Thursday, December 13, 2012



Prayer is about relationship with God, and God is always the initiator of that relationship.
Prayer is a response to God. Prayer is a gift from God.
Br. Curtis Almquist, Society of St. John the Evangelist

When you think of prayer, what comes to mind? Giving God your “to do” list? Asking God, “Why?” Begging God to change others? Letting God know “I’m really trying?” Thanking God because something was SO BIG even I could not take credit for it? Realizing I don’t pray.

I’ve done them all.

Most of us would not engage a close friend that way. In fact, these people we brought close to us precisely because they love us unconditionally and they let us know it, without making demands. Even while encouraging us to the reservoir of nobility that is within.

Why let God’s love go untapped?

God is reaching out to you. Be still. Be quiet. Be persistent. Wait. Listen.

Love will envelope you. Peace and courage will well up.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Twice a week, I get a Starbucks venti non-fat latte. It is part of my “blow” budget from Financial Peace. Standing, waiting for my beverage to be brewed, I noticed a police officer come in. For whatever reason, I have a heart for those who serve. Waiters, cops, soldiers nurses, teachers. Theirs is a demanding and often thankless, job.

I went to the register and said that I would pick up his purchase. I engaged him in a conversation. His name was Hector. He had family. Lived in Pasadena (didn’t want to work where he lived.) Hoped to be able to afford a bigger home one day. Played high school ball in Galena Park. I told him I went to “the pumpkin church.” He knew it well. He was Roman Catholic and went every week.  I thanked him for his service and we parted.

Every day, invisible people walk in and out of our life. That person is Christ, waiting to be encountered and to encounter us. These little moments, if we recognize them, are evangelism moments, times to exchange good news. Times to thank, encourage and enjoy others.

Don’t miss your moment. Make someone visible to you today. Each has a story. Each is someone for whom Christ died. Each is loved without end. Christ is waiting to see you.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have
entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2 (NRSV)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I saw you. You had a sign. It read, “Help me.” You weren’t scary. Maybe 25-30 years old. Male. You had a certain peace (or was it resignation) about you.

I was in a hurry to catch a plane. You understand. I was in the turn lane near you. You walked by. I stared straight ahead. (I did wonder what you were thinking as you walked by and saw I would not look at you.) Green light. I’m off. I wished you well.

Jesus, please forgive me for ignoring you on that street corner. Help me not do that again, for I will meet you again on a street corner. I’m sorry. Help me reinforce my puny repentance.

Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.
Matthew 25:45 (NIV)

If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? James 2:16 (NIV)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Woman of Valor

I am reading Rachel Held Evans’ book A Year of Biblical Womanhood. I recommend it. Rachel spent a year trying to live a close to a model of Biblical womanhood as she could in order to see both what it was like and how close it came to what Christians define as “womanhood.” Could it be that what God wants and what (evangelical) Christians want are not the same? It turns out that they may not be the same.

Often, we take our own values and project them onto God and the Bible. God say little about abortion, gays or prayer in public school but a whole lot about help for the poor, giving thanks, and taking time off to rest and listen (to ourselves and God.)

One chapter that I found enlightening was the one on a Proverbs 31 woman. For those who don’t know, this has become an evangelical blueprint for a submissive, stay beautiful at all costs, stay at home woman among other things. There is nothing wrong with these traits (men seem to get a bye on these) but there is more to the story as Rachel learned from a practicing Jewish friend.

Her friend told her that a Proverbs 31 woman is not a woman’s laundry list of things she must do. Rather, it is the bragging list of a man who thinks he is pretty lucky to have a woman, a woman of valor.

"…She invests herself with strength… she opens her hand to the poor and reaches out to the needy…she is robed in strength and dignity and she smiles at the future…give her credit for the fruit of her labor and let her achievements praise her at the gates." (Proverbs 31: 10-31)

Valor: strength of mind or spirit that enables a person to encounter danger with firmness: personal bravery.

If you are a woman, realize God finds your beauty in your strength to face the day in trust in him and not in  your physical appearance or occupation or submissiveness. If you are a man, lift up the women of valor in your life as high as God does.

Read of some Women of Valor here.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.  James 1:2-4 (NRSV)

Too often, we mistake growing old for growing up. Growing old has mostly fringe drawbacks once we get past the age of 21. Growing up can continue to amaze and embolden us regardless of our age or condition. Our default position is to grow old, laziness being our original sin. Growing up is the preferred path. But it must be chosen.

We live in a society that begs us to escape, compartmentalize and ignore. None of these has a happy ending, death being what it is.

God offers another track through life; to grow up, to perfect, and to mature. He says that there are inherent rewards in “sticking with it.”

We cheer those who, through great sacrifice, perform inhuman feats on stage, in the area, or on the field. What we don’t see is their sacrificial investment into their life.

What if we cheered those who prevail when everything says to give in? What if we trusted in God enough to try it ourselves? What would change?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

If Only

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7 (NKJV)

I hear the words “if only” at least once a day. Once in a while, I say it to myself. Most times, someone in pain utters it.
·      If only… (s)he would
·      If only… I won the lottery
·      If only… I get a job
·      If only… _____________ had won/lost the election
·      If only… (s)he would notice me
·      If only… my grades were better
·      If only… I had listened
·      If only… the coach, director, team, job, spouse force me
·      If only… I was better
·      If only… it was _____________ ( a past year/era)
·      If only… we had more money
·      If only… I wasn’t so busy
·      If only… my job didn’t suck
·      If only… God would tell me what to do
·      If only… I would have done_________
·      If only… __________________ (you fill it in)

In most of these cases, we are bemoaning the fact that we have little current control over things AND we set a trajectory previously in life that got us where we are.

When we let God run the show we are doing this.

  • Admitting that our efforts to control are often futile.  If only’s give way to a contented clarity of thought and heart.
  • We realign our If only, out-of-control life to God’s trajectory, which is life in abundance. Abundance not because we have-it-all.  Rather, a life of contentment because God has it all.

“Father,” Jesus said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:36 (NIV)