Thursday, September 22, 2011


What will you create today? Will it be beautiful?

O, yes, you are a creator. Maybe someone told you that you weren't when you were younger. They were wrong.

If we are made in the image of God, we are creators. God creates through speaking things into existence. Creators speak things into being. What will you create today? Make it beautiful. Consider your words.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
Genesis 1:1-4 (NIV)

As the rain and the snow
   come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
   without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
   so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
   It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
   and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:10-11 (NIV)

For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.
1 Peter 3:10 (NIV)

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
James 1:26 (NIV)


One of my summer jobs while in engineering school was to work in a shop that made windows for schools and stores. Big windows. Lots of windows. Tons of glass and aluminum.


We were a union shop as was most of North Jersey. I was not union but tolerated summer help.


One day, I was asked to deliver 30 windows to a high rise. Upon arriving, I asked where they went. 13th floor. Hmm. Heavy. Long way up. There was an equipment operator there who was idle. He operated the crane that carried things up to the higher floors. Could he help me?


No. No union card.


Needless to say, I and my helper got a workout that day.


How often to we turn away from someone who is not of our "tribe?" Another faith. Another color. Another age. Another denomination. Ill health. Ultrafit. With kids. Without them. Smaller house. Bigger house. Beautiful. Not so beautiful. Republican. Democrat. And on and on.


See the Christ in people today. Let "tribe" not equal worth. It doesn't to God. Christ is at the heart of everyone you will encounter today. We have more in common than not.

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female,

for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28 (NIV)


The NFL cracked down on players faking injuries on the field in order to slow down the other team. Soccer did the same to improve the game. One college team even had two players fake at the same time. Obviously, someone had not studied the play book well enough.

I am above all that.

Or am I?

While I do not go down in the middle of a stressful day with a fake hamstring strain, I do make excuses. I think excuses are often the "fake" injuries of those of us who play the game of life. We use excuses to divert attention rather than taking things head on.

A saint has no particular merit that you and I don't have. A saint is a transparent person who owns up to who she is. Saints make a conscious decision to forgo excuses. They only make life harder. In honest transparency is life.

Today, will we own our part in getting where we are? Make it a "no excuse" day. Bless you.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I have 2 very active grandsons. They like the water. My budget affords a $9.99 pool from Wal-Mart. Accessories are few as you might guess. I empty the pool by collapsing the side by standing on it and letting the water flow over my bear feet.

Wow, did you see those toenails? They look like they came off a bear or a tiger. My fingernails get weekly attention (Friday mornings without fail.) Toenails have to scream to get my attention. They got it. It cut them. Thank God for shoes!

It is so easy to favor the things that get our attention every day and ignore those that do not clamor for our attention. Too often, I attend to the urgent while saving little time for the important.

Jesus never lost sight of the important, God's Kingdom work, even when pressed with the urgent.

Stop and write down what's important to you. Return to it often. Don't let the urgent steal all the attention. It will if we let it.

   25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
   28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.   Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What Do You Do When God Does Not Show Up?

I cannot count the number of times I asked God to answer prayer (show up.) Much of the time, just crickets. So much for God Almighty.

As I got older, I realized how God uses silence to form me to respond or withstand. I could do neither well without the waiting that came with God's silence. I would (and, quite honestly did, at times) wander into all sorts of foolishness.

Waiting is hard. God's seeming lack of interest is painful. Silence in our need is deafening.

God has a track record. With Israel. With Jesus. With the Church. And with you and me.

Trust God. Something is going on. Marinate in God's love today, even if it is silent.

From Psalm 42:3-5

My tears have been my food
   day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
   "Where is your God?"

4 These things I remember
   as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
   under the protection of the Mighty One[d]
with shouts of joy and praise
   among the festive throng.

 5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
   Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
   for I will yet praise him,
   my Savior and my God.


Monday, September 5, 2011

What’s the least I can believe?

Christians don't need to believe that:

• God causes cancer, car wrecks and other catastrophes
• Good Christians don't doubt
• True Christians can't believe in evolution
• Woman can't be preachers and must submit to men
• God cares about saving souls but not saving trees
• Bad people will be "left behind" and then fry in hell
• Jews won't make it to heaven
• Everything in the Bible should be taken literally
• God loves straight people but not gay people
• It's OK for Christians to be judgmental and obnoxious

On the other hand, there are things Christians do need to believe, which is the focus of part two of my book. They need to believe in Jesus -- his life, teachings, example, death and resurrection. A great benefit of these beliefs is that they provide promising answers to life's most profound questions including:
• Who is Jesus?
• What matters most?
• Am I accepted?
• Where is God?
• What brings fulfillment?
• What about suffering?
• Is there hope?
• Is the church still relevant?
• Who is the Holy Spirit?
• What is God's dream for the world?

Martin Thielen 'What's the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? A Guide to What Matters Most'


Prayer is thinking in dialogue with God. -Henri Nouwen

Do you pray? I mean, do you do more than ask for favors of God? Do you take the time to enter into a dialogue with God?

A dialogue is a two way discussion. Sure, we have a lot to ask but God has something to say as well. God creates with words (Genesis 1.) God says his word will never return to him empty (Isaiah 55:11.)  He will find a way. If not me (because I won't give God the time of day,) then someone else. God's will will be done. God came as The Word (Jesus.)

Is there a word for you that is going unheard? Is your life headed for less because other diversions keep you from giving time to listen?

Be still and live.

"Be still, and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10

Cherry Picker

I often made use of a cherry picker in the oil and mining business. It could easily extract what I needed and neatly deliver it where I wanted it. It made things work.

How many times do we cherry pick our faith? Take what we want and assemble our own religion? We can avoid the "die to live" talk of Jesus. We can pick out that nasty "forgive" stuff and hang on to hurts. We can have "little white lies" after we diffuse the truth.  We can worship our jobs or money or children or achievements or popularity and skip the "meek, poor in spirit, and pure of heart" stuff. I can love based on my feelings rather than upon the fact that all people are worth it.

Did you ever notice that we often overeat or eat poorly when confronted by a cafeteria or "no plans for dinner?" Cherry picking food backfires and so does cherry picking our faith.

Why? Because when we cherry pick what we will invest our lives in, we take the place of God. We believe we know best. God would differ. God came to selfish or self-centered people to set them free.

Be free today. Follow Jesus. All of him.