Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Okay, new experience. I had to reboot the microwave. In these days of endless computerize gadgets; rebooting is part of my daily routine. Reboot the Kindle, the computer, the laptop, the copier, the printer, my BlackBerry and, now, the microwave.

Rebooting my stuff is a natural part of my day. I don't put it off. I don't say I don't have the time. Might swear a little but I press on.

My life needs a daily rebooting as well. I wander off track if left to my own devices. Self-centeredness takes over. The time I allot to God seem puny next to the time I engage electronically. I need to reboot my life each day and I only can do this by a daily purposeful encounter with God.  "Wretched man that I am (Romans 7:24.")

God, help me reboot. Help me come home to you each day.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
   and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Psalm 51:11

Saturday, December 24, 2011


It is Christmas Eve I am at the church early to make sure the "little things" that should be done when one expects guests are done. They seem to be. So I wait.

We, as a culture, aren't much good at waiting. I am raising my hand as well. There must be something to do. Waiting is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo boring. Surely, we are meant to be active and not wait. It turns out that, if I fill all the times with my actions, noble though they me be, I leave no room for God to act. God always acts in our favor.

Maybe I'll wait. How about you?
Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer
waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. James 5:7 (NIV)

it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3:26 (NIV)

Do not say, "I'll pay you back for this wrong!" Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you. Proverbs 20:22 (NIV)

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. Psalm 40:1 (NIV)

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7 (NIV)

Less with More

I admit it; I drink a lot of Diet Coke. I picked up my 20 ounce pick-me-up the other day. Lighter. Hmm. 16 ounces, same price. Even Coca Cola wants me to "do more with less." It seems that everyone and everywhere is cutting back trying to make ends meet. Everyone except God.

God's mantra has always been, "do less with more." In this case, the "more" is the abundant life Christ offers. When we embrace that life, we shed all the things we surround ourselves with but fail to deliver life. Hence, the shedding leads to less.

The birth of Christ was God's way of saying, "I see your ends are not meeting. Let me make up the difference."

Post-Christmas housecleaning. Let go of what keeps you from Christ. Then embrace him in every facet of your life. Do less with more. It is much more satisfying.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy,
and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)

Monday, December 19, 2011


In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." Then Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her. Luke 1:26-38 (NRSV)

This interaction between the angel Gabriel and Mary from the 4th Sunday in Advent boils down to three parts, all of which are critical to a growing spiritual life. Lives become puny when we skip one or more.
  • ·         Greetings, favored one!
  • ·         An impossible task
  • ·         Let it be with me according you your word.
First, God visits us all the time and his message is consistent. We are favored. If we do not experience God, maybe because we don't stop to listen or we cannot believe God favors us.

God seldom challenges us to "roll out of bed." God sets out tasks for us that no human could accomplish or bear…without God's help. Do we aim way too low, taking on only things that we can easily take care of?

Lastly, Mary's response is critical. "So be it!" Do we embrace God's will for us despite our fears? Faith kicks in when certainty leaves the room. Faith helps lives soar.

You are favored. God loves you with the impossible. Partner with God and experience what living is all about.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


I get a "Word of the Day" delivered to my email inbox each weekday so I can learn a new word. A few, I already know. The word, cleave, came to me the other day. The word "cleave" means, in most people's minds, to cut off or separate. In the King James Bible, it typically meant the opposite. That is, it meant to "hold fast to." Cleaving, it seems, is an ambiguous exercise.
When I relocated in the early 1970's, I learned about "little white lies." These were acceptable fibs proclaimed in support of being "polite." I had a problem with them. I never knew where I really stood with people. Relationships do not fair very well when the speech is couched in syrupy weasel-words that mask the truth. Relationships fail to thrive in the midst of ambiguity.
Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple "Yes" or "No." Otherwise you will be condemned. James 5:12 (NIV)

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"? 2 Corinthians 1:17 (NIV)
All you need to say is simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
Matthew 5:37 (NIV)

Are you giving your relationships the fuel they deserve? Are you masking the truth or proclaiming it in love?


This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from
Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" He confessed and did not deny it,
but confessed, "I am not the Messiah." John 1:19-20 (NRSV)

We like to place people in pigeon-holes. It's much easier to deal with them if we can reduce them to a one word, one dimensional caricature. Then we can elevate them to godlike status or demean them as low-lives. Simple. Good/Bad. Up/Down. We can see this phenomenon played out large in our current political process.

Religious leaders did not like John horning in on their territory. "Who are you?" I think they already knew. They just wanted to cut him down and dismiss him (for drawing attention from them.) John, not only did not take the bait, he refused to elevate himself. His life pointed to one destination: Christ. He could have developed a cult, had a reality TV show and sold T-shirts. No, he did what he did because of Christ and the people Jesus was to reach. John was grounded in his identity.

Who do you reduce to a caricature? Seek to really know them. Are you grounded in your own identity so that you would be fine being an anonymous servant? God's listening.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;

for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NRSV)


So, this is what God's will is! I have fried my brain trying to discern what in the world God wants of me and here it is. Hiding in plain sight. Rejoice. Pray. Give thanks. And do it all the time. Oh.


Well, this will take a change in strategy. While I do all of these things most days, I never thought of them as comprising a lifestyle. God's will for me is to adopt a better lifestyle than the one I choose (maybe I more accurately should say "the one a default to.")


If I truly build my day around God, I would be joying for being loved unconditionally, praying to keep in touch with the One who loves me so much and giving thanks for God continuing to resurrect my deadest moments.


Truth is, I start my day having it be pretty much all about me. As a result, I focus on what is lacking. I have adopted a "lacking" lifestyle. I shoehorn God in when the moment arises. God's desire for me is a "connected" lifestyle. One where I am connected to God each moment of each day. God's will is that I stay connected.


How is your connection?

Saturday, December 10, 2011


There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. John 1:6-8

Every life points to something bigger than itself. For some it points to a big ego. "It's all about me." What I want. What will make me happy? For others, their lives point to something more transcendent. That is, something important that you cannot quite put your finger on.

John the Baptist patterned his life to point towards God, specifically, Jesus. He was humble enough not to view his popularity was something he could exploit for his benefit. He also knew that the source of this popularity was given by God in order that others might seek a deeper and richer life. John was not the source of power or the light itself. He was the vehicle of God. It was never about John. John prepared the way for Christ to enter into broken and fragile lives, even those that falsely believe they are in control.

Take inventory. To who does your life, your actions, and your decisions point?

Friday, December 2, 2011


"From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away."  Mark 13:28-31

I suspect that "when all hell breaks loose" in our lives, we ask, "Why?" A better, more Biblical question might be to ask, "Where?" As in, "Where are you in all this, Lord?"

The lesson above, from the Gospel from the First Sunday in Advent, has Jesus speaking of miserable things to come. Yet, in the midst of this, he says he is coming as well.

When "all hell breaks loose" in my life, I too readily assume that God is gone and I am being punished. Truth is, some days life sucks and we are getting a fair share of it and God is there with us (the meaning of Emmanuel,) offering an exodus, a life.

Watch. Wait. Prepare.