Monday, April 20, 2009

Staring into the uncertain...

Location: Caribou in Grandview, on the patio
Listening to: Kenny Chesney
Consuming: Green Tea...go Japan

So I'm sitting here on this wonderful patio, on this day that turned out to be absolutely gorgeous. I'm staring across Grandview Avenue at one of the most vibrant rainbows I've ever seen, and I can see it completed at either end, which is pretty darn sweet. Unfortunately the temperature is starting to dip down and so my flip-flopped feet are getting a little chilled, but that's alright; the rainbow wasn't just one, but rather another fainter and thicker one right in front of it. The old two-fer. Bam. Gotta love it.

Well I'm doing much better with the Lord than I was when last I checked in. However, I'm still running around like a chicken with my head cut off. In fact, Monday evenings seem like the only relaxed and chill time that I have anymore. I suppose though I wouldn't trade my hectic schedule for a light and really open one, but sometimes it starts to wear on you. Oh well, it's times like these that I am more disciplined and focused in all areas of my life, which obviously is a pretty good thing. 

As I sit here, I continually wonder about my future and what God has planned for my life, especially in the immediate timeframe on the next couple months and years. The thing about all of this is though, I know that I need to continually let it go and just be quiet and still before my Lord and my God in order to hear what He has for me. By the way, the rainbow has disappeared, but has instead been replaced by a beautiful sunset and incredible reflections of the sun on the clouds.

The thing about about it all is that I don't need to know. I'm on a need to know basis as a follower of Christ, and I never need to know; at least until right before something happens. So I could sit here and list off some pretty sweet situations that have started to present themselves to me, but I don't think I will. At least not yet until they are a little more plausible to happening. Both would keep me in Columbus a while longer, perhaps even for the long term. So who knows. If you want to know what they are just ask me, but I think I'll hold off on posting them, especially since one of them includes some potentially time sensitive information that I don't want just being spread over everywhere. 

(Ok, now the beautiful part of the sunset is gone, and the temperature is falling faster than Chad Ocho Cinco's career. I may have to take refuge inside from this increasing north and wicked cold wind...) (On the plus side my co-leader Vivake just got to Caribou, so boo yah)

Basically, under my blog title I have "Staring into the sweet uncertain..." and this entry title doesn't include the sweet part, however, I think it still is sweet. Isn't it great when you can work through something after having a certain stance when you first start out? Like when I began this entry I was on my more negative side of thinking on this whole future thing. (I tend to go back and forth like a bit of a roller coaster, if you will...) However now that I am finishing this lovely entry, I feel like the uncertain is again sweet and great because it is completely in the Lord and His will for my life. 

Boo yah.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I yawn too much to work at a coffee shop...

As most of you all know, for the longest time I worked at a wonderful food establishment called Zuppa UA. It was this great Italian restaurant with tasty sandwiches, great salads, mostly good soups, and filling pastas. It was a favorite of many, especially within the Upper Arlington community. Twas a sad day when it closed its doors for the last time, especially with all that I put into the place and the community over the previous four years. 

Well anyways, when all this went down I had to start searching for a job back in October. It took me over a month and many applications to find one, and this was even before the economy really really sucked! So I finally found two within two days; one at Macy's for the holidays, and one at Max & Erma's for real. Well the Macy's job was horrible, but I'm still serving at Max & Erma's. It really is a pretty decent job, but only being able to work the lunch hours because of my schedule hurts my earning power. So I was forced to find a second job again just recently. 

Two weeks ago I started working at my favorite coffee establishment, Caribou. Jyes, for all those times I spent money there, now they are giving it all back to me. Hah. So far it's wicked easy and is a pretty good job. The only drawback is that when I go in, I have to be there at 530 in the morning...ouch. The weirdest part about it though, is that later that day, by the time I eat lunch even, work will seem so long ago that it feels like it happened yesterday. In fact, that's what has happened yet again today...

I'm sitting here at a different Caribou with Pierce and work feels so long ago already. So that's a weird phenomenon. Just thought you all would like to know that. 

Monday, April 13, 2009


I'm writing this entry with a big of hesitance. I really would like to blog about what's going on in my life right now, but yet I also don't. I'm trying to figure out what God wants for my life in the next stage of it, but I gotta be relationship with Christ has been crap lately.

Pure crap.

When I say that, I mean that I just haven't put in the necessary time to continue to deepen my time with Him. In fact, it's not even that I'm not deepening my relationship but rather that I'm not even doing up-keep. How can I possibly discern what Christ wants me to do if I don't hang out with Him and continue to get to know Him and grow accustomed to His voice?

I can't. 

So despite all these fun things that He is doing at Central Crossing through Young Life and others at the school, it kills me knowing that greater things could be happening if I were doing better with Him. 

A perfect song came on Pandora as I sat down at Caribou tonight to read and blog: Jeremy Camp's "Revive Me". 

Revive me, according to your loving kindness
Revive me, that I may seek You
Revive me, according to your loving kindness
Revive me, oh Lord.

Revive me, refresh me, reinstate me, receive me, oh Lord...that is my prayer. 

Semi-apologies that this isn't a great and fun post, but I felt it necessary to continue to be transparent in my seeking of the Lord and in living my life as a testimony for the great things the Lord has done

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Empty = Full?

So I had this sort of epiphany while I was in church this morning. Of course today is the day that we celebrate that which makes our religion and God different from any other one out there. Today is the day that Christ rose from the grave to demonstrate his power over death and to free us from death. Easter Sunday...the day our God was resurrected not just in spirit, and he wasn't just almost dead, or dead for a couple minutes and they used the paddles (clear!) on, he was dead and buried and entombed for three days and only then did He rise. 

Well getting back to the epiphany that I had this morning...I was sitting in church, listening to a song that was sort of worship for all and sort of just a performance for reflection. (it should also be noted that I initially typed "reflextion" for reflection...) I was staring up at the cross that was hanging above the stage and then looking back at the crosses that are normally hanging on the walls on either side of the stage. It struck me that in my mind I normally picture the cross with Jesus on it; that the only times I ever picture the cross in my head it has Christ crucified. I have pictured myself weeping at the foot of the cross, seeing Christ's blood on my hands, and yet hearing His words of love that I am His and that my sins are forgiven. 

In all reality though, only on Good Friday should I picture the cross with Christ on it. After that the cross is empty, and for part of Good Friday, all of Saturday, and some of Easter Sunday the tomb is full of the body of Christ. However, by the time most all of us head to Easter service on Sunday morning in fact, the tomb is now empty. In Matthew it doesn't say what time of the day, in Mark is says just after sunrise, in Luke it says very early in the day, and John says that while it was still dark, the women went to the tomb and saw that it was empty. 

Now in light of this fact, we also look in general at how counter-cultural the life of a true follower of Christ should look to that of those around him. Forgive our enemies? Turn the other cheek? Don't worry about tomorrow? All things that the world tells us is foolishness. However this is not the case. Going further, look at how counter-cultural this picture of both the cross and the tomb is this weekend especially. A gigantic difference in our religion verses that of any other world one is that our God is living and active. He has demonstrated even power over death. Other religions don't claim living deities. 

So check out again the picture of the empty cross and the empty tomb. Of course the empty cross signifies that "It is finished." and that the penalty for our sins was paid. How great this is when standing alone! Our God doesn't stop there though, He continues to demonstrate His power and love, when the tomb is proven empty of his body but full of his grave clothes. Just in the way that 2 Corinthians 5:17 says it so eloquently: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the one has gone, the new has come!" This is the picture of Christ as he leaves the empty tomb, leaving behind the old grave clothes of death, and bursting forth into glorious day. 

The power is not in the traditional worldly view of full is better, or there is power in fullness of something. No...power comes from the empty. The empty cross. The empty tomb. 

So yes, empty does equal full.

Happy Easter. 

He is risen.

He is risen indeed.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sunday Bloody Sunday...

Location: My room
Eating/Drinking: Nothing, stuffed on BW3's
Listening to: Whatever rap our neighbor is blasting next door. And yes, we both live in houses with space in between them...

Well well well, I must say I've found myself in a bit of a rut right now when it comes to this blogging thing. I always seem to sub-divide things into a couple little articles within the bigger picture and while it's effective I'm not sure I like that sort of shotgun news approach. Anyone have any ideas?

To start with, I think I might just try keeping it to one subject and not deviating from that no matter what throughout the whole entry. That might lead to more entries to read for the two people out there who might read this hoping to discover the secret location of the Sakada family fortune. You'll never find it Pierce!

In attempting this feat though, we'll just start with Sunday; yup just the day of Sunday. It started out innocent enough, going to church at Heritage like normal, sitting with all my younger friends like normal, stealing donuts and muffins and juice from the college devotional time like normal (it's funny because I'm finally not in college anymore...get it?), came home and ate some cereal like normal. This however, my finely feathered friends, is where things stop being normal at all. Next, team Central Crossing (aka Team Awesome) (aka LeeRoy Jenkins) got all fresh and crisp and traveled together (sans #7, he was off becoming #1) to the 2009 Columbus Young Life Leader Draft. After doing a lot of scouting throughout the year and putting together a pretty solid plan of attack we felt great going into the day. Things ended up falling our way and we got two of the best prospects money can buy. Alright, well really we didn't pay them anything, and technically no leader gets paid...but who's counting?

So back to the real stuff...Lindsey Ossim and Eric Terranova. That's right...our new leaders are awesome. Or Ossim. And Terranova. And awesome. Although I didn't know who Lindsey was, I knew she was going to be awesome. I knew Eric the whole year and loved fact we hung out all day today and spent some time with some guys, but that's a different entry. ;-)  Anyways, I couldn't be more pleased with who they are and how they will fit in on this team. 

Well after the whole excitement of the actual placement, we all met back up as a new team together at the traditional restaurant of Damon's. Pretty darn good California Chicken Sandwich I had on Sunday. Yummy. Well we had a great time, got to know them a little bit, and am looking forward to continuing to hear their stories. Then we all headed to Campaigners, and weren't really sure what to expect. Last week we had one guy show up and it wasn't even the guy who's house we were having it. Well this week we show up and there ended up being 25 kids when it was all said and done. That's right...25. God works in mysterious ways right? Our kids are on spring break...that's double the most we've ever had... Wow. Let me tell you, I've never before stood to teach a Campaigners the whole time, much less basically have to be yelling-ish to command attention the whole time like I did this past week. It was quite an experience and before we started I was a little overwhelmed to tell the truth. Humbling, to be overwhelmed as the (quite) senior leader on the team and (easily) the oldest person in the room. 

Check this out though...after placement I had a thought in my head that I didn't want to go with what I originally planned to lead, which was talking to them about how to become best friends with Christ. I had decided that I wanted to lead a small group study on Psalm 1. Well I get home from placements and sit down before dinner to review and re-plan. God just said no. 

No teaching on Psalm 1 this week. 
Teach on what you already planned.
     But I don't want to.
Think I care what YOU want? 
Think that's really what these kids need to hear? Or are you just wanting to teach on something you know really well and would just be easy for you so you look good in front of your new leaders?
     Yes? And...yes. (sigh)
Talk to them about getting to know Me. They don't.
     You sure?
Am I God?
     Yup. Good call.
I thought so. :-)

That's pretty much what the conversation looked like. Pretty sure God even put that little smiley face on there to let me know He loves me still. So I taught on how much God loves them, and how He desires to be our best friend. It was good. Thanks God.

Well after that craziness, more craziness ensued and we all headed outside to play Hide and Seek in the rain. Wow...that was actually pretty fun! I hadn't done that in forever, and I'm still pretty darn good at it! (boo yah...fist pump) The night lasted for a while, and the new leaders did a fantastic job hanging out with and getting to know some kids. I was quite impressed. 

So that was Sunday. Not anywhere near being a Lazy Sunday. But it was definitely crazy delicious...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

It's always something...

Location: My room
Eating/Drinking: Nothing. Air?
Listening to: the sound of a blog entry being composed in my head

I thought I would just squeeze off an entry before I hit the sack tonight. It's certainly been an interesting last couple of days. Of course it seems like it always is. As with almost all my posts, I have a couple small thoughts to deposit...

1.) The YL Leader Draft is tomorrow afternoon, and we are getting a new guy and a new girl. (I sure hope there aren't any First Years who read this right now...) This is always a really exciting time, and I know that the tension of excitement is just about to burst within the rest of leadership. As with a couple years though, this year is going to be a bit bittersweet, as it always could be. The other years are the ones where one year my team didn't change and that was exciting, but Kevin McIntyre stopped leading and I cried that my best friend was no longer going to be at my side in the battle. The other year was when I changed from Upper Arlington to Central Crossing, leaving behind a drastically changing team as Bryan and Kacie both stopped leading. This year, I am excited for new blood on our team, especially from a guy perspective, but that means that we are losing someone (most likely) that I have grown to love. David Nicholas Vuckovich. When we first started leading together I never thought that we would be great friends. It was never a thought that crossed my mind, and in fact I didn't think that he was going to last past the middle of my first year at CCHS. Happily, I was mistaken. Over the past three years he has grown to become one of my best friends, and a man I know I can trust by my side in the battle and in the foxhole next to me. His unique personality and style will be sorely missed on our team and by me; and the words that I can type on here will never express the gratitude and love that I have for my brother. CCHS is changed because of the way that he loved kids without exception.

2.) Tonight was hilarious and awesome. Six dudes, lots of pizza, great Skyline dip, chips, the Final Four, and Rock Band. Doesn't get better. I love being a guy.

3.) I started a new job this morning at Caribou in UA, and right from the get-go I was reminded of some of the culture that I hate in that city. We had two catering orders for the men's and women's lacrosse teams and the mother that picked up the men's coffee was so many sides of potentially frustrating. I am however excited for this job, and yet dreading the hours. I must learn to discipline myself again on Monday and Wednesday nights to get to bed at a quite decent hour to make the opening shift.

4.) For those of you out there who follow Buckeye basketball and remember the glorious year of 2006, when the Bucks made it to the championship game, only to have their 3 point shots fail to splash any sort of net, I propose a scenario. I was you to close your eyes and imagine a Buckeye team with Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Daequan Cook, Kosta Koufus, and Evan Turner as the starting five. In a quite liberal and fun substitution rotation you would have Williams Buford, BJ Mullens, Jon Diebler, Dallas Lauderdale, Walter Offutt, and Mark "The Shark" Titus coming off the bench. Talk about a Big 10(11). Now watch them romping through everything they faced, with little regard to human life or even the will to live much less play basketball. This team would be the eventual National Champion. Now open your eyes...did you watch the late game tonight? The team I just told you to envision played basketball tonight in Ford Field. They played in the Final Four and will be playing on monday evening for all the marbles and One Shining Moment. They are the team that people speculated before the season if they could potentially go undefeated this year despite all the evidence of ever growing parity. They...are the North Carolina Tar Heels. If they can make it happen in Chapel Hill, why can't we in Columbus? Soon my friends, it will be our turn to dance...and Thad will make sure they never take their eyes off us again. (much less allow a skinny little beanpole like that kid from Siena to get 8 million offensive rebounds!)

No progress yet in any sort of future decision for me, just lots of prayer sent up, and preparing my soul, heart, mind, and body to be still and listen and KNOW that God is God. So thank you for all your continued prayers concerning that.

Welp, I gotta get to bed. It's calling my name much louder than it has in quite some time.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A funny thing happened on the way to Virginia...

Well here we go my friends... I officially am not going to be moving to the Commonwealth Region to be a part of the Young Life Intern program this next fall. I spoke with Scott "Hambone" Hamilton last week and he informed me of such, emphasizing the same refrain that I've heard from many staffers, that the weakened state of the economy has put such a freeze on hirings that there are few to no spots anywhere that are opening up. Obviously this comes as a disappointment to me, because I figured "why not me?" in my prayers and in my thoughts. My checkered past may not leave me as exactly the most desirable person for the job, however I wouldn't be the leader or more importantly follower of Christ that I am without those long trials and tribulations. 

I do know however that my heart is still with Young Life, and is still definitely in leading kids and pouring into leaders. It makes my life somewhat easier in some respects because I know what my calling is and has been, very clearly. I hope that it remains that clear for the rest of my life. 

This brings me to an interesting point though, as I can basically choose a couple options. The first decision hinges on whether or not I think I need to move or stay here in Columbus for the next year. If I moved, it would probably be to Virginia, although I have some friends in Orlando that are lobbying hard for me to come down there to help build the ministry. Of course there are a couple people lobbying me hard to move to Virginia as we'll see how that goes. 

The second fork we come to, is whether or not I should remain as a volunteer leader wherever I end up, or do intern training how they apparently did it "back in the day" (according to Scotty too Hotty Hamilton) of working Mon-Thurs getting full time or almost full time hours, then having Fridays off for intern training with the rest of the region and for fundraising and doing other YL related activities. I would be eligible for YL benefits and would in some ways be treated like a full-time intern. This would be both desirable for me, and yet containing incredible opportunities for frustrations for a year of life. The demands of my schedule would likely leave me with only a handful of hours of sleep a night, and I would be running from thing to thing. However, most of you know that I love being that busy and that I operate at a much higher rate of efficiency with everything I do when life is like that. The other option within this, would be again the just volunteer leading wherever I am, but hopefully I would be in a position to basically be a volunteer staff person. Unfortunately with the way things are here in Columbus I don't think I would be able to do that part of the equation. It would be incredibly difficult to leave my guys and kids at Central Crossing though with the way things are going in this school. 

So as you can see...I've got a few things ahead of me to pray about. Of course all this talk could to void if John Wagner's Divisional office passes my name along to a different regional director and that guy wants me. So we shall see...

Listening to: whatever is playing in Caribou, Diane talking on the phone
Eating/Drinking: chocolate chip cookies from subway, that same green tea
Location: Still in Caribou in Grandview