Friday, March 30, 2007


I'm watching it rain again today. In my corner of the world, which is usually very dry, it's been raining quite a bit over the last week to ten days. And you wouldn't believe how the plant life is responding. If it was dry enough, I would have to mow about every 3-4 days to keep my lawn looking "normal". Because it's wet, it looks a little bushy. The trees are getting leaves so fast I swear you can hear them growing. Flowers are following suit and of course, so are the weeds. Life is breaking out everywhere you look. And it's caused me to ponder....shocking, huh?

In a place where it's normally pretty dry, keeping up with mowing the grass isn't usually an issue. But a little rain, which is a life giving substance for plants, has changed the landscape for now. It's green and growing, where most of the time it's a more brownish hue without the help of a sprinkler system. Life for me is like that too.

Over the years, I have found myself in places of growth and in places of needing a "sprinler system" just to maintain. It's important for me to recognize the situation I'm in and make adjustments in order to keep growing, which happens to be a goal of mine. And because it's not as simple as "raindrops falling on my head", I have to know the difference between those things that give me life and those things that drain it.

One of the life giving things in my life is my family; to be able to give and receive love with my wife and children makes me feel alive. Friends are another important part of life for me. Now I don't have a bunch of really close friends, but the few I do have are important to me, and much like my family - the giving and receiving that friendship offers is important. Next is an outlet for my passions and talents. I consider myself very fortunate that my job affords me the opportunity to utilize and share certain talents I have and pursue those passions that I've carried all my life. There are other, more trivial things that enregize me from time to time such as camping, a great meal, etc.; but I think you get the idea.

The draining things in my life come in the form of stress, fatigue, hopelessness, etc. The hard part is identifying those things in my life that lead to those feelings. Example: trying to love and support a family member (which if you remember, is life giving to me) that won't receive or reciprocate that love and support. That situation becomes stressful and hopeless and fatigues me after some time. A job can, from time to time, be a draining situation; and for many it's that way on a regualr basis!

The point I'm trying to make today is that it's really important for us to find a little "rain" in our lives, it's a good thing, it gives life and nourishment. Find it and dance in it because it won't last forever. Just like the weather, it comes and goes. But if we become self-aware enough to seperate the life-giving from the life-draining, we can make adjustments along the way that make our days full and meaningful. I had planned to mow my yard today but it's raining...I wonder if I can talk my wife into dancing instead?


Thursday, March 22, 2007


Good day…or evening, or whenever you find yourself reading this. In my corner of the world rain is falling and giving nourishment to the plant life that has been dormant for a while and is now anxious to awaken and bloom. Springtime is an amazing reminder to me of the wonder of life and the process of growth. I hope you find yourself growing.

I’m thinking today of the word “duty”. It gets thrown around a lot and refers to one’s obligation to do something. I have to admit to you that I’m not a fan of obligation. For me it seems to have a thread of guilt that runs through it, but that’s just me. I’m more a fan of passion. I believe it’s a much better motivation than obligation for anything. I believe that with obligation there is a limit to how much or how far we’ll go, but passion knows no limits. May I illustrate?

I know a man whose marriage was falling apart and in the course of our conversations he shared that he and his wife had not been intimate for nearly a year. In counseling that followed, he shared that his wife decided that a physical relationship was part of her “wifely duties” and decided to resume that aspect of their marriage. A few weeks later though, he shared that while the physical aspect may have returned, the intimacy was gone. He readily admits his part in the demise of his marriage but admits that he’d rather not have physical intimacy if his wife feels like she’s forced to do it.

Obligation can only lead to a mechanical response that, before long, becomes a drag to us. Only those things that are born out of a love and passion for something or someone can be sustained and moreover, be felt to be sincere. Trust me; we aren’t the only ones that notice when our hearts just aren’t in something.

Passion, or love (for me the words are really interchangeable) is an entirely different animal though. Physical intimacy in a relationship should be born from a deep and abiding love between two people who are totally committed to one another. If it’s not, it becomes something else entirely, or it becomes nothing at all. There is an end to obligation, it is a finite proposition. Passion won’t give up, love won’t quit.

Jesus wasn’t obligated to die for us. God didn’t have to reconcile our broken relationship, but His love for us motivated Him to. If you serve Him or others out of obligation or a sense of duty, the message you take to the world is one of a god who makes demands on you instead of loves you. But when you serve Him and others out of your love for Him, others notice and you won’t grow weary of it.

Perhaps today you will begin to think of the word “duty” as I do…another four letter word that really isn’t appropriate in my vocabulary.


Thursday, March 15, 2007


Good day to you. Spring Break is occurring this week in most parts of America. Question: is Spring Break only an American phenomenon, or does it take place around the world? I confess I could have Googled this topic and shared the answer with you, but the thought just crossed my mind as I was typing so I’ll let one of you share the answer with the world.

And speaking of Google…I use it for my default search engine. They’ve updated it with gmail and a customizable home page, etc., that I find cool right now. Anyway, one of the elements that I’ve chosen to appear on my home page everyday is called “Quote Of The Day”. It displays 3 random quotes each day that for me, stimulate thought. Oddly, at this point in my life I’m finding more and more that I need that stimulation to keep from staring into to space drooling for hours……just kidding! (or am I?)

Anyway, one of today’s quotes was from Oscar Wilde, “Who is Oscar Wilde?” you ask…Google him, you’ll find more info than you wanted. The quote was: “Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience and rebellion that progress has been made.” I think Wilde is partially correct, and partially incorrect. Let me explain.

I think he’s dead on when he says that man’s (and woman’s) original virtue is disobedience. Think about it, it’s the one thing you can count on when it comes to human-kind. If there is a rule, you can bet someone will break it. That’s been proven over and over again throughout history, as Wilde points out. Which I find interesting in itself; I mean, every “civilized” society has been built on a rule of law…are we just setting ourselves up for failure? I digress, Wilde is correct on this point.

Where I think Wilde misses the point is in the “…through disobedience and rebellion that progress has been made.” Disobedience and rebellion causes brokenness in trust and a breakdown in order. And while the rule of law may go against our inclination to rebel, it does provide an order for a group of people that helps to avoid chaos and turmoil; but it’s not the answer. Wilde seems to be celebrating disobedience and rebellion as the fuel for progress, but I say that left to our own devices, our disobedience and rebellion would doom us.

May I suggest that progress has been had by the hand of God? In spite of our rebellion, in spite of our disobedience throughout history, God has always provided a way of restoration. He seems to be saying to us that no matter how awful we behave, and we can make things pretty ugly at times, He will always love us. It’s that undeserved grace that allows things to progress.

Now before you start abusing that grace as license to rebel and disobey, really think about it. If you fully understand in your heart the lengths God has gone to restoring the relationship that He desires to have with you, would you abuse that love? Maybe a better response would be to try and reciprocate it. Try to love Him and others the best you knew how. And if that happened, how many laws would you need to live by anyway?

Today I pray for progress in your life. May you become aware of it’s abundance around you, and embrace it fully.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Thanks for stopping by, I really appreciate the time you spend here. My thoughts today should resonate in some way with you because I believe we all have this commonality. The sameness I’m speaking of is in the wondering where I (you) fit into the vastness of the cosmos. We are part of a planet that is shared by 6.7 billion other people. Look at this number: 6,725,170,264, which is constantly growing by the way. I thought it looked even more impressive that way rather than the word billion behind a single number or two. And I think we can all agree on the fact that life occurs in animal and plants and such, and then my mind by default goes to asking, “Why?”

Before you think I’m about to discuss or debate creationism, evolutionism, or any other –ism, let me calm your fears…I’m not. I think you know my personal beliefs, which by the way, don’t give me answers to all the questions my mind can come up with; but they do resonate in my heart of hearts and allow me to pursue life from a perspective I am unashamed of and confident in. No debate, remember – I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind with this forum, I just want to share the journey of life. I simply want to engage your mind, and if you’ll allow – your spirit as well. What answers, or maybe better stated – thoughts, do you come up with when you ponder the vastness and your role?

While I enjoy my solitude and the few times I’m able to “get away from it all”, I’m really into today’s technology that allows me to be connected with others wherever I find myself. As I type, I can hear my instant messenger notifying me of friends coming and going. I took another friend to the airport today to catch a flight that will take him across the state, but I can talk with him right now if I choose by cell phone. (As I was typing, said friend IM'd me and we had a great chat!) The internet and this forum allow me to communicate with people around the world and share ideas and thoughts with anyone, anytime. I find that cool.

More than cool, I find it essential to my beliefs. The one person I believe in the most said I should love God and love others. (That was Jesus by the way) While I’m not always successful, I make an honest effort to do both well. In order to do that I have to know those I’m loving. In God’s case I seek Him with all my heart, I read the bible, among other writings, and talk with Him often in prayer. I listen and watch for how He’s speaking to me, and while it would really be cool if we could email and IM, our communication is working.

The same holds true for others, and this is the part of the vastness that I can get my mind around: I really believe that I need the other 6.7 billion people I share this planet with. Now there’s no way I’ll ever be able to connect with all of you, but each of us has something to offer one another, something that will enrich other lives if shared. It could be a word, a smile, a gesture at first; it could develop into the sharing of ideas and hopes and dreams and life itself.

For all the answers I don’t have about life, I’m certain it’s meant to be shared…the good, the bad, all of it. What else can 6.7 billion people do with one another? History reveals that we aren’t very good at it though. Many times we have no room in our view of the world for those that might be different, which leads to some of the most horrible scenes from the past.

So I encourage you today to ponder your part, and it is just a part after all, in the big picture.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

A Better Return

Good day to you wherever you find yourself. Thanks for stopping by, I hope your time spent here will encourage and inspire you, or at the very least make you stop and think; all noble things in my estimation.

So, I find myself shaking my head once again at the human tendency to be critical and complaining. Honestly, I think it’s a hold-over from our childhood. As infants, it was our primary way of communication. A baby cries when it’s hungry or tired or gassy or whatever. It’s telling mom or dad, “Hey, help me out here!” As children, many of us realized that a temper tantrum helped us to get our way, or at least some attention. But do we really think that as adults, complaining and whining is an effective method of changing whatever situation it is that is rubbing us the wrong way?

God bless America for its freedoms, the greatest country on earth when it comes to individual human rights, period. Sure we have a host of failings we could discuss at length, but I’ll pass. The point I’m making is that we have the freedom to spend our time protesting if we choose. We can protest anything, march in the streets, make banners, shout catchy rhymes, etc. For my money, all that looks a bit like whining and complaining. May I suggest another approach?

I prefer a more pro-active strategy. And I must confess, it’s not an original idea. The phrase "It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness" is a very slight alteration on the less common Chinese proverb "'Don't curse the darkness - light a candle." The advice given is "if something is wrong, do something about it rather than complain." And while the Chinese may have summed it up in nice phrase (they do that often, don’t they?), I believe God Himself began this notion.

How often, when God didn’t like something, did He do something about it? Think back now……man needs a partner – make a woman. World filled with sin – send a flood, save a few and start over. It goes on and on, really. But what about today? I haven’t seen too many burning bushes, or entire seas parting so I can escape, have you? What about the miracle stuff now? How does God change those things that need changing? The answer my friend is staring at you in the mirror.

God has chosen to inhabit each one of us, if we’ll let Him. That’s the whole “believing that you need a Savior, accepting Jesus as yours, and inviting the Holy Spirit to live in you” thing, and it’s true. Consider the countless people who, in the power of the Holy Spirit, set aside their selfishness to live for others and make a difference in their lives. At this moment, there are untold people around the world who have left the comfort of life in these United States to live and work in impoverished areas just so those around them would know that Jesus loves them and cares about them. That simple gesture gives a human heart fuel to live and hope to carry on in places where your worth is tied to what you can produce for someone else. It changes lives.

Now, bring it back home for a minute. There is something that bugs each of us, something we find wrong. It may be something that impacts us in a very personal way or something that affects a whole bunch of folks. And while, I believe in the power of prayer, and that God does intervene in our lives on our behalf (I’ve experienced it personally), I believe he wants us to get involved. To be the hands and feet of Jesus to a world that needs Him.

Small example: Let’s say that a particular road I travel is littered with garbage and debris that I find unattractive. I can go to City Hall and voice my displeasure and hope something gets done, or I can spend the same amount of time rolling up my sleeves and picking up garbage. I promise you that the greater impact will be made doing the latter. And in the process I might just have the opportunity to share my faith and God’s love with someone. A very simplistic example, but perhaps you get the point.

God is still in the life changing, miracle business. I don’t know why He wants to use you and me in the process, but I know He does. If we’ll let Him, He will do things through us that will bring hope and healing to broken lives, including our own. I’m thinking that’s a better return for our effort than complaining will ever get. What about you?