Thursday, March 29, 2012


My home phone number growing up was 652.3866. No area codes then. Look at your phone. The letter "O" is assigned to the number 6. Many people in distress (before 911 was in place) dialed our phone rather than the local police whose number was 652.3800. While my family was very caring, we weren't much use in an emergency.

Just about everyone wants God's fullest attention when they get in a jamb. But we are often dissatisfied with the results when we cry, "Help!" Now, I am the first to admit that there are times God is silent. I don't know why but, I presume, because God is love, that the silence is meant for our own good.

But, in those times when we aren't sure God is listening or helping, I wonder how much of it is due to a wrong number on our part more than a silence on God's part. Being unfamiliar with God and the ways of God, we dial up something else. God sits yearning to connect and help but we are hitting "redial" based  on an unfamiliarity with God and the workings of God. We don't know how to get in touch. God is broadcasting help but we are tuned into another station. Static.

How can we avoid this? Practice. Practice priority time set aside for getting in touch with God. God, like any parent, loves it when the kids check in. Loves it when the kids soak in his wisdom. The best time to learn about changing a flat tire is not in the rain with a flat tire (some cars no longer have a spare!) The time to learn about changing a spare is to practice when the sun shines.

Are you practicing when the sun shines with God?


When I was in the mining business in western Colorado, one of my employees was named Blue. He was a pipefitter/welder. A good one. He wore a blue Civil War cap whenever he did not have his welder's mask on. He had a long peppered beard that he had to rubber-band up when he welded (watch those sparks!) He did not live in town but lived in a large tent by the mine in the mountains. His family was with him. Blue had a great sense of humor. He was comfortable in his world. I knew nothing of his faith but he was at peace.

The secret to peace in our life is not to work hard to get our surroundings to cooperate. This is usually how we go about it. "When I…" "When you…" If only…" "Until I…" "Once I…" No, the secret is to let go and let God guide us. To float and not to thrash around. It is not mysterious to those who keep in touch with God though prayer and immersing in scripture. God gives plenty of insight as where to let go and let God's way work. I am hard-headed and often think (wrongly) that I have a better way. I know I am wrong because I am not at peace.

Are you at peace today? Is it because you have let go or because you just happen to be lucky today (but maybe not tomorrow?)

The fear of the LORD leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble. Proverbs 19:23

…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:11b-12

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Way

I am a Rat Pack fan. Going up in the 50's and 60's, the Rat Pack was the essence of hip, cool. Frank Sinatra, old Blue Eyes, was a leader of this clan of entertainers based in Las Vegas.

One of Frank's emblematic songs was "My Way." In the song, Sinatra croons at a reflective time, that he handled life on his own terms, his way. Nice tune. Dumb theology.

My way, at its very heart, is self-centered and short-sighted. I need a Savior. Saviors provide the long view. I need a real savior. One with super power. Money, power or status (even if it is hip) can never provide lasting power because they are external to me. Christ lives within me, around me and through me.  Jesus tells me I have to let go of "my way" in order to grasp God's way.  My way leads to a, literal, dead end. Jesus is, God's Way and he leads to a life even death cannot stop. In God's Way, I am honored more than I could ever honor myself.

Whose way are you going to follow today?

Monday, March 26, 2012


I often have been accused of not being spiritual enough and of causing the church to follow suit. I am never quite sure what this means or what to do with it. I tend to action and directness without a lot of frills as I practice my piety. Oh, some fun, too. Humor opens us up.

There are a lot of people Jesus claims as his own. I believe he draws a very big circle in order to include them all. Catholic on one side, Reformed on the other. And then there is Orthodox.  Fundamentalists and Progressives. "Faith" types and "works" types. Long winded prayers and brevity-is-the-soul-of-wit prayers. Incense slingers and "no instrument, please" choral-ers. 3 song, 45 minute sermon, offering and a prayer worshipers as well as pomp and circumstance liturgists.

I think Jesus loves them all. And all, at times, all drive him crazy.

To me, to be spiritual is to be authentic, genuine, just as God made you. No posing, no hiding behind things or the past or knowledge. No show. Just me as God created. The other stuff is the spice that makes each day an adventure. But the centerpiece of the day is the unvarnished, you. Ask God to fill you in on why you are so special.

Celebrate the real, spiritual you today, even if you cannot get up the gumption to get too real.

At your very core, you are loved and quite lovable.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Business guru, Seth Godin, wrote on Confidence Without Guts. He was referring to MBA's who come out of school with bravado but lack the staying power needed to persevere through life's inevitable failures.

Gut check. Do you have guts? Are you raising children/grandchildren with guts? Not saying the right things on Facebook in order to get affirmation or going along with the crowd in order to be accepted or taking on only winnable battles. Do you give or get ribbons for "showing up?" Does self-esteem come from inside (guts territory) or from seeking constant external applause? Are you pursuing things that could very well fail and could take all the effort, energy and emotional currency you have?

Followers of Jesus develop guts because they know life is found in death. Seek life and lose it. Give up life for the things of God and, somehow (I have no idea how,) you get life in return. Big helpings of life. Oh, and you get guts. Guts that fuel the next step on the journey. Our confidence rests in the eternal, in Christ.

Take a God-risk today.

If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it.
But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.
Matthew 116:25 (NLT)

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, 
that person will receive the crown of life 
that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
James 1:12 (NIV)

What is impossible with man is possible with God.
Luke 18:27 (NIV)

With God's power working in us, God can do much, 
much more than anything we can ask or imagine.
Ephesians 3:20

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


God is a god of choice. We can take 'em or leave 'em. We own the consequences of our choices but there is a choice.

Yet, the world is filled with "but I have no choice" people. "I HAVE to do this." Maybe, the more accurate statement (more faithful statement) would be…

·         I am afraid to choose

·         I am waiting for a choice I like

·         I don't want to make waves

·         I want to be liked

·         I don't want to change (or experience change)

·         I want all my options opened

·         I don't want to grow up

·         I want my cake and eat it, too

·         I don't want to be different

You might add some more. One odd thing about following Jesus is that freedom is only found in limits. Look at what Jesus says/does in scripture. He found life within limits. He made choices. Hard ones. And he rose from the dead. Those who do not choose, those who live without limits, just stay dead.

Liberate yourself today with a well-placed, "Yes" or "No." Experience the exhilaration of limits.

O God… whose service is perfect freedom (The Book of Common Prayer, Collect for Peace, p. 57)

Monday, March 5, 2012


Salvation means the state of being saved. For Christians, salvation comes through Jesus. We are saved from the penalty of sin. We are saved to a place of intimacy with our Lord.

People like to save themselves. Or so they think they are saving themselves. Salvations I have witnessed in 2 years of ministry include…

·         Salvation by vacation – Life is found in endless trips

·         Salvation by application (busyness) – Life is found in never stopping

·         Salvation by affiliation – Life is found through the success or work of others

·         Salvation by authorization – Life is found by looking the holiest or having the right thoughts

·         Salvation by accumulation – Life is found in amassing wealth or status symbols

The problem with these and others is this. We believe that we can save ourselves without help and we are robbed of really knowing God. We only want a "rescue" God.

I am aware that some Christians do not really want to know God and would rather do things their way. I love them and wait to pick up the pieces. But I believe God does not want pieces. We are too precious. God has our best interest in mind (in heart, too.)

The toast at an Italian wedding is "Salute!" meaning health or well-being. Each salvation listed above is good until it becomes a substitute for God. They promise well-being but, as gods of our own making, cannot ultimately deliver the life we seek. In the long run, as gods, they will crush us, zap our energy, demand of us, and let us down. When we bow down to "crazy busy" or any other god of our own making, we are short-changing ourselves. God has more.

Where do you go for salvation and well-being?

Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. Psalm 124:8

Point of View

When my wife and I were in San Antonio, we went to the old Pearl Brewery to look at art (only in Texas.) The brewery was now an art museum. One particular piece of sculpture caught our eye. We each viewed it but 180 degrees apart from one other. Each of us found something different. Our point of view made all the difference.

Painters have a point of view. Writers have a point of view. Politicians have a point of view. We certainly have our own point of view. Did you know that God has a point of view?
"Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand.
Job 38:3-5

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.
Isaiah 55:8

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years,
and a thousand years are like a day.
2 Peter 3:8

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.
Proverbs 3:7

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Revelation 22:13
How often do you check in with God for God's point of view? We miss something vital if we think our point of view (or anyone else's) is the whole picture.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I’m agin it!

And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. Acts 4:32

I admit that I get embarrassed by the theology expressed in the political arena. It sounds pious but it make cringe.

Political theology is mostly grand-standing, sound-biting blather meant to pump up a small constituency. And, mostly, current political theology is one big "we're against!"

A lot of Christians define themselves by what they are against. It sound very godly and the nifty part of "against" pronouncements is that very little involvement is required of us among the lives of other people God loves, the poor, the sick  and the oppressed.

What if we who follow Christ defined ourselves by how much we had in common with each other and all humanity? By how well we shared with others? How we outstripped each other in respect and forgiveness? How much we were there for one another and for others God created and for whom God died?

I'm for that.