Crossing an Unknown Bridge

Have you ever had a task that you dreaded doing but the end result made it worth it? As I write this, I’m thinking about how I need to mow my lawn.

Yay! The Family photo. My most favorite thing in the WHOLE world!

Taking our family photo is one of those tasks that we dread. The mere mention of it to my family elicits a collective groan, and for good reason. Trying to find a time to take the photo and then coming up with an inspiring location is exhausting. Not to mention the task of trying to figure out what we’re all going to wear.

REJECTED PHOTO 1 – Joshua (right) looks like he’s half asleep.

And we know it’s not going to be a quick endeavor. Once we get to the location, we have to find the right spots and take numerous photos, adjusting for lighting, positioning, closed eyes and awkward smiles.

You promised me this wouldn’t take long. YOU LIED!

And someone (probably me) is certainly going to get frustrated that things aren’t going quickly or according to plan. Tensions will rise and patience will be tested. It’s the same every year. Who wants to go through all that?

REJECTED PHOTO 2 – I really don’t want a doggy poop bag in the photo

But afterwards, when the photos are all downloaded off the camera and edited on the computer, we’re always glad we did it.

This year we decided to take our photo at a local park near us. Based on online reviews, I thought it would be an interesting location with plenty of scenic backdrops. After walking around and taking a few photos, Jen suggested we pose on a short bridge that extends over the Oso Creek.

REJECTED PHOTO 3 – Now Jacob is asleep and Jen is looking at the dog. Dave is not even in the photo.

Bridges are interesting because of what they symbolize. Bridges not only help us get to another destination but they help us overcome obstacles that can make the journey more difficult. In our photo, we’re standing in the middle of a bridge, not quite yet to the other side. I think that truly depicts where we’re at in this season of life.

As you know, our boys are seniors in high school and they have been busy applying for schools and preparing for the next step in their educational journey.

United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland

For us, we’re keenly aware that at this time next year, we may very well be empty nesters. Our boys are busily preparing to leave; they have started to cross the bridge, but they’re not yet on the other side.

A few weeks ago, our entire family boarded a redeye flight from LAX to visit the Naval Academy, which is one of our boys’ top choices for next year. It was a whirlwind trip but it was fun to see the campus, meet the Cross Country coach and even see a former high school friend who is a current cadet. We don’t know for sure if our boys will end up at the Naval Academy or somewhere else, but it was another reminder that we’re on a bridge, headed for something new.

Jacob (left) and Joshua at the U.S. Naval Academy, where they met their friend Cameron Hurd, a current cadet who was a senior at their high school when they were just piddly little freshmen.

Jen and I are doing our best to enjoy this season, attempting to live in the present moment while peering to the other side of the bridge.

I’m reminded of message I heard recently in which the pastor urged us to celebrate each day and be grateful for each moment. He quoted Psalm 118:24, which says,

“this is the day which Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

We are so grateful for you and your prayers for us. Please pray that we would accept each day the Lord gives us and rejoice!

PHOTO SUCESS! Everyone is smiling and looking at the camera (even the dog). And nobody is in the background. I guess it was all worth it!

Empty But Full of Promise

Recently, I came across a tweet from the Orange County Register that illustrates the spiritual condition of Millennials in Orange County. The tweet linked to an article and said, “Empty, but full of promise: Look inside some of O.C.’s most spectacularly vacant buildings http://bit.ly/20HXpXW.”

The article highlights 3 vacant Orange County buildings, each of which, in it’s own way, depicts a spiritual reality of life in Orange County.

One of the buildings is brand new and is one of the tallest buildings in Orange County. From the top floor one can get an amazing 360 degree view of South Orange County. Yet this building sits vacant, devoid of life.

A second building highlighted is the Bay Theater in Seal Beach. According to the article, this theater was the favorite spot for Steven Spielberg to watch a movie while he was a student at Long Beach State. Yet this historic theater, a memorial to a bygone era, shut down in 2012, giving way to more modern multiplex stadium theaters.

YMCA Building in Santa Ana, California
The YMCA building in Santa Ana was built in 1923 but has been vacant for over 20 years.

The third building highlighted in the article is the YMCA building in Santa Ana, which has now been vacant for more than 20 years.

So what do these buildings tell us about Orange County? What’s the spiritual connection?

I thought about the new modern building with it’s stunning panoramic views. From it, you can see the ocean, the mountains and all that life in the OC has to offer. In a way, this view represents how many Millennials live life here. Many will give their lives trying to make it to the top, achieving the kind of success that would allow them to experience everything that the OC has to offer. But inside, there’s no life. It’s a fleeting pursuit that cannot deliver the kind of fulfillment and purpose that we all desire deep down in the pit of our being.

The Bay Theater represents the simplicity and purity of mid-20th century America. Progressive thinking and technological advances have brought with it the desire for more. The desire for bigger and faster has made us busier and less connected, which has unwittingly deprived us of what many of us need the most – solitude and the opportunity for personal reflection.

The third building in the article is the Young Mens Christian Association (YMCA) building in Santa Ana. Built in 1923, this building has been vacant now for over 20 years. Ironically, this building represents the post-Christian culture in which we now live. Once a mainstay of the community, shaping young men to live lives of character and influence, this building stands as a relic to the influence Christianity had at one time in the community.

Millennials are the largest segment of American culture and yet they are the least churched. Sometimes referred to as the “Me” generation, they long to experience life to the fullest and see the world changed. Yet as a whole, they’re spiritually empty inside. Imagine if we could reach this generation for Jesus and tap into their potential for a lasting impact on our communities, our country and the world! Millennials are truly empty, but full of promise.

Thank you for partnering with us and praying for us as we seek to reach Millennials in Orange County so that they can achieve their true purpose and fulfill the promise of their spiritual potential!

San Diego State Destino!

After several years of prayer and attempts to start a Destino ministry in San Diego, we were able to get a Destino ministry started in 2013. Check at this video, where students share the need and their vision for Destino in San Diego.

Good Times in San Diego

Since 1995, we’ve spent the week after Christmas in San Diego for our annual Winter Conference. This year, we spent an additional weekend in San Diego for our Epic conference.

Combined, over 1000 students were exposed to intimate worship, challenging messages and an opportunity to surrender their hearts more fully to God’s purposes in their lives.

SDWC-Say

At the Epic Conference over MLK weekend, we had an opportunity to meet several student leaders from the University of Arizona. It was exciting to hear their story of how the Lord had been working in their own lives to prompt them to start Epic. It was encouraging to hear them share how 40 students had shown up at their first weekly meeting just a week or so before.

Praise God for how he works in students’ lives at these conferences.

To read these stories through our newsletter, the Lowedown, click here.UA-Epic

Destino at Chico State

Visited Chico State last week. Check out this cool video their students produced while I was there where they share a little bit about Destino at Chico State.

Destino PSW

A few weeks ago, Latino students from all over the PSW region came to Los Angeles for a weekend retreat. Here is a short video that our students put together to share more about DESTINO!

WELCOME TO THE LOWEDOWN

2008-LoweFamily-Xmas

After a several year hiatus, the Lowedown is back in a new “blog” format. We hope this will be a great way to keep our friends and ministry partners updated and connected. Feel free to leave comments. And don’t forget to check out our Prayer Request page. Welcome Back!