Saturday, July 30, 2011

High School

Some days, I feel like I am in high school again. First, let me say, that I have found people view their high school days differently. For some, they are best forgotten days of misery. For others, they were great days, filled with memories. But they have moved on. Still others have not left high school (at least in their minds,) seeing those days as the last great days of their life. Try to keep them alive! With this in mind, I understand that you all will read this post differently.

I was on the "B" team in high school. Tolerated by the cool kids but not relegated to the netherworld of bottom feeders. As a result, I mingled with both crowds but was accepted by neither. This seems to be about where I am today.

Back to today. It feels like high school many days because posers, people with more stuff, the beautiful and the loudest seem to run the show. Maybe they don't but they seem like they do. People fawn over them. They set everyone else's agenda (yes, we could be stronger.) They are given a pass on many things. All this while everyday folks keep on with little fanfare and, often, few advocates.

This week, seek out people of character and people willing to compromise. Listen to someone who you think is beneath you. But look, too, beyond wealth, beauty and power to see a true person. Encourage a community of equals who desperately need one another.

For it is written:
   "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
   the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."
 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.  1 Corinthians 1:19-21


Our story is about suffering leading to hope. It is not about skirting suffering and it is not about achieving perfection by our own deeds. We, as Christians, live in an "in-between" world.

Doing the right thing often leads to suffering. Just being human often leads to suffering. If not now, soon enough.

And we chase dreams. Life is the chase and even the chase can produce suffering. If we catch a dream, we dream more. But, most of the time, we trust things will be better. God is the author of hope.

Part of maturity is to see hope in the suffering, as Jesus did. The hope comes from the fact that God cares. Period. Hope is a life force because it is not yet realized and yet we know it will come to pass.

It has been a rough few weeks (and two years.) God is up to something. You are a part of it. Trust this with all your life.
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5

Thursday, July 28, 2011


When you encounter another person, what do you see?


o       A problem to be fixed?

o       A conversation to be endured?

o       A statistic?

o       Someone to impress?

o       A tool?

o       Someone to overcome?

o       A caricature of party, opinion or color?

o       A bot?

o       A sale?

o       Nothing new?

o       Nothing?


Guilty, here. Some days, I am so consumed with me that I fail to see you for all the delicious mystery Christ made in you. Forgive me.


Engage Christ in the all too familiar, all too utilitarian, or all too scary today. See what God sees.

Monday, July 25, 2011


What will propel you through today? I'm not taking about Starbucks but I have been known to get a quick start from caffeine.


I'm talking about this. Will you be drawn through the day by a vision greater that you and your surroundings? Or will you be pushed by bad memories?


To many of those I meet, without knowing it, plot (and plod) out their day in reaction to a bad memory. They try to overcome their feelings of inadequacy, loss and fear by frenetically (or sluggishly) trying to prove their past wrong (or giving up and validating the judgment of the past.) This race cannot be won, just endured – day-by-day, forever, unless help is sought. I have needed and sought help to expunge these demons. These day consume us – literally.


Others are drawn by the hope of a better day, of fulfillment of their purpose, and of an adventure. I believe God fuels these days. They may be hard but we are not consumed by them because God supplies the fuel.


Jesus' fuel was the Kingdom of God/Heaven.


What's yours? Ask God for "pull" and give God the "push."

Sunday, July 24, 2011


How do you know you are okay, that you "made it?" That you are acceptable?  What proves to others (and yourself) that you are valid as a person?


·         A bigger house?

·         523 friends on Facebook?

·         A child who is a great athlete?

·         A bulging 401k?

·         A Beemer?

·         An advanced degree?

·         A reputation?

·         A job (especially a guy thing)

·         Great health or looks

·         That everyone likes me


We all spend time scanning the crowd to see if we are gaining or losing – if we measure up to the crowd. We don't have to be on top but we sure won't stand being close to the bottom. Please – no average student or uncoordinated child! Oh, and no marital problems (we'll just ignore them or blame our spouse – no counseling! We are above that.)

Problem is; there will always be someone with more. Problem is: we may not have any control over the totems of validity. Some are just luck of the draw. Playing to the "audience" is exhausting – physically (we are constantly busy keeping up things,) emotionally (we live in perpetual insecurity,) and spiritually (these become cruel gods that do not care for us.)


God knows every detail of our lives, even the ones we won't own up to, and loves us beyond imagination. Not because of what we have or do but "just because."


It's okay to let go and change your priorities in order to create a little room to live. God encourages it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


8:55 pm on a Wednesday. I slip in line at the local convenience store to buy a Diet Coke. Lotto night. People cranky to meet the 9:00 pm deadline. They know they have a winner. Clerk is frazzled and being treated like dirt. "Hurry!" "I got my numbers." No eye contact.

When I get to the front of the line at 9:02, I look the clerk in the eye and tell him, "God thinks you are special and so do I. Don't believe anything you hear in line." I went on to become the unofficial chaplain to the Stop n' Go's in town. Murders and robberies, births and graduations. Tears and laughter. And life.

When you trade, do you look that person who performs a service in the eye? Do you remember that Jesus Christ pointed out that the holiest form of life is as a servant? Appreciate those faceless servants in your life this week by giving them their face back.

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ
must not show favoritism. James 2:1

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these
brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40

Monday, July 18, 2011

Speaking in Tongues: 10 Phrases that can be used in Church without Necessarily Committing to Anything

  1. I give a tithe
  2. That was a great sermon
  3. We are a friendly church
  4. It was well attended
  5. I'll pray for you (or "about that")
  6. I'm fine
  7. This will just be a short meeting
  8. People say (or "God is telling me")
  9. We'll just have to agree to disagree
  10. Bless your heart


Make your words count. Be Bold. Be clear. Go ahead and commit. Life is found there.


Was I fickle when I intended to do this? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say both "Yes, yes" and "No, no"?

 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes" and "No."           

 2 Corinthians 1:17-18


All you need to say is simply 'Yes' or 'No';

anything beyond this comes from the evil one.      

Matthew 5:37

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me –

put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:9


We spent years practicing for a career or goal or a sport or a hobby. Michael Jordon, a basketball great if there ever was one, practiced, often long after the team had knocked off.


We must practice our faith. It doesn't come naturally. Many of us stopped any sort of real practice when we were early teens, graduating out of church learning.


But here is our Creator's prescription.


·         Find a mentor

·         Practice under your mentor's guidance

·         Thrive regardless of the circumstances


Are you at peace, real contentment? Do you have a spiritual mentor, someone further down the Journey than you are, who you are willing to listen to? Practice your faith today.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ah, Coffee!

Caffeine is my shepherd; I shall not doze.
It maketh me to wake in green pastures:
It leadeth me beyond the sleeping masses.
It restoreth my buzz:
It leadeth me in the paths of consciousness for its name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of addiction,
I will fear no Equal:
For thou art with me; thy cream and thy sugar they comfort me.
Thou preparest a carafe before me in the presence of The Starbucks:
Thou anointest my day with pep; my mug runneth over.
Surely richness and taste shall follow me all the days of my life:
And I will dwell in the House of Mochas forever.
Author Unknown

Twitter Bible – Book of Ephesians

1-Greetings Gentiles-Tnk Gd in X-chose us n luv 2 B his children-reclaimed fm sin /X-Gd's will is n X-Proud of U-G'd's power n U the Church

2-Lookin 2 world 4 ult answrs = dead end-free gift o'Gd = acces 2 him thru X-we R made 4 gd works-Gd no play favs-outsidrs R now insidrs

3-Those outside faith R claimed /God-my suffering = sign that Gd luvs U-Gd wnts 2 do more that U cn ask or imagine by his power wrkn n U

4-Bear 1 another humbly n luv-each has a role in building up the Church, X's Body-speak truth n luv n order 2 build up-n anger, dont sin

5-Walk n way o'luv-clean up act or miss Kingdom-B ppl o'light-submit 2 1 another: mutually and out o'luv n respect 4 X

6-Everyone: respect each other-put on full armor o'God-pray n Spirit always-pray 4 me, Paul-I send others 2 encourage u

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Be Still

Maybe it's me. But there seems to be more murders, financial woes, and relational crap in the air lately. Part of human nature is to watch the train wrecks. Over and over. Blood sells news. Sex sells news. Woe sells news. Must be our fallen nature.

I find I must purposefully and skillfully cut myself off from this. My feet are firmly planted on the ground. But I am a child of Eternity. My destination is God and, as Julian of Norwich said, "And all shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well."

Part of my spiritual walk is to refocus during the day on things eternal. That is, where I am ultimately headed and who ultimately loves me. This world is the penultimate.

Take time today to step into eternity. Be still and let God. Yes, I know stillness is tough but, like eating your Brussels sprouts, it is an acquired taste. You can cultivate the habit. No really, you can!

Be still. Eternity awaits. And it beats the 6 o'clock news.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Being Real

Betty Ford died this past week. Many may not remember her. She was no rock star. She may not be remembered either because she was First Lady a while ago or because she was not the "out-of-the-catalog, model First Lady" we have come to embrace.

I liked Betty Ford from what I knew of her. I bet Jesus likes her, too. She was real. She was a steadfast support to her husband who weathered the aftermath of the Watergate Scandal and President Nixon's resignation and pardon. She was transparent and genuine. She spoke of her depression, her struggle with alcohol, her breast cancer and mastectomy, and her support of a whole host of women's issues. She probably irked many Republicans of a more conservative bent in doing so. And she rescued thousands from addiction through her Betty Ford Center.

Betty Ford was real in a First Lady world that makes it very tough to be real.

Are you real? Where are you on the transparency scale? Are you the genuine article, the real you, to others? Transparent people express two powers that the rest do not.

o       They channel an unvarnished Jesus to a hungry world (we are made in his image after all)
o       They bring healing to those around them through the encouragement of just being real

What can you do today to make yourself more transparent? How real can you afford to be? Have you explored who the real you is? Yes, this is risky but it is a risk worth taking. I'll pray for you. I know Jesus is rooting for you.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

God, You’ve Got to Be Kidding!

An American moment. A dad and his son at the ball park. Maybe a foul ball or, even, an autograph. This past week, this idyllic scene went horribly wrong. (Story here.) 


Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers flips a foul ball to dad Shannon Stone who falls, in an attempt to catch it, to his death in front of his son, Cooper. Sad.


A couple of things come to mind. (But I am not done reflecting on it. It's scary.)

I don't think God did this. Not as some moral lesson or because he needed an "angel." God love's us and would have taken the fall if God could. Sh*t happens. Even atoms have free will. God's word is that he will be with us in the pain and will redeem the worst.

God asks us to trust him when all Hell breaks loose. He is still at work. Those who pray, spend time with scripture and have a quiet time, in my experience, always fair better that those who run through life constantly doing everything. Ultimately, it all passes away and only God is left. Why not invest in God?

We are not in control despite what we think and we cannot shield loved ones from pain. I hate this reality but it is better to own it than be ambushed by it (you will be.) Joy comes from God from within. It is not a product of enough stuff or having things go our way.

Life is precious; why are we wasting our time being so damn busy? It is a bad investment. Period. We have choices and there is no gun to our head. Busy makes us sad souls, not enviable. Invest time as wisely as money. And that does not mean skipping or skimping on God.

In the end, life (and death) is a mystery.

Pray for Cooper, his family and Josh. I hope others will pray for me when it is my turn. It will be some day.

Be devoted to prayer. Be alert and joyfully thankful in prayer - Colossians 4:2

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11

pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 5:17-19 

Twitter Bible - Acts

1-Book2 o'Luke-risen Jesus appears, says soon outta here but U wont B alone-Jesus 2 heavn-white coat dudes say Y U surpized?-Matthias replaces Judas

2-Wind, tongues o'fire-Holy Spirit-foreignrs understand each other-Babel undone-Peter preachs-church shares everything-many added 2 #s

3-Peter/John heal lame man-Man praises God-Peter: Y R U surprised?-Investing in Jesus has power-Change your minds;quit trying to be self-sufficient

4-Relig officls 2 Petr/John: cut out Jesus talk!-5K join P/J-P/J wind up in relig court-P sez cant help it-Displs pray-peeps generus

5-2 lie 2 apostls & die  4 it-crowds gathr 2 B heald-many join TheWay-Relig dudes jealous; arrest apostls who escape/flogged 4 obeyin Gd

6-Converts food fite-keeps discipls fm God work-apoint 7 deacns-1, Stephen speaks o'Christ boldly-arrested by religus-trumped up chargs

7-Stephen preaches in his defense 2 his relig prosecutors-Claims Jesus is Lord-They have him stoned 2 death-He asks God 2 forgiv them

8-Saul approvs Xn killin-all but apostls scatter-Philip preaches n exile-sorcerer baptizd as result-foreign outcast begs P 4 baptism

9-Saul persecuted The Way-Risen Jesus meets him on road-Why?-blinded-follower told 2 GO & house Saul-Saul preaches X-ppl try to kill Saul-Church flourishes

10-Gentile convert has vision: Gd sez, gd job, get Peter-Petr has vision 2, watch R 4 relig fussiness-2 meet-God doesn't play favorites

11-Peter checks in2 headquarters to explain his liberal acceptance of Gentiles- sez, God told me-Church spreads after Stephen's death

12-Herod jails apostls, kils James-church prays 4 Petr-chains fall, Petr free-gards n deep do do-apstls cant Bleve its Ptr-Herod dies

13-Barney/Saul n Antioch-made missionares-prech Jesus n synagogs-sorcerer interfers, Bcoms blind-relig R jealus-Saul 2 Gentiles instead

14-Paul&Barny meet w/succes preachin n synagogs but sum R unhappy&split worshiprs-Paul heals, ppl mistak thm 4 gods-relig ldrs stone thm

15-Conflict n Church-gotta B practicin Jew B4 Bcomin Xn?-Council: we giv U no extra burden (okay, mayB a few)-Paul/Barney split ovr Mark

16-Paul has Tim as protege-Spirit guids P's work-P reachs out 2 women(oh no1)-Lydia househld baptizd-P/Silas in prison, covert guards

17-Paul/Silas met w/mixd reviews n preachin-In Athens, Paul uses whr Athenians R at in spirit 2 draw them 2 X-"X is wht U R searchin 4!"

18-Paul gives up & moves on 2 preaching 2 Gentiles-Relig ldrs mad but 2 no avail-Paul leavs church ldrs whr he visits as he moves on

19-Road trip-Paul finds Xn's w/incomplete understanding of Gospel-pattern of hostility by relig ldrs and pagans continues but Way grows

20-Paul on the road again-more relig resistance-P's sermon bores man 2 death-P revives him-P sets sail 4 Jerusalem after farewell spch

21-Paul 2 Jerusalm-Church tels Paul 2 prove he real deal-since he wrks w/Gentiles, looks bad-P complies-mistakn 4 insurrectnist-arrested

22-Paul speks n defense o'arrest-vry honest n tellin his God Story-Crowd angry-AuthoriTs afraid ,P Romn citizn-Tak Paul 2 religus court

23-Paul angrs relig authiTs-gets them 2 squabble w/each other-AuthoriTs plot 2 kill P-Govt officials find no fault-whisk him out o'town

24-Relig authoriTs make case against Paul to governor-He's a troublemakr-Govnr expects bribe, gets none-2 years pass in house arrest

25-Relig Lders try 2 ambush Paul-baseless charges abound-P appeals 2 Caesar-King Agrippa hears case 2

26-Paul states case 2 Agrippa-tells "God Story"-Festus; you're insane!-Paul hoped 2 evangelize w/his story-P found innocent-on 2 Caesar

27-Paul sails 2 Rome-sez trip will end n disaster 4 all, is ignord-Storm!-P: take courage, God will help-wreck but all reach land safely

28-locals kind 2 shipwreckd-Paul bit /snake: lives-P arrivs n Rome 2 house arrest-P preachs 2 relig ldrs but 2 no avail-on 2 Gentiles