La Sangre.
Originally uploaded by Simon Pais.

If you don't want to be lonely, because of lack of new posts, then you need to go to my new website.


A New Year - A New Blog

2006 in Amsterdam
Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

I have a new blog site now, which means that some of you need to change the address on your link. It also means if you want to see view the latest entry you need to make one more click.

Friday, January 13, 2006

On the Road Again

highway "A 9 Pyhrnautobahn", long exposure
Originally uploaded by emphasis

Well, I just finished my talks and interaction here in Blacksburg with those participating in the e4 project.

I really enjoyed connecting with this group of people. They are thinking deeply about what it means to follow Jesus in our world today and that always excites my heart. My only wish is that I would have had more time to get to know each person and more about their personal life stories.

I'm getting ready to have one last meal with my brother and his family before getting on the road again for about 4 1/2 hours to drive to the D.C. area. I remember taking this drive so many times in the past. I have many fond memories of taking this trip from Blacksburg,VA to Woodbridge,VA enjoying the beauty up and down highway 81.

Tonight I will stay at my parents house and fly back to LA on Saturday morning. This year it is my plans to travel less and stay in LA more. I'm excited about coming home and connecting with friends and meeting some new ones as well.

One more reminder, but next week all new posts will be at my new blog site.

From Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA

It always brings back a lot of memories for me coming back to Blacksburg,VA since this is the first place that I started a church - New Life Campus Fellowship. And while the first three years were like a living hell, in the following years was saw the grace of God in abundance, as our struggling group of 24 grew to over 1,000.

Last night and today, I have had the privelage of sharing at the e4 project here at Virginia Tech, which is an intense and intentional training within the church. They have asked me to share about my favorite topic - Jesus and the Kingdom of God. My talks will probably be available for download sometime later this week at download section of the e4 site.

I have also had the chance to stay with my younger brother Joe and his wife and family. It has been such a joy to spend time with them. I have been overwhelmed with their kindness. It was also great to connect with many of those who are on staff with NLCF.

Well, I have to prepare for a number of talks today, so I must go. Remember, this is the last week I will be writing at this blog address, all my blog entries will move to my new address, so make sure you change whatever settings you need to change.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Update on My Dad

As some of you know, my Dad has been in and out of the hospital for close to a month now. I know many are praying for him, so I wanted to give you an update and a quick history of his condition.

Currently his spirits are great, as you can see from the picture. My nephew, his grandson had just called, and nurse Ada was doing some check ups. And though he is doing well emotionally and spiritually, his physical condition is not improving. The current diagnosis is that there are problems within the bladder, which are side effects from the radiation treatment my Dad had a few years ago when he discovered he had prostrate cancer.

Right now my Dad must continually be on a catheter in order to prevent major blood loss and monitor how things are going. In the last couple of days he has had to get a blood transfusion because he as lost too much blood. At times his blood clots as well. Yesterday they were able to move him to a new hospital for the next phase of treatment, that we hope will brig the needed healing to his bladder. (By the way, my Dad was in such good spirits that both his roommate and the nurses are sad to see him move to another hospital.)

His next treatment will be hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The hopes is that this therapy will bring him to health and help his bladder to heal. The way the therapy works is while the patient is inside the oxygen chamber they basically breathe pure oxygen, which increases the oxygen in the blood cells bringing a more speedy and natural enhancement to the body's ability to heal itself.

This treatment was used recently Randy McCloy, the only surviving coal minor from West Virginia. According to CNN he went through "three hyperbaric oxygen treatments during which he was immersed in pressurized oxygen in an effort to reverse the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning and oxygen deprivation."

We are hoping the treatment works. Thank for your prayers. By the way, I will be posting this next week both here and at my new blog, then after this week, I will only be posting at my new blog site.

Monday, January 09, 2006

ANNOUNCEMENT: You are invited to PREVIEW my new site

Lake Louise Banff
Originally uploaded by Jeff Milner.

I started my blogging journey at an invitation from my friend Pavi in the Spring of 2003, when I didn't even know what a blog was at that time. In time, because of different difficulties, we closed the excelsis blogs. I hope someday to retrieve those past blog entries and put the information somewhere.

I then started this blog with blogger in December of 2004. This past year I have been getting much more regular with my entries, about 4-5 a week, and have grown in my love for blogging. There are many reasons why I love to blog. Here are some, in no particular order:

  1. I enjoy turning people on to interesting news items
  2. It's a cool way to encourage, comfort and exhort people to follow Jesus
  3. It allows me to keep up with people I know all over the world
  4. It has become a spiritual discipline for me, causing me to regularly examine my life, the world, God and people.
  5. I love to share things that I am learning about the city I live in - LA, and to help those who live in LA or have an interest in Los Angeles learn about the city and make it a better place.
  6. Photography has become a hobby of mine, so blogging gives me a chance to share cool pictures with others, some that I have taken, and others I have found from friends at flickr.
  7. I love sharing some of my personal ventures as well as things that I'm thinking about, dreaming about and doing.
  8. It helps me to think of new ways to take the LA times (news of the world) and the scripture (news of God) and live more faithfully in God's story and help others do the same.
  9. It gives me the opportunity to share ideas that are important to me, like social justice, becoming more whole, walking with God, being the church today, understanding the scriptures, following Jesus and redeeming the world.
  10. It is one way I hope to bring the goodness of God to others.
With all of that in mind, I wanted to let you know that I am moving my blog to a different site. It is easy to remember because it will be hosted at: www.jrwoodward.net - right now you need to put the www. before jrwoodward, or you won't get there. I'm working on changing that right now. I got this domain name, so that in the future even if I change hosts, my blog address will remain the same. I want to do this as a courtesy of those of you who link to this blog.

You can click here to get a preview of my new blog. I am still working on it, but it is my hopes that it will be even a greater resource for you if you are a regular reader, as well as new readers to this blog. I am encouraged to know that this past month I have on average had more than 1,000 visits a week to this blog from all around the globe.

I would love to know what you think of my new blog, so please take a minute and when you visit the new blog, leave a comment there to let me know what you think. Also, if you are currently linking to my blog, would you be so gracious as to update the address. And if you have a blog site or website and would like to link to this site please click here and add this blog to your site.

I hope this site serves you even better this next year. In a couple of weeks, I will be letting you know about a couple of new sites that will be of interest to you as well, some group blogs that I am involved in developing. They are close to completion.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Three Kinds of People

Today we started a new series at Kairos entitled: Facing our Future with Faith. One thing that is true about people of faith is that they are risktakers. It is also true that fear is one of the biggest enemies of faith.

I've noticed that there tend to be three kinds of people in this world. You have the risktakers, the caretakers and the undertakers. So which one are you? Let's take a quick look at each of them.

First you have the risktakers. If you had to describe them in one word, it would have to be daring. Their life is full of adventure. There is always something happening in them, with them and around them. They are living life on the edge. They are believing God for big things. When I think about risk takers, I think about the friends of the paralytic, who when the crowds were to tight to find the normal way into the house, decided to hop from roof to roof and then saw the tiles of the roof off and disrupt Jesus in the middle of his teaching with sawdust flying in his eyes. They were people who didn't give up, because risktakers see opportunities in every obstacle, while caretakers, on the other hand, see obstacles in every opportunity. And undertakers, well, they don't see anything.

If daring is the word that best describes the risktakers, then duty would have to be the best word that describes the caretakers. These are people who just do things because things should be done. There is no thrill left, no excitement. They aren't believing God for anything new. They always expect the same things. One of their favorite phrases is, "This is the way we have always done it." No adventure anymore in their life, their walk with God or their ministry.

When it comes to ministry and life, the risktakers say, "What great things is God going to do today?" The caretakers say, "I hope nothing really happens today," while the undertakers say, "What is today?"

So you have the risktakers, the caretakers and then the undertakers. If the key word for risktakers is daring, and the key word for caretakers is duty, the key word for undertakers would have to be death.

Do you remember the letter to the church at Saridis? Jesus said, "I know all things you do, and that you have the reputatoin for being alive, but you are dead." These are people who aren't even walking with God anymore. They are going about their business, caring only for themselves, not about advancing the kingdom. There life is like the seed that fell on the thorny soil; people who hear the good news and accept it, but the message gets crowded out by the cares of this world, the lure of weath, and so the result is, no crop is produced. That's the undertaker.

So which of these three people are you? Which one of these people will characterize your life this coming year? Are you going to be a risktaker, a caretaker or an undertaker. Which do you want to be?

If you want to be a risktaker, then you need to tune into tomorrows blog. Until then, think about your life, or check out the latest podcast from Kairos Los Angeles Live.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Becoming a More Emotional Healthy Church

man of Sorrow! (not me)
Originally uploaded by Pesi.

Our community is in the process of working toward our common goals for this coming year. I have surveyed and talked with many people in our congregation and tomorrow we will be in dialog about our goals for next year.

One goal that I have for our congregation this year is becoming a more emotionally healthy church. Peter Scazzero has written an excellent book on this topic which our staff has been reading and discussing.

Besides looking at our general spiritual formation, Peter helps us look at our emotional development as well. He helps those of us who are Type A's look at areas that we tend to overlook. Here is a list of some of the parts of our emotional life that Peter helps us explore:

  1. Looking Beneath the Surface
  2. Breaking the Power of the Past
  3. Living in Brokeness and Vulnerability
  4. Receiving the Gifts of Limits
  5. Embracing Grieving and Loss
  6. Loving Incarnationally
I would say that becoming an emotionally healthy church will be recieved by our congregation as a good goal. I will leave you with one good quote from Peter, as he is talking about how he and his wife were learning what it meant to die to self:

Jesus does call us to die to ourselves. "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself daily and take up his cross and come follow me." (Mark 8:34) The problem was that we died to the wrong things. We mistakenly thought that dying to ourselves for the sake of the gospel meant dying to self-care, to feelings of sadness, to anger, to grief, to doubt, to struggles, to our healthy feelings of saddness, and to passions we had enjoyed before our marriage.

If you get a chance, I would encourage you to take the emotional health inventory to see how you are doing in your emotional development.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

How Rich Are You?

Have you ever thought you just didn't have any money?

It is easy to do because we tend to compare ourselves with those who have more than we do. We are always thinking about upward mobility. We hardly ever think about those who are much less fortunate than us.

When you get a minute take this quick test to see how rich you are
when you compare yourself with the population of the world at large. And then think about giving to the Solis Foundation this next year, to help those less fortunate.

It was John Haughey the Jesuit theologian who said, "We read the gospel as if we had no money and we spend our money as if we know nothing of the gospel." Ouch!

NetNewsWire Service is Great

So as I mentioned in the last blog, I was having some difficulty with my netnewswire, but the people at NetNewsWire responded very quickly to my needs, and after following their intructions, everything is back to normal and my NetNewsWire is working faster than ever.

If you have a mac, I would say I prefer the layout and accessability off-line that NetNewsWire gives, as opposed Bloglines.

Bloglines vs NetNewsWire

I arrived safely in LA. I arrived just in time for my sabbath day, which is typically Thursday. It should help me adjust back to LA time.

I was looking forward to catching up on some blogs, but for the last five days I have had great difficulty using NetNewsWire, which is the feeder that I have been using for the last couple of months. I have really enjoyed the layout of it, but it has been acting strange lately, like closing without me being able to read anything. Even the weeks prior it was taking quite a long time to load up. So I decided to go with what is probably the most popular feeder of all, and from what I understand one of the oldest feeders

I would suggest that if you like to read a number of blogs on a regular basis, using
Bloglines is a good way to do it. If you want to subscribe to my blog, simply put in Dream Awakener, and it should come up first.

For all you Techies out there, would you have any suggestions when it comes to the best feed sources as it relates to Mac and/or Windows?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

LA Here I Come

la mountians
Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

Well I'm packing up and getting ready for my trip back to LA. I leave Amsterdam at 10:10 a.m. and then I will fly into Atlanta. From Atlanta I will fly to LA.

I'm looking forward to seeing my friends and enjoying the warmer weather. I love the seasons, but my favorite one is Spring, and LA is like a continuous Spring.

I feel that God has used my time in Amsterdam well. Today Joe and I met together with some leaders from Zolder 50 in Amsterdam and later with some leaders from The Almaz who have a cool church in Keiv, Ukraine.

Tonight I was able to connect with Todd again, as well as my friend Sander. We talked a bit about The Solis Foundation and how they might partner with us in helping the poor and oppressed. I will miss some of my old friends here and the new friends that I met.

I'm looking forward to my next entry when I return.

Monday, January 02, 2006

The Top 50 Cities

As this last year has come to a close, it is always good to reflect a bit on the past as we look toward the future. One of the things I like to analyze are the different ways that I spend my time. I have to say that making entries to this blog is something that I have increasingly enjoyed this past year.

So as a person who likes to blog and enjoys keeping track of stats, I have a counter that helps me to know where the different readers of my blog come from. So today, I would like to let you know top 50 cities that read my blog. I will give them in order. In other words, the first city is the city that has the greatest amount of regular readers, and so forth. Drum roll please!

  1. Los Angeles, CA (Surprise, surprise)
  2. Columbia, MO (I reckon I know some people there moving to LA soon)
  3. Chicago, IL (Not sure who is there reading regularly)
  4. Lansing, MI (I have some friends there)
  5. Orlando, FL (Travel here quite a bit and have a number of friends here)
  6. Amsterdam, NL (This one has climbed rapidly this past month, maybe due to my visit)
  7. West Palm Beach, FL (Not sure who is here)
  8. Fayetteville, NC (I know about some people here)
  9. Blacksburg, VA (My former place of residence)
  10. Greensboro, NC (I'm amazed that two places from NC made the top ten)
  11. St. Loius, MO (Have visited there this past year)
  12. Kiev, Ukraine (I visited this past year and they have moved up in the standings recently)
  13. South Jordan, Utah (Have some friends here)
  14. Phoenix, AZ (Have some friends here)
  15. Waterloo, IO (I know a number of people in Iowa)
  16. Budapest, HU (I visited last year, my third foriegn country in my top 25)
  17. Pickering, OH (I have many friends in Ohio, but not sure where this is)
  18. Winter Park, FL (Basically Orlando area, where I have many friends)
  19. Warrenton, MO (A state I visited three times this past year)
  20. Columbus, OH (Definetly know people here)
  21. San Francisco, CA (Another California city in the top 25)
  22. Atlanta, GA (I have a number of friends here, last real visit was a couple of years ago)
  23. Richmond, VA (I lived there once and have some friends who live there now)
  24. Denton, TX (Definetly know some people here)
  25. Mesa, AZ (Know some folks in Arizona) I won't be commenting on the last 25
  26. Denver, CO
  27. Westminster, MD
  28. Troy, MI
  29. Las Vegas, NM
  30. Daytona Beach, FL
  31. Corunna, MI
  32. Ann Habor, MI
  33. Roanoke, VA
  34. Indianopolis, IN
  35. Washington D.C.
  36. Eagan, Minnesota
  37. New York, New York
  38. Tampa, FL
  39. Arlington, VA
  40. Dunkik, Maryland
  41. Amstelveen, Netherlands
  42. Vancouver, WA
  43. Plano, TX
  44. Bloomington, IN
  45. Oak Park, IL
  46. Sunnyvale, CA
  47. Minneapolis, MN
  48. Madison, WI
  49. Durango, CO
  50. Glen Burnie, MD
Other cool cities with some representation are:

Paris, FR
London, UK
Toronto, CA
Sao Paulo, BR
Osaka, JP
San Jose, CA
Copenhagen, DK
Sydney, AU
Carcus, VE
Malibu, CA
Honolulu, HI
Dortmund, G
Ho Chi Minh City, VN
Bangladore, IN
Cairo, Eygpt
Santiago, Chile
Lima, Peru
Karachi, Pakistan
Lisbon, Portugal
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel Aviv, Isreal
Munich, Germany
Helsinki, FN
Milano, IT
Brussels, Belgium
Barcelona, Spain
Tehran, Iran
San Pedro Sula, Honduras
La Paz, Bolivia
Casa Blanca, Morocco
Tokyo, Japan
Florence, Italy
Hong Kong
Singapore and others...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Goodbye 2005, Hello 2006

2006 in Amsterdam
Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

Well, 2005 is gone. You can't bring it back, the past is now past. It is now 2006, a New Year, with new possibilities.

What are you hoping that God will do in and through your life this year? One of my favorite verses in the scripture is: "Without faith it is impossible to please God. For he who comes to God must believe that He exists and will reward those who earnestly seek Him."

As I say goodbye to 2005, I am looking to 2006 with eyes of faith. I am dreaming about what God might do this year. I am thinking about what He desires to do in and through my life and the life of our community, Kairos Los Angeles. I am thinking about the many ways that God wants to bring more of heaven to earth, through people like you and me.

This is always a great time to reflect on the past and look toward the future, dreaming God's dream.

Helen Keller, the blind and deaf woman made history by learning to overcome her disabilities, was once asked if there was anything worse than being blind. She answered, "Oh yes! There is something worse than being blind. It is being able to see and not having any vision."

Happy New Year from Amsterdam

happy new year
Originally uploaded by dream awakener.

As soon as the clock turns Midnight, pandemonium breaks out in Amsterdam. People open up their bottles of champagne, and all of the sudden it is raining champagne everywhere. Of course it is so much fun the first time that you spray out the champagne,you have to do it again. So with fireworks going off randomly, a bit of dancing and singing in the streets, add a little champagne for some rain, and you get the idea of how Amsterdammer's bring in the New Year.