Blackline Racing

Since I moved from NorCal to the Salt Lake City area my Westy has been running like… well, actually it hasn’t been running. That’s the problem. At first it started dying every time I pulled to a stop (sign, light, for the little ol’ lady crossing the street). Then I parked it and out of frustration just let it sit in the garage. When I tried to start it up weeks later I was severely disappointed. Nothing. Then I remembered the name of a shop that the owner of LateNightAircooled in Chico, CA (he installed the rebuilt tranny right before the move) recommended: Blackline Racing. Long story short, I dropped the Bus off and by the end of the day the issue was solved.What is more, I decided to write a personal statement about the issue

The primary cause of the problem, according to the owner of the shop, was that the mass airflow sensor was adjusted too lean (14 clicks!). There were some other things contributing to poor engine operation as well. They installed new spark plugs, fully charged the battery, cleaned the cranking battery terminals and replaced the positive terminal end, tightened down the intake boots, and replaced bad timed port vacuum lines that had deteriorated.

Not only was the service amazing, the dude behind the wrench was cool. Blackline hosts the Salt City Air Coolers club meetings and he extended an invite as I left the shop. Good people, so it would seem.

Needless to say, I’m pretty stoked to have found a quality AC VW garage to work on my Westy.

God is Faithful One Hundred Percent | Sermon

God is Faithful One Hundred Percent (Mark 10:23-31).

I preached this sermon at Christ Lutheran Church on October 18, 2015.

Why Do You Come To Church? | Sermon

Why Do You Come To Church? (Mark 10:17-22).

I preached this sermon at Christ Lutheran Church on October 11, 2015.

Married with Children Offends Everyone | Sermon

Married with Children Offends Everyone (Mark 10:2-16).

I preached this sermon at Christ Lutheran Church on October 4, 2015.

The Mighty Works that Save Sinners | Sermon

The Mighty Works that Save Sinners (Numbers 11:10–16, 24–29; James 5: 13–20 and Mark 9:38–50).

I preached this sermon at Christ Lutheran Church on September 27, 2015.

Bad Music References, Lack of Faith, and Jesus | Sermon

Bad Music References, Lack of Faith, and Jesus (Mark 9:14-29).

I preached this sermon at Christ Lutheran Church on September 13, 2015.

Posted on Categories Audio, Sermons, WritingTags , Christ Lutheran Church, , faith, Fred Durst, George Michael, , , Lack of Faith, Lectionary, Limp Bizkit, , Mark 9:14-29, MC Hammer, Message, Music, Pentecost, Preach, Series B, , Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Wham!Leave a comment on Bad Music References, Lack of Faith, and Jesus | Sermon

The Wet Willy That Could’ve Been | Sermon

The Wet Willy That Could’ve Been (Mark 7:31-37)

I preached this sermon at Christ Lutheran Church on September 6, 2015.

A Review of Stitched Crosses: Crusade

I’m a book geek. I am. I like the medium. When I get a new book, whether it’s actually new or just new to me, before I even begin reading it I spend some time ingesting the product, no, no, the treasure. That’s better. I hold it in my hands, firmly gripping it. I trace my fingers over it. I flip the pages with my thumb. I turn it over analyzing the the spine and the back cover, looking at the layout and design of the whole thing, enjoying all that is book before ever actually getting to the first chapter. I study the copyright page and the title page. All the stuff that is extraneous to the real prize, the story (fiction) or information (non-fiction).

Personally, I believe this is a behavior that a lot of book lovers share. I know it’s common to theologians. Call it a symptom of being all about the Word. Or not, it’s up to you. Anyway, I also think I developed this fetish-like quirkiness when I was studying books as source material for my own book. Self-publishing means not only do you write the story but you also create your own cover art, etc.

So, when I recently received my copy of Joshua Rothe’s Stitched Crosses: Crusade, it goes without saying that I took my time absorbing the treasure that it is. And it truly is! With this book I had an added interest because it’s published by Grail Quest Books, the publisher who picked up my Lumen Legends series. I was curious to experience one of their books. Regarding the product, I was thoroughly impressed with what I purchased. I’ll be proud to have my own work flying under their banner.

My copy has the added bonus of the author’s signature inside since I bought it from Ad Crucem rather than Amazon or one of the other large online booksellers.

Once I began reading the book, I entered a remarkable world of conflict-driven adventure. Rothe demonstrates a clear command over the history and legend in which he plants the seed of his story. As the book progresses the tale blossoms into a rich narrative bearing delightful, and masterfully contextual, fruit. The author’s fiction is stitched flawlessly into the fabric of church history with the thread of Arthurian myth. The read propelled me back in time, expanding my imagination while enriching my Christian beliefs through it’s powerful delivery of the Gospel.

I’m the kind of reader that’s always looking for the truth on the page. My pencil’s in hand at all times so I can engage the text and be able to reference it later. Even with fiction I want to be able to use the material to in my relationships with other people. Stories are for telling, that is, for communicating. I found Crusade brimming with content that I could use to help others better understand Christianity and what it is that God has revealed to us in Scripture.

Here’s what I’m talking about: idolatry is a sin that we’re all guilty of. We’re capable of turning anything and everything into a false-god. Most especially ourselves and our loved ones. Our spouse, kids, parents, siblings, and so on, if we’re not mindful, can quickly go from being blessings given to us by God to being gods themselves. Our love for them can change from healthy human adoration to an unhealthy worship. They become our everything — and I mean that in a real way, not in the sappy teen-drama way where the starlet looks into her boyfriends eyes as he declares that she’s his everything — instead of God.

Rothe, throughout the entire novel supplies me with reference material, illustrations, and quotes that will enable me to better communicate the danger above.

The way that the author highlights errors in church doctrine and practice exposes and educates, never leaving the reader alone to navigate those waters without guidance. His characters clearly contrast false teachings and the blindness of sin tainted perspectives with the truth. The intensity of this art peaks at the end of the narrative in a climax that drives home the cruciform message of the entire book.

What more can I say other than it was a fantastic read that left me ready for more.

Posted on Categories Blog Post, Literature, ReligiousTags book, , crusade, Fiction, Grail Quest Books, historical fiction, Joshua Rothe, King Arthur, legend, literature, myth, , Review, Stitched Crosses: Crusade1 Comment on A Review of Stitched Crosses: Crusade

Marriage on the Pacific Crest Trail

As a pastor of a church along the Pacific Crest Trail I’ve had some great opportunities to meet people from all over the world. The church is actively engaged in trail-angeling, providing food, power, wifi, a bathroom, and a place to pitch a tent for any hiker in need of such goodness. I dig meeting the thru-hikers who God brings into my life. All their stories are great, because, well, honestly, every life story is great!

Photograph PCT Sign by Tyrel Bramwell on 500px

The other day I heard one of the greatest hiker stories yet. Big Spoon and Hands (those are their trail names) made the church their home away from home for a couple nights while making future arrangements. What impressed me so much about their story is that they got married while on the trail. I know. Cool, right? What’s more is that prior to getting on the trail they didn’t know each other — never met. They began their north bound walk from Mexico to Canada not knowing the other person even existed and along the way they discovered their other half. After meeting on the trail they got to know each other and decided getting married was the right thing to do. I don’t know the ins and outs of their views on marriage and I don’t know any intricate details about their personal motivations. I don’t have to.

What I do know is that we live in a world that, generally speaking, could care less about marriage. Sure, some may argue that marriage is highly valued in our culture, pointing to the pursuit by homosexual couples to be recognized as married.  But that example only proves that we, as a people, don’t give two rips about marriage. Changing what something is doesn’t say, “hey! I value this thing… that I’m desperately trying alter and distort.” But rather declares a lack of appreciation and reverence for it.

But not these two remarkable hikers. They value their relationship to such an extent that they wanted nothing else than to enter into Holy Matrimony, that is, to grace their love for one another with the reality of living as husband and wife. To put it simply, and I don’t know if this is exactly how they’d say it although I think they’d agree with the statement, they wanted God in their relationship. So they got hitched!  And did so while living out of back packs, walking 20+ miles a day in the wilderness. These blessed adventurers, full of integrity, took the time to acquire a marriage license and go through a civil ceremony (they plan on pulling out the stops with their families when they get back home) while removed from societal norms and cultural and familial expectations. A process that confirms their adventurous spirits, after all, marriage is the greatest of adventures!

It’s an amazing testimony to the blessed reality of marriage. You can leave behind society, you can abandon the need for a permanent shelter, you can live day-to-day with respect to drinking water and food, you can ditch deodorant and regular showers – basic hygiene – you can shed bills and jobs and all that comes with civilization, you can walk away from temporal security and all our supposed needs, but you cannot escape God and what is right according to the law written in our hearts.

Sure, Big Spoon and Hands could’ve kept hiking as individuals, enjoying each other’s company during the day and hooking up at night when the mood was right. I hear it happens all the time on the trail. But that’s the way of the world. Even in the bush, that’s the way of the world. They didn’t do that. Though the setting was ideal for the ever exciting sowing of wild oats, that would not do for these two and that’s all I’m trying to say. You can take God out of our world, out of our society’s definition marriage, but you can’t take Him out of our hearts. The believer is a believer and that means he or she lives a certain way, whether in the midst of “civilization” or in the wilderness. The environment does not change the fact that the Holy Spirit dwells in your heart, or doesn’t.

May God bless Big Spoon and Hands and all the faithful who still value the sanctity of marriage. Amen!

Want to be inspired by Big Spoon and Hands’ story? Good. Hands is a writer and has been blogging their journey. Visit her site,  and read till your heart’s content.

Posted on Categories Blog Post, CultureTags adventure, Big Spoon, california, , , Hands, hiking, journey, life story, marriage, Pacific Crest Trail, Pastor, PCT, sanctity of mariage, Trail-angeling, trek, value, wedding, Wild, world2 Comments on Marriage on the Pacific Crest Trail

It’s All About the Story

A thought raced through my mind the other day. I think I’ve had the thought before, but I can’t recall if I’ve ever paid attention to it. The thought:

It’s all about the story.

I laugh at myself for being a drifting dabbler. I routinely slide from one personal interest to another. It’s amusing to take a step back and recognize the pattern that occurs. Now, keep in mind I always drift between the same core activities, though not necessarily in this order: photography and film, mobile digital art (comics, stills and animation), playing the guitar, and writing (poetry and novels). The last two, playing the guitar and writing, often converge into one — songwriting. It’s truly a rare day when I expand this catalog.

The most recent series of drifts was not at all my fault.  I swear! I purchased the gear necessary to return to DSLR photography (from iphoneography). I was happily focusing on photography when I found the video feature on my new camera. Naturally, I needed to experiment with the device. What sort of self-respecting photographer would I be if I didn’t know the ends and outs of my equipment?

The first drift. Photography to film.

Now, I was focused on creating a simple short film, experimenting with my gear. I spent an entire day off shooting a script I wrote the week before. The editing software was humming as I pieced the shots together. One needed to be re-filmed but unfortunately it would have to wait until my next day off. Before that happened a very generous member of the church surprised me with a gift. He gave me an acoustic-electric guitar and an amp to plug into!

Drift #2. Film to guitar.

It certainly goes without saying that I had to try out my new instrument. After all, what sort of self-respecting living room rock star would I be if I didn’t spend some time getting to know my new ax? New ax? Okay, maybe that’s taking it a bit far. Anyhow, you get my drift.

So there I was, shredding away, learning some new songs, and yeah, even putting some ink down on an original piece of my own (a mini convergent drift) when SCOTUS declared the decision regarding same-sex marriage.

A third, and might I say, half, drift occurred.

I was still channeling my inner Bob Dylan, but now I also felt compelled to draw a Johnny Scribble comic strip, you know, as any cartoonist with a shred of dignity would do in the wake of a landmark cultural event. One Scribble led to another and I was on the verge of a full fledged drift when I received word from Grail Quest Books that they were interested in publishing my novel, The Gift and the Defender as well as the rest of the Lumen Legends series.


And there it was. The final drift. A super drift to complete the cycle. From playing the guitar to songwriting through cartooning to writing novels!


Years ago, before I owned a camera, before I learned to play guitar or ever thought about attempting to write an original song, before Johnny Scribble put on his red power tie, I penned a novel. Before I learned to express myself in other ways I dreamed of telling stories and of people actually reading them. And that’s when this thought hit me.

It’s all about the story.

No, not in some post-modern, philosophic, sense. In relation to why I drift from one interest to another. They’re all modes of expressing myself. Ways in which to tell a story. Whether it’s through visuals or accompanied by music or simply by putting enough words together to comprise a book, all my hobbies come from a desire within me to tell a story. To tell a thousand stories. To tell the one great story.

It’s all about the story.

So, dear reader. Whoever you are. Look for more stories to come (especially the biggies, the Lumen Legends) in the future.  And while I’m thinking about it, if you’re interested in staying up to date on the release of my series of novels consider liking the Lumen Legends page on Facebook:

Until next time.