Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I snapped the picture above as I waited to check out at the grocery store. Every time I check out, I take note of the jetsam tossed overboard by shoppers at the last minute. I try to figure out the story behind each out-of-place item.

The papaya was tossed at the last minute when the shopper decided to change dinner pans and eat out tonight. The cotton swabs were left by a family who was on a tight budget. They were considered a luxury. Sorry kids, dirty ears. The banana bread was left by a person feeling a little guilty shopping on an empty stomach. It was to be consumed in the car before getting home! The Enquirer was read for the gossip but never purchased. After all, what would people think if they of us if they saw an Enquirer in our home. Bean dip. Gas. Need I say more? Almond Joy. Junior  tried to slip it in at the last minute. Mom knew better. She always scans for illicit items the kids want from the checkout aisle.

Truth is, I have no idea what happened. There is something about people that, when faced with the appearance of things, draw conclusions that are not based in reality but, rather, based in our own prejudices.

Jesus says, don’t judge. Forgive, yes. But don’t judge another person. I think he meant do pass judgment on a person’s motives or nature.

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.
Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37

Write off no one today, including yourself, no matter how tempted you are. Only God knows the whole story. Leave judgment to God.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Stop It!

It is a different world. When I was young, I was allowed very little squirming in the pew on Sunday. Today’s child lives in a different world. A squirmier world. I empathize with a parent of a young child today. It’s tough battling a world that feeds off of constant movement.

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

God might have said above, “Listen up!” or “Stop it!” instead of “Be still.” It seems that no generation was immune to the noise of the environment drowning out the voice of God. That voice is oxygen to the soul.  The 4th Commandment (Sabbath) acknowledges our need to knock off completely on a regular basis.

Consider today how much time you take off from everything. Unplugged. No multitasking. Alone. Banishing the “To Do” list running through our head. Feeling guiltily aimless.

God does not shout over our busyness and our noisy lives. Yet God holds the key to the oasis we desperately seek in the storm. We need to hear God.

The world will not end if we stop. But we might just start living if we do. Be still today. As in, “Stop it!”

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Love with Abandon

If there was an entrance exam (or exit for that matter) for Christianity, could you make a passing grade? Could I? Would there be questions involving Zerubbabel, atonement, and when to kneel in worship? Would the categories be confined to sex, abortion and prayer in school? Quick, what does Galatians 5:3 say?! What was the name of Jesus’ dog? Are you wearing a cross right now? How many? Did you just swear?

If you sat across the table from Jesus today, I think his question would be something like this.

“What did you do to love another person today, especially one who did not earn it and cannot repay it?”

A follower of Christ would have a ready answer and ideas for the next encounter.

Don’t worry about majoring in minor things. Love with abandon today.

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Galatians 5:6b (NIV)

BTW, Jesus' dog was named Bruno.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Yesterday, Felix Baumgartner took a leap from 24 miles above the Earth and landed safely. He even broke the sound barrier. The buzz was great the next day. Daredevils get attention…and sponsors! Reality rules.

Yesterday, people just like us went hungry, untreated, ignored or homeless in the richest nation of the world. A nation that calls itself Christian. Few, if any noticed. Most did not land safely. Maybe this was too much reality.

How can you be a Christian daredevil today and enter the reality of person who needs Christ? Be real.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


In chapter 23, Jeremiah the prophet reports God going on a riff about phony people who claim to speak for God (prophets.) It seems that a lot of baloney (which isn’t kosher) is being churned out by religious hacks who are leading faithful people away from God. And this pisses God off. In the middle of all this, God says,

Suppose one of the people or one of the prophets or priests asks you, 'What prophecy has the Lord burdened you with now?' You must reply, 'You are the burden!
Jeremiah 23:33

What a comeback. That’s funny. God’s funny. Uppity religious folks are put in their place.
Jesus loved puns. I cannot picture a God of Life who would not employ humor. Humorless people who claim to speak for God are missing something of the very life God promises.

Take God seriously. Take faith seriously. But let’s not take ourselves too seriously. Humor has a place in a rich life of faith. Humor makes unbearable days more bearable. Humor is a gift from God. Not all people who claim to speak for God do. And, sometimes, these people, despite their gravity, are funny.

I bet Jesus laughed when Peter farted.

I pray you laugh to tears today as part of a good spiritual discipline.