I was born in Moutain View, California. My dad Russ is an engineer, and is involved with the semi-conductor industry. In case you don't know, the semi-conductor industry is why you have a computer, toaster, TV, etc. All those transisters, resistors, capacitors, and chips have to come from somewhere. My dad grew up in Washinton, and has four brothers. My mom Vicki is a homemaker, and has stuck around to raise her kids. She has a sister and a brother, and lived much of her life in California.
My family lived in San Jose, California for a little while. My parents became Christians after they were married, but before I was born. When I was three, my sister Ashley was born. Our family became complete, at that point, with my parents, my sister, and our dog Sandy. I don't remember a whole lot of California, because I was so young, but it was enough to give me those Cali dashing good looks.
Well, my parents decided that they didn't want their kids going through the California school system, so we decided to pack up and move when I was five. We moved to Puyallup, Washington, where my dad had gotten a job with National Semiconductor. I started school at Sunset Elementary when the time came. Life was pretty easy back then! I played baseball while I was growing up, and later basketball, and my dad got to coach a lot of my teams.
By second grade, my family decided to move again. It was a relatively short move from Puyallup to about half an hour away to a much smaller area called Graham. My mom had always wanted to live way out in the country, so we decided to build a new house. My dad still kept the same job, and we were still close to everything, but the move was far enough that I had to change schools. I moved to Rocky Ridge Elementary for the last little bit of second grade.
I lived in Graham up until seventh grade. It was really fun to live out away from everything. We had a really sweet house on over an acre of property. I had a lot of good friends, and my life pretty much revolved around basketball after I stopped playing baseball. During the course of my dad's stay at National, he had to take a 6 week trip to Japan, which was pretty rough on our family. For the most part, life was pretty normal. I would have lived in that town until I graduated high school, but I guess God had other plans.
My dad's company National Semiconductor had sold its Puyallup fabrications plant to a Japense company, Mashusta. A lot of problems arose from this change, and it ended with the entire plant having to shut down. My dad was going to be out of a job if he didn't find a new one. He found one at Maxim Integrated Products, which was in Beaverton. My family had to move to Oregon. It was a pretty tough decision to make. My family had just built a new house, and had planned on staying there until my dad retired. My sister and I had a strong foundation of friends, which we didn't want to leave, but we really had no choice, and we decided to move.
The whole process was long and difficult. My dad had to start his new job as soon as he could, but it was taking a long time to sell our house. So my dad moved down to Beaverton to live in an apartment while my mom, sister, and I stayed in Washington to sell the house. My dad would commute back home on the weekends, but it was rough for a long while until we finally sold our house and we could all move to Oregon.
The day finally came and we moved. It was a pretty big adjustment for me, since I was older and had a lot more friends. Yet, we all got through it. I started going to Beaverton Christian Church, and got involved with the youth group there in high school. High school really was huge for me, in a number of ways.
I made some amazing friends through the church I went to. A number of these friends really showed me what a relationship with God could look like. I had been a Christian before then, and had done a pretty good job of seeking God, but these people really showed me the passion you could have for Christ. I also started playing musical worship in high school. Never would I have imagined myself playing the drums, but yet it just sort of seemed to happen. I had never really even thought about it much before my sophmore year of high school, but soon I had a kit and was practicing every day.
High school was a lot of fun, a lot of work, and a lot of pain. I hung out with some great people. Me and a friend of mine started a Christian club on our high school campus with a prayer group that met every morning in the middle of the student commons area. It was pretty sweet to start a new ministry, and to see it grow. I kept playing drums and being part of the worship and leadership teams at BCC. Of course, all the other things of life happened too.
The good times of high school had to come to a close sometime, to be replaced something a little closer to resembling the real world. My best friends remained best friends, but became seperated by distance. That friend that I started the campus club with decided life wasn't worth it and committed suicide over the summer after my sophmore year in college. Another good friend in high school got his girlfriend pregnant. My mom found out she has really bad arithritis in her knees, and my dad decided to take a little break from work to go back to school and to be involved in the lives of homeless men at the Portland Rescue Mission, until he decided to work again. It's amazing how much and how quickly life can change.
I finished an awesome four years at George Fox University, and graduated with a bachelors in Computer Science. I started a career as a Software Engineer at Axium. I made it through without the "Ring By Spring". I got involved with a church plant, at a community called Ethnos, and then I married the most perfect woman in the world. Despite our best efforts to stick to the five-year plan, God put us on the five-month plan, and we had our first daugther nine months later. She is a treasured gift to us!
I have had a truly blessed life. Sometimes I simply can't understand why I am where God has placed me. Why did I get placed here, in this country, when so many other people are dying? I simply can't comprehend God's goodness to me. I am certainly undeserving of it. Why was I placed here, instead of the slums of Mexico, or in the Jewish ghetto of Nazi Germany, or in one of a hundred other contexts? Sometimes it doesn't seem right for me to have all that I have. I think about it and I just can't understand the fullness of God's blessing and grace upon my life.
God has taught me how much I need him in my life. Brokenness has been the theme of my life lately. I am so lost without Christ in me. A lot of times I fall so short of the calling God has for me. It seems sometimes that every thought I have or every word I speak spits in the face of Christ on the cross. So what can I do? That is my brokenness.
I can do nothing in this life without Christ's renewing work in me. I have found though, that brokenness is a good place to be! God's strength is made perfect in my weakness. That is simply what I cannot understand. How can my human mind ever hope to comprehend a love that is so unconditional? How can this God take me back after I've done the same thing again? Unbelievable. How vast is the love of Christ? How deep and wide is a love that would die for me when I constantly deny its name? Can such a love exist? I don't see how it can, but it seems it does. How can I live my life for anything else in the light of such a sacrifice, of such a cost? How can I see the most brutal death of Christ, and walk away? Jesus wasn't supposed to be on that cross...
Every day I should be there. But I'm not. And I simply cannot understand that kind of love. But I've got to do something with my life in light of that.
And so that's where I'm at. I have nothing to complain about. The struggles of this blessed life are so insignificant compared to the glory that has been revealed in Jesus Christ. Nothing matters except that love. None of this stuff I have matters. None of the things I desire for my life matter. All that matters is that I live my life in the light of eternity, and in light of an absolutely unbelievable love.
I've been learning an incredible amount about God lately. It's all from Him and through Him. The only reason I'm learning anything is that I'm finally starting to understand the importance and dire necessity of being in the Word, consistently and intentionally. I don't understand why I haven't made that more of a priority in my life thus far. I'm learning all over again about the centrality of the cross. I'm learning about in big ways about grace and forgiveness. I'm learning how to boldy come to the throne of Christ when I've strayed. I'm learning about mentorship, both being mentored and mentoring others. I'm learning about the character and deity of God as a missional God. God IS mission. God is a SENT God. I'm learning about service, humility, theology, music, perseverance...
David Crowder said it all about Jesus:
"There is no one like You. There has never been anyone like You."
Life goes on ... here.
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