Monday, December 30, 2013

Thoughts from the back side of the desert


"Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God." Exodus 3

Moses spent 40 years in the wilderness tending sheep.  I'm sure he thought, at nearly 80, his life was pretty much over.  He was forgotten by the world, a shepherd in the wilderness, out of sight, out of mind...and I wonder if he thought about his purpose, his place in the plans of God.  I wonder if he felt his life was pretty much over and this was as good as it was going to get.

What Moses didn't realize, and most of us don't either, is that God meets us on the back side of our deserts.  At times when we feel all is lost, life is over, our purpose is done suddenly we turn a corner and run into God!

I've spent a lot of time in the wilderness, on the back side of the spiritual desert, and am always surprised when I find myself at my "Mt. Horeb", the mountain of God.  It strikes me as strange that the mountain of God is in the middle of a wilderness, in the desert!  How odd for this to be what God calls his mountain.  How odd it would be in the desert.

After many trips into the desert myself I'm convinced it's the place we must go to find the mountain of God.  It's the only place where he can strip away other people, our own resources, and all the noise of the world around us. 

I had lunch today with an old friend going through cancer treatment and the challenges of health, life and mortality.  He told me, as we visited about our places in the kingdom, that my time in the desert will not be wasted.  One day I will come around the corner and there is God with the instructions for the next part of my life!

For Moses it was 40 years of wandering and then he's ready to hear God, ready to respond to him.  Our desert experiences can be some of the best times of our lives because they strip away all the chaos and distractions of the world and focus our attention on God!  We will discover that we can finally, after everything else is gone, hear his voice.

Don't resent your time in the desert, but know at any moment, any day, you will come around the corner and there, awaiting you, is a burning bush.  


Monday, December 23, 2013

Love of God

The love of God is the only medicine that will cure our fatal illness. 

It's the only salve that will heal the scars we have suffered.

 It's the only emotion that will never change.

It's the only smile that will never be a frown.

It's the only promise that will never fail.

It's the very heart of God, the hand of God extended, the grace of God given, the forgiveness we need freely offered.

The love of God is the only thing that will fix everything!


Saturday, December 21, 2013

The meaning of Christmas

At this time of year there is great pageantry around the Christian holiday we call Christmas, but behind it all is a meaning, a reason that we often miss.  When we understand the "why" then what we see in the celebration has real meaning for us.

Here is the reason for Christmas, the meaning behind it all- God loves us.  There.  That's it.  How do I know God loves us? He sent his very best gift to give us life, eternity, salvation, hope, joy, meaning, direction, and a hundred other things too numerous to mention.  But behind it all is this- God loves us.  If you know that then you "get" Christmas. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas!


As you celebrate the Christmas holiday I hope you will take time 
and thank God for his love demonstrated in the birth of a baby.

The weapons of our warfare

"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." -2 Cor. 10

Living in a fallen world creates real challenges for a Christian.  Without realizing it we begin to deal with problems on the world's terms, in the way the world does.  And yet, although we live in this world we are given a completely different battle plan than the world around us employs.  

The weapons of our warfare is love.  We are not called to fight, to argue, to attack, to accuse....but rather we are called to battle the world with completely different weapons, the weapons Jesus employed- love and grace. 

It's so counter-intuitive, it's so foreign to our sense of justice, but God has called us to a higher battle, a divine and eternal struggle that is only won through love.  But, to be honest, I really never considered love to be a weapon.  It's always seemed to the world, and to me if I'm honest, to be the weapon of the weak.

The strong fight, argue, scream, attack, accuse.....but we are called to a different kind of warfare...a warfare of divine invention.  A warfare that is so counter-intuitive that our flesh rebels at the invitation, but here it is,

Mat. 22:35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Jesus describes this in more detail in Luke 6:27-38, but don't read that unless you really want to go further in your walk with God.  Jesus' words in Luke will change everything about how you live your life, about how you deal with the world, and to be honest.....most of us don't want to walk this path. It's a narrow road and few travel it, but for those who do it's life changing, it's life changing for those around us as well!

How will we live in a world that is angry with God, angry with us, mad that God says there is only one way to come to him, only one savior?  How will we live in this kind of world?  

We will only do it well when we walk in love.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A prayer for the fearful and worried

Lord,  I'm so tired!  I'm worn out with the fears and worries spinning around me.

Lord, please help me to walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh.  To walk in the flesh is easy, but the price is too high. To walk in the Spirit is hard, but so worth the surrender!

Please help me keep my eyes on you and not on my circumstances.  

Please let my words reflect trust and dependence in you and not fear of what might happen to me.  

Please help me speak words of grace and not words of fear and anxiety.  

Calm my fears, my worries, my "what if's".  

Give me a vision of what you can do, of what you want to do.  

Help me to see your hand clearly, help me to trust you fully, calm my anxious thoughts and keep my eyes on your great love and ability to meet every need....both here and in every part of your realm, in every part of the Universe that I can see and all I can't!

Help me to never forget that even the atoms hold together because of you, and that includes my atoms!  

Lord, King, Sovereign, Savior, God.....I bow to you.  

Help me to stay on my knees before you in surrender and trust as the world seems to spins out of control around me.


Amen.

Father forever

As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
 
for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
 
The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
 
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
 
But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children
 
with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.
Psalm 103

If you know God at all you may know him as savior, creator, Lord, Spirit or a hundred other adjectives, but the one that has my attention this morning is from the words of a pastor I listen to often.  As I heard him this morning he spoke of the nature of God as father, but not just a father for a lifetime as we experience, but father forever.  

The governing emotion for a good father is love. It's the emotions we give to a father who is good...that he loves his children...and in this passage I've quoted love is at the very heart of what God does and why he does it.  The two words used here are love and compassion.  It's the driving force for all God does!

In the culture around me I see a world that views God as judge, not as loving father.  That's fascinating to me...how could those who know him see him as a loving father, but those who don't only see him as judge?  How could our views of God and responses to him be so different? One sees him as loving father and runs to him.  The other sees him as a harsh judge and runs away.

It is clear the view changes when you come to know God as savior.  Suddenly the idea of God as judge changes.  It changes when we discover that he did judge.  He judged all of the deeds of everyone when he judged his own son on the cross and from that day to this he is available as loving father to anyone who will trust him.

But if you refuse his adoption, his desire to extend his love to you, then judge is all you know about him.  For those who have rejected him they will never know him as father forever. What a sad thing to write....they will never know him as he really is because they rejected his love.  All they could see was a judge.  They missed his heart, his love completely.

I can't imagine God in any other light than a loving father for that is how he deals with me. And he will be that loving father to anyone who will trust him forever.  For that bit of illumination I'm rejoicing today....because I have a loving father forever!


Monday, December 16, 2013

Exhausted!


We just returned from 10 days in Kenya.  What a trip!  We escaped Dallas just moments before they closed the airport because of ice storms which shut down the city for a week.

The delays because of the storm caused us to miss our next flight in London, so we were rerouted through Doha, Qatar.  Never been there before, didn't really want to go either.  But, finally, a day late we arrived in Kenya.  

With all the changes a lot of our luggage was missing.  That took another day and caused another missed flight.  All seemed to be doomed to failure, but the week went really well!  Our team was great and I think we served the pastors there well.

Without saying it I'm sure you get the picture of weary travelers.  We are hope and taking a day to rest....and it's much needed.  I'll get back to my writing as soon as I can.  Thanks for all the prayers.

Home at last

I know I've been missing for a bit, but we have been on a whirlwind trip to Kenya and just got hope last night.  It was the most difficult trip I've experienced! Flight delays, missed flights, weather problems, lost luggage, missed rides, miscommunications all around....and yet it was rewarding to see what God did even as it seems everything was working to keep us from being there at all.

Our team was awesome and one of the most fun groups I have been part of.  They all jumped in and made the week a joy for me as the leader and for everyone on the team as well.  

Here are just a few photos.  I'll write more once I'm back on Texas time.






Thursday, December 05, 2013

Looking to eternity

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Cor. 4

This life, when you understand it more clearly, is the gradual process of dying.  Day by day, as we age, our bodies slowly decline, decay, lose strength and move ever closer to death.  Life is really a rather strange word to use for what we experience because real life hasn't even begun yet!  

Because life...the kind of life we can't even imagine...is still ahead we can begin to understand more clearly that this life is not our hope, our future.  This life is not all there is but only a taste of what is ahead.  This life, this creation, is temporary. But ahead is something eternal, glorious, amazing beyond words...real life beyond anything we could even imagine.


That is our hope.  Not a hope for a good life now, for cars and money and a nice house here.  Most never see that, most are rather disappointed by the false promises of prosperity now because that too is only temporary.  Our hope is on the eternal kingdom ahead so that as we go through difficulties now we can endure them knowing this is not the end.  This is not all there is.  Ahead is real life. Ahead is eternity.  

Ahead is all I've ever dreamed of but never understood here....ahead is the world of my dreams made into reality...and it's called God's eternal kingdom.  That's our hope.  That's real life!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Off we go!


Off we go again!  Tomorrow we escape the winter storm coming to Texas and board a plane to Kenya.  I love these trips and look forward to seeing 50 amazing pastors in Kenya.  And, what's even better for this trip is my sweet wife is going with me.  It can't get much better than that!

Beautiful


In my quest for photos for this blog and other things I'm working on I often do a google search for a specific word and look for images that match it.  What is fascinating is that when you "Google" the word beautiful nearly all the photos that appear are nature related.  Sunsets, animals, scenery, etc.  We all have built into us a love for the beauty of the world around us.

Embedded in us is a sense of beauty based on nature.  Where did that come from?  When we look for descriptions of "beautiful" why is nature our first response?  It seems to be part of our "spiritual DNA" (if there is such a thing) that we know what best describes the concept of beauty.


Solomon, more than 3,000 years ago, said it this way, 


He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11  

The beauty we see and sense comes from God as he reveals himself to the human race.  We call it beautiful.  God says it shows his handiwork, it reveals HIM.  Who's to argue?

 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.  Romans 1

Purposes and plans

              
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
    your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Do not forsake the work of your hands. Ps. 138:8

What are God's plans for me? 
What does he have ahead?
We all wonder, don't we?
We want to know what God's plans are for us,
what he is "working on",
but I've not yet gotten insight into his plans,
that is information we couldn't handle, 
wouldn't know what to do with....

But he does promise us this- he will fulfil his purpose for us.
He will accomplish what he has designed us to be.
He will make it happen.

Why?  What's he up to? What drives his purposes in my life?
The next line in this verse is so reassuring.  
The driving force for God's work in my life is his love.
Because of his love I can trust his purposes....
even when I have no idea what he's doing, 
why he's doing it
or how it will all turn out.

He will accomplish his purposes in my life
simply because he loves me.

How wonderful is that?

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Walking with God

This is a post from last year I wanted to share with you once more.  I have more to say on this topic in the days ahead.  Stay tuned.


After many years of faith and a walk with God I'm learning that God's will isn't a path clearly marked out for years to come, but instead it's guidance for the moment.  God's will and direction for life are much like a GPS.  "In .3 miles turn left..."  The directions of the GPS are as you need them.

Walking with God is much like that.  It's not a course revealed for the next 40 years, but a walk of steps and turns and moments.  Each day is a new day of walking with God and finding his will for you in the moments, in the encounters of your life.  The course, as it looks to you, might go around in circles for a bit, but God has a plan and it's only revealed as we come to each turn in our course.

We are in Hawaii for a couple weeks and although I have never been here before we have found our way around easily with the help of our GPS.  We don't need to know the route, we simply need to obey the prompts of the sweet voice on the GPS and soon we arrive at our destination.  God's Spirit works in that same way as we walk with him through the day.  We may not know all the turns and twists in our route, but simply need to trust the guidance we receive as we walk with God through the moments.  Walking with God is a fascinating adventure.  You never know who you will meet, where you will go, but it's never boring.  


Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Prov. 3:5-6

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful!

Give thanks!  It's the theme of David in Psalms.  Thank who?  The one who gives us all we have with kindness and grace...the air we inhale, the sun to warm us, the food we eat, the people we love....and so much more. Today I'm thankful for all that a good God has provided.  Thank you God.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thankful, day 2

My mom flew in yesterday.  What a treat to have her with us for a week.  My dad passed away only 5 months ago so this time with her is wonderful.  

Today I'm thankful for family and the joy of time with people you love.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thankful, day 1

It's Thanksgiving week here in the states.  It began as a time of thanks for God's provisions, but that has been long lost to the time off, too much food and football.

Some do still take a bit of time to be thankful.  A few even express that to God.  So this week I will take just a few words each day and say thank you to the God who gives us ALL THINGS to richly enjoy.


Day 1- Today I'm thankful for God's love.  It's not so much a tangible thing you can eat or touch, but it's real in how it works out in our lives.  Because he loves us he's not waiting for us to do something wrong so he can punish us.  He is constantly reaching out to his men and women with love.  His invitation to a relationship is always open.  His response to my approach is never a frown, but always a smile.  Today I'm thankful I worship a GOOD God who loves me....who loves everyone.  Today I want to say, "Thank you, God, for your love.  It's most wonderful be be an object of your love and not your wrath.  Thank you for your love."


"God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.  This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins." 1 John 4

Friday, November 22, 2013

Why are you so angry?

This week I received a comment on a post I wrote more than a year ago.  It was clearly from an atheist. This person was angry, abusive, insulting and hostile because of my thoughts and faith.  I wasn't surprised, but then again I am a bit....why are you so angry? Why are you mad at me for my faith, for my belief in God?

They would tell me it's because so much evil has been done in the name of god, but they don't know me to make that claim of my life.


Why are they so angry at me for believing there is a God in heaven who made everything? The truth is they aren't mad at me, they don't even know me.  They are really mad at God...yes, they're mad at God.  But they claim they don't believe in him...and yet they can't help themselves...they're mad at HIM....and so they take it out on those who do believe.  


David wrote, 



Why are the nations so angry?

    Why do they waste their time with futile plans?


They're angry because they know, even though they deny it, that there is a God and they have to deal with him....and they don't want to! They don't want him in their lives, they don't want him in their worldview, they don't want him to exist and so, ultimately, the God they are mad at will give them their way and leave them alone...but even that will make them mad.

Man cannot live without God and for some who don't want to acknowledge him that makes them furious.  One author wrote a humorous piece and noted that atheists, who don't believe in God, actually talk about him and write about him more than those of us who do believe. 

Why are they so angry?  Because God won't go away, he won't be dismissed so easily. And that makes any rebel mad.


50 years ago today

We each have life changing events happen in our lifetime.  For my generation it was the assassination of our president on this day 50 years ago.  It was a day we all remember.  We remember where we were when we heard. We remember the moment.  Life events are like that.  They embed themselves in our memories and change us. This was one of those events.  Where were you when you heard? How did it affect you?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Quote of the day

In the presence of light, you see darkness. In the presence of power, you see weakness. In the presence of beauty, you see ugliness. In the presence of God, you see your need for grace. -Tim Keller

Far more...

Eph. 3:20-21 Now to Him who is able to do...
far...
more...
abundantly... 
beyond...
 all... 
that we ask or think, 

according to the power that works within us, 

to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus 
to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

The culmination of the first three chapters of Ephesians are these words in 3:20-21.  They are a benediction often recited in church, but they are more than that.  They are the words of overview, of conclusion about all that Paul has written in the first three chapters.

Read these words again and watch as Paul tries to overwhelm you with the vastness, the greatness, the amazing provision of God in Christ,

Now...
 to Him...
 who is able to do...
far...
more...
abundantly... 
beyond...
 all... 

that we ask or think,

What Paul is trying to say is that your prayers can never come close to all that God wants to do in your lives, you can never ask big enough prayers, never reach the limit of his provision, never exhaust his willingness to answer.  

What Paul is saying is that God is much bigger, much more able, much more willing than you have ever imagined, ever dreamed, to meet every need of your life.  It's encapsulated in his grand provision for our salvation. He didn't just do "enough", but he did...

far...
more...
abundantly... 
beyond...
all...
we could ever need for salvation.

In other words no one can sin so much that they could or would exhaust the grace and forgiveness of God. He would never say to anyone, "Oh, I'm sorry, you went over the line, I can't forgive THAT!" His provisions for our sins is far more than we will ever need.  As strange as it sounds, his forgiveness is far more than our sin.

In the same way he has provided for everything else in our lives in the same lavish over the top way.  He has provided...
far...
more...
abundantly... 
beyond...
 all... 


that we ask or think,

and he's able and willing to meet our needs, answer our prayers, extend his grace, forgive our sins, and demonstrate his love in this far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think fashion. 

God wants you to know he's the most lavish provider and giver you will ever know or experience. He wants to give far more than you could ever ask, ever imagine, ever dream!  

He will show it to you, give it to you, forgive those sins, extend that grace, answer that prayer to demonstrate his over-the-top-beyond-your-imagination love provided in Jesus Christ!

Why is he doing all this? Why did Jesus have to die? Why is God still reaching out to us, loving us, forgiving us, meeting our needs?

He's doing it so that everyone will see his love, his amazing love poured out "lavishly" through what Christ did for us to meet every need, heal every wound, answer every prayer, forgive every sin....so that in everything Jesus Christ will be praised...to the glory of God! 

It's far more than you could ever imagine or even dream!


Monday, November 18, 2013

40 years ago today...

40 years ago today a pretty young woman met Jesus and me on the same morning. She has been the love of my life now for almost 40 years, and...as she says, "I met Jesus and Mike on the same day, but I never get them mixed up." What a great day of memories and celebration for that pretty young woman, Joye, and the man that fell in love with her.

I am truly blessed.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Quote of the day

"If you want to make people mad, preach law.  If you want to make them really, really mad, preach grace." -Dr. Doug Kelly (from One Way Love by Tulian Tchvidjian)

...Tulian Tchvidjian writes further,

"The law offends us because it tells us what to do-and most of the time, we hate anyone telling us what to do. But ironically, grace offends us even more, because it tells us that there is nothing we can do, that everything has already been done.  And if there is something we hate more than being told what to do, it's being told that we can't do anything, that we can't earn anything- that we are helpless, weak, and needy."

Working on the main things


It's so easy to get frantic with all we have to do these days.  I'm constantly bombarded by more things than I could possibly do in two lifetimes, so how do I deal with this frantic pace our culture has us all on? How do I focus on the core things, the main things that really matter?

This morning I came to these words in 1 John 3,

And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them.

As I read those words it suddenly hit me that these two things are the main things to focus my life upon. If I could just do these two things well the rest would work out!  So what are the implications of these two seemingly simple commands?

First, believe in the name of his son, Jesus Christ. When I believe in something, really believe, I put my full weight and trust in it. That's the invitation of this command. To believe in the name of his son is to put your full weight and trust in him for and about everything!  For me that works out in my eternity, my prayers, my access to God, my trust in his word, my dependence on him for my needs....and on and on.  It means that I really believe all that Jesus said and did putting my full weight on him to be and do what he said he would do!  That's a much bigger task than I realize most of the time.

And second, that simple yet most difficult task- love one another.  If God wanted me to do this why didn't he surround me with lovable people?  Instead, probably like you, I'm surrounded with messed up, goofy, struggling, runny nose people....and he expects me to love them?  YES!  That's my job! That's your job!  

We are given only two things to do and we struggle with both of them!  In just one passage God gives us eternity changing tasks to do, believe in his son and all that means, and love others.  If I can focus my attention on these two things everything else will work out and the frantic madness around me will calm.  If only I could do these two things well!

Lord, help me to really believe in Jesus Christ, your son, and all that means. And help me love others...with all their warts and problems.  Help me to focus my life and time on just these two things and while I do them would you work out everything else?



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Seasons



Psalm 104:19
He made the moon for the seasons; 
The sun knows the place of its setting.

If you live in a part of the world where the seasons change it's always wonderful to have a change, a change in color, a change in temperature, a change in the air.  Where I came from the winter has snow that marks a time of year of rest for the ground and for those who work it.  The seasons are reminders of the passing of time. They remind us that God's faithful.  He said the seasons would come every year and the seasons themselves proclaim God's promise to us until the end.  

It's fall here.  Cool, refreshing, cold this morning, but what a wonderful reminder of God's faithful love and power.  And the colors!  Isn't he an amazing artist?  

Fall has come, enjoy the moments of this brief season and thank God for his wonderful provision and love that shown even in the changing of the leaves.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Another year

Today is my birthday.

As a youth I always thought people as old as I am today were "old", but I don't feel that old.  In fact, I'm not even a century into eternity, so in light of how much of the real life I have ahead of me I've only just begun!

If my life was only measured in the years I have here on earth it would be most frustrating to see them pass so quickly, but because of Christ....because of what God has done, these few years are just the beginning!  

So today, at 63, I celebrate another year to love God, love people and be part of an eternal kingdom that makes these few years here a wonderful beginning to the billions ahead!

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Friends


Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got. 

Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. 



Wouldn't you like to get away? 



Sometimes you want to go 



Where everybody knows your name, 

and they're always glad you came. 
You wanna be where you can see, 
our troubles are all the same 
You wanna be where everybody knows 
Your name. 



You wanna go where people know, 

people are all the same, 
You wanna go where everybody knows 
your name. 

source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/tvthemes/cheerslyrics.html

Those are the lyrics to the theme song from the T.V. show "Cheers".  The lyrics speak to our common longing. We want to be known, we want someone to know who we are.  We all want friends.  And yet, in our culture today friends, real friends, are hard to find and even harder to define.

Today I had lunch with one of the guys from our church.  He welcomed me with this question and a troubled frown, "Do you consider us friends or just acquaintances?"  That beginning didn't bode well for the visit to follow.  The reason for his question was the awareness that he really doesn't have many friends and was I one of them?

Friends are rare.  Real friends that is.  It takes years to get to know someone and often longer to really trust them.  Chuck Swindoll said, "If you have eight men at your funeral who don't look at their watches you had a good life."  Isn't it sad that most of us have so few we connect with, even fewer who know us and care about us.

In the last two weeks I have visited with several of our men and in the visit asked them, "So, do  you have any friends?"  Both answered, to my amazement, "No".  How sad that we live in a culture surrounded by others and no one knows us, no one cares.  How have we let this happen?  Why are we so fearful of the emotional intimacy a friend would offer?

 It's even worse for our young adults.  They have grown up with electronics between themselves and others.  Many have thousands as "friends" on Facebook, but know no one personally!  It's a tragedy that is beginning to reveal itself in the suicides of lonely people with thousands of "friends" who have never met them.

So how do we move from this loneliness to relationship? How do we connect in a way that bridges the chasm we feel between us and others?  And, even more important, what is a "friend" anyway?  That question was one we asked our waiter today as my friend and I discussed our relationship.  Even our young waiter didn't really know.

Here's a project for you to work on, an assignment if you wish:  Write down on a piece of paper five names of people you consider friends.  Then, call them. Talk to them. Tell them how important their friendship is in your life.  No, you can't text them or send them a note on Facebook.  That's missing the point entirely.  You have to talk to them. Really talk to them...and even better...meet them for a meal.  It will make a difference in your life you never imagined.  It will refresh your soul and brighten your day!





Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Many years ago....

Many years ago a couple in our church had their first and only child.  He was born on this day and they named him Jason.  He's grown now.  Both his mother and father have died in recent years, but Jason continues on.  I sent him a note today wishing him a happy birthday and wrote about how proud his parents were the day he was born.  I still remember it like it was yesterday!

Many years ago a couple had a baby boy and unless we celebrate these moments and talk about them they evaporate into the vapors of the past.  "Many years ago" disappears into history only because we don't celebrate the moments that changed our lives, we forget to remember.

Today, think back on a fond memory of someone in your past and then take a moment and call them, text them, e-mail them and tell them about your sweet memory of another day they may not even know about.  Many years ago a baby boy was born and his parents were so proud and named him Jason.  And I remember.....


Monday, November 04, 2013

When I was young....

When I was young I thought I knew everything, but didn't.
Now that I'm older I know I really don't know much at all and that's ok.

When I was young I thought I would live forever.
Now that I'm older I know I will live forever, but not here.

When I was young I wasn't afraid of anything because I didn't know better.
Now that I'm older I know fear well.  It has helped me grow in my faith in God.

When I was young I only rarely knew pain.
Now that I'm older I know pain as an intimate friend and companion.

When I was young days lasted forever.
Now that I'm older I know the days soon will last forever.

When I was young I knew Jesus as savior.
Now that I'm older I know his as friend.

When I was young love was a feeling.
Now that I'm older I know love as a person.

When I was young visions of  greatness seemed the most important quest.
Now that I'm older I know that greatness is highly overrated!

Now that I'm older I know God better than I ever dreamed I would,
but still only know him as a child knows his father.

Now that I'm older I look forward to the day
when I will know him even as I am known,
when I will see him face to face.

I long for that day.