Monday, December 31, 2007


You won’t understand this post without first reading “Gone.”

Continued from previous post….

Saturday I went back to my friends house to pick up a few things that I had left behind. It had been very windy, rainy and plain nasty for a couple of days so I wanted to make sure that I had cleaned up properly. I hadn’t left their house from Thursdays work until 2 am (Friday morning) and being so late I was not in the mood to clean up after losing a hundred dollars and working for 18 hours. As I pulled up to their house Saturday afternoon I parked in the street because their two minivans occupied both of the driveways. They have six children and need both minivans! I got out of my car and thought to myself,
“Well God, I wonder if that hundred bucks is around?”
Not two seconds later, laying in the middle of the lawn, four feet from the side walk, out in plain site, is a folded and wet one hundred dollar bill waiting to be picked up. Unbelievable. I laughed outloud, walked into my friend’s house with a big grin and told them what I had found and they didn’t want to believe it. I had to convince them by showing them the wet bill that God had indeed given back to us after I had frivolously lost it. Through wind and rain and many people venturing down that sidewalk, God gave back. Sure it is nice to have the money, but it is so much better to know that the creator of all things cares for us, even in small things.

“For by him (Jesus Christ) all things were created: things in heaven and things on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities all things were created by him and for him.” Colossians 1:17 NIV (parenthesis added by me) And I would add; He can do whatever he wants with that he has created!


Last week I spent some time making good on a promise that I had made a year ago. Friends of mine asked me to experiment on them, well on their counter tops, they wanted cement counter tops and I wanted to learn how to make them. So last Thursday I was able to finally pour the special concrete mixture into the forms that we had built. The cement was really wet and it took 13 hours for it to dry to the point where I could be done finishing the surface. During the waiting period Connie and I went out to dinner and our friends graciously gave us a hundred dollar bill and said for us to go out to dinner wherever we wanted, on them. I tried to say no, but eventually I just thanked them and put the crisp Benjamin in my pocket.

When Connie arrived she brought me a change of clothes because I was filthy from bathing in the concrete throughout the day. I changed, transferring the money, keys and wallet into my pocket and we left. Connie wanted me to drive and I pulled my keys out of my pocket and we left for the restaurant. Halfway through the meal I wondered about the money and I reached into my pocket to reassure myself of its ability to pay for our meal.

It wasn’t there. Not wanting to panic I searched all of my pockets and my wallet to no avail. It was gone. In the back of my mind I had hoped that I had just left it in my other pants and that is what I communicated to Connie. With our debit card we paid for the meal and left.

I searched my pants my friend’s house, the car, the ground outside with a flashlight. I prayed for help to find it. It was gone. I am such an idiot. I told my friends what I had done and that I was sorry for losing their gift to us. I prayed some more, then asking God to forgive me for being careless with His gift to me I asked that he would give it to someone who needed more than we did.

“The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

To Be Continued….

Friday, December 21, 2007


Gnawing at my insides is desire. Desire is a strange and perplexing thing. Desire can cause any of us to grasp for any one of a multitude of things.

“I want chocolate.”

“Man that taco looks good!”

“Boy is that a nice HDTV.”

“Have you seen the 2009 ZR1 Corvette with 620 horsepower?”

All those desires seem somewhat innocent and tame, especially when compared with desires like:

“Look at her!”

“Check him out, he must have it all together.”

“She would be the girl of my dreams.”

“I could have that too, if I had a rich old man.”

“If she was my wife, then I would be happy.”

Buddhists say that they key to life is removing all desire from your life, umm, good luck with that! Recently, stumbling upon this simple truth has helped me by putting into perspective my desires. Whatever the desire, Jesus is better. Jesus beats whatever this world has to offer hands down, not even close. Jesus transcends everything. Jesus is better. And here, in Westernized Christianity, is where our consumerist mentality can be so damaging because, do I want Jesus because he is better and being better can do any number of nice things for me? We wrap the universe up into our existence, and it is all about me, or do I want Jesus because he is the best person ever and the only relationship that anyone could ever be fulfilled in?

I want Jesus.

What do you want and why do you want that?

Will you consider that Jesus transcends that desire by a billion light years?

What will you live your life desiring?

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hears and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Many thanks to everyone for the nice birthday wishes, I appreciate the care. But now that I am officially half-way to 90 it seems like I should be better at stuff. The things that matter kind of stuff. Things like loving, kindness, caring, slow to anger and selflessness, you know, important stuff. I do feel that I have made strides, sure but not fast enough, or deep enough for mysmall brain.

My wife is into making cards for people lately, which is really cool, very personal and (bonus) it saves a ton of cash. She left a very personal birthday card on my computer keyboard before she left for work this morning. It said so many nice things that when I read it I felt like there was no way that it was about me. There are way too many days when my inherently evil side is having it’s way with me, again.

I guess that as I aged I naively thought that sin would be less of an issue in my life, but I am afraid it is just as much an issue today as it ever has been, its just as much a battle that demands my every effort. Not that my faith hasn’t grown up some over the 21 years of following Jesus, it has, but I am not where I thought that I would be or think that I should be either.

Then I read from Colossians 1:13-14 “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Once again reminded that my rescue is not up to me, it is the accomplished work of Jesus and I am simply striving to follow him, at half way to 90 or 190.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


I am a nerd and this is confession time. When I was growing up I loved Star Trek. Today I watch the NASA channel. I read all of the time along with the NASA website. I am a nerd. My wife has threatened to buy me a NASA t-shirt for Christmas, which she thinks will make me look like a bigger dork than I already am and maybe that is true, because I know I would proudly wear that shirt!

I am such a nerd-burglar that I know that light travels at 186,000 miles per second. The sun is about 93,000,000 miles away from us. (Yes 93 Million!) At the speed of light the light emitted from the sun takes roughly eight minutes and twenty seconds to reach the earth. It all really breaks down into a simple math problem right?

So here’s a question for you un-nerds: How long does it take for the light emitting from the moon to reach us?

I am sure your superior un-nerdy mind can do that math problem …..

Well it’s a trick question. There is no light emitting from the Moon, the only light we see from the moon originates at the sun. Our moon has no radiance only reflection.

I was listening to Peter’s sermon today and he was speaking on this very subject:

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being”
Hebrews 1:3a

Think of it: Everyone ever born merely reflects the image of our creator (some more dimly than others=). No one possesses their own radiance, we only, at best, are a reflection of God’s glory. Everyone except Jesus that is! The Son is the radiance! Jesus is the radiance of God because he is God. That radiance came into our world and we didn’t have a clue. That real, present, radiance is what we celebrate at Christmas. God with us!

By the way, the nerd in me must finish:

(The light from the sun that is reflected off the surface of the moon and into our eyes only takes 1.3 seconds to get here.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


As I contemplate Christmas, or for a more precise thought, what Christmas has become in this part of the world, on one level it sickens me and makes me want to disassociate myself from it all. According to Americans will spend 467 Billion dollars this year on Christmas gifts. Almost a half a trillion dollars! I cannot even begin wrap my mind around it. What is it that we need while living in the richest nation the world has ever known? What is it that we are after? What are we worshipping? Christmas was meant to change the world, and I am certain that our mentality of consumption is not what Jesus had in mind when he came. The Son of God humbled himself, coming to this world with us in mind. Pouring our his love and mercy and grace into our lives. A blessing far beyond what we can imagine, a gift worth way more than 467 Billion!

Will that “much wanted gift” bring you peace this year? Or have we settled for the intoxicating feelings of worth when what we really need is a heart transplant? I live right next door to Canada and I believe that they have a good idea in “Boxing Day” the day when they box up stuff and give it away on the day after Christmas. Maybe we could adopt that idea the day before Christmas, spending some of (the average household in the U.S. spends $900.00 and goes into debt to do it) the money that we spend on Christmas to bring peace and hope in this world of ours. That is my rant for today.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


As my journey of following Jesus continues and I pause and reflect on the place I am today and the long look back over the path that I have traveled. This summer in Montana along the trail that leads up and over the continental divide I paused for a few minutes catching my breath from the combination of the weight of my pack and altitude. I looked down over the trail that we had traveled. It had winded in and out skirting around the rugged mountain terrain, crossing cold glacier streams and climbing ever higher and higher. This picture is taken at that exact spot.

Today, pausing for a few moments of silence and reflection, I am feeling a quiet hopeful desire to know him more. I deeply sense that I should already have been to some places that yet lay off in the distance, calling me forward in obedience, forward in love, forward in faith. I am becoming more aware of myself, the way I think, what I believe to be true about myself, what drives me and this truly is a dichotomy. My selfish dark self often inflicts havoc on those close enough to me to experience its wrath demanding attention and appeasement. Have you spent any time lately thinking about who you are? Or perhaps with Christmas on the immediate horizon, the thought that God cannot possible be some impersonal force, as a friend of mine said this week. Have you considered your life’s journey in light of the cross? Who are you in Jesus and where are you in your pursuit of him?

I am deeply grateful to God for loving me even though he knows me inside and out. Travel On!

Thursday, December 6, 2007


There are only a few different kinds of foods that I am crazy about eating the leftovers. Taco roast leftovers and almost anything Italian make the grade for sure. I will consume those precious goodies like I was a raving madman. That, and almost any dessert, my sweet tooth is legendary among my family. My maternal grandma used to tell me to "eat my dessert first just in case the dinner killed you" and I, not wanting to disappoint Nea, took that advice to heart.

Even worse than eating our own leftovers is taking home other peoples leftovers and eating them. Most of the time they wait a couple of weeks in the chilly death row dungeon of our refrigerator and then are mercilessly ground into smithereens and ran roughshod down the drain, the only remnant remains on the cellophane that is crumpled up in the trash.

I wonder how many of us, when approaching God, are “feasting” on the leftovers, merely licking the residue off of the cellophane rather than pulling up a place at the table and dining with the King? Yes, you certainly can get nourishment from the tiny vestige on the cellophane, but you could have a full blown six-course meal at the table of the King of Kings!

Why do we settle for such as this? Why do we rely on others to tell us of there intimacies with Jesus, when we long for that kind of love? That love, like any, must be engaged on purpose. Must be sought out by you and me. It needs to be our relationship with God, our experience with the King and not simply licked off of someone else's old cellophane.

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Personal experiences with the reality of conviction has blown through my life during different seasons. This gift has sometimes left me racked with guilt as I lay on the floor pouring out regret to my God whom I have insulted. Other moments I am just dumbfounded and silent with a new realization of the depth of my ability to put myself on the throne of the universe. Occasionally the insight from a Bible verse or other book unwraps some tightly held lie that I had believed for years, which generally leads to a new view of life and forgiveness in Christ.

I am in the middle of a book (which for now will remain anonymous) that is battering me with wave after wave of truth. Here is one quote from the book, this one by Richard Rohr:
“The five essential truths to which men must awaken if they are to grow up in their God given masculinity and spirituality:

Life is hard.
You are not that important.
Your life is not about you.
You are not in control.
You are going to die.”

What is there left to say?

Monday, December 3, 2007


A symbiotic relationship is an interdependent relationship in which all parties are relying on the other. There are symbiotic relationships all around us: mothers, fathers and children form a family and families are a form of a symbiotic relationship.

Today during somewhat of a hurried walk, hurried because I inserted it between two appointments and hurried because it was blowing and stinking cold, I was “reading” the Bible and this section of Colossians was at hand:

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” Colossians 3:15-16a.

As I meditated on the peace of Christ, thankfulness and the word of Christ it struck me as obvious (I can be slow sometimes) that there is some real symbiosis between the three. They are so very interdependent aren’t they? Without the word, there is no peace and without peace I am not a very thankful person. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. Let the peace of Christ have the ultimate reign in your heart. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, let it be what moves you and motivates you, what sings in your mind and whispers in your ear. With the peace of Christ reigning and the word of Christ dwelling, there can be no other response than humble thankfulness toward a loving King.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


At the core, the deepest part of you, who are you?

Are you the things that you own?

Are you the title you currently fulfill?

Are you what your mom or dad said that you always would be?

Are you the person that was teased for being fat or ugly or dumb or whatever labels that was attached to you?

Why this is so important, so central? It is because everyone operates out of their core. What we really believe lies buried deep in the nucleus of our souls and it influences everything we do. Our central appetite for approval must be fed and it is always fed through the filter of what we believe to be true about ourselves. Whether they are true or not that isn’t what is important, it’s what you believe them to be true about you, that is the place that we operate from.

One of the reasons that Jesus is so very radical or revolutionary is that he is a person that refuses to be an add on to our lives. Like a political button that we wear of our favorite politician. No, Jesus Christ is the heart reconstructing , image annihilating, throne destroying Savior of the universe that has a central message of grace. This message states that through faith we are accepted by God himself. Our new identity is the cross. It is a sign of God’s approval of us. God is pleased with us. God the Father accepts us for who we are, not what we do for him. I am God's very own!

That thought has made me smile all day today!

“If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation the old has gone and the new has come!”

2 Corinthians 5:17

Monday, November 26, 2007


We like movement. The going-forward type movement is most preferred. We enjoy being on the go, making a run for it, and running the race. We love positive progress. We even attach very negative terms to non-movement: Terms like stagnant, stalled, idle or stuck. None of us desire a stagnant life, a stalled car, an idle friendship, or being stuck at work.

I wonder why. Does the breakneck pace of our lives reveal more about what’s going on, on the inside than the outside? Are we running like crazy people from one appointment to another because on the inside we feel stagnant or stuck and movement, any kind of movement, is better than all of our stuck-ness? Are our souls so devoid of life that we have to run in circles like maniacs flailing our arms just to deaden the dullness of our stagnant inner life? Sadly, today it is counter-cultural to believe that stillness has any benefit, or being idle on purpose is profitable to our core. Instead being super busy is awarded on so many levels, even in our Christ following communities. It’s almost as if we decided somewhere along the line that we must receive merit badges in heaven for how busy we’ve been for “God.” I know someone who attends six different Bible studies a week! SIX! (If you see nothing wrong with this, just close this page and go back to that crazy arm-flailing thing that you were doing)

I am not certain if this is the first time in Christian history that this attitude has been so prevalent, but today, in America, it is at pandemic proportions. The ancients of the faith would be appalled, not at how much we are trying to do in the name of Jesus, but that we are serving water from an empty well and one day soon, someone will point out that there is no water in the glass of water we just handed them.

To Flow-over we must slow down. NOW! Lord help us!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Doxology.

This reading from the end of the little letter in the Bible called Jude is often called a "Doxology." Which simply is "A praise to God," often found at the end of epistles and psalms. This one is fitting to be found at the end of a life, the life of a friend.

Todd was called home this morning. He leaves behind two daughters, his ex-wife, his mom, brothers and sisters and many friends. As Peter and I visited him yesterday I wondered for a brief moment if I will be able to face the end of my life here on earth with the same measure of confidence and faith. Todd was cetainly not perfect here, he had issue like all of us. But today, free of cancer, free of sin, he stands before a loving Savior who was able to keep him from falling away. Jesus was able to present Todd to the Father without fault, perfected in the blood of Jesus Christ, accepted and whole.

24To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen."
Jude 1:24-25

We will see you soon my friend.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I have been meditating on this reality for the last few weeks:

“His divine power has given us everything that we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who has called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3

Peter makes the proclimation that living in us there is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. Not our power, or a power we initiate, for that would be of little use. We desperately need a bigger power, a more glorious power than we can conjure up on our own. Our Father knows this and places a deposit in us that gives us everything we need for life. Everything. This part of the promise we can almost wrap our brains around. It’s the other statement that is so blasted hard to grasp for me: We also have everything we need for godliness. Everything.

Now this is the unbelievable part because we experience the vast array of godlessness in the context of our lives, all around us in our society and even in the people that we are close to. We fight our fallen sinful nature tooth and nail one day and then capitulate with no resistance on the very next. We battle the Devil and his minions with prayer and fasting for a season and wallow in sin the next. People through out the Bible are in the same mess, men like Moses, David, Noah all considered great men of God, all with brutal flaws. Even the writer of this little Epistle, self identified as Simon Peter, was a great man of God that had issues. Yet Peter proclaims that the power of God in us gives us everything we need for godliness. Everything that we need to be more like Christ. The question remains: will we lean on that power to help us to die to self and live for God?

Its all available to us everyday inside through faith.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Six Months Of Silence

In blog entries I have often spoken of time moving quickly or not believing that it was already this date or that. Much of that, I think, was under the self-imposed pressure to write something, so I rebelled and wrote nothing over the last six months, almost to the day.

Now, perhaps, I have something to say again, perhaps….

Today I held the hand of a man who is in the hospital dying. During my moment there he spoke incongruent mental meanderings in-between his more sane statements. He has cancer that has metastasized to his brain and as a result he will die very soon, much to soon. We prayed and we cried as I visited with his mother and we spent time talking about his soon-to-be-held funeral. In some ways I liken the experience to opening a fresh jar of horseradish and taking a deep whiff. Not so much the burning sensation of the sinus cavity, but more like the clearing of the nasal passages so I could breathe again. It brought focus and clarity to my life and even to his mom’s life, through many tears of sadness and weakness.

My friend has spent the last several months sick with the aggressive disease that will shortly claim his body and release his soul from its tortured prison. Cancer has racked him like nothing else with a fury of pain and frailty. Yet, he has kept such a good outlook on life, believing the God could and would heal him. I too, shared his optimism that God could and would heal him, where we differed was the definition of healing. My friend, God is taking you home to be with him.

If only I spent the rest of my days, each and every one, with that perspective as my motive for living. Pray for Todd.