My Brazilian Jiu-Jistu Journey moves at the pace of cold molasses. The truth is, I’m keenly aware that this slow moving walk is at my own choosing.

The book “The War of Art” calls what I face “resistance”.
The book “Leading Marines” names it “friction”.
But those are just nicer words for what it really is—excuses.

(In my best Trump voice) All I have are excuses. I have the best excuses. No one has better excuses than me.

And in my mind my excuses are valid.
I’m overweight.
My body hurts.
I need to be fitter.
I don’t want to get hurt.
It’s been too long since my last class.
I’m tired.
I don’t want to embarrass myself.
I’ll start tomorrow.
I have work commitments.
I need to spend more time with the family.
People will judge my slow pace, my lack of ability, my sucking wind.

The thing about all the resistance/friction/excuses, especially the ones that involve what other people think, they’ve never actually happened, at least not in my presence.  The people at my gym are the coolest, most welcoming, lovely bunch of people, who are nothing but supportive. It’s my mind that’s my own worst enemy.

I am the only one holding myself back. Because of that, I am envious of people who have spouses who tell them not to go to BJJ. They at least have someone to blame.  All my wife does is encourage me to go. I can’t even use her as an excuse.  She knows that I love it, so she wants me to go. But, I don’t.  The above list rings in my head before every class………..RESISTANCE

So I have a new goal.  I am going to be the worst BJJ student.

As of April 3, I’ve been to class twice this year. That’s not even once a month. I orbit the gym on a Pluto like trajectory.  At this rate I’m not even sure that I can say I practice the art. I guess we can add doubt to the above list………FRICTION.

But, I am going to go to class, suck wind, do the warm ups slower than everyone else, be terrible at the technique, get smashed by partners, tap out every 30 sec…I am going to go.  I am going to be there.  Right now, that is my goal.  Show up.

I am going to do as much as I can, and be the worst in the class. The main point here, is I WILL BE in class.  I will not let my mind get in the way, because even though all my reasons are valid in my mind they are nothing but………EXCUSES.

I have to try discipline because motivation doesn’t work as regularly as I would like.  If Jocko Willink is correct when he writes, “discipline equals freedom” then I am hoping that this new discipline will give me the freedom to not let Resistance, Friction, and excuses win.


I appreciate the encouragement of those who are nothing but supportive.  Thank you.



Kyrie Eleison (Psalm 6)

by jpserrano on January 24, 2017 · 0 comments

“I am weary with moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with weeping.  My eyes waste away because of grief they grow week because of my foes.  Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping. The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord accepts my prayer” (Psalm 6:6-7a,8b-9 NRSV).

There are periods, sometimes long stretches, when all we can do is despair. We like the psalmist flood our bed with tears, drench our couches with weeping. We find ourselves in the mire of pain, hopelessness, and doubt about our current situation and we struggle with hope for the future. These low periods are not to be avoided. We need to enter into these places and deeply feel the pain of our circumstance. It is counterproductive to the well being our souls to cover over, push down, or ignore the darkness we’re in.

Jesus himself entered into despair before his crucifixion. He asked the Father, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from me” (Matt 26:49). Jesus wanted out of his situation but in great strength acknowledged that God’s will comes first. But, his submission was not without pain. Scripture tells us, “In his anguish [Jesus] prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground” (Luke 22:44).

Let us never gloss over the fact that our Lord, God in flesh, was in anguish. “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted” according to Isaiah 53:7.

But, we must not hold on there. It is not healthy for our soul, nor is it productive for the Kingdom to stay in the trenches of hurt, doubt, and despair. Jesus himself entered into the darkest of humanities terrors, but he didn’t stay. He moved from death to life. His way forward is now a marked path. But, it’s not of our own volition that we come out from the suffering. We cry Kyrie Eleison, Lord have mercy, and because the Lords accepts our prayers, he will lead us out of it.

The hope that Jesus offers is that it will not always be this way. There will be an end to sin and their will be an end to the pain that sin brings.  In Jesus there is hope that we are not stuck but moving from death to life.

God, help me to look towards you in the midst of my pain.  Pull me out of the depths, and lead me to the way of your Kingdom. Amen.



What’s in a name?

I just heard a very thoughtful Pastor (Gypsy Pastor) ask the question, “I wonder why we get so wrapped up in proper names?” I think it’s a question worth asking.  I have to confess, I do find myself getting wrapped up in proper names. I think proper names are important; when I use proper names, […]

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What does a Lutheran look like?

When I first became Lutheran I understood it to be a theological movement.  I was brought into a church by a pastor who said, “If you can mix your Catholic upbringing with your recent Evangelical faith, you will do well in the Lutheran Church.”  That pastor went on to mentor me in the Lutheran Confessions, […]

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Confession (February Newsletter)

The basis for our teachings at Good Shepherd and all Lutheran Churches is: the scriptures of the Old and New Testament; the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds; and the Book of Concord (The Lutheran Confessional Writings). These works provide the anchor points for everything we do. They act as aides in helping us enter into […]

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Blessing (Oct Newsletter)

Since last year we’ve (Good Shepherd) done several blessings during our celebration of the liturgy on Sundays.  We’ve blessed bikes, chalk, backpacks, ashes, palms, people, and this month we are blessing our pets.  But, that’s not even the half what we could do.  The ELCA also publishes resources to bless new communion-ware, bells, organs, windows, […]

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Get up: A Sermon on Mark 5:21-43

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen   Who do you identify with? So, who do you understand most in this Gospel?  That’s to say,  who do you identify yourself with the most here?   Are you the crowd? The crowd doesn’t know what to make of […]

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Easter Sermon

You can hear this sermon here.   Christ is Risen! Grace and peace to you from Jesus Christ, our resurrected Lord. Amen. Intro This last week, I heard a scene unfold between my wife and 4-year-old son that was straight out of the Cosby Show.   I heard her say,    “Benny, you can’t just […]

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Keep Awake!

Preached @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (Concord, CA)

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Lasting Security

Preached @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church 11.16.2014 23rd Sunday After Pentecost

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Confession & Christian Identity (Sermon on Matthew 16:13-30)

Preached @ Faith Lutheran Church of Castro Valley on 8.24.2014

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Pentecost Sermon 2014

Preached @ Faith Lutheran Church (Pentecost in the Park)

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