February 2014

February 24, 2014

Culture Making - All In #5

Here is another "All In" sermon, by Joseph Barkley: http://churchinhollywood.com/media.php?pageID=15

Romans 12:9-13
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
I looked up how to change culture once (because that seems like a good thing to do). I didn't really expect to find an answer, or thought it might be something like, "appeal to the good in people and they will change." I was surprised to find that one of the most proven ways to change a culture is to convince everyone that their peers are doing the desired behavior, so you should too, lest you feel left out.

Essentially it's saying, "everyone else is doing it," with the "it" being a good thing instead of bad. Isn't that funny though, considering we've all been told our whole lives to ignore that impulse -- staying on the proverbial bridge when everyone else is jumping?

I guess the desire to fit in is pretty powerful, although I hate to admit it. Someone said (my internet research came up with different sources), "All of us are born originals, but most of us die copies." That's so true, but here we are being told that changing a culture begins with copy-making.

So here's a sermon about changing and/or creating culture, and the principals outlined below are all about love. Jesus said in John 17:20-23 that the world would know He is sent by God by the way Christians love each other:
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
So do the same principals of culture changing apply to this kind of culture? "Everyone else is loving one another, so you should too!" Maybe. If we entered a community in which others genuinely loved each other, I suppose it would be infectious.

But maybe love is even bigger than that, and rather than a behavior change, love produces a heart change.

Can one man change a culture by convincing others that everyone else is doing what he is doing? Maybe. But can one man change a culture by loving others in a way no one else is? Definitely. I'd rather change culture that way.

  • Culture is the way we describe how living things behave and interact
  • We become accustomed to and maybe even addicted to our culture
    • Changing culture requires drastic change
  • We can create a culture of genuine love
    • "Love must be sincere..."
    • This teaching on love comes right after teaching on spiritual gifts
    • A community that is supernaturally gifted won't make a difference without supernatural love
    • Love can't be an act or have a mask on
  • Genuine love purifies affections
    • "hate what is evil, cling to what is good"
  • Genuine love asserts family
    • "be devoted to one another in love"
  • Genuine love honors liberally
    • "honor one another above yourselves"
    • "outdo one another in showing honor" (ESV)
    • Our words our incredibly powerful, and can be used to build up
  • Genuine love actively shares everything
    • "share with the Lord's people who are in need, practice hospitality"
    • This may be something that isn't natural, though we may enjoy it
    • Assess what we have to contribute, and actively seek out ways to do that
  • God must be the center of the community
    • "...never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, always serving the Lord..."
    • He's saying don't be spiritually lazy
      • Could happen in a culture of genuine love
      • Christian community is not an ideal to strive for
        • The temptation in such an awesome community is to worship the community instead of the Creator
  • Genuine love is weird, but it is a cultural distinction that the world needs to see
    • Jesus said the world would know He is real by the way we love each other

February 10, 2014

Beach Break Blues

I've spent most of my life surfing beach breaks, and to be honest, I'm hitting a point where I'm getting a bit tired of some of the downfalls:
  • Closeouts
  • Backwash waves
  • Dredging
  • Parking/ Crowds
Most days, however, I don't have time to drive up to the nearest point, reef or rock break, and so a quick session at a nearby beach will have to suffice. So I thought I'd compile a list of ways to make the most out of your less-than-perfect beach break.
Closeouts are my biggest enemy in surfing. I mean, how are you supposed to get any better at maneuvers when the wave is over half-a-second after you stand up? The bright side is, if you're used to managing corners on closeouts, should you ever approach a finely crafted wave, you will be in excellent standing to shred.
Some tips I've found are to stand up a bit earlier than you think you should, and also pay a lot of attention to the spot where you catch the wave. Ten yards can be the difference between a long corner or a dump right in your face.
It was a nice wave...for a second. (Photo courtsey of Brian Esquivel)
Backwash is when the angle of the beach is so steep that the water gains momentum on its way back to the ocean, creating a little mini-wave that can become quite the speed bump. Many times I've been paddling into a wave when one of these hits, halting my progress. I've also been riding and encountered one of these, which is fun when it launches you in the air, but again, ruins your wave.
The only tip I have is to find the fun in this - and sometimes it is fun! If you're riding a wave and get slapped in the face by Triton's palm...laugh. You've been humbled. It can also be fun to watch this happen to one of your friends!

Video courtesy of Biscuit549.
Dredging can absolutely ruin a spot. This is when they suck sand from under the water just off the beach, and move it up to the beach surface, "renourishing" it. There's a whole host of bad things dredging can do, one of which is completely change your surf spot!The only good thing about dredging is that it sometimes forces you to find a new break that you otherwise may not have explored. I suppose it also keeps your beach from completely eroding away; but if the beach got smaller, it would mean fewer crowds!Parking and crowds are not unique to beach breaks, but definitely more common in my experience. Sometimes the beaches that make good waves aren't accessible or attractive to the typical beach goer, which is awesome for us! However, as I mentioned earlier, circumstances may force you to a nearby, familiar and/or popular spot, resulting in a $10 parking fee and 30 minute line waiting for an open space.

You should see the parking lot for this beach...
My advice here? Get a convertible, some good music and embrace patience. Another tip is to talk to other surfers -- I've had fellow riders who like to fight the system (!) give me their paid-parking slip as they left the beach. It's also a personal passion of mine to find and share free parking, so if you're in the Los Angeles area and want some tips, give me a shout!
I've said it before: it's always good to get out on the water. Beach break or not, make the most of your circumstances and have fun surfing!
 (Originally published at the StoreYourBoard.com Blog.)

February 4, 2014

To Each for All - All in #4

Here's the fourth "All In" sermon by Joseph Barkley:


It's based on Romans 12:3-8:
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
There's a lot of good stuff in here, so I'd encourage you to read the notes below, because it's too much for me to comment on. I will say that, in speaking of spiritual gifts, this sermon is a bit of a wake up call...

I think it's the tendency of my generation to put a lot of effort into finding what we're supposed to do, or what God wants us to do. I count myself in this number, as I still find myself questioning my career path even six years after graduating college, asking what I'm good at and what I might enjoy doing. I think the important thing to remember here is found below: what we do is not who we are. My identity is found through knowing Christ, not in a job. That's a tough pill to swallow when most of our lives are designed to set us up for a career, but all over scripture you'll find that God is more concerned with who we are than what we do.

So think about investing more in your character than your career, and see where that takes you. I'll try to do the same.

Here are some notes:
  •  We are stronger when all of us contribute
    • We aren't complete in and of ourselves, but we do add value to the whole
    • "Each of us has one body with many members...we each form one body..."
  • The family of God will outlive governments and societies
    • We are part of an eternal, unstoppable movement and initiative of God
  • There is something God wants to do only through you
    • You have a gift from God, for everyone
    • God wants to give through you
  • The more God gives us, the more we have to give up
    • God is a giver
  • This all begins with Jesus
    • He unites us
  • Every follower of Jesus has the Spirit of God within us, desiring to move through us
  • "God has given EACH ONE of you a gift..." (1 Peter 4:10 - emphasis added)
    • Your spiritual gift is a God-given ability to make a God-sized difference
  • A partial list of spiritual gifts:
    • Prophesy: truth-telling
      • Notice things that others don't see
      • Innovators, creatives, artists -- reporting from life outside of the box because that's where they live
      • Exercise this "in accordance with your faith"
        • Needs to be in line with scripture
        • Needs to be according to your measure of maturity
    • Serving: those who run to meet the material needs of others
    • Teaching: those who are anchored in learning and can explain what God has done
    • Encouraging
      • Encouragement should be specific and timely
      • Exhortation: suggesting next steps and assisting in progress
    • Giving
    • Leading
      • Most leaders use this for their competitive advantage, God calls leaders to serve
      • Strategists who help other people succeed at their gifts
      • Godly leaders will help the group through the tough times
    • Merciful: the word here means "caring for impairments"
  • Some need to find their gifts
    • Online tests can actually be helpful
    • Paul writes to the Romans, who he doesn't know, with a general list - as if they are supposed to figure it out as they go.
      • Figuring this out is a process
    • Questions to ask yourself
      • In what ways have I been productive in influencing others' lives?
      • What gives you joy?
      • What do other believers reflect back at you?
      • What do you think your knack is?
    • You need to give your gifts back to God, trusting that He will remake you so that God can have a supernatural impact with your life.
      • Giving God what you're good at
  • Some have found their gifts, but aren't using them.
    • Gifts need to be developed
      • This happens in community
    • God isn't just growing our capacity, but our character
  • Three ways we misuse God's gifts
    • Letting gifts define yourself
      • "Don't think of yourself more highly than you ought."
      • You are not defined by what you do, but who God has told you you are
      • Do not mistake your gifts for your identity
      • Do not mistake your gifts as your job or your calling
        • Your calling is to serve
        • "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." - Matthew 20:28
        •  Jesus' spiritual gift was not to hang on the cross
        • There are 1000 people willing to do great things for every one willing to do something small
        • God got fishermen to preach to thousands
    • Use your gifts to serve yourself
      • You're not succeeding unless those around you are benefiting from your work
      • Some people create need so they feel useful
      • Community around us helps block us from being proud and selfish
      • The leading motivator of your spiritual gift is the glory of God
    • Keeping your gift to yourself
      • If you withhold your gift, it either becomes destructive or you lose purpose
  • As God matures your faith, you will become less attached to your gift
  • Our capacity to contribute is way more with God

February 1, 2014

Surfboard Shapes Explained

Have you ever been in a conversation with an experienced surfer and heard, "what kind of board do you have?" You pause and break eye contact as insecurities set in...you have no idea what kind of board you have! All you know is that your old roommate left it on the balcony when he moved out, or that you found it in the dumpster one lucky evening before the trash man came. Maybe you're humble enough to admit, "I don't know." Only to hear, "Well, what size is it? What's the tail look like? Where did you get it?"

"Big...round...dumpster..." you reply, as you just realized you described a trash can, which is where this conversation is heading.

Well, my friends, now is the time to learn about your board! Who knows...maybe you've been riding the wrong board all along, and it's time to put that duct taped short board on Craigslist for something more your speed? Or maybe you're a pretty good surfer, but you've never really considered different boards to meet different needs. Either way, here's some information on board shapes.

This is an excellent chart to visualize the different types of boards, borrowed from Tactics.

Surfboard shapes can generally be broken up into five categories: longboard, funboard/egg, shortboard, gun, fish.

Longboards are where most surfers start. It's wide, long (8-12 ft.) and stable, and is a good place gain your confidence on the water. They usually have a single fin, rounded tails and thrive in small surf. Of course you'll sometimes see those old rippers tearing up a wave on a longboard and wonder, "how do they do that on such a big board?" Knowledge is no replacement for time and experience...

Funboard/ Eggs are a great mid-range board when you desire more maneuverability, but still want that stability and ease in catching waves. They're a little shorter than a longboard (6-9 ft.) and may have 3 fins (a thruster), which will help you get into those bottom turns and the such. Eggs are a little shorter, fat and have a "retro" look. I've been seeing a lot of these lately at Los Angeles beaches, as the waves aren't that big, but you can take one of these out and still have a lot fun.

Shortboards come in handy when you want performance, and are ready to sacrifice stability to get it. They are small (< 7 ft.) and thin (my dad calls them "potato chips"), which means you usually need a wave with a little size and/or swell behind it to really get going. They also typically have 3 to 5 fins.
Guns are long (7-12 ft.) and thin, and typically for really big waves. If you're reading this blog post, you probably won't be riding one of these any time soon.

Fish boards are small (< 7 ft.), wide and typically have a swallow tail bottom. Their width helps in small waves, but their design promotes maneuverability. They also often have two fins, which I find makes the board a bit more squirrely, but will help you turn faster and hit the lip harder!  

My first board, a fish with a swallow tail.
 There are other types of boards of course (as the image above indicates), but these examples will help you know a bit more about what you're riding, or what might be a good purchase for where/ how you surf. It's also a good idea to have a couple different boards in your arsenal, because you never know when a swell is going to hit your hometown or when it's going to be small. If that's the case, grab a rack to store your beauties, because they can stack up!

Many thanks to Tactics and Surf Science for the information used to compile this post. I hope it's helpful!

(Originally published on the StoreYourBoard.com blog)