Thursday, September 26, 2013

Gungor - I Am Mountain

We should all probably get this album.


See you at the record store!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

You Cannot Be Replaced

When a baby is born. It is magic. I don't know how else to explain it. To see a new life being born. It is incredible.  Words cannot really explain...cannot capture the miracle that happens in those magical moments.

As you hold that child in your arms, you think of all the possibilities...of all the "what could be". You have hopes and dreams.

But I don't think anyone thinks, "One day, little one...this world is going to beat you down. I'm not sure if it will be when you are a teenager or when you are all grown up, but one day it will be too much. This world and some of the people in it will be so relentless in their attacks that you might feel that it is better off to just...

end. it."

I mean, why would they?

But the truth is that the world (sometimes intentionally, sometimes not) does that.

This past summer a high school classmate of mine felt that way. I hadn't spoken to him probably since we graduated high school but when I heard the news, I was shaken.


I still kinda am when I really stop and think about it.

So this is entry is for you who don't think you are worth anything.  The truth is: You are worth everything.

Next week is World Suicide Prevention Week and the great folks at TWLOHA have put together a little package to get the word out.  The message is:

So click on this link, get yours today, and spread the word.

Speak love to those you see whether it be through a kind word, a smile, or actions because you never know who might really need it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DOMA, the church, & the constitution

Today the United States Supreme Court ruled (5-4) that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional.

The issue of same-sex marriage has continually been elevated in media and culture.  My feeling was this ruling was inevitable.  I realize we do not live in the United States of Christianity.  That who you love or what you choose to believe is a choice protected by the Constitution of the United States of America.  But as I browsed through the internet looking for responses and reactions from the rest of the world, I was...

...relieved to find this excerpt from Andrew Marin (from an article in Christianity Today). 

But Andrew Marin, founder and president of The Marin Foundation, an organization that seeks "to build bridges between the LGBT community and the church," says difficult conversations about sexual ethics and theology will remain complicated whether or not same-sex marriage is legalized.

"As a body, whether people agree or disagree with the rulings, the church must start functioning in the reality of this new world instead of continuing to function in one's ideal, best case scenario, which does not exist," he said.

Now, the battleground ought to shift toward religious freedom, in order to protect churches' right to preach according to Scripture, which in a number of situations will go against today's ruling, Marin says. But he adds that there is reason to be encouraged on this front: In a statement this morning, President Barack Obama emphasized that the need to "maintain our nation's commitment to religious freedom [is] vital … and how religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions."

I agree with Andrew about building bridges.  He is doing an exceptional job.  Me on the other hand, I am not...doing much of anything. 

I am also thankful for the President's words.  That as the decision on DOMA was based on the Constitution and the protection of the civil rights of citizens of the United States, our First Amendment rights will also be protected as well.

With this ruling, the issue of same-sex marriage/relationships will continue to elevate.  What does Jesus ask us to do?  How does he call Christians to respond? 
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40 NIV)

So dear Christian, however you choose to respond remember that yes, love God, honor Him, exalt Him in your response...

...but love your neighbor, as well. 

(Agree? Disagree? I'm just thinking out loud here. I'd love to talk. It'd help me get clarity on what I believe and why. Thanks...& peace.)

Friday, June 21, 2013

"Good" Worship

For those of you who go to church, you most likely know what the term worship is referring to.

It's the part where we sing the songs before the message/sermon.

As a worship leader at my church for the last 6 (almost 7 years...or is it 7, almost 8? I can't remember!) there have been a few times where people have come up to me and told me that they were blessed by my the songs that I had sung.  I understand what they mean.  I hear it as I did a good job singing the songs and being the lead singer for the band.  I really appreciate that. I do.  My confidence isn't that strong, so when people come up to me and share kind words like that, I am blessed. So thank you.

But from my vantage point, here's what good worship is to me.

When all of our hearts come together and give glory to our God; Our Savior who rescued us from hell. And by His mercy, grace, and love forgiven us, when we put all our hope and trust in His Son Jesus who laid down His life as the payment for our sins...past. present. future.  When our hearts respond to the revelation to that truth...that is "good" worship.  It's not so much about how well we sound or which songs we sing, but more about if we mean what we sing...what we say...what we pray.

There have been times at the H.I.M. conference with the main room filled to capacity and David Crowder Band leading the church where God's people sang out with all their hearts because of what He had done or what He is doing in their lives.  You could just sense something more than singing was happening in that time.

But there were times just as amazing but far less extravagant.  It was one of my first times to Fiji and a few of us went to a Fijian prison to minister to the inmates there.  As we entered the facility, we were lead to a room.  The walls were some kind of stone and there were bars on the windows.  The chairs were cold and metal.  As the inmates were brought into the room, they sat down and watched us perform and heard us share our stories of how God made a difference in our lives.  At some point after we shared, they shared a song with us...and I remember being in awe.  The passion that they sang with blew me away.  The power in their voices seemed to make the walls shake.  I remember thinking to myself, "Wow. Look at these men. They only have a limited amount of free time out of their cell and they choose to come here, to church.  Not only that but when they come, they worship and praise the Lord with such passion. They who have so little (compared to myself), they who seemingly have much less to praise the Lord for, worship the Lord as if they have been given everything."

So what is good worship? It's not when we sing the newest song.  It's not when have the biggest band.  It's not when we sound like professionals.  It's when we can truly say that in whatever we do, we do it with all of our heart in honor of our Lord and King.

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.  God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. John 4:23-24 ESV

These are just some thoughts that I've had. 
What is "good" worship to you?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Death, dying, & living

I once read a passage that, at the time, I did not really agree with.

Maybe that's not the right phrase.

at the time...
I didn't want to consider.

It reads...
A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool thinks only about having a good time. Ecclesiastes 7:4 NLT

WHAT!!! Who wants to think about THAT!

I would much rather think about having a good time.

But over the past few years, I haven't been able to shake. those. words...
A wise person thinks a lot about death...

Just the other day, my wife and I went to a funeral.  The father of our friend had past away.  Sitting there, listening to the stories of his life and how he lived, made me think and evaluate my own life?

Also, a couple weeks ago, my neighbor informed me that one of my high school classmates died. I'm not sure if I should share anymore than that out of respect to the family.  But I will say that his life ended too soon.

Life is short.

Life is unpredictable.

It has a way of feeling slow at times, but then all of a sudden you look back and years have past you by.

Life is confusing.


Life is precious.

One thing that I do not want happening in my life is regret.  I don't want to regret not spending time with people that I love.  I don't want to regret not taking a chance.  I don't want to regret not telling the people that I love...that I love them.

I guess the lesson for me in this is that in thinking about death it helps me to focus on what is important.  It helps me to see that my time is limited...that my time is short...and as much as possible) to take advantage of every moment I am given.

You may or may not have heard of Zach Sobiech.  
I just heard of him today.  
Here is his story...
he chose to live.
(fyi: it's 20min long...but it's worth it)

OK. Now let's go and live.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Jack Black...WEATHER MAN

I think I might stay tuned for the weather report more often if he was my weather guy.

How 'bout you?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

For the graduates (...and for those who have already graduated)

I saw this today and I thought there were some good ideas here.

Don't get caught up in the "rat race".  Choose to be free.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Best of Me & The Worst of Me

At my best, I am patient.
At my best, I am kind.
At my best, I am thoughtful.
At my best, I am slow to speak.
At my best, I am quick to listen.
At my best, I am giving.

At my worst, I am the exact opposite.

I like to think of myself as the best version of myself...

but when the worst comes out...

there it is.

Over the past few days I have come to grips with this.

There is Good Jared, who is the best version of me & there is Bad Jared, who is the worst version of me.  I am both, I am all of it, and I am everything in between.

In a way, it is freeing to finally come to this realization. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Made some music

So this past Saturday (actually this happened a few Saturday's maybe 8! For some reason I couldn't upload pics till now.  But anyway...), me and a couple of friends got to go to a studio and record a song of mine.  The reason we got to go was to help out a friend of a friend who was taking a class at Honolulu Community College.  But the really great thing about this opportunity was that it was FREE for us!  I have a real fear of failing, but as I've posted a few times I need to not be afraid of that.  Just gotta chance'um.

I will say that being in the studio was kind of...intimidating.  I've never been in a place like that...and never recorded myself or had myself recorded like that. EVER!

But after the first run through of the song, I settled down.

They said we'll get a copy of the finished product by the end of the month, so hopefully you'll get to hear what we made.

Here are a few pics of the day...

Friday, March 29, 2013

Hosanna by Cara Reddy

This is my friend Cara Reddy.  And this is a great song she wrote.  I'd explain it myself, except she explains it better.  So I'll let her do it.  But I will say this... the contrast of praise and sorrow in this song moves me. Hopefully for more than just this moment as I type. Hopefully for more than this week or month or year.  Actually I just pray that I would allow God's Spirit to continue to move.

So here's her song.
Hosanna by Cara Reddy (check her out on facebook, here.)

This past Sunday was Palm Sunday. It is a day celebrated by Christians remembering the order of the events leading up to the death (Good Friday, March 29) and resurrection of Christ (Easter Sunday, March 31).

Sunday morning I was standing in church listening to the appropriately themed music and watching the kid’s walk down the aisle with their palm fronds waving in the air and wondering, “Why is this part of the story so important?” Of course the events of that day were part of the story of the Cross (John 12:12-16) and in that sense remembering them is important. It was also mentioned that this event gives us an opportunity to see Jesus being hailed “as a king” and he truly is the King of All. I stood there and kept listening.

And as I listened to the songs that recounted that day in history and watched the kids march proudly with their palm branches my eyes began to fill with tears. I began to wonder if part of the awesomeness of these events was that in the midst of all that excitement, all the joyful emotions, at the height of popularity, and in all the hype...not even for a moment did Jesus buy into it all because there was greater Kingdom he had come to establish. One that included all nations and lasted for all of Eternity.

Did he receive the genuine proclamations of faith from the small few who genuinely believed he was the Son of God, the Messiah? Of course He did, but He knew in the midst of it all that most of the crowds opinion of Him would change when their expectations began to be dashed -- when their “so called King” drug a splintered cross up a criminals hill, bloodied, beaten and defeated. They wouldn’t get it, not yet, and many would turn away.

I was thinking about the contrast of the outward joyous circumstances of that day to the possible inward struggle of Christ. I wonder if perhaps in those moments He was really just longing for a ”true sacrifice of praise” (Hebrews 13:15) from even just one individual instead of the clamor of the misinterpreting masses?

I was overwhelmed with gratitude that I was able stand with a community of believers and sing out these same words “Hosanna, in the Highest!” with the understanding of how Christ made His Kingdom come to this earth through His sacrificial death and resurrection from the dead. I felt so grateful that could proclaim His Kingship with my whole heart because He chose to plant a seed of faith in me that has grown since I was a child.

And so I sat down on Monday morning and wrote this song. Perhaps you are not a believer. Perhaps you have celebrated many, many Easter’s as a Christian. Maybe the true magnitude of the meaning of this day has yet to reach your heart in a way that is very memorable. Well, here is it, another Good Friday, another Easter Sunday. Make an effort, call a friend, go to church and simply ask the Lord to reveal Himself...His Gospel...His Great Love to you. He is faithful and He is Risen indeed! Happy Easter.

hosanna (3/25/13)

have you ever held the world upon your shoulders?
have you ever heard the people shout your name?
have you ever known the end before it’s over?
known that everyone’s emotions would soon change?
well, I did

as they shouted hosanna
with their hands raised in the air
and in all the noise
and cries of joy
a silence lingered there
as they screamed out hosanna
Israel’s King has finally come!
I knew their expectations
would soon become undone

have the people ever loved you for your miracles?
have they only come and listened for the food?
have you ever been so filled with God’s compassion
as your whole life’s work was being misconstrued?
Like I was.

and as they shouted hosanna
with their hands raised in the air
in all the noise
and cries of joy
a silence lingered there
as they screamed out hosanna
Israel’s King is finally here!
I knew they’d feel unsatisfied
as the cross was drawing nearer

and in that moment my heart was breaking
in the depth of my soul I was aching
for the cross on which I’d die
when after three days I would rise
when to glory I’d return
and my people would discern
my Spirit coming down
to dwell inside them now
with the Gospel shining through
they’d worship me in Truth

for one hosanna
from a grace-fill, thankful heart
to hear your worship
I’d embrace a shameful cross

have you ever witnessed all the realms of glory?
have your every traded Heaven for a womb?
endured because of joy that’s set before you
leaving sin and death defeated and Satan’s power entombed?
I did. Oh, I did.

so shout hosanna
with your hands raised in the air
and worship me
the One True King
with grateful hearts declare
sing out hosanna
the time has finally come
I payed the price
through sacrifice
my kingdom’s finally come

Thanks, Cara.

Monday, February 4, 2013

5 Minutes w/ Steve

This past Friday, I went to out of my office to the gas station to get a snack.  On my way, I thought I'd check in w/ my buddy Steve (at the bus stop).

He was getting his sleeping bag ready and so I offered to help him carry it to the bench.  We sat and we talked.  I started off with the normal, "How you doing, Steve?"

He gave me the normal, "I'm doing fine."

But then he threw me a curve ball.  He then said, "How are you?"

And I was stunned.  Caught off guard a little.

"I'm a little hungry," I said.

"Well, at least you're honest," he chuckles.

...and I feel like an idiot.  I mean I have a little case of the muchies and I go straight for the convenience store.  This guy...Steve...who knows when's the last time he ate.  (I'm an idiot) I ask him if he needs anything, but he says no.

I show him a picture of my family...of my wife and two girls.  He smiled and told me about his family in Texas.  So I ask him if he ever wants to get back there.  If he wants to see his family again.

"Tornadoes. No thank you.  Cold weather.  No thanks."

...and again I am just amazed at how self centered I am.  Assuming that this man wants or would want the things that I want.  Or because this man doesn't have the things that I would want, I assume he isn't happy.

He reads to me a passage from Ecclesiastes 3 KJV.  The gist of this passage is that there is a time for everything.  What I get from him is that he is content with what he has in this season of his life.

I tell him I gotta get going and to let me know if he needs anything.

He tells me I'm a good man.

...and you know what?  That meant something to me.

That day, Steve gave me something.
(Thanks, Steve.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I saw this video last night and it inspired me.  Tommy inspired me.  Take a look.

BRAVE from EyEFORcE on Vimeo.

It's hard to put down what I think about this.  I have a lot of scattered thoughts that sometimes (but not always guaranteed to) come together...

As the title of the video states.  He is "BRAVE".  But where does that come from?  Is it because he is blind?  Or does the fact that he is blind just amplify that characteristic? 

This kid rides skateboard AND HE IS BLIND!  That is awesome.  I think it is amazing that he uses his hearing to "see" what's coming up...and when the skate park goes dark (towards the end of the video), it doesn't even phase him.  He just keeps going.

He rides because it's fun to him.  He gets a rush when he does a trick that he's been trying to to after falling and falling and falling. 

He inspires me...and challenges me.

I want to be like Tommy...brave and unafraid to fall (...unafraid to fail).

"Failing is not just for failures.  It's for everyone.  
Failures just have more experience." - Listener

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dear christian, don't watch this if you don't want to be convicted...

Whether you loved this or hated this, I think the greater point is let's test everything against the standards that God sets in His word.

To God be the glory. Amen.

Friday, January 4, 2013

FREE MUSIC from Andy Mineo

Here is an artist that I'm currently enjoying.

Here's couple songs where Andy is featured showing off his vocal skill.  Super talented.

Lecrae - Background (ft. Andy Mineo)

PRo - In His Image (ft. Andy Mineo)

(As of this writing 1/4/13...) You can get the album (Formerly Known) right here for FREE.  Hope you love it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year Resolution

I've been finding myself complaining a lot about stuff lately.

But what good really does that do?  I just vent frustrations and nothing changes.  Namely my level of frustration.

So I think my New Year Resolution will be:

As much as I complain about stuff 
is the amount I need to pray about stuff.

Philippians 4:5-7 NIV
Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.