Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thoughts on 2008

2008 was the year of "Captain Obvious". It seemed that the major events of the year happened so quickly that the news outlets were barely able to keep up. I have been surprised to see how quickly whole systems changed and unraveled this year. Political, financial and social structures all fell apart in numerous arenas in 2008 to the surprise of everyone.
$5.00 gas, banking failures, social structure collapses, governmental changes, and what is ahead in the new year because of all of the things we have seen unfold so quickly? There seems to be an acceleration of events....almost a speeding up of time this last year.
I wonder what events this year's changes will bring in the days ahead. I've always been a student of prophecy, but not an authority by any means. I know enough to be dangerous, but it is beginning to look like events in prophecy are lining up for the final grand march to the end. It's a most curious time to live. As one preacher said on TV in these wee hours of this morning, "it seems that more advancements in all areas of man's knowledge and development have happened in the last 100 years than in the thousands of years before this. All of our advancements in science that we now take for granted are less than 100 years old." I wonder what will come in the next few years ahead of us as knowledge and its application unfolds....
But back to this year. For me it has been a hard year. I fell in February and badly hurt my left foot. Most of this year I have been in severe pain, but the details of those events- my first surgery, the handicap days, the gradual healing, the constant pain and the frustration of my life changing have all been clarifying events for me. They have clarified what is really important, and helped me sort through what I really care about and what can be "thrown away."
In nearly every area of my life this year has been a year of clarification. "Captain Obvious" has come to help me see what is most important and where I need to focus my attention in the days ahead. I think that the reality of my age and what years I may have left has helped with this process as well. It's quite interesting to come to an age when you realize that you don't have a lot of years left of planet earth. In only 20 years I will be 78! It's hard for me to believe that is really true.....I still feel so young inside, but I am watching as the years quickly fly by and my part of history is passing. While I'm still here I want to be part of eternal things. I'm not too interested in wasting my few years I have left on personal pleasures, I really do want to make a difference.....I want to be part of the work of God on planet earth. As a pastor I know I'm doing that already, but I have an intensity building in me that wants more......I can't wait to see what God does with me....with you...and with his church in the years ahead. Now for a little sleep......

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2009 wish list

Ok, it's almost 2009. A new year. A new chance to dream. IF it were possible (dreams aren't restricted by money or reality) what would you like to do or accomplish in the new year?

Here's my list-

1. Take a motorcycle ride somewhere unusual.

2. Take a long walk without my foot hurting. (I'm still having problems from my fall in February.)

3. See all the states I haven't been to yet.

4. Get some time to really rest without any deadlines.

5. Have an opportunity to go overseas and teach in places I haven't been to yet.

There's my short list. What's on yours?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Reflection and anticipation

We are near the end of the year. Looking back on 2008 it has felt much like this-

We were hit by several waves this year. It has taken the breath out of many noble souls, and emptied their retirement accounts. I'm sure some have felt overwhelmed by the waves of the year, but God is good and will care for his children even when the waves of change overwhelm us. Next year is an unknown. At the moment, for me, it feels like this-

I'm not sure if the year ahead will lick me or bite me.....we will have to wait to see. Either way I have a great opportunity to trust the Lord one day at a time and celebrate his care for me, because he has promised,

Psa 34:6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him And saved him out of all his troubles.
Psa 34:7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them.
Psa 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
Psa 34:9 O fear the LORD, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want.
Psa 34:10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


My friend, Teresa, shared this with me today. I love it....thought you would too.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

An article you need to read

My fellow pastor, Bill, sent me the link to this article this morning. I encourage you to take some time and read it. The article is very interesting-


Friday, December 26, 2008

What do you think?

It's the end of the year again. Another amazing year has passed and a new one ahead....a new president, a new economic reality, a lot of changes on the way....just as promised by our new president. It may be time for a change here as well. If you are a regular visitor may I ask your help? What would you like to discuss? What changes can I make to make this more interesting, more fun? I'm ready for a face lift, but not sure what's needed. Would you help me?

The Christian life

This morning, the day after Christmas, I have been thinking about the Christian life.....the challenge of living a dependent life in a fallen world. It's quite a challenge for me. I often feel the pull of my flesh conflicting with the desires of the Spirit in me. And, I often fail, fail to walk with God and choose to walk in the flesh. It's the battle that Paul describes in Galatians 5...the battle between the old man who is still alive and well, and the new man in me, who wants more than anything, to please God. It's so frustrating to know what you really want to do, but not do it at all. There are attempts in the Christian world to describe this as living a balanced life, but my friend Dave has wisely mentioned that in this battle between flesh and spirit there can be no's all one or the other...walk by the Spirit of God in you or walk in the flesh. There isn't a balancing act to this, but simply a choice. I'm very frustrated that after all these years of knowing Christ my flesh is still so strong, still so able to make me choose badly. The truth is that I can never assume or believe I have somehow arrived. I will always be 100% dependent on the Spirit of God in me to live this life successfully. When I forget that is when I make poor choices and walk in the flesh. The Christian life isn't easy, in fact it's's only done well when I let Christ live his life in and through me....and that's something I will have to do every day of my life. Just a few thoughts from a growing Christ follower......

Family time

We had a great time with our family Christmas eve. It was wonderful to have them all here and healthy. The house was a disaster area for a while with wrapping paper flying everywhere, but it was great, and next year we will have one more little smile to join us.

I hope you had a great time with your family during this holiday.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The blessings of family

Our family celebrates Christmas on the eve before. With other family obligations for the kids this has worked out to be our family time together. It's a whirlwind evening with chili, tamales and the chaos of children unwrapping gifts. It's great fun. Here's a photo of the grandkids amid the chaos.
Merry Christmas!

A special holiday for me!

thanks, Kris.

God WITH us

Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
.............. means "God WITH us". Today and tomorrow we celebrate the birth of Christ. It's a holiday for the Christian world because "God WITH us" was born. It may not be the right day to celebrate, that doesn't matter, what does matter is that there was a day in time and history when God became a man and walked among us. I am always amazed when I think about that idea....God WITH us....he became part of his own creation to live as each of us do. He knows what it's like to be tired, hungry, grieve and live out life day by day. God understands because he lived this life too. God WITH us....he knows what we are going through. He understands. He came and made his footprints on our planet and it's never been the same....and for that I'm eternally grateful.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The tree

My friend Dave and I went out to photograph a tree in a field near us. It's a large, lone tree in the field that the owners have decorated in brilliant white lights. It looks like every branch is covered. Every night there are photographers out by the road taking photos of this grand old tree. Here's mine. Thanks, Dave, for going with me.

Christmas lights

Last night we were invited by friends to join them on a carriage ride through uptown Dallas to see the Christmas lights. It was cold, but it was a lot of fun. We rode around the area for about an hour looking at lights and watching other people watch us ride by. It was quite a festive evening. Thanks Dan & Sharon.

The long arm of the law

Today I went to the police station and paid my speeding ticket. I'm sure you are asking, "A pastor...speeding???"
Yes, I'm sorry, but I was completely daydreaming and thinking about 1,000 other things and just flew through a school zone. Suddenly, all my other thoughts seemed less important as I saw the flashing lights behind me.
I could have gotten out of the ticket. I work as a police chaplain, and he would have just told me to slow down and sent me on my fact he told me I should have let him know, but I didn't want to take advantage of the privilege. But after paying such a large ticket I kind of wish I would have pleaded for mercy although I deserved none.
Anyway, I'm stinging a little from the ticket, especially right before Christmas, but I'm glad I paid my debt to society....and now, believe it or not, I'm on probation. I've never been on probation before. It's a strange place for a pastor to be.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The entrance of the king

Seven centuries before Jesus was born the prophet Isaiah penned these words-
Isa 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Isa 9:7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
I'm always amazed as I read these verses. These two short verses have been the theme of songs, sermons and deep discussion for centuries. In this passage the prophet describes a baby who will be born, a human being, who will be called......
Wonderful Counselor- The name used to describe the Holy Spirit to the disciples. The name given to Jesus in 1 John. This title is a name for God, and it's used to tell us that this baby will be that Wonderful Counselor.
Mighty God- I can't imagine how the Jewish people dealt with this name. How could they ever imagine that God himself would become a human being to accomplish his own plan of salvation, but strange as it sounds there was a time in history when the creator of the universe became part of his own creation to provide salvation for the human race. God in flesh...what an amazing concept.
Eternal Father- It's obvious as Isaiah writes, with the Spirit guiding him, that God doesn't want anyone to miss the point- HE is coming to planet earth. The very God of gods, King of kings will come and reside with us. He will become a nobody in a little town in Israel. The Eternal Father, the one and only God, will become a baby and grow up to live among us.
Prince of Peace- And now to amaze us is another title. Not King of peace notice, but Prince of peace. It's subtle, but the implication is that, as the verses start to describe a baby born....a son given, we now understand something hidden for centuries that this Mighty God born to save us is the son of God. Not a son by birth, but a son by title. He is part of a Trinity. One God in three persons, and the son given is one with the Father who gave him. The Prince of Peace...the one who comes as prince over the peace kingdom. Until this one comes to reign peace will only be a dream for the human race.
Now we know more clearly what the author meant, but what a glorious insight into the very nature and plan of God. And this one who will come has every intent in his plan to bring peace to a hostile world. It's only in Christ that we find the peace we each need. It's only through this baby born, this son given that we find God. It's only through trusting him as savior that we are forgiven of our sins.
Christmas is about the greatest gift ever given....the gift of the son of God. Given to us who needed him most to meet our greatest needs...our need for a wonderful counselor, a God who is mighty enough to help us, a father who will never die and a prince to rule who will bring the peace we all long for. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and don't forget- it is all about Christ.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas season

It's wonderful to celebrate the Christmas holiday with family. I always look forward to the time together and the looks on the kid's faces when they open the gifts. Some years it is a little challenging to find the money for gifts, but we always seem to work it out.
My sweet wife is the ultimate Santa Claus kind of person. She loves the holiday, the foods, the decor, the games...and all that goes with it, but she married a Grinch kind of guy. I would rather take the easy way and not deal with all the work to set up the tree- we will only have to take it down again, and decorate the house- it only lasts for a few weeks....and so it goes. I'm really glad my grinchiness has not stifled her Santa Claus spirit. I love the resulting feel and celebration because of my wife's work and spirit. I wouldn't want to have my way...a Grinch Christmas would be really sad.
So, my advice- let the Santa Claus in you rule the holiday, and whether you can get a few gifts or many, remember that this holiday is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, God who became man to die for our sins. Don't forget- it's all about HIM. Happy Birthday, Jesus.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's a great family!

Last night we went to a Christmas party for one of our home groups. It was great fun to spend time with them and enjoy the fellowship and food. The hosts and leaders of the group are Jimmy and Nancy (with their daughter, Jessica). It was great to just fellowship, eat and laugh together. If you aren't in a home group of some kind, in our church or your own, may I encourage you to find one and become part of it? You won't discover what the church is really all about if you only attend on Sunday. It's the smaller communities of believers gathering in homes, praying for each other....reading the bible together....eating together that is really what makes the church the healthy, living thing God intended it to be.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A "cute fix"

For those of you who like "cute things" here's a must-

Just thinking

Christmas is just a week away.....I better get busy!

I'm not feeling very festive this year. I think it's because our weather has been so strange. It will be 75 tomorrow and Saturday and then in the high 20's by Monday. It's just hard to get in the holiday mood when the weather is so crazy.

Joye and I got to help serve the Sunday School teachers at their appreciation dinner last night. It was fun. We have an amazing group of servants.

I was reading in 1 Corinthians this morning and it suddenly struck me that Paul's admonition in this passage is to be willing to be a vegatarian, if needed, to keep a brother from stumbling. I hope that doesn't become necessary for me....I really like meat.

I am actually in my chair this morning, drinking coffee, reading and checking blogs and facebook. I am never home when the sun comes up in the morning....I'm feeling a little guilty.

We just roasted the last of the Kona beans that friends brought me from Hawaii. I'm sad. They were very good beans. I need to order more coffee beans soon!

I wonder how all these global financial problems will work out? What will the world look like in a year? And where did all this money go that has been lost in the last year?

I hope you have a great holiday season. Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Difficult days

There are days that you hate to face. Days that look difficult before you even get started. As you look ahead you can see that this will be a very difficult walk, but the day comes and we have to walk through it.
How do we face those difficult days, the walk ahead that seems so hard?
The truth is that God never promised that the Christian life would be easy, but he did promise to walk it with us. To have someone with us who knows where to walk is vital when the path ahead seems so unsure. It helps if you have someone who has walked this way before....who knows where to walk, and that is what God promises to do in our lives...he promises to walk with us, to lead us, to help us walk our difficult days.
Psa 25:4 Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths.
Psa 25:5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.
Psa 25:6 Remember, O LORD, Your compassion and Your lovingkindnesses, For they have been from of old.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A new baby boy is on the way!

Last Saturday night we attended a Christmas party at the home of our daughter in law's parents. It's an annual event and we always look forward to being there with our kids and the in-laws. The talk of the night was our son and daughter in laws new baby boy due in April. I can't tell you how many women patted Tiffany's little baby tummy and said, "Aaahhh." I'm sure she got tired of it quickly, but I know they are excited about having their first child. Here's Tiffany and Joye that night.

Behind the bell, part 2

A few days ago I told you the story of a friend of mine who had the great joy of helping someone in need. One of the comments on that post came from one of our dear ladies in the church. Here are her words-

"I was there at that Wal-mart that night. I watched as the bike was purchased and saw the person who was doing the purchasing. I saw the excitement about giving something needed to somebody in need written on his face. I was working at the customer service desk when our friend came in to exchange the bike because he could not work the shifters with his cerebral palsy. I was the one who got to work with him and do the exchange. He was so excited about getting the bike and being able to get back to his tent home safely. It was a neat thing to watch the excitement of both the giver and the receiver. I even got to be part of the solution to the problem. What a neat experience. :)"

When I read her comments I had several thoughts. First, you never know who is watching you. People are watching us. We may not know it at the time, but we are making an impression on others even when we don't know they are watching. Second, there is a "ripple effect" to a good deed. It helps the one we intended to help, but there are blessing for others as well. You won't see all that happens from doing something nice, but it affects more than the person it was done for. And third, the bible tells us in Proverbs that God takes care of repaying good things done for those in need. You can never give to someone who is in need without God getting involved in the whole situation. I look forward to seeing what God will do in my friend's life, in John's life and in the lives of those who watched this little act of kindness in a Wal-Mart store.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fun with the kids

Last night Joye and I had some time with the grandkids while their parents went to a Christmas party. Here's a very common site in our house when the kids are over.....EVERYONE in grandma's lap. Grandkids are great!
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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday's cartoon

It's just a matter of perspective..........

"Sometimes I ask myself, 'Why am I the lucky one?'"

Friday, December 12, 2008

"Good job"

This is from Pastor Kris' blog. He said it well, and I'm sure he won't mind me sharing it with you. ..............
"Today I had the honor of changing my wife's flat tire. I really really really didn't want to leave my office to go up town and change her tire in the cold and the rain. However, there was a moment that made it all worth it. After taking out the spare tire, taking out the jack and other tools, getting rained on, after jacking the car up, freezing, taking off the lug nuts, removing the tire, freezing, putting on the new tire, getting soaked, putting everything away, freezing, after all of that, Tammy said to me, "Good job". And she meant it; it wasn't a "Good job, at least I didn't have to get cold and change the tire." She really meant I did a good job at changing the tire; she may have assumed I was going to mess it up somehow. But the pain of changing the tire was removed by my wife telling me, sincerely, "Good job".
There is just something very powerful for a man when our wives compliment our work. I love it. I'd change the tire with my teeth if I knew my wife would be proud of me. Married ladies, this tip is for free, sincerely compliment your husbands and you will be amazed at what kind of man they become."

Just thinking

Today is a busy day for a Friday. I'm working through a long list of "must do's" and most of them are overdue. Finding balance between time with people (which I love) and working at a desk and computer (which I hate) is hard because I do the one I like and put off the one I hate, so it piles up. Today I'm trying to get some of them done.

Like my fellow pastor, Brent, I am thinking about our Christmas party last night. It was a great time (as usual), but my heart just wasn't in it. It would have been great for me if I could have just called it in. All of our staff, elders and deacons are great. We have an amazing group of people, but I just wasn't up for the social stuff last night. I think when your business is people there are times when you overdose and just have to go hide. That was my mood last night.

Today is another day full of people, but I've recovered a little, so I'm ready for another "overdose."

I also have to get busy with teaching notes. I'm teaching through Revelation. The class starts mid-January and I haven't got my notes together. I need to get that done today, so excuse me, I'll be with you in a few hours...for now it's to the desk and some study. Have a good day.

Funny signs

I saw this sign and thought it was great. Nothing like a little competition to make things exciting, and no one does it better than McDonalds.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Behind the bell

One of the guys in our church stopped by Wal-Mart last night. During this time of the year we all notice the Salvation Army volunteers ringing the bell to raise support for the Salvation Army ministry, but often we look away to avoid eye contact. Sometimes we will put a few dollars in the bucket, but rarely do we look at those behind the bell.
Last night he did notice the man behind the bell and talked to him. This bell ringer was a man in his 30's who told him that he is homeless and lives in a tent on the other side of town. He also told my friend that he just had his bicycle stolen, his only means of transportation. Our guy went into the store, but couldn't put this man out of his mind. He has so much, but here is a homeless man living in a tent who had his bicycle stolen.
Then he thought, "I have a few dollars extra and Wal-Mart has bicycles." He went back to the bicycle section, found a good bike for the price and bought it. He told the salesman what he was doing, and needed it prepared for the man behind the bell so he could get back to his tent for a cold nights sleep.
As he purchased the bike at checkout he couldn't help himself, he had to tell the cashier what he was doing....he was excited to be able to give something to someone who had nothing. He took the bike out to his new friend and presented it to him. Then he learned more. His name is John and he has cerebral palsy. (Could this story get any sadder?) John was excited to have the new wheels, but didn't know if he could shift it. My friend gave him the receipt and told him to exchange it if he needed a different bike, and then walked to his car....almost floating on air.
How blessed we are. How much we have. How often we overlook those who have nothing. My friend had a wonderful day yesterday and has nothing to show for it but a smile that won't go away....
Eph 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;
Eph 5:2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Little blessings

It's funny what we DON'T worry about. We don't worry about not having air to breathe. We don't worry about the sun coming up. We don't worry about the rotation of the earth....these are things we take for granted. They are expected to be there and always are so we don't even think about them, but even these things we don't think about are taken care of by God. He keeps all of this working so well that we don't worry about the really big things....they are dependable and always there because we have a big God. I'm grateful for the things I never think about because God is so faithful.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

What a day!

I saved this photo for just a day as this! Wow, it has been one of those days....where has it gone? What did I get done? Even as I write this it's after 11pm and I'll be up and working again in a few amazes me how quickly time gets away. Today I feel like Seinfeld- today this is a blog about nothing...except a busy day with no time to even think. It will be this way for a while. I'll post something of content (I hope) tomorrow. For now, good night.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Anticipating Christmas

It's interesting to read the newspapers online this time of year. The wording of the stories is fascinating and the content often very strange. It seems the world wants the fantasy of Christmas, but not the reality. The story this morning was from a paper in Australia that presumes to solve the "mystery of the star." They write about this event as myth, but then try to explain it with science and astronomy.

For this simple Christian I'm just grateful that on a day in time and history the God of the universe was born into our world with the intent plan of dying to save the human race. It is THE story of history....the invasion of the love of God into the history of planet earth. I am a grateful recipient of that love, and am glad that God gave us the greatest gift of all times and makes it available to anyone who will accept it...the free gift of salvation by faith alone.
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Monday's cartoon

The weight of worry

Early each Sunday morning I meet with a group of guys and we spend time together working through the issues of growing in faith and living the Christian life. We have been working through the book of Colossians, and yesterday we came to chapter 3. I skipped the first part of the chapter and we spent our time working through verses 12-17 together. Because I know what is happening to many of them we talked about what might happen in their lives....the real possibility that they may lose their jobs.
We had a serious and rather intense discussion. The weight of worry that these guys were carrying was visible on their faces as we began to discuss this topic. What will you do if you lose your job? How will you pay the bills? Will you lose your home? What will happen? The weight of these worries is real in their lives and in the lives of many in our country. There is real worry and fear looming in the hearts and lives of people I's a heavy weight, and many honestly feel crushed by it.
I never know how times of study like this affect those in a group, but one of the wives stopped me later in the morning at church to tell me, "thank you, my husband really needed that." I don't know what he took away from our time together, but I'm glad this honest discussion of trusting God in difficult days made a difference for him. The real issue is simply this- is God big enough to care for us or are we on our own? Is life and death, hunger and homelessness, work or unemployment important to the God who loves us? We know it is, and we know he's big enough to care for us, but often we will be tempted to carry the weight of worry if it all depends on us to do it all. We simply cannot carry this weight for very long before we begin to be crushed under the load. I know some of these guys were feeling that load as we talked, so I know that some of you are suffering under the weight as well...the weight of worry about what might happen. May I remind you that God loves you and cares for you? May I remind you of a short passage in Peter's letter that gives you a solution and action plan when the load is too heavy? Here it is-
1Peter 5:6-7- Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

Mission trip ahead

Joye and I met with our missions director last night to begin preparation for a trip to Kenya in February. We will be traveling with a group from our church to train pastors and layman in Kenya. We have a lot to do as we prepare with only two months until we leave. May I ask for your prayers as we get ready for this great opportunity to spend time with believers in Africa?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Ironic and funny

A few days ago I mentioned the sign posted in the Washington state capital building. It was stolen, but later found and posted once more.

The intent of the sign was to "counter" the nativity display across the lobby. Here is what was funny, it's a quote from those who posted this sign-

"The incident will not stifle the group's message, Gaylor said. Before reports of the placard's recovery, she said a temporary sign with the same message would be placed in the building's Rotunda. Gaylor said a note would be attached saying, "Thou shalt not steal.""

What's really funny to me, and rather ironic, is that the note attached, "Thou shalt not steal." is part of the commands of God himself....the God they deny exists. How ironic that to keep their sign of protest against God they must use his very words to protect their right to deny him....I'm smiling about how silly they look.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The loss of sighing

Isa 51:11 So the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, And everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.
I read this passage a few weeks ago and have been thinking about it for a while. The part of the verse that caught my attention was the very last few words- "sighing will flee away."
Why sighing? What does this say about the very act of sighing? I found this definition of sighing, it might help in our discussion-
"Sighing, Sigh\, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Sighed; p. pr. & vb. n. Sighing.]
1. To inhale a larger quantity of air than usual, and immediately expel it; to make a deep single audible respiration, especially as the result or involuntary expression of fatigue, exhaustion, grief, sorrow, or the like.
2. Hence, to lament; to grieve.
He sighed deeply in his spirit. --Mark viii. 12.
3. To make a sound like sighing.
And the coming wind did roar more loud, And the sails did sigh like sedge. --Coleridge.
The winter winds are wearily sighing. --Tennyson."
Sighing is a sign of a negative thing, a sound of fatigue, exhaustion, grief, sorrow and loss. It's an audible expression of loss and frustration. Sighing will flee away.....there will be a day when all fatigue, exhaustion, grief, sorrow and loss will end and there will never again be a day when I will need to sigh, a day when I will hear another sigh from loss or frustration. I can't imagine that new reality where sighing will not ever be expressed again, not ever be needed again, but I can't wait......I can't wait for that day when this very expression of living in a fallen world will end....I can't wait.....sigh.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Growing chairs...what a great idea!

"In 1986 Peter had the idea of growing a chair. Nine years later Peter and Becky became partners. Pooktre was born. Together they have mastered the art they call Pooktre, which is the shaping of trees as they grow in predetermined designs. Some are intended for harvest to be high quality indoor furniture and others will remain living art."
Finally, a new idea! I love it. Now your lawn furniture can be made from the lawn itself.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The arrogance of fools

There is a poster on display in the Washington state capitol building. It's an interesting statement of "faith", or maybe I should say lack of faith. It's arrogant, and foolish. Here is what it says-
"At this season of the Winter Solstice may reason prevail.
There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell.
There is only our natural world.
Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."
Whether those who made this poster know it or not it is a statement of faith, it is an absolute statement of faith. What's most interesting to me is that this statement of faith is based on no evidence, no experience, no facts at all.....only a dogmatic "belief" that this is true. It's a statement that shouts, "I will not believe, I will not believe...there is no God, I will not be accountable to him...I'm the master of my own fate." And as they stomp their feet in protest to God's rule he rules anyway. The bible clearly says, "The fool has said in his heart, 'there is no god!'" This statement of "faith" is the temper tantrum of the atheist, but it makes no difference to God's existence...he's still the sovereign of the universe, he's still there....alive and well.
It's the same thing John describes in Revelation when God's judgment is evident to the world and yet the world will not repent, those who resist God will not surrender. Those who maintain this statement of faith declare, without any proof at all, that they "know" there is no supernatural world only because they don't want one to exist, and yet God reveals himself in millions of different ways. The only way you can come to this belief is to boldly turn your back on the God who is there, and they do. They fulfill what Paul describes in Romans 1.....and so God turns them over to their wishes and their ways, and ultimately to their own eternity away from the God they deny and want no part of.
I choose to bow my knee to the God who is, the only God who is...the God who reveals himself, his grace and his love through his word, the bible.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Amazing Origami

"Built by a self-employed Montreal man named Yee, the Origami V-12 is a paper engine that pumps just like real engines (with the help of electrical wires, a resistor, a motor and a battery holder). It looks complicated because it is: One V-12 engine consists of 195 sheets of fine-printed patterns. From those sets, 1,978 pieces are used in total. And it only weighs 3.2 lbs when finished. This makes your 1,000-piece puzzle look like a piece of cake.

But if you have the intestinal fortitude to go through with it, the build comes together rather beautifully: The engine representations include a compound crankshaft (running at 13.5 rpm), cooling fan, 12 rods, 12 pistons and 12 spark plugs (which "ignite" on each cycle pump).

You can buy your own Origami V-12 engine online for about $110. The package includes, along with the paper, a PDF with 575 pages of detailed, picture-filled instructions. You will also need white glue and a sharp knife with a comfortable handle, for precise maneuvering." -

All I can say is "WOW!"

Happy Birthday


Today is our grandson's 2nd birthday.
Happy birthday, George!

Monday, December 01, 2008


My good friend, Kevin, recently wrote an article for a local paper and he quoted me! Thanks, Kevin.
Kevin is one of the best writers I have known, so to be quoted by HIM is awesome. You can read his article here.

The look of obedience

This morning, in part of my reading, I came to Joshua 6. This is the story of the battle at Jericho, or should I say the look of obedience. When I read the story with my 20th century eyes I often fail to see the absurdity of what God told them to do in light of the problem. God told the people to march around the city once each day for 6 days and on the 7th day to wall around it 7 times, shout and the walls would fall down. Can you imagine what this simple obedience looked like to those looking out from the city? "What are they doing?" one would ask another. "What do they hope to accomplish with all that marching?" another would respond. Then from the wall another would yell to the children of Israel marching around the walls, "You can march all you want, but you won't get in here." You see, the walls of Jericho were built in a very interesting way to prevent attach. In that day and time it made conquest of the city almost impossible. If you attached the walls it would look like D-Day all over again...dead warriors everywhere. God's plans for us often look funny to us and to the world around us. He works with us based on the fact that he will be working through us, and that changes everything about how we approach a problem. It makes everything different when God's involved, and it makes our obedience look rather silly to the world, but be obedient anyway. It's that simple obedience, that little faith, that makes room for God to do the amazing and impossible.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Time with family

Thanksgiving is always a great time to be with family and eat too much food. This year, for the first time in many years, we drove to Iowa to spend the holiday with my family. It was great to see them all. It's the only time we can get a photo of everyone because those Iowans who don't move away also don't if we don't go to Iowa we won't see them. (If you're from Iowa you know what I's an Iowa thing.) Anyway, it was great to see my brother, Mitch and my sisters, Peggy and Suzy. No one talked about it, but I missed our younger brother, Marty, who passed away 4 years ago. The photo of us kids just didn't seem right without him.

Quote of the day

While visiting family this week I found an old copy of Francis Schaeffer's book, He is there and He is not silent. I was even more surprised to find that it was autographed. I haven't read this book in years, and was thrilled to have another copy, so I'm working my way through it again. With that brief intro here is the quote of the day from Francis' book:

"There is only one philosophy, one religion, that fills this need in all the world's thought, whether the East, the West, the ancient, the modern, the new, the old. Only one fills the philosophical need of existence, of being, and it is the Judaeo-Christian God- not just an abstract concept, but rather that this God is really there. He really exists. There is no other answer." -Francis Schaffer, pg. 13

Hard labour, guy stacking 20 bricks on his head

Message? You can always handle more than you think you can. It's just a matter of balance.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Front Fell Off

Time for a good laugh. Enjoy.

Saturday's cartoon

We live in a very interesting country where we get to see a peaceful transfer of power from one government to another. It's a very unusual thing in world history for a country to work this way, but this year has been a strange political year. I thought this cartoon expressed our reality well.

Friday, November 28, 2008


We just got in from a long drive back from Iowa after a great Thanksgiving with our family. It was good to see family, but the 800 mile drive home is exhausting! I'm glad to be home, but I am worn out....I think I could sleep anywhere!