Category Archives: Sermons are actually cool

The Rebel’s Guide to a Good Day


It took me most of the week to make yesterday a good day. That’s right. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were pretty much swing and miss days. Thankfully I think I got a piece of Wednesday so I wasn’t a complete strike-out and had another chance. Thursday was no Babe Ruth home run but it got me on base.

On Monday I began the first sermon in a series by Mark Driscoll called The Rebel’s Guide to Joy. There’s ten or twelve of them and I figured I would do well by learning about joy this week. I was very brave and kind to people on the bus and to people at Crossfit and to my classmates. And then Roger and I went home and made dinner, joyful and kind. And then I started a fight and joy did not matter. And kindness did not matter. And logic certainly did not matter. This was war and I was going to win. Wars aren’t joyful! Wars are serious. So I pulled him into battle and regretted every second of it the next day. Swing and miss.

On Tuesday I stayed home and studied and worked on the Great Nurse Practitioner Job Hunt. I also decided that one sermon hadn’t done the job and apparently I needed more so I listened to The Rebel’s Guide to Joy in Poverty and the Rebel’s Guide to Joy in Humility. Now I don’t think I am impoverished but I could still relate. The humility part just kicked me in the pants. In fact, I was so inspired that I cooked a beautiful dinner and set a romantic table to make amends for Monday’s miss. It was a decent day but since we were still licking our wounds and doing a careful war dance around one another, I can’t call it a win.

Wednesday hobbled along with the help of The Rebel’s Guide to Joy in Suffering and in Death. There’s a one-two combo for you. But I have to hand it to Mr. Driscoll, he pulled it off. Once again, I was grateful in a crazy and weird way for the suffering I experienced through Mom’s cancer and death. I’m not grateful for the actual suffering and death. I’m thankful for the way I found joy in Jesus when there was no joy to be found anywhere else. These sermons reminded me to look back and then look forward with joy and bravery. Which I did until I decided that I missed my Mom an awful lot and decided that being grouchy and sensitive and overreacting to minor events would distract me from this. In all humility, let me tell you, this is a false idea. Another miss.

Thursday dawned with the regret of the irrational wife. But the Rebel’s Guide to Anxiety was on the playlist and I decided it couldn’t hurt. But it did hurt a bit. It crushed my pride, convicted me in a major way, and opened my eyes to a lie I have believed for a long time. Anxiety is not a condition to be managed. It is a sin to be repented of. Now, Pastor Mark admitted, and as a healthcare provider, I wholeheartedly agree, that there are chemical imbalances and true disorders that are conditions. But your average, run-of-the-mill anxiety that leads to your(my) above average, burn-down-the-mill freak-outs is a sin. Jesus tells us to let our gentleness and reasonableness be evident to all as we refuse to be anxious about anything but instead lift our requests, give thanks, and rejoice. When I am anxious, it takes a tiny event to send me into freak-out mode and if I am there, I can say and do what I want because I am ANXIOUS. You want me to be reasonable?! Gentle?! Are you kidding me?! Just wait right there, I am going to freak out and then I can be reasonable. But this is so wrong. And I want to change.

So I meditated on this over the course of the day. I shelved anxiety and chose joy on purpose. That evening Roger and I had a long beach walk and a long talk over picnic dinner about the future and God’s goodness to us. We both did some repenting and some changing. We both had a win. We even saw five satellites. Those are better than shooting stars, right? And we made a plan for the weekend to choose joy and to create change. We don’t want the run-of-the-mill. We want the extraordinary.
Crazy little rebels.

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Dawn Driving and Staying Brave


The Aussie and I share one car. We drive approximately four thousand miles a week but it’s ok. We figure that one car keeps our minds sharp. Like doing a crossword puzzle every day.

“I need to go from point A to point B through K today.”
“Ok, I will drop you at A and you walk to points B to C. Then I can meet you at D and catch the bus to points E through F.”
“Perfect, then I’ll drive the car to point G and we can go to H through J together before I go to K.”

We will never get Alzheimers.

If I want the car for the day, I wake up at 5 am and drive an hour west to take Roger to work. Actually he drives and I finish waking up by talking a lot. He must miss me when I don’t go with him. Poor guy. However, if you know anything about Honolulu traffic, the LAST thing you want to do is drive east between 6 and 8 am on a week day. So, instead of wasting hours of my life and an excessive amount of gas idling in traffic, I don’t go home immediately. Instead, I go to Starbucks. There are some interesting folks at a coffee shop just before 6 in the morning. But I probably fit right in since I am usually still wearing my pajamas. I read my Bible and my textbooks. And sometimes I write blogs. And I have realized that these early morning hours are FAR more productive than the late night hours. So, for now, I am pretty happy with this situation.

This morning I have been contemplating yesterday’s sermon at The Mission. Pastor Tripp encouraged us to consider the places that Jesus would go and the people he would engage with. No place is too scary, too dark. No person is too unlovable, too sinful, too lost. I consider myself a pretty friendly person but I can also be fearful. I try to be brave. But all too often my excuse for not going somewhere or doing something that Jesus would do is that I am just plain scared. I don’t want to be this way. Jesus stood in a really scary place a couple thousand years ago and told his disciples that his church would be built in these kinds of places. But he assured them and us that the gates of hell will not prevail against his church. Gates don’t march at us, we march at gates. And those gates won’t stand up to us. I think that loving purposefully and sincerely is a form of bravery.

So, today I determine once again to be brave. I will be brave at Starbucks and at Crossfit. I will be brave in classes and in the clinic. I will be brave at church and at home. And those gates won’t prevail.
Have a brave day.

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Protecting the Peace


I often have very clear dreams about my mom. They are usually happy and I wake up glad and go about my day per the usual. But other times I think I must dream about her without remembering because I will have a lingering nostalgic sense of her in my day. Last week I had one of these days and thought of calling her to tell her some news. Twice. Not the usual “I wish I could tell mom about this” but two times during my day I actually thought “I should call mom and tell her this”. Don’t worry, I’m not crazy and I don’t believe in communication with the dead so put your theology back in your holster. I think that must just happen. Something great comes along and you automatically want to tell the person you have always told. Even if they’ve been gone for over a year. So, I usually pray through the sadness until God restores my peace. And then call Dad and chat his ear off.

What has happened that is so great, you may ask? Roger has started his first American job. That’s right, before you know it I’ll have this guy pledging allegiance to the U.S. of A.

Last week we came home from Kona after a gorgeous Thanksgiving and immediately stopped giving thanks and started asking questions. Should we move? Should Roger apply somewhere we haven’t thought of? Is that even possible? So, unbeknownst to me, the Aussie set aside a morning to pray some serious, down to business prayers. And that very day, he got a call for the best job we could have chosen for him. And we started Thanksgiving all over again. It has been four days and I think my husband is the happiest I have seen him since we moved to Oahu. He bounces out of bed and comes home dog-tired but I have a new found understanding of what work means for the male gender. He is operating on all cylinders now and deliriously happy to be doing it. And trust me, four months, even four years later, he will have the same grin because this guy truly does “do all his work as unto the Lord” and I LOVE it.

So, as the Christmas season traipses along, we are settling into a new routine and I am working to protect my peace. We haven’t landed ourselves solidly in a church community yet as we alternate between our North Shore church and our Kailua church. I have written before about my college friend Todd who preaches up a storm at Kailua Baptist and his wife Natalie. There is something so down right comforting about being around folks who have known you for over ten years . These two have been an encouragement to us. They remind me of college and long conversations over coffee about Jesus and the church, about which plate lunch place made the right color chicken katsu and how to put just the right spin on the ping pong ball.

For the record, that’s the right color.

It was during this time that I memorized the verse Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You. I was reminded of this verse again this morning as I listened to my dad’s sermon online (Yep, I’m gettin’ sermons from all over the place!). He challenged us to protect our peace during this season by avoiding robbers of peace and trusting in God’s pardon, protection, and provision.

So, no matter what is going on – happy news, nostalgic moments, stressful days – keep your mind stayed on Him. He WILL come through. He WILL give the victory. He WILL bring encouragement. And He WILL keep us in perfect peace this Christmas.

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Have Some Pride. Or Don’t.


Yesterday I learned a thing or ten about pride. Ok, so when someone talks about struggling with pride and how we can get better, I usually tune out. Even if it is my dad/pastor/best preacher in the world. I tune out because I don’t think I am prideful. I may not be the most humble person, but “struggle with pride”? Nah. Let me explain.

In a room full of people, I don’t think I’m the coolest. No ways. The models and the doctors. They are the coolest.
In a line at the grocery store, I don’t think I’m better than the clerk. I served shrimp for four years at a restaurant with a movie theme. With trivia. And ping pong paddles.
In a conversation, I am fascinated by people’s stories. I want to know why they are in Hawaii, where they work, what their parents’ names are, and if they have ever gone sky diving. Others first. Or insatiably nosy. I mean curious.

So that means I am not prideful, right? Not according to the irritatingly awesome sermon. Here is the simple test presented at Living Stones Church yesterday.

1. Do you long for a lot of attention? Um, yes. Who doesn’t? I may not be the coolest in the room, but I better get some attention.
2. Do you become jealous or critical of people who succeed? The models and the doctors may be the coolest but the models are starving and the doctors have no lives. Pssh, who wants to be them anyway.
3. Do you always have to win? No, if I know I won’t win, I don’t play. That’s not competitive…is it?
4. Do you have a pattern of lying? No. No, really.
5. Do you have a hard time acknowledging you were wrong? No,  because I’m never wrong. Easy.
6. Do you have a lot of conflicts with other people? Only when they are dumb.
7. Do you cut in line at the store, airport, on the freeway, etc.? I try not to but sometimes I am more innovative than the people in front of me.
8. Do you get upset when people do not honour your achievements? No, I just make sure I mention it in my blog more.
9. Do you tend more toward an attitude of entitlement or thankfulness? In all seriousness guys, I can say I feel overwhelmingly grateful for and undeserving of  the good things in my life. Finally, one that I can check the box NO on.
10. Do you honestly feel you are basically a good person and superior to others? Not every other.

So, I think I scored a 9/10. Which is a 90%, which is an A. In Pride. Awesome. I guess I can work on it a little more and tune out a little less.

How do YOU score?

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Nehemiah and NoHomeworkWeekend


Last week was full of 8-hour day study sessions and long drives to Hilo for labs. I felt SO sorry for myself because it almost felt like I had a job. Seriously, sit at a desk all day? Come ON. So on Thursday evening, I made a decision. I will be social. So I texted someone notoriously social who invited me to salsa dancing lessons at a little bar in town. That’s like the trifecta of awkward. 1. Bar with strangers. 2. Dancing actual dance steps. 3. Dancing actual dance steps with strangers. Never mind. I don’t want to be social.

But the next day I mustered the socialness that I did not use at the trifecta of awkward and went to a movie with friends. And that was the beginning of NoHomeworkWeekend. Saturday morning I attempted to read Pharmacology at the beach, got a call for a sushi lunch, closed the books and never looked back. It was a good weekend. Brother-in-law’s siblings and their other halves are in town. I’m not sure if double in-laws are technically family but I will take these guys. They make me feel 10x cooler just being around them. It’s like cool factor drafting. Combined with a couple other awesome people over the last 48 hours, textbooks were just unappealing.

But, it is Monday morning and I heard a sermon yesterday on Nehemiah. He built a pretty big wall in 52 days with a determination that said “I am doing a great work, and I cannot come down”. We all have great works and it is our job in 2012 to figure out what the work is and do it with determination. I examined my thoughts over Starbucks after church and realized I have the first part figured out. My great work is becoming the best Family Nurse Practitioner that I can be.

It’s going to take longer than 52 days but with enough NoHomeworkWeekends to recharge, I’m game.

What’s your Great Work for 2012?

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