Saturday, December 27, 2008

Farewell 2008

So, here it is, my final blog of 2008.  A toast to the past and to the future.  But first, let me share again that this blog appears in a few different places, so references to comments and such may or may not be obvious to you and where you see it.  A word about your comments - they are encouragement to others who may be experiencing something similar, so I encourage yo to enter into the conversation.  

The last post of 2008 issues a challenge: Share some highs and lows of 2008 and what your hopes for 2009 may be.  I'll go first.....

In looking back and taking a big picture view, 2008 has brought it's share of loss:
  • I lost a pastor and friend whose vision and leadership both challenged and fulfilled the work I do.  (Lost = he moved to a new ministry)
  • My youngest daughter lost a bit of her "care free" childhood as she faced test after test searching for answers to a medical mystery.
  • With the economy taking it's toll in all our lives, I find myself losing my perspective of doing what I want to do to doing what I have to do.  This applies both personally and professionally.
Lest you think 2008 has been a total bummer, there have been some highlights:
  • 2 daughters, both in college, continue to make the Dean's list and make good choices for their lives.
  • After all the testing, the current course of treatment seems to be helping my youngest daughter.
  • Had an amazing vacation this year.
  • Celebrated 21 years of marriage with the love of my life.
  • It seems the hardware they put in my chest last year is keeping my heart beating pretty well.
  • Built a guitar for the first time in my life and it rocks!
As I look forward to 2009 I share some uncertainty with most of the U.S. about our economy and such, but I'm also hopeful.  Here's a few:
  • My church will recover it's vision.
  • I will travel to see family & friends I haven't seen in a few years.
  • I will continue to watch all my daughters grow and enjoy life.
  • Someone will experience hope in their life because I'm willing to share Jesus.
  • I will not break any bones when I go skiing next week!
There you go, now it's your turn.  I wish all of you a Happy New Year.  If you're attending a celebration, I hope it's with friends and loved ones and remember "all things in moderation".  See you in 2009.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Christmas Miracle

It's been some time since I last posted.  I've had trouble with the blog with several posts not appearing (hoping as I type that Blogger has it's bugs worked out, though it seems to be picture related, hence no picture), and frankly, the season I find myself in hasn't allowed me to be as persistent in getting something up.  What season am I talking about?  The Christmas season?  ...well, yes...and no.

Surely you haven't missed the decorations and sale ads that signal what has become America's Christmas.  Or maybe, like me, you're experiencing the added activity that comes with the season. And while much of it is "Christmas related", most times it seems like work for works' sake with no real benefit identifiable.  Forgive my "Scroogeness", 'tis the season to be jolly, but I'm finding it difficult.  Let's be clear, I'm not blaming Christmas, it's an unfortunate coincidence.  One of my daughter's birthday is December 24, it's not her fault either.

What I'm referring to here is a season of difficulty I find myself in.  It seems to be coming from all directions, job, finances, etc.  Perhaps it's the economic "recession" that the media finally admitted we're in which is affecting us all.  Its easy to point to specific things, but I know it's my soul that seems to be taking things hard.  And if you know me at all, you know that I don't write this for your sympathy.

I write this because I know this is part of our human condition.  All of us,from time to time, find ourselves in "seasons" of life that are utterly draining on our souls.  The things that used to energize and fulfill us become just another thing on the "list" of stuff we're expected to accomplish.  The roles we take on in life, spouse, parent, leader, etc.; that most times give us a sense of purpose and responsibility, suddenly become pressures that add weight to the "load we carry".  Life moves from enjoyable to difficult.  Stress is a word that is often used.  For many, such times lead us into depression which is a very real condition that requires professional help.  If that last sentence resonates with you, be encouraged to seek that help out, it's a good thing.

So here I am, and perhaps you too, in a difficult season.  As I said, I don't share for sympathy.  Just like everything else I blog about here, I share to make the point that we're not alone.  The feelings you and I have are common to all of us.  But what to do in such a season?  I must confess that I am limited in solutions, in fact I only know one.  His name is Jesus.

He said some things about times like this.  He said, "In this world world you will have trouble...", I think that's exactly what I've been saying.  He said, "Take heart, I have overcome the world...", which leads me to believe that something different than what I'm experiencing is possible.  And He said, "I will never leave you...", that gives me some comfort in the difficult times.  None of that changes specific situations, but it changes me.  He gives me hope and strength that this world tends to drain me of, and because of Him, I know it will be alright.  He's proven Himself many times in my life, and while I might hope for the miracle of things just changing overnight, I'll take the miracle of Him every time.

Let me close by wishing you a Merry Christmas.  May all of us experience the miracle of Christ in our lives now and in the days to come.



Sunday, November 30, 2008


I'm testing the blog, it hasn't been working for me lately.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Taking Stock

Hola!  That’s hello for all the gringos reading.  Hope you’re well.


With all the bad news that we’re being bombarded with lately that seems to be literally going on worldwide, and fear of losing everything growing daily, I’d thought I’d take stock of what’s really important:


  • A Savior.
  • A Wife who loves me and shares the good and bad.
  • Children who continually amaze me and make me glad their mine.
  • Friends who care and share.
  • Pets that love unconditionally and make me smile.


They can take all the rest.  What about you?



Friday, September 26, 2008

The Same Ol', Same Ol'

Hey there! Back after an extended hiatus and glad to be blogging again. I hope that the last couple months were kind to you and that you are well. I’ll let you define that. In my last entry, I stated that when something arrested my thoughts I would share here…well, here I am.

What’s going on in my mind has been there for a long time, but certain events have once again brought it to the forefront. You see, I have this theory – let me restate that – it’s much more than a theory, it’s a truth about human nature that I’ve watched play out over and over again in my lifetime. What I’m talking about is this:

When we don’t know what to do, we do what we’ve always done.

Think about it, let it sink in, and let me explain. We actually share this behavior with other creatures in this world. Cows, given acres and acres to graze on will wear thin paths from one point to another as they move in single file day after day. Birds fly the same migratory routes year after year. Sea life behaves in much the same way, which is why an industry can be made from fishing, we have learned their patterns. These are but a few examples that lean more toward a natural behavior; but when it comes to the human race, this behavior can be troublesome.

It’s being played out right now in Washington with the proposal of the financial bailout that we are hearing about. The powers that be don’t know what to do, so they are proposing doing the exact thing that led to this mess in the first place! Not to get too political but, the proposed “bailout” of our “financial system” is really the bailout of a banking industry that got greedy. Is giving them more money really the answer? I know this could be a topic of it’s own, but let’s stay on point.

Here’s another example: I am employed by a church, and it’s a known fact that is statistically proven that the American church is in decline. That means that less people than ever are attending and it’s been a trend for some time now; we’re talking a looonnng time. And in the face of this, the church (and yes, I’m lumping them all together) continues to do the same thing over and over. Not only that, but it regularly condemns movements of freshness that attempt to infuse new life into the “system” and continues in the same direction. Having been at this for some time now, I’ve seen the church (plural institution) “recognize” the problem and lament it’s consequences, but I’ve yet to see a course correction. Now let me make it perfectly clear that I’m talking here about the “institution” of religion, not the Spirit-filled lives of believers that Jesus referred to as the church – the gates of hell can’t stop that!

And finally, let’s make it really personal. As I’ve shared before, I am a former drug addict. Over 21 years ago, I was a daily drug abuser who couldn’t stop. Regardless of how bad my life got, and how sick of myself I was, I didn’t know how to end it. And so, day after day, I did what I’d always done. This tendency of ours leads to countless people, maybe even you, getting stuck in destructive behaviors that ruin lives. Drugs, drinking, sexual abuse, gambling, smoking, verbal abuse, lying, stealing, anxiety, depression, physical abuse, obesity and on and on. And for many it continues day in and day out because we simply don’t know what else to do.

So I challenge you to take a look around, can you spot this behavior taking place in your world? Now look inward, are you stuck? If so, let me tell you what changed my situation over 21 years ago – Jesus. I simply cried out one day that if He was alive, like I had heard He was, and if He loved me like I heard He did – then I needed His help. He helped me and He’ll help you. And maybe you already know Him but are in a situation where decisions are made to keep the status quo rather than rise above it; if so He cares about that too. Call out to Him, ask Him for direction – but then listen and be bold enough to move in that direction!

Never again will I be satisfied with the same ol’, same ol’ in my life, Jesus didn’t change my life for that. What about you?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Floor Is Yours

Good day to you. Just a really quick post today about the pace of things in my world. Furious is the word that comes to mind. I can honestly say that I am busier at this point and time than I can remember being in a long while.

That’s not a bad thing, so far. The stuff that I’m running to keep up with is all of my own scheduling and planning. But in the midst of it, I find myself thinking at times that if one more “fire” starts that I need to put out it’ll throw everything else off kilter. Of course that isn’t the case, but the feeling begins creeping in from time to time.

For me, that’s a signal to do a couple things. The first is rest. I need a solid eight hours of sleep every night, if I don’t get it feels like I’m always behind, operating at a deficit if you will. The second is rallying the troops. My troops are my family, and I’ve found over the years that when things get crazy, a good way to de-stress is spend time with the ones I love and who love me the most. Doesn’t have to be planned or something we go do, just hanging and being close does the job.

So, with that in mind here’s the plan. I leave town next week for a week long conference. When I return it’s “troop” time and down time for me. That means this blog won’t see an update for awhile. I hope that doesn’t stop the discussion that has begun from the previous posts. I’ve had some great comments and thoughts come my way concerning them. I encourage you to keep chewing on and wrestling with the notion that God is so much bigger (and different) than any religion you’ve ever experienced, and worship service you ever attended, and anything you’ve EVER read about Him.

I’ll keep checking in, and should a profound thought assault me, I’ll share. Until then, the floor is yours.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Don't Be Shy

Back from vacation and thankful to be able to connect with you here in this forum. Again, I really appreciate all your comments, as I don’t evaluate or place a judgment of right or wrong on them, I simply enjoy the conversation. Why some of you choose to comment here and others privately is always a curious thing, but all are appreciated none the less.

I’ve obviously struck a nerve by suggesting that modern day, western civilized church (regardless of denomination) is broken and far removed from Jesus’ intent and idea of church. The comments and conversations have been all over the map. Curious and defensive are just a couple of adjectives that come to mind, but as they say, “It’s all good.” Regardless, they have led me to some new observations that I’d like to share.

First, it’s quite obvious that whoever warned against discussing religion (along with politics) as a place you just don’t want to go was on to something. It’s very difficult to have simple discussions and share differing ideas in that it’s a subject that is very personal and causes folks to debate their points of view with passion and a certainty that I find curious. Not the passion, I fully endorse passion, in fact a life without passion for something is a life I don’t want – it seems a dull place that I probably wouldn’t thrive in. But the certainty is the curious part for me.

I cannot understand why people believe God can’t exist beyond their personal understanding of acceptable practices and behaviors, rites and rituals or traditions. Here’s what I’m certain of: for all the different flavors of religion that the world has ever known, not all can be right and conversely not all can be wrong. From my point of view people gravitate to the form, function and style that is most attractive to them. If that’s true, isn’t religion and the many, varied religious practices (think denomination here) simply an exercise in selfishness?

The pursuit of God is really my only non-negotiable. Sure that can lead to some strange and even dangerous places. But if one is able to be honest with one’s self, identifying places and practices that demand something from you in order to come close to God as self-serving are easy to spot. God requires nothing of you to be His child, that’s your identity by default. Finding a place that allows you to express yourself to Him, share your faith in Him, love others as a response to His love is your choice. Mine will not look like yours and why should it? I am also certain that God is so much bigger than any denominational box or even humanly conceived practice.

Secondly, I am curious as to why some people don’t even want to discuss anything beyond their understanding. It seems as if it’s not okay to have questions without answers. They have all the answers that explain absolutely everything when it comes to God and His ways, and they are presented (almost as if they were memorized) in succinct fashion that is worthy of an “Amen!” every time. I’ve stated this before but the God who has changed my life, and continues to do so, constantly leaves me with more questions than answers. I have no need for a god that I can fully understand; that would make me his equal.

Lastly, I see God in each and every point of view…with the exception of the memorized, know-it-all ones. In those I see a little army of drones that have traded their thoughts for someone else’s. But in the differences I see the love of a Creator who has given each of us something special that this world needs. And only by sharing with one another do we take our place in it and reflect more of Him, which is, exactly what this world needs.

Don’t be shy, He can handle all the questions, doubts and debates we may have. I look forward to hearing from you.