They like Jesus, but not the Church

If you've ever seen the Relevant Magazine, the Relevant Podcast is the most excellent companion and a good way to spend a drive time...

The March 16, 2007 podcast (Time Mark: 29:00) discusses a book he wrote called "They like Jesus, but not the Church." I haven't read the book, and I don't know that I ever will. But the issues discussed in this interview rang so clear that I can't stop gushing to myself over it. It's printed by Zondervan and Dan Kimble (sp?) pastors a congregation in San Jose, CA called VINTAGE FAITH CHURCH.

Click on the above link and take a listen to this podcast.


Local Live Houston Musicians

My friend Vic 'Nash'' Espinoza singing at Doneraki's at Gulfgate Mall (Houston)
My friend, Lourdes sings at the wonderful Isla Coqui, a Boricua restaurant in (1801 Durham & I-10) Houston. Make it one of your weekend dinner choices. Sings the 1st Fridays of each month. They actually brought out the bag of percussion instruments and started passing them out in the crowd on the last few songs.

I love the impact of 'live music' in any environment! The blended history of Latino music that I heard last night was so rich! Vic brought accordion sounds from the German Polka heritage that helped form part of the spectrum of Mexico's contributions. Lourdes crooned the timeless ballads of Puerto Rico's European history.

Just today I discussed that it is interesting how lyrics can dig into random parts of memory & psyche and connect the points in your personal story to cause you to connect with your soul. I realize the importance that Archangel Lucifer held in directing music in the Heavenlies. Critical in our lives is the need to see music redeemed! We polarize religion, society and other areas often based on musical preferences.

Tool for creative outlets? or Weapon for destructive criticism?


Fonville Leadership Students!

[Click or Right-click on pictures for more options]

HAOC chartered a bus to take approximately 45 deserving students in the Leadership Classes at Sam Houston High and Fonville Middle Schools to the Houston Zoo for an educational outing including preparation activities for the TAKS tests coming up soon.

It becomes obvious how much an investment of time and care goes a long way with these incredible students!



ABC Nightline: Rick Warren: Losing his Flock?

Video from Yahoo! - Nightline Online: Losing his Flock?
What's your purpose?:
Nightline Online: Losing his Flock?


ABC News: Speaking in Tongues

ABC News: Speaking in Tongues: Alternative Voices in Faith


I wonder if this is validated anywhere?


Bible Class in Public Schools?!! [Urban Onramps]


Would teaching the Bible in public schools be of interest to you:

Rudy said, "I was stunned to see this on the cover of TIME. I thought it was a parody. It's not."


Leave some comments!


Galveston. TX

Mom & Dad came to the SilverLeaf Seaside Resort on Galveston Island this week for a much needed time of rest. My sister and I visited, and others of the family are hoping to come as well through the week. Mom will celebrate her 70th birthday next weekend, if God wills, and more of the family will be going to Slumber Falls for that celebration as well. I was able to visit for a few brief hours and woke to see my first sunrise in a long time. I enjoyed the rest overnight (I always rest well at the coast for some unexplained reason. It's good to be close to family again.


First Sunday back at Tab!

March 25, 2007
What a privilege! Back at home in Houston, and seeing all that is taking place.
Rosie and Ramiro being faithful with an adult English speaking class, Rev. Santos Espinoza standing in the pulpit for Pastor Cantu while he is recovering from poor health. Carlos Valle bringing the message on obedience (2 Kings 5) and I was able to share the Evening Message for the baptismal service: "Everyone wants to go to Heaven, but no one wants to die."
Baptismal Candidates: Rev. Espinoza was prepared with an original group of 4 people, the number grew to 9 by Sunday night! One of this number was someone who decided to respond to his desire to follow Christ's teaching in obedience as a witness to everyone... they all now stand before us as newly committed Christians.

[Brief outline of the Sunday Message that I brought
for Baptismal candidates on March 25, 2007, Houston, TX]

Everyone wants to go to Heaven,
but nobody wants to die!

Baptism in obedience: (Romans 6:3-4)

GRAPHIC: The Lord; His Castle; The Storehouse; The Fields; The Serfs

The Lord of the Castle provided protection and a place to store food for times of siege.
The Serfs lived and worked outside the walled gates, but knew that they had access in times of trouble. They worked for the Lord (King) of the Castle to bring in the harvest.

The knights of the Castle were willing to die for their Lord. Their sworn allegiance committed them unto death; but to die for something, you have to have something to live for. When the street is calling young men and women to die for a Street Sign, Handkerchief or Neighborhood they have committed themselves. The church has a similar mandate that we are largely not fulfilling.

To Die FOR something, you have to be dead TO the flesh/world (Romans 8:13) and dead IN Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

The Road of the Cross symbolizes Sacrifice and Committment. This call to daily action is reflected by a willingness to let go of things that are not really ours to gain what has been prepared for our eternity in Christ. (Luke 9:23-24)

It is essential that we allow ourselves to 'die' in a figurative sense as the seed does when it falls into the ground. It cannot bear fruit unless it does so, but the potential for production from a single seed is exponentially greater than the consumption of that one seed. (John 12:24)

The harvest fields are ready... the main ingredient missing is laborers... Pray the Lord of the Harvest to send forth more obedient laborers into his harvest. (Luke 10:2)



Houston Nights

Probably one of the best thing about Houston is the night time. Much cooler, less humidity, and my Dollie is out of work. It has been good to take a stroll, have a snack or just be together. We're not empty nesters by a long shot, but we are blessed to have 4 grown young men taking strides

D'Amico's Dinner
D'Amicos dinner on Wednesday night was a wonderful Italian food experience, but I must say that within the context of reference to the Liotti Cucina, it was a moderate second.

Recent Events in Houston (Please Pray!)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Well, time to go to work. My new routine... breakfast, coffee, and Sam Houston High School... in that order.
It was good to see Luis in his environment planning school activities to benefit students & staff.
The only recent challenge is to come alongside my 'suegro' (father-in-law) who is now in a private room at Methodist Hospital, after spending the night in the emergency room. A mild case of pneumonia has made it difficult for him to breathe, and chills and a fever have him hospitalized until he gets better.
Please pray for the Cantu family with several areas of physical need.


fried fast food

You have new Picture Mail!
Originally uploaded by rmaxtorres.

Houston's first A&W meal after a much needed nap on my first day back.
I couldn't resist putting a food picture on now that I'm back in Houston.

KPVU Radio Interview

You have new Picture Mail!
Originally uploaded by rmaxtorres.

The KPVU radio program interview will air March 24 for BCM internships


First Fruits of BCM KidSmart Garden

Their hard work paid off in the garden. (thanks for the idea Shadie)

Exodus -Day4:Monday

This is the final leg home! Slept in Tucumcari, NM after being stiffed at the hotel i had arranged to stay at. I stayed across the street at the Apache Motel and had breakfast at Kix on 66 next door. [I can now say i have had my Kix on Route 66]. This is my favorite stop on Route 66 because of the big Memorial.
Now on to Amarillo, DFW and HOUSTON! {I think they already have a list of things i'm supposed to do as soon as I get home... and that's a good thing}.


Exodus -Day3:Sunday

After sleeping in Williams, AZ (down the street from the Grand Canyon) I had a great breakfast at the Pine Country Restaurant (cool Hwy66 shrine) and walked around to see some of the cool stuff (like a red caboose). Then I HAD to stop at the Meteor Crater to see a hole in the ground. [ok, just in my nerd mode] The wind gusts across the desert reached 56mph so they made us come down from a cool vista point. But then I (we, me & Dunny) got to see an Astronaut Hall of Fame and it was cool to see my classmate from High School listed on that wall. Thanks Bernard!
The Dinosaur adventure was definitely scary (not) and the rest was road til Albuquerque where I ate dinner at the Frontier Restaurant. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
"if life is a race, then this is the pit stop"-Starbucks Quote


Exodus - Day 2: Saturday

PC USERS: click on the picture to cause the next photo to appear.

Saturday morningly; March 21, 2007
I said Farewell to The Carrasco family and left Pasadena, CA into the haze of the early morning. A large number of motorcycles came roaring over the rise behind me and the first helmet that passed me was tiger-striped pink, orange and black. Not until the first few bikes chugged by did I realize that the 20 plus group was an 'all female' motorcycle club. (the pink flag on the last bike confirmed my suspicions). As I rolled into the desert of Barstow, CA I stopped for oil, gas, water & a SugarFree Redbull. I lay in the cool grass under the fresh shade of a majestic palm tree (memories of Saudia Arabia). I found my old friend, the Historic Route 66 (aka Higway 40), again taking me into the Mojave Desert. A High Performance Mazda zoomed by with the unique privilege of being trailered behind a U-Haul... well, I thought of the benefits of being able to put all my belongings in my little Integra... and I am getting much better gas mileage than that big truck.
I was happy because of the speed with which I was traveling, I vaguely remembered that for the past 7 months that I have driven Hwy 40 there has been a detour and bridge construction through a considerable section of highway. (grrr) But soon the High Desert fed through the mountain pass where Laughlin, Bullhead City & Needles beamed in the green irrigated valley below. A famous burger was my heaviest meal all day (keeps me from getting sleepy) and a face to face encounter with a bull elk was my last grin before I slept in Williams, AZ (down the road from the Grand Canyon).

Pasa-git down-dena!

PC USERS: click on the picture to advance to the next one.

The house on Navarro has a pretty consistent routine... and it has to. There is lot's to do, and that same 24 that we get, that's what they get. It was good to see Sam and remember our first cup of coffee together about 5 years ago. Micah is a treasure and has her own morning routine with Papi. The screen door latch triggered a 'warm fuzzy' moment thinking about my West Texas childhood... I love a screen door.

Three (3) Little Fairy Princesses

You have new Picture Mail!
Originally uploaded by rmaxtorres.
What A Surprise! Guess who? It turned into Houston Day in Pasadena, California (after a day in -the original- Disneyland) when 3 little Princesses from H-Town were representin'(even this photographer is on his way back to Houston after 8 months in Northern California)


EPA Exodus

Leaving the Bay Area... sad :(
Going home... PRICELESS! :)
I've never gone through the Pacheco Pass in rush hour traffic before today... don't really think I wanna do it again any time soon. Getting to Interstate 5 is a beautiful drive, except for the brake lights in front of you.

Interstate 5 is nice & smooth, but I missed the winding curves until I got to Grapevine and the Hill Climb, Curves & Construction brought adventure in the night... Made it to Navarro Avenue, Pasadena just fine.


Industorious Clock

I was looking through some of the ancient archives from 2003/2004 and found a broken link to Yugo Nakamura's Industorious Clock!, so I fixet it! I know, misspelled, but that's his spelling, and it's still cool!!! [check out his site]

BCM Last few days...

Jesus & Your Job

Nancy Ortberg preached a sermon at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church on a great perspective on Jesus & Your Job. Click on the URL to view this excellent video.


The 40 Developmental Assets

At Bayshore tonight, several presenters spoke on the impact of the 40 Developmental Assets in their lives at the BCM Family & Volunteer Workshop [Taller Familiar]. Karla, Calvin, Isabella & Chava shared the impact of community, family, programs & individuals in helping them to overcome many obstacles in their lives and to be able to dream big and do great things in their lives. Many parents, volunteers and Junior Staff were present with the BCM Directors and staff for an informative overview of the Search Institute's 40 Developmental Assets. Obvious by all the contributions was the reality that none of us can make it alone. As the old addage says, "You know one thing when you see a turtle on top of a fencepost... it didn't get there by itself!" Thanks to everyone who made the evening wonderful! [especially Tina & Xitlali who made the Award Winning Pozole! [Wikipedia]] Looking forward to the next 'Taller Familiar'! I hope they invite me to present again.

Way Kool Toy!

This surprise present is a Limited Edition Dunny of the Azteca Series from www.kidrobot.com. I appreciate this gift from 'one eternal child' to another!

XTRM gratitude


BCM Farewell Expressions

I'm gonna miss these munchkins, a bunches. :(
We have had many celebrations & wistful moments, with a few more to come in the next few days. It will be wonderful to go home to my family, but a bitter-sweet feeling pervades my departure from the East Palo Alto city limits.

Karaoke Killer!

You have new Picture Mail!
Originally uploaded by rmaxt.
I hope Freddy Fender will forgive me for butchering his classics!
... but a good time was had by all... even the Violent Femmes. ;)

St. Samuel impromptu Going Away party

Samuel, Gabrielle & Andy cooked up a NICE SUDDEN surprise for me today! These young people, and all the kids at St. Samuel, are awesome and are def up to doin some great things w their lives. Thanks yo! I know I was making it hard to be pinned down, but you persisted and I feel the love of all the St. Samuel family. Sad to be leaving, but we're just extending the family to Houston, and you are welcome to your home on the 3rd Coast.


Su Hong aftermath!

Su Hong aftermath!
Originally uploaded by rmaxt.
Lotsa good food & a really fun evening! Thanks BCM staff & family *& Lady Em* for lotsa great memories here in NorCal!

The Intersection of Emerging & Urban

If you are able to go to Chris Brook's Blog or Up/Rooted you will see a dialog on the Intersection of Urban & Emergent as relates to new models of Christianity in America. Please take the time to visit those BLOGS and get involved if you have something valuable to contribute.

========= this is the post i submitted on both of these blogs ==========

well Chris, I too am wondering how much of this EC/Urban conversation reflects a congregation/dialogue/diatribe of predominantly immigrant peoples?

I see '1st - recent' generation immigrant church families that are having their indigenous Emerging Leaders siphoned into the 'exciting' new church in the hood. I've been in exploratory conversations with some 'safari leaders' who enjoy the 'Urban Trip' and have even 'bagged trophies for Jesus,' but budget boards and prejudicial viewpoints (on both sides) have not deemed it fit to bring out that new 'pair-o-dimes' ? that would allow us to have deeper partnerships. My challenge is to encourage indigenous leaders to 'expect the best' of their safari-ing brothers. Tribal [a.k.a. FAMILY] respect is still holding us together and we have weathered multi-hour famines, flag-pole sittings, and are the better for it... but we're no longer a minority! (and growing) The "Western" world (& church) still has a long way to go. As recent as this past week I was able to experience verbal expressions of hatred to my cultural heritage, and I dealt with it as most of my history dictated: 'Be noble. Say nothing. Know that you are better than that.'

In support of ICor12-Body Ministry, I know each of us serves a vital purpose and are necessary in the body. We know that we will always have the 'poor' with us [Mark 14:7]; but I didn't know I was poor! I just knew that my friends had really cool toys. Now, things are better a generation later, and I am able to buy my children cool toys [and me a MacBook! ?] , but we still don't live like my Suburban friends... and that's ok. My children are now expanding their horizons and one of my sons will be the first male in the history of our family to graduate from a College or University. I would say he has his own idea of an Emerging Church model... and it's gonna rock, and it's gonna be diverse, and it's gonna be practical. I just don't know that he will write a book coz he's gonna be busy doin' the stuff!

So that's where those of us who believe that we 'get it' can come alongside and support them [urban leaders]. Serve them by promoting opportunities to resource their vision with training, evaluation, sustainability, impact, greenbacks or even pizza.

My own personal experience with one of those EC models was when they were directly across the street from a school we were serving with an outreach program, we couldn't get volunteers because everyone was a long commute away. Bitter, nope! Just observing. They made it in that same night to their 'unplugged' coffee house on the same night, but we couldn't somehow get them to work with 'THOSE' kids.

I'd like to hear how other multi-generational immigrant congregations/ministries/outreaches are handling this concern of seeing our own emerging leaders being wooed into lucrative (don't blame 'em) arrangements that negatively impact urban development.

Thanks for hearing my heart.

"As urban America goes, so goes the world." -Fred Lynch


Who broke the cookie cutter?

I wrote this after looking around in MySpace at people that I respect as great friends...

Date: Mar 8, 2007 9:01 AM
Just an observation this morning...
The random visio/audio gate was distracted in so many ways by the variety of expressions of 'upright/upstanding' people that I love and care about.

Wistfuil thoughts of what it 'used to be like' when all (majority) of generational expressions sounded alike were contrasted by the utterances of 'YouTube/MySpace/Mail.Dot.Com'. It's not your grandma's religion no more, baby.

Where is that Golden Thread!? I've gotta find what is that one thing that MUST run concurrently in the hearts of those desiring to be & do what is uplifting, encouraging, and edifying. It ain't comin' easy!