Saturday, February 28, 2009

Day 4. Joy.

Psalm 86:4
Bring joy to your servant,
for to you, O Lord,
I lift up my soul.

That first part is weird. "Bring joy to your servant." I usually don't think servants are joyful. Oh unless they're in movies and they're big black ladies, you know what I'm talking about? They always say stuff like, "Bless yo heart child" or something like that.Ok I hope no one got offended from that first part. But in all seriousness, sometimes I look at the Bible at guys like Paul or the apostles or even Jesus and wonder, were these guys even happy? I mean, these are the ultimate servants right?

I know joy isn't necessarily happiness, but sometimes I look at all the crap they went through and the Bible never mentions them laughing or anything. These guys have nothing; they're homeless, they go from house to house, they get thrown in jail, and ultimately, they die horrible deaths for their faith. Is there joy in that lifestyle?

This may be bad news to you, but I believe that we're called to a similar way of life. For some odd reason, I don't think Jesus was lying when he said "it is hard for the rich to get into heaven." (Mat. 19:23) And for some reason, I think he meant it when he told his followers to leave their families (Mat. 10:37), their lives (Lk. 9:23), and their money (Lk.12:33) to follow him. I admit that so much of my joy and happiness comes from money, clothes, TV, people, etc. We get glimpses of real joy when we worship, but that true, everlasting, unwavering joy seems to evade us. If Jesus is in charge, then we servants might find that true joy if we listen and act.

I'm afraid that my dreams of a nice house in the suburbs, a good-looking family, a nice wardrobe, and a good-paying job are in jeopardy if I choose to take the Gospel seriously. It essentially comes down to, do I trust God enough to give me that joy if I truly obey as his servant...

Do you trust God enough to truly follow him?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Day 3. 24/7.

Psalm 86:3
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
for I call to you all day long.

Foreals David? Really now? All day long? Don't you have better stuff to do? Like, I dunno, rule your kingdom? You can't be calling out to God 24/7. That's just ridiculous. David, you fool.

So like, I've never really been good at praying. It's always been a struggle for me to just sit still and pray. Sometimes I hear about people praying for hours and hours and I just think, Shizz dude, it's challenging enough for me to pray for a good ten minutes without being distracted or having my thoughts wander...

check out this KyOoT picture

Now that I think of it, I don't know if I could do anything all day long. I remember playing Madden for maybe like up to eight hours per day back in high school, so that's close. Last year, I had so much reading for Ethnic Studies10a that I seriously read for a week straight. That freakin sucked. I really don't think there are many things out there that I can do all day long. Hmm... lemme think for sec... No. Nothing. Nothing that can be done all day long.

I think how we spend our time is a reflection of our priorities. I like how David probably has all these kingly duties to take care of (polishing his crown, dry cleaning his robes), but decides to spend his time calling out to God.

I admit, speaking to an unseen God is not an easy thing to do. Maybe that's just a reflection of a weak faith, but I definitely don't have it all figured out. I think when the verse says that David called out to God all day long, I don't think he was just on his knees all day. It definitely could be the case, but maybe he was talking to God while he was going about his day. Maybe his actions were a cry out to God. Maybe God was on his mind all day long while he was doing whatever kings do. I dunno.

Now that I think of it, if I really like a girl, I could possibly spend all day chillin with her (lame, I know). I think my ability to spend time with God is contingent on my love relationship with him. The unfortunate thing about that is that we cannot will ourselves to love God more... it takes time and understanding and it can't be quantified easily like the amount of time you spend praying.

So I guess my question is, how in love with God are you?
And just for fun, are there any things that you would do for 24hours straight?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Day 2. Rescue.

Psalm 86:2
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.

The interesting thing in this verse is that David knows that he's been faithful and he knows that he trusts in God. I think if I heard someone say this prayer out loud, I'd definitely think they were being a cocky Christian (CC) and I would therefore judge them haha. But David knows that he's been faithful...

Sometimes I feel like the non-spiritual events in my life dictate my relationship with God. For example, bad grades=depression=crappy relationship with God. And, by the transitive property, bad grades=crappy relationship with God. Or maybe something like school=studying=tiredness=no time for God=crappy relationship with God. And by the substitution property, we can replace those things with other crappy things in life (family troubles, girl problems, money problems, sin, etc) and it still works. But here's David, full of faithfulness and trust, even when the events in his life force him to beg for salvation.

And I love the word "save" because it means more than simply protection or providence. In order to be saved, you have to already be in some kind of danger. I can't be saved if I'm watching WWE on TV, but I can be saved if I'm in the ring and about to get Peoples Elbowed by the Rock.... I like how the verse doesn't say "keep your servant safe, for I trust in you", but it says "save your servant" ... David isn't asking for daisies, rainbows, and comfort. He knows that he's gonna have crap to deal with in his life. It's not protection he desires, but rescue.

Is your faith constant despite what's going on in your life? Are you asking for safety or for rescue?

Be blessed.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 1. High Maintenance.

Today is Ash Wednesday. For the next 40 days, I shall attempt to wake up before classes, read the Bible, reflect on it, and write it in here. If I happen to oversleep (which I NEVER do), (I need one of those) I'll write sometime during the day. If you'd like to keep me accountable, please call me in the morning to wake me up--4153350152 :) ... I'm not kidding.
My daily devos, then, begin in Psalm 86, because I had a bookmark there in my Bible, and I like it.

Psalm 86:1
Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.

I love this verse. I think I'm gonna start all my prayers with this verse now. First of all, I love how David just comes out and says it, he's poor and needy. No sugarcoating, no eloquence, no excuses. He's not like, "Hear me, Lord, for I've been loaded down with work and my bff is giving me crap again and I'm just so wiped out..." Nah, he's just like "I'm poor and needy." I think sometimes we sit there and just go on and on with God. Not that it's bad, but the Guy already knows what's up.
I remember a pastor saying one time that our prayers should be raw. Like, if we hate our friend we should pray, "God, I really hate Billy right now. Whenever I see him, I just wanna lay the smackdown on his rudy poo!" and not "God, I am having relationship troubles with my friend Billy right now. We seem to be having communicational differences." Or like, if we keep looking at pornography we should say, "God, whenever I turn on the computer, man, I just wanna look at that porno!" and not "God, I am having trouble with self-control and I have undesirable urges to treat women as objects."
Anyways, I digress. Back to the verse. Poor and needy. I love the words because they have such a negative connotation, but sometimes we need to be poor and needy in order to come to the point where we can cry out, "Hear me Lord and answer me." It is such a profound moment when we understand that we can't do crap on our own; that we have nothing to offer God and that we're such weak and insignificant beings.
Isn't this what Lent is all about? Decreasing our resources so that God's power can increase? This shouldn't be limited to these next 40 days, but it should be how we always do things, running to God and just saying, I'm weak and I'm poor and I need you more than anything right now.

Do you want to be a high maintenance follower of God?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Be careful what you blog about...

...Because God freakin reads this crap. Hi God :)

So like, if you're an avid Real Talk reader, then you may recall certain posts like, "We Believe" (about miracles) and the followup to that post, "God Hears Me!" If you have not read those, it would behoove you to peruse them quickly (SAT word usage points holla!). This post is similar in such that it is a followup of the previous post, "Knuck If You Buck." At the end of that post you, being the observant avid reader that you are, may recall that I said something to the effect of "I need to work on my LCA (Loving Christian Approach to confrontation)." Well, it is with great honor and privilege that I announce to you this simultaneously fortunate and unfortunate news: God gave me another opportunity to do that today. Sigh... I mean, yay.

So my homeboy and I needed to go back home (Frisco Reppizzent!) today for church and I needed to pick up my sexy new guitar casefrom Dan ( So we get to the bart station and we're waiting for the train to come, and like three or four gangstas come up to us and start talking to us (bad sign). From experience, when gangstas are up to no good, they always ask you questions like, "Where you from?" "Where you going?" or, in Clay's case, "Do you have a wallet?" haha. But anyways, these guys are hovering around us and you just get that bad feeling in your gut like, Dang I just wanna go to a safe place. Eventually the train comes and we hop on one car while the gangstas hop on the adjacent one. I'm thinking Whew. Ok, they're on a different car, we're good. Sike! They walk on over to our car, sit in the seats surrounding us and start being annoying. For me and my friend, this is just miserable. After a minute or so, we get pocket checked.
Now, I've been pocket checked before. I still remember when me and my homeboy Tim decided to go to Popeyes in the Fillmore (/Fillmo!) after school one day in sophomore year. Stupid idea. Then when we get our chicken, we decide to eat on a bench on the sidewalk. Even stupider idea. Yeah. Let's just say I lost about twenty bucks that day. Not fun. So I was having flashbacks of that while these guys were messing with us today.
But anyways, one of the guys comes up next to me and tells me to empty my pockets. With my best tough face on I reply, "I don't got nothing for you man." He grabs his belt as if he's gonna pull out a weapon or something, but you can kinda tell it's an act, and he keeps talking crap. Luckily, we get to the next stop and me and my friend stand up to leave. With some shoving and a few unkind words, we're outta there. They don't follow us. We kinda laugh it off, but we're a little shaken up. I guess I'm just glad that things didn't end up worse.

But like, I dunno wtfreak is going on here. Like, is it just coincidence that this happened today? Or is there something going on here that I don't know about... So like, God, if you happen to be reading this right now, I just wanna let you know that you're cool and all, and yes, I do like it when you answer prayers, but... yknow... cmon now. When I pray to be challenged and put in uncomfortable situations, maaayybeee you could ease up a bit on those... yeah.
Ok, I don't really believe that, and I do still hope that God challenges me to help me grow. But dang, this past morning sucked big ones. And like, the question remains: how do you love people like that? ... those who are out to get you for no good reason. I know that I have Jesus as my example, but it's just so dang difficult. Maybe I'm just an angry person haha... Sigh. I think I just have to work on my loving. Join me, will you?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Knuck if you Buck

There's this song that came out like three or four years ago called "Knuck if you Buck." My friend Ethan used to say it to me in high school, which is how I learned it. Basically, it means "if you're gonna talk crap, you better be willing to throw down and fight."(SH pride! Go Irish)
So today, after playing this ridiculous game called Munchkins, some friends and I went to La Burrita to grab some yum yum goodness in the form of a taco salad. While we were chillin there, waiting for our food, we overhear some stuff going down at the tables where some people are eating. This one fool was doing a lot of talking to this asian guy sitting at another table. He was saying a bunch of pretty messed up stuff about asian people and was just being a real jerk to him. Me and my friends just looked at each other like... wow this guy's a real idiot. I was standing pretty close to the dude, but my back was turned because I was seriously getting fed up with his crap. He kept on talking sh- and I could feel him tapping on my backpack. At that point, in my head I'm just like, Oh hell no. My trusty sympathetic nervous system kicks in, heart starts beating, fists clench, four letter words start working their way into my head. And it's just like, I need to get out of this place or else I'm gonna go Chris Brown on this guy.So I walk out of the place, I really feel like kicking the parking meter, but I know that wouldn't do anyone any good, so I just kinda walk it off. Surressly though, the guy was so ignorant.
But have you ever had experiences like that? I can point to a couple instances in my life where I've been in small confrontations with strangers. And that kinda stuff just sticks in my mind for hecka long and I just think of all the things I could have said. There are generally a couple approaches that I always consider:
1) Excessively Sarcastic Approach (ESA) - you combat their ignorance by being an even better and more skilled jerk. You attack sensitive subjects, you disregard any concern for their feelings, and you use the most ridiculously annoying tone of voice.
2) Logical Argument Approach (LAA) - you combat their ignorance with superior logic, rhetoric, and argumentative skillz. With great Berkeley intelligence, you make them doubt their own abilities and knowledge, or maybe you are willing to simply reach an understandable compromise with them.
3) Feigned Deafness Approach (FDA, not to be confused with the Food and Drug Administration) - you frustrate and thus silence your opponent by completely ignoring them and showing absolutely no emotion.
4) Loving Christian Approach (LCA) - you silence them with kindness and goodwill, doing your best not to get angry or frustrated, no matter how much crap they talk. You put on a big smile, shake their hand, buy them food, and maybe even give them a hug, because you know they are loved by God and therefore have just as much worth as you do.... ok I dunno.

As I was walking home, I was definitely thinking through these four techniques. And then I kinda got stuck on the LCA... If, hypothetically, I went up to the crap-talking dude while he was being a jerk, and I said with a sincere heart, "You know, I don't know why you're saying all this crap, but there's this God up there and he's still crazy about you, no matter how much garbage comes outta your mouth." what would he do? Call me a faggot like he was doing to everyone else? What would Jesus do in this situation (cliche phrase, yes, but it bears some thought)? What does it really mean when we're told to love our enemies? Jesus seemed to practice a little of the FDA and the LCA while he was being mocked on his way to the cross... He didn't say much at all, but he did pray for their forgiveness. I think if I tried to do a little LCA, I'd still be muttering cuss words under my breath. I guess it's something I gotta work on. But I think tonight was good food for thought... How do we love the people who are ridiculously hard to love? Hopefully I won't have to have another encounter like tonight's anytime soon, but I'm sure something like this will come again. I'll start working on my LCA.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Do you have any tape? Cuz I'm RIPPED!!

This semester I'm getting buff. I don't care what you say. I'm tired of the skinny jokes. I don't care if you think I have the body of a 12yr old boy, because I know for myself that I am capable of getting bigger. Regardless of the fact that I haven't gained any weight since sophomore year of high school (my drivers license weight might be more than I weigh now) and despite the fact that I can eat a crapload of food and not gain a single pound, I am determined to bulk up. Mario Lopez ain't got nothin on me baby!!
Hecka old school...
Anyways, one step I'm taking this semester towards my buns of steel is a PE class. Holla! Resistance training. It's legit, trust me. But on the first day, I show up at the gym expecting a big buff white guy to come inbut like, after about 20 minutes, no one shows up. We're just waiting there around the exercise machines like wtf is going on here. And then right when I'm finna bounce outta there because I was getting impatient, she walks in. Our resistance training teacher and purported fitness expert is... a skinny Chinese lady that seriously looks like she could be my aunt or something. She comes in rockin a jacket and some freakin 4inch heels and I'm like, you gotta be kidding me right? THIS is the person who's gonna get me to LL Cool J status? Yeah right...
So like, the lady takes role and turns out her name is Toni Mar and she talks a bunch about eating right and working out. So far, I'm not quite sold. Then... Oh man, it's crazy. She takes off her jacket and exposes these BIGOLE GUNS (/gigole buns) dude. It's ridiculous. Like you can see the veins and everything. I mean, she's not like disgustingly buff, but her arms are pretty dang ripped. And I'm like, omg Toni Mar you're my idol. The woman can probably destroy me.
These days, when I show up for resistance training, I would trust Toni Mar with my life. Haha.

Anyways, I've been thinking a lot about this lately, how I really expect and want God to be one way, when He's probably the complete opposite of what I'm looking for. I'm asking God to make me buff, to answer my prayers, to solve all my problems. I'm doing all the exercises, but I know I'm doing them wrong--I don't see the results, I'm not getting any buffer. I want God to be the big buff white guy, to work miracles, to show me how crazy buff he is and what amazing things he can do. But God just comes in, barely noticable, as this skinny chinky lady and I'm like, God, are you freals? Jesus, this has got to be a joke or something. There is no way I'm gonna grow spiritually with this workout plan. Things keep going wrong, I'm tired, I feel inadequate, and THIS is what's gonna bring me closer to you? It's not worth it. And here I am, a small group leader in a college fellowship, trying to help other people get spiritually buff when I can barely do it myself.
...But soon enough, God will take off his jacket and his guns will be revealed in all their glory. We'll bow down and I'll forget that I ever doubted him and what He's capable of. But for now, I'm tired and I'm doubting myself. I know God is capable of miracles, even the miracle of using a jabroni like me to teach His word.
If Toni Mar can make a scrawny Asian kid a little bigger, God can take a cynical fool and make him into a temple of the Holy Spirit. Real talk.