and who He wants me to become. Somebody asked me what my passion was the other day and I couldn't really answer.... because I feel like I don't know anymore. Do I have a heart for youth? Do I care about music? Do I even care about other people? Who am I? The word for this season has been that God is building me, strengthening me. It sucks. I'm not exactly what the leadership of the church was expecting. Or quite what they want. I could get started and go on and on about their issues and why they're wrong and all that, and a lot of would be correct and valid. But it doesn't matter. My part in this season is to stay faithful, and see what God does as a result of it. It's easy to see why people I've met have been jaded by working for the church... church as we know it can be such an institution, and the growth and sustenance of the church has become synonymous with the growth and sustenance of Christ. Ideally they should be the same but unfortunately in a broken world.... keeping a "church" alive and impacting people in the name of Christ can be pretty opposite. Spent a couple of nights at my YWAM base, they're running a DTS now... what did I find? YWAM is great. Absolutely awesome but I'm not a lifer. It's easy to fall into a YWAM arrogance. Easy to think you've seen the way God can really work and church isn't doing it. But however hard the path may be... commitment to the bride of Christ and helping her learn how to serve Him is a pretty noble cause. Harder than doing it the YWAM way for sure. i won't be staying with this church any longer than I'd planned. I don't want to be on the extreme end of a church culture spectrum, I want to fit into one. I'm still pursuing staying here in New Zealand. There's building to be done, also I might see about getting some outdoor education certifications and teaching rock climbing or something. Basically right now I'm slogging through. On the other end I know I'll look back and see something that couldn't have happened otherwise. Pray for me.


Well I'm in Sydney Australia for a few days. Got here on Wednesday and leaving this coming Thursday. It's been brilliant. Really needed to get away after the last few months of.... insanity... I'm a pretty emotionally level headed type (phlego...) but it's been a rollercoaster. Been good to just chill out. Staying with a friend of a friend I've made in Tauranga, couldn't ask for better. Sydney is a pretty cool city I think... although not sure if it tops PDX in my book. Of course there's the "home" factor so I could be a little biased. Probably.

The last few weeks in Tauranga have been quite a ride, I mentioned the job thing that didn't go too well already. At the end of that week I almost just took off. Almost. I'm really glad I didn't now. Some things are really frustrating but really.... I don't have any valid complaints. I live in one of the most incredible places in the world (although I heard someone say the other day that New Zealand is THE most beautiful place in the world... and I thought to myself "you haven't seen Oregon...") Can't compare, there's heaps of incredible places in the world. I've been blessed to live in a couple of them. Anyways I shouldn't complain... I'm living in a great place, I've made some great friends, I'm having an impact and growing a lot, I live in a great house, have a flexible schedule, get to play guitar a lot.... the list goes on. Another part of that is I've met this girl. Her name is Deb... short for Deborah... I met her shortly after I moved over here. My first reaction was something like "who are you and why haven't you entered my life sooner??" She's awesome, turns out she kind of likes me too :). Anyways the news there is I have a girlfriend in New Zealand. And I'm looking into staying for longer than expected. There's more to that equation than Deb, though she's part of it and would be worth it if she was all of it. Things are starting to happen in Tauranga. Well they've been starting for a while... but we're catching wind of it. I know the word "revival" can seem cliche but I believe it's happening. Starting in Tauranga, New Zealand, and affecting the whole world. Frankly, I DO NOT want to miss what God is starting. Youth stuff is going to explode soon... I'm starting some work with other youth pastors intentionally breaking down denominational walls and bringing the kids together as one body once a month. Our first one last week was unbelievable. Here I thought I was a leader for it and I was just along for the ride. All the kids need from someone like me is for me to make a place... to create an opportunity for an encounter with God and get out of the way. Learning how to do that. Anyways if I get too fired up I'll get going for a while. Pray for us. And think about getting over here!


Hey guys. Sorry I haven't been able to keep up very well it's been a loco time. I don't have internet at home and the church used to be just down the street from my house... but it's not anymore so it's not as easy to keep up. No excuses but that's what's up.

I've had a crazy week. Last Tuesday I got a call from an electrician in the church to the effect of "come to work tomorrow, I have tools you can borrow." I said ok. So Wednesday I went to work. Kind of a hack job company, worked with some decent guys but the boss was a jerk. Wasn't going to work out so yesterday was my last day. I worked till 5 every day then had to be somewhere at 6 so it's just been insane. Good to get some work in... the metric system is stupid imho. Of course they all think imperial is stupid. Anyways that's that story. One of the guys I was working with fell out of an airplane once. That's awesome. I mean he jumped out, but his parachute had a malfunction and he hit the ground full speed and survived. No broken bones or anything, left an imprint in the ground like looney tunes. Unbelievable.

Church stuff... is church stuff. So many politics and complaints and "issues" which I feel shouldn't even be issues, people are messy. We've been meeting at an elementary school hall in town which is sweet but quite a bit of work to set things up. We're only having one service now. Honestly, it sucks for me. I'm at the middle of the same battle I've been fighting for years... old conservativy types having a problem with the way I worship God. I'm frustrated because I thought the whole reason I came here was to shake things up you know... but now I'm at the middle of this web of tension and pressure to keep everyone happy. Which is not who I am you know? I'm not built to keep everyone happy. I'm built to anger a few on my way through. And I don't think church is about making everyone happy. Honestly I was on the verge of just leaving last night. We had music practice and it was SO bad. I mean musically it was miserable. And I was having thoughts of how easy it would be to just dissappear. I have enough money for a ticket to argentina or somewhere. I hate that some days I just think "only a few more months of this..." Other days I'm jacked on it though. I feel like an emo rollercoaster man. I'm normally a pretty level headed phlegmatic type but it's unbelievable right now. Last night I was totally over it. The night before i was geeking out. Right now I just don't give a rat's ass. But it's not about how I feel you know? Hanging on to the truth of where God has placed me, even if it's only by one finger. I mean whether or not this was the exclusive path with Him, I'm here and he paved the way and I will be faithful with it. I will stick to the commitment, live on the vision and covenant. Not on what I feel like doing. I know He's behind me. I've made some good friends here, had a long therapeutic talk with the worship pastor at City Church last night. Just good to have somebody who understands, and to hear that in my position they would feel the same. There are some really exciting things happening very soon. On the 18th of August I'm taking my youth group to join with the baptist youth group for a night of worship and intercession for the city. It will be so rad. We're planning on doing it once a month, starting with our combined groups and then connecting with other youth in the city. Going to blow the top off of some things and I'm freaking excited about it. Also once a month we're starting a night worship service. Mike Carey, Jeff Hill, and I are the leadership team for it and it's unbelievable. Mike was in YWAM in New Zealand and Thailand in the seventies. Jeff was on staff at my base for a number of years in the late eighties and early nineties and was my connection to come back here. They are both so awesome and it's soo good to sit with likeminded ywam types and work out ways to give God a place to move. Also... Dustin is coming to visit and we have a road trip on the South Island planned. The poeple that own the house I live in have a campervan down there they said we can use. And it's registered with some special club that gets it into the secret spots. Awesome. Jodi is coming out for a week as well. It will be so good to see some old friends. Oh and I'm going to Sydney soon to see Jamie and it will be wicked. The weather the last couple of days has been absolutely gorgeous. We're in springtime now. Winter here was like no thang. Anyways I could keep talking for a while but I'll leave it till next time.


So I've just perused some old blogs from the myspace days and thought you guys might like to read a resurrection of this one... from the archives:

Tuesday, April 10, 2007
So..... I live in Portland. I have now for about a year and a half. If you don't know.... it rains a lot in Portland. It took some getting used to after the sunny disposition of the high desert, but it's cool, I can deal with it. Lately the weather has been unpredictable, due no doubt to the springtimeyness in the air. Which is awesome... I love the smell of a nice spring shower. I mean like rain kind of shower... not like me naked in the bathroom kind of shower. Although with the right soap that can be a great smell too. Lately the springtime rain has been coming sporadically and rapidly. We've had several beautiful days which at a moment's notice have begun pouring rain upon us for a few minutes... and then reverted again to gorgeous days... or not, and stayed gloomy all day.

I know that's it's lame to talk about the weather... but this is going somewhere, so bear with me.

Today I wasn't sure what was going to happen... but the day didn't start out with lots of sunshine and happiness. It wasn't hideous... but it wasn't amazing either. However, at lunchtime the sun had shown it's happy face, and while it wasn't as warm as it was last week, it was still nice out. I was like "aaahhhh." That was a relaxed, contented, relieved "aaahhh" not an in awe "aahhhh" or a frightened "aaahhh," just so you know. When I got home from work it was still nice out.

So here's the fun part. I had a couple of errands to run, namely to Fred Meyer and the bank.... which is in Fred Meyer, so the "couple of errands" consisted of.... going to Fred Meyer. Is it "Fred Meyer" or "Fred Meyer's?" If you were a dude and you decided to name a store after yourself... which would you choose? Or if you were a girl? If I named a store after myself.... that would be stupid.

Anyway... the fun part: Since it was nice out, I happily chose to ride my longboard (skateboard, not surfboard.... it rains a lot here but not that much) to Fred Meyer('s). As I left the house... the thought ran through my mind that maybe I should consider that it might rain spontaneously again... and dismissed it... like an idiot.

If you don't know anything about skating, or longboarding... then you should know this: Riding on wet roads or in the rain is generally not advisable. Both for the health of you and for the health of your equipment. Water makes things rust, and makes things slick........... and when you suck like me, it's not good for things to be slick. They make you fall down. My first experience with this was this one time when the roads were wet and I thought "Hmmmm.... I wonder just how much slicker they are?" One seriously bruised hip and shoulder later, the answer was "quite a lot slicker." But this was no concern, since it was nice out.

So I rode my longboard. Had a nice little ride to the store without negative event. Had to avoid a couple of day-old puddles, but that's to be expected. I got there, and did my business. Not like "I went to the bathroom" kind of business... or like "I just created a multi-million dollar company and now I go to the bathroom and there's cash on the toilet paper roll" kind of business.... like "I went to the bank and did some shopping" kind of business. I picked up some ritz crackers and some spaghetti noodles and sauce. Yes that is what grocery shopping in my world is like. Mostly I wander around for 20 minutes feeling confused. Today was a good day.

I walked up to the U-scan device.... both the most ingenious and the most rediculous invention to ever grace the days of retail establishments. There were quite a few people at the store when I was there, so I was obliged to wait in line for a few minutes for an available u-scan device. I stood there, content, spaghetti and ritz crackers in one hand and longboard in the other. I don't ride my longboard inside Fred Meyer('s) because I don't want to get kicked out. It would be fun though. Then I was next in line. One of the u-scan devices was not operation and was closed. The other five were operational, and occupied. Now... it's not uncommon for me to go "space-cadet" once in a while, so when people treat me like I've gone "space-cadet" I usually believe them. I didn't think I'd gone space-cadet but you never realize it when it's happening. A moment later the gentleman behind me.... I'm not sure if he was a homeless dude or a biker dude.... informed me in his oh-so-gruff voice that a u-scan device was available, as he motioned towards the closed one. I replied "uhh... I think that one's closed" and he corrected my gaze to the one next to it, which no longer had anyone standing in front of it. Thinking I had gone space-cadet, I snapped into action with an apology and made my way to the "available" u-scan device. As I did, the girl at the one next to it (the other side... not the closed one), who I'm pretty sure was a tweaker, smiled at me, in response to which I mumbled something about being "clueless as usual." I turned my gaze to the u-scan device, which displayed a phrase in large letters across the screen: "PLEASE WAIT." I was like "ok," figuring that it needed a second to recover from the previous transaction. I stood uncomfortably staring at the screen, painfully aware of the glances and subtle smiles the tweaker girl was throwing in my direction, as well as of my own awkwardness. But I played it cool... keeping my stance just slouched enough to be "cool" and just pigeontoed enough to be "punk rock." I stood. The screen still screamed at me to "PLEASE WAIT." An eternity passed. I looked up to the u-scan device operator to ask her how much longer I needed to wait, and she was occupied helping some people with a large array of large plants. I figured I'd catch her when she was available, and returned my gaze to the screen. I stood. I think tweaker girl was batting her eyes at me but I was being careful not to look directly at her, so I can't be sure. A moment later..... the lady with the plants walked up to the u-scan device I was staring at..... and I quote her: "excuse me I just need to finish up here."


HAH!!!!!!!!! I hadn't gone space-cadet after all! Woooh!

However, I still looked like a total jack-ass. I mean like a donkey. A big stupid donkey. Flustered, I mumbled an apology to the lady, to which she responded that she hadn't "known she'd be coming back" but I know she was just trying to make me feel better. I appreciate that, but it didn't work. I backed away... hoping my brain would catch up to me and help me make my awkward situation better. It didn't. I stood for a moment like a deer in the headlights, surrounded by beeping u-scan devices and people who were internally laughing at me. After what was a brief second but didn't feel like it, tweaker-girl pointed across the aisle to another u-scan device which was about to become available, as a hispanic dude was lifting his bags. I mumbled a thank-you and shuffled across towards the imminently available u-scan device.... which was located next to the device that was now being used by homeless biker dude. The fellow just finishing at what was soon to be my u-scan had some momentary trouble with his bags and took a minute longer than initially expected. I apologized to him and told him I wasn't trying to rush him... he looked at me, smiled and nodded. A smile and nod that I know well enough by now to know exactly what it meant: "I have no freaking clue what you're saying to me right now but you're a stupid gringo so I'm going to let it slide." He packed his bags and left me to my new u-scan device.

Finally I was checking out. I glanced up to my left just in time to catch tweaker girl throwing me another look and smile, and quickly looked past her like I was looking at something much more important. I returned my attention to my u-scan and completed my transaction. Sweet. Now we're in business.

Shopping bag in one hand, longboard in the other, I made my way out the door, making sure to give tweaker girl time to get away without seeing me again. As I exited Fred Meyer('s) I was met with a new challenge....

...... It was pouring down rain. Like, a lot of it. From inside the door I gazed out into it for a minute.... and decided I didn't care. Throwing my board in front of me and leaping onto it, I peeled my shirt off..... deciding that "if I'm gonna be hardcore then I'm really gonna be hardcore." The cold wind and rain whipped at me, and I lit out of there, grateful to leave that place of embarrassment behind me. I cruised through the streets and sidewalks, arriving at a stoplight where I had to wait for a walk signal. I normally don't put too much stock in those but it was a freeway interchange so I consider it a little more dangerous. Thoroughly wet by now, I stood waiting, as a young man on a mountain bike rode up. He was dressed in a bright green windbreaker and a pot-smoker beanie (if you don't know what that is then.... you'll find out someday.) He had a beard. A long, full, untrimmed beard, which was pulled into a ponytail in the front. After a moment of silence, surrounded by the pounding of the rain and the loud hum of traffic, he spake thus:
"Dude..... are you tripping?"
My reply "Uh no I'm just trying to get home it wasn't raining when I left"

Another moment of silence, and again he spake:
"Not that there's anything wrong with tripping, you know what I'm saying?"

I made an awkward noise that was halfway between a fake laugh and a "what the hell," like I often do in such situations, and the pedestrian light changed from a little red hand to a little white man. Bearded one took off rapidly on his bike, and I followed... making sure to give him time so I wouldn't catch up with him.

I continued on my way, through some more stoplights and back into my neighborhood. I turned off of Glisan on a road that I don't normally take, and gently rode through the rain towards the general direction of my house.... which is down a pretty steep hill. The rain began to subside. The road I was on curved towards my house, coming down the hill from a different direction. I dropped my right foot to the ground, dragging it to keep my speed down. I didn't want to go hurtling around the upcoming corner at full speed on a wet road. That would NOT be good. Things were going smoothly, my speed was in control, conditions were perfect. Aside from the wetness. All of a sudden I realized something: In the wet, it had looked like there was a broken spot in the asphalt, which I could ride out easily. What it turned out to be was a giant, far-stretching chunk of concrete somebody sometime had spilled on the road. I bailed... and managed to stay on my feet. My board hit my ankle at it was painful, but my running motion flipped my board over so it didn't roll away. Then I went home.

That was my adventure today. What did I learn?

Absolutely nothing.