Education: B.A. Communication Studies, Biola, 2000; M.A. Spiritual Formation and Soul Care (ISF).
At Biola since: 2010
My StrengthsFinder top five: Ideation, Connectedness, Empathy, Communication, Adaptability.
1. What do you do in your job (briefly)?
I work in the Spiritual Development Department (just across from the gym), overseeing spiritual development events like Fives, and Sabbathing, as well as Spiritual Leadership Training, and several other jobs in partnership with my amazing colleagues in Student Development.
Five most influential books:
• The Great Divorce – C.S. Lewis
• East of Eden – John Steinbeck
• After you Believe – N.T. Wright
• The Inner Voice of Love – Henri Nouwen
• The Gayety of Grace – Edna Hong
Your testimony (in 200 words or less):
I was raised going to church and Christian schools. From as early as I can remember, I knew and believed that I was a sinner in need of a Savior. I felt certain that Jesus accomplished that saving through his death and Resurrection. But before 7th grade, I understood Jesus to be a rich but distant benefactor. And so it was at Hume Lake’s Meadow Ranch that Jesus was first presented to me in relational terms. It’s funny that now, some twenty years later, I still need to be daily reminded that his grace in my life is personal, not distant.
If God put you completely in charge of creating Heaven, what would it be like?
For starters, our ability to fly (Superman style…no wings – wings just seem so exhausting!) would be accompanied by an unending sense of, Oh my gosh! I can’t believe I’m flying! Because what would be worse than not caring that you were flying?
Beyond superpowers, I’m not sure I wouldn’t want what I suspect God already has in mind. I keep seeing a table set with great food, surrounded by great people. People who have stories that have intersected with my own, except I didn’t know of their side of that story until now.
What are five things you are most thankful for in your life right now?
• My wife, Beth whom I respect and love beyond what I would have ever expected.
• Three healthy, hilarious kids who remind me to think through how God loves me so that I can pass that on to them.
• A job that fits and challenges me.
• The Adirondack chairs on my porch that have come to trigger deep memories of time with God.
• Friends who are genuinely becoming my family.
What job do you fantasize about having?
I’m pretty excited about the job I currently have!
Last book you read?
The Gift of Being Yourself, David Benner
Brush with fame/celebrity?
My dad worked at Torrance High School, which has a beautiful campus that is frequently used in television shows. In the 90’s, Beverly Hills 90210 was filmed there and my dad was able to get me to the set on a couple of different occasions.
Who plays you in your bio-pic?
Some days, I think Clooney. Other days, I’m sure it would have to be Brad Pitt.
What’s your ringtone?
My ringtone isn’t notable. However, when I receive a text, an Imperial Storm Trooper says (hypnotized by the Force of course), “These aren’t the droids we’re looking for.” Every time I hear it I think to myself, "Weak minded fools."
Favorite electronic device?
What do your friends say is your best quality?
I know and can talk about the fact that I don’t have it all together. Since 100% of my friends don’t have it all together either, this usually puts my friends at ease.
What natural talent do you wish you had?
Well I suppose there are a lot of talents I wished I had. But even then, natural talents need to be developed. I have some natural talent as a musician. But I’m not a good musician because I haven’t taken the time to developed that natural talent further. So I suppose I wished I had the natural talent of having more discipline.
What is your life theme song?
Rich Mullins made a demo version of a song called Hard to Get ten days before he died in a car accident. He was never able to record the studio version, but I think it’s probably better that way because the honesty of his search is complimented by the grittiness of the recording. The song concludes with these beautiful words to God that express my own heart and experience back to me: "I can’t see how you’re leading me, unless you’ve led me here…to where I’m lost enough to let myself be led. I see you’ve been here all along I guess." My story is not one of triumphantly learning how to let God lead me. It’s more a story of being lost, needing God and finding that he’s been leading me even as I’ve become lost.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
Any married person would tell you that what they have now is not what they had at the first moment they met each other. So no. But I believe that attraction and great hope for the future can happen right away. To call that moment Love is a luxury of retrospect. I’ve seen my three children come into the world and I’m sure that I loved them the first time I’ve seen them. But even there, what we share now is not what I shared then.
Do you think it is possible to live with no regrets?
Yes, but not because I believe it is possible to live without mistakes you wished you hadn’t made. I think it is possible to live without being crushed by guilt and shame from your past. I think it is possible to live in a way that my past failures do not determine my future. Christ’s forgiveness makes it that way. I don’t think the goal is to live a mistake-free life. God has a way of using everything in our life for good.
What is your definition of success? Do you consider yourself to be successful?
I define success in relational terms. Being made in the image of God means that we have the capacity for relationality. I think I’m successful because I have incredible people in my life. I’ve known my best friend since we were in Jr. High. My family knows me and still loves me. On their deathbed, nobody inventories all the tasks they’ve executed at work. They always think about the people they’ve loved and who have loved them in return.
How much is your self-worth and identity determined by your job and your success at it?
Probably more than I’d like to admit. There is something to be said for meaningful work done well. Work should reflect, but not define the person doing the job. I suppose I’m aware of that tension in my life.
What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?
Each of my children spent their first three hours of life with me. The most significantly beautiful thing I’ve ever seen has been to watch them respond to my presence. They recognized love even then.
In what areas of your life is it most difficult to trust God?
With my family’s well being.