Monday, June 26, 2006


You'll love this guy. Trust me...

more sushi party pics

the fire that daiki and tony started trying to make dessert
the salmon/avocado mixture that hiro prepared

trying to eat up the rest of the dish
consuming the remainder of the evening's meal Posted by Picasa

Sushi Party Part III

Here's the crew. We had a great time preparing the sushi and eating it, along with some miso soup and watermelon. Next time you'll have to join us. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Inspired by the World Cup

Hey guys. I just busted both big toes today playing soccer with some Japanese friends. Us Americans have sure been slow catching on to this soccer thing. It's pretty awesome. Just thought you might like to know that both of my big toenails are completely blue.

Suica Wari (Watermelon Smash)

This was at Sushi Party Part III. Watch Akira smash the watermelon after stumbling a great deal.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

@ the Ashraham (Ashley/Abraham) Wedding!!!

My brother just tied the knot on Saturday, June 10th. Maris and I had a great time with family and friends. Everything about the wedding was awesome. I was honored to give the wedding message for Abe and Ashley. We all wore flip-flops. If you want to know why you'll have to read the manuscript of my message. It's about 10 minutes long. Here you go:

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news. We just heard this passage from Isaiah 52. By now, you’ve probably noticed the flip-flops that the wedding party is wearing this afternoon. There is good reason for the selection in footwear. Abe and Ashley wanted me to share a few words about text in Isaiah. As I reflected on this passage I thought about what is good news. Immediately I thought of the news that a friend is getting married, or better yet, a brother. It’s good news when you receive an invitation to a wedding. So you can imagine my excitement when you (Abe) finally began talking to me and asking me about marriage. That was great news. I was thrilled as many of you were. When you (Abe) get an idea in your head it’s not too long before the idea comes to fruition. Your elaborate plan to surprise Ashley by calling her up, pretending you were pulled over in the Yukon on family vacation and needed her to find your driver’s license was awesome. She followed the lights in our house to the basement where she found the Christmas tree with the DVD gift underneath. The DVD directs her to the play park where you’re just chilling on the swing set in a tuxedo, my tuxedo. Then you guys take a brief walk, Ashley stumbles in her high heels, you pop the question, she’s speechless with an implied, “Yes” and not much later we all receive the invitation in the mail. Now that’s good news. And the postman’s feet who brought this news were beautiful. That’s the news that we’re celebrating today.
But that is not the good news that you guys wanted me to share about this afternoon. You wanted me to speak about the good news of the Greatest Wedding Feast of all time, the marriage between Jesus and His people. How much more beautiful are the feet of those who bring this good news. Each relationship has a unique story. Your story is different than Maris’ and my story. So there’s also a story to the relationship between Jesus and His bride.
The story goes like this: God created His world. Mankind was the pinnacle of His creation. But man was unfaithful to God. In fact, all through the history of the world, man has been unfaithful to God. Mankind has cheated on God, chased after other lovers. But God has not divorced His people. Nor has He turned a blind eye to our adulterous behavior. There is a price to pay for seeking after other things instead of God. This price is death. We all know that relationships take sacrifice. This relationship took the ultimate sacrifice, the giving up of a life. At this point in the story, 2000 years ago, God, out of His steadfast love and mercy, sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to live the perfectly faithful life, hang on the cross in our stead, and conquer death so that we can be in right relationship to God. This is the good news. Just as you, Ashley, had to say, “Yes” to my brother’s proposal so we too must say, “Yes” to God. The bride responds to the groom, so we must respond to Jesus. This isn’t a one time decision. It’s a daily decision to respond, “Yes” to Christ. Abe and Ashley, today is not the only time you say, “Yes” to one another. It’s everyday.
As I look around this room, I know many have responded positively to Christ and are presently growing in relationship with him, turning from the adulterous relationship with sin towards the love of Christ. But many in here have not said, “Yes” to Christ and are still living unfaithfully towards their Creator. Abe and Ashley’s bare feet, or at least almost bare feet, is to signify that they want to be a couple who brings this good news to people who need it. The only way they can do that is to experience this good news themselves daily.
After this ceremony and later this evening, we will celebrate your wedding together. But you were limited in the number of people you could invite. And still your party may get crowded, the cake will run out, the peanuts will be eaten, the pop will run dry, and the dancers will tire. This is not the case with the Great Wedding Feast. There will always be room for more, we will continually be filled with joy, and we will never tire of dancing. As long as we still have breath, we can respond to Jesus, our Bridegroom. He wants to redeem us back to Himself. Respond to Him.
Abe and Ashley, you have responded to Jesus and you want to help others respond as well. The other passage you’ve chosen will help you in this if you heed it. So we turn to Colossians 3. Verse 12 through 14 says to “put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you; so you also must forgive. And above all these things put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” In this passage, you are referred to as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved. Abe, out of all the women in the world, you chose Ashley to be your wife. To be Abe Deaver’s chosen one is quite an honor. In the same way God has chosen both of you to be His beloved. That is an awesome reality. You are forgiven by the blood of Christ. His saving work on the cross is the foundation of your identity as holy and beloved. Embracing this truth is the only way you can live out Colossians 3:12-14.
The text says to put on several things. So when you get up each morning, to compliment your beautiful feet, this is what you are to put on as clothing; compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. These are not the clothes that this world wears. You might look a bit strange when you wear compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. But you’re in good company as these are the clothes that Christ wore. And these are the clothes that the men and women who bring good news wear.
The passage goes on to say that you are to bear with one another. This means that your minor differences shouldn’t become major tension points. For instance, you have to bear with each other when one of you is a little behind the clock, or when one of you pokes fun at others and it gets annoying, or any other pet peeves you have with each other. Maris and I are learning to bear with one another as newly weds and so will you guys. The vows you just took are a great reminder of bearing with one through every circumstance.
Next, the text says if one has a complaint against another, you are to forgive as the Lord has forgiven you. A good friend of mine, James Beecher, says that the thing he encourages his friends to look for in a wife is forgiveness. Let me speak from experience. Complaints against one another are inevitable. So forgiveness is necessary. It’s at the core of who we are in Christ. We are people who need to forgive each other and be forgiven by each other.
Finally, verse 14, and above all these things put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. This love is not the romantic kind, although God does want you to love each other in that way, and you will, you better. But this love is agape. Agape is giving each other what they need, not want they want. Loving each other romantically will come naturally. But loving each other with agape will not. You will have to work hard at this kind of love. This is the kind of sacrificial love that Christ demonstrated most fully when He went to the cross for us. This is the love that is defined in 1 Corinthians 13, where it says love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. This is what will bind everything together in perfect harmony.
There is no greater training field for learning to love than in marriage. Abe, the better you love Ashley, the better you will love God and others. Ashley, the better you love Abe, the better you will love God and others. As a couple, you will bring good news to this world. And beautiful will be your feet. And one day Jesus will return to sweep His people off their feet and live with Him in marital bliss forever.