Friday, August 28, 2015



Just for a few moments

Find a place to listen

A place of silence

a place where you 

can hear your heart beat

Find a quiet place

and listen

In that place you might

just hear

a still small voice

It's in those quiet places

when we really listen

that God can speak

Speak, Lord, your servant is listening

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Quote of the day

"Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?"  -Jesus


 "I now see that I spent most of my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked.” ~ C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

In this brilliant work by C.S. Lewis one of the demons quotes a man who finds himself in hell after a wasted life.  These are the words of his realization.

Profound words for our culture, for our day.  We find, if we think about it, that these words describe each of us as we rush about chasing money and success.

If you were to reflect on your life and make changes that make a difference what would those changes be?  

Life's short. It's easy to be miles down the wrong road before you realize you are not going where you wish.  

I think this is why so many completely change their lives to do what they most want to do.  But most of us will stay the course...going down the wrong road...unhappy, neither doing what we ought or what we like.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

But God....

Have you ever said it?

Have you ever protested to God?

Have you ever cried out,

"BUT GOD!...."

It's a cry of protest, a call for action

It's an appeal to a higher authority

It's a cry for help.

In the Bible the phrase "but God"

is always connected to God's intervention

into the events of life to change them,

influence them, help his people,

to change the course of history.

When I read the words in the bible,

"but God..." I always stop

to see what is about to change

when God gets involved.

It appears 66 times in the bible.  

Once for each book.

God is involved in the affairs of men.

He's involved in each of our lives

In spite of what appears to be happening 

there will be a day when the events 

of life are interrupted with this staccato,

"But God...."

And your life will never be the same.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Year 10!

I just realized I am now into year 10 of this blog!  More than 3,400 posts, almost 500,000 visitors and who knows what has happened in lives because we have met here?  I know the blog format is old school now, but this still provides a vehicle for my thoughts. I hope those few who are still with me are blessed in some way by these words.

Shall we go another year?

Two mountains

Hebrews 12 talks of two mountains.

One, unapproachable.

The second, well....let me allow the passage to describe it,

No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering.  You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect.  You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.

 Access to this second mountain is available to anyone, it's a glorious place with angels, joy, fellowship, family, God is there, those long dead who trusted Christ are there, Jesus is there.  

It's a mountain open to all, but the only access is by faith.

Many describe the world religions as people all climbing a mountain on different paths with God at the top. A destination all, no matter what they believe, will reach.

But the bible describes two mountains.  One no one could climb and the other, the one where God resides, available only by faith.

Could it be that many are simply climbing the wrong mountain?  Trying to reach God on their own only to find he's not there?

If you're looking for God make sure you are climbing the right mountain.

Friday, August 21, 2015

And others....

Faith is an essential part of the Christian life.  We came to God by faith, we live by faith, all we have is the result of faith.  

Faith in God is at the very heart of the Christian experience.

There is a chapter in the bible that speaks exclusively of men and women who lived by faith, trusted God, made choices, built boats...all by faith.  They believed God, acted and saw the results of their faith in their lives.

But others (and this is where we struggle with the passage) lived by faith and died, lost everything, struggled, were tortured and seemed to fail.

We have a problem with that because we have adopted the belief that if we have faith good things will happen, prosperity will come, prayers will be answered, mountains will move.

But not for everyone, not all the time.  

Some will live by faith and have nothing, 

be hungry, 

struggle to live at all 

and others will lose their lives.  

All these things will happen in the lives of people of faith!  

How can this be?  

Doesn't faith do things? 

Doesn't it have good results?

Here are the words from this chapter on faith that we try to ignore,

"There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.  They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—  the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised,"

These were men and women of faith and it appears their faith "didn't work!"  But faith is not a gum ball machine...put in your coin and get your's trust in God with no idea of what will happen next.

It's living with eyes on God regardless of the outcome.  

Faith is trust in God.  It's not a magic lamp I can use for my desires, but it's a decision to trust in the God who loves me no matter what happens!

So what if I'm one of the "others", those who don't see their faith "work?"  What if I trust God and lose everything?  I still win!  I'm trusting God, even if I have nothing at all, even if I'm tortured, even if I lose my life...I still win and my faith in God will take me into eternity!

Thursday, August 20, 2015


This morning a group of men from our church went to our local community outreach program to help underprivileged kids with clothes and school supplies.

The ministry we worked with had a "store" with all new clothes for the shoes, new pants, new shirts/blouses and new backpacks.  Our job was to help the families shop for two outfits, shoes and a backpack.

I watched.  I watched children excited to get new shoes, to try on new pants, to pick cute tops.  I watched little girls smiling as they chose the tops they wanted.

I felt ashamed.  Ashamed that I have so much and they have so little. Ashamed that a new shirt is nothing to me, but as I watched these children it was as if they just got the best gift ever!

I was humbled.  Humbled to realize how blessed I really am and how little I appreciate it.  I'm humbled at the great provision of a big God and my sad lack of gratitude.  

I'll never forget the excitement of one of the little 4 grade girls I helped.  She was excited!  She couldn't believe shoes, new pants, tops, a backpack.  It was glorious for her. What a day she had.  

And I watched her humbled. 

Lord, thank you for all you have done.  Forgive my thankless heart. Don't let me forget the joy of that little girl grateful for so little while I grumble about so much.  

Thank you for the eyes to see what's really important through this little girl's example.

a photo...

Here's a photo I took at a recent photo walk.  I love catching these magical moments on a camera.  They are much like the work of God, amazing to see if we are watching.  Easy to miss if we aren't looking for God's art work.  It was only a moment in time, but isn't that how God works and when he does act it changes everything.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Simple words of wisdom

L.J.- "The Lord is faithful. Trust in Him. 

That’s all there is.”

Me- “That’s all there is?”

L.J.- “Yeah….that’s all there is.”

Simple words of wisdom from an old and wise friend.  I 

asked L.J. what words of wisdom he would share with 

anyone. The words above were all he offered.  L.J. is a man 

of few words, but there are times when few words are 

needed.  L.J. said them all.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

There is a captain at the helm

A few years ago we took a cruise for our anniversary.  It was a great experience.  A cruise ship is like a little city on the water.  They have pools, restaurants, movies and any other entertainment you can imagine.  It was great to travel on this floating city without a care and with all the food we could eat!

But one thing we never worried about was this-  is there a captain at the helm? Is anyone steering this boat? Does he know where we are going?  

We never thought about that once!  In fact, we never met the captain.  We were told he was on board, that he was steering our course and all would be well, but we never met him and never wondered if he was there. We never had a sleepless night worrying about the existence or ability of the captain.  It was never a question in our minds.

Imagine a boat load of people enjoying the ride with no thought of the captain.  In fact, I don't think anyone thought "because I haven't seen the captain he must not exist."  We would have laughed at such a comment. 

Of course he exists!  Can't you see we are moving, the boat is on course, we are on our way.  How could this all happen without a captain?

But how do I know where we are going?  How can I trust a captain I've never seen?  And yet we do, without a thought.  It seems silly to ask these questions. Of course there's a captain and so we relax, laugh, enjoy the ride and even sleep without a thought of the captain....but he's there...even if you have never met him.

On this grand ride of life on our tiny blue marble some will tell you there is no captain, no one in charge, no one at the helm.  What a silly thing to say.  Of course there's a captain at the helm, even if you've never seen relax, trust him to steer us to the final port, enjoy the food he provides, laugh, sleep, love well. There is a captain at the helm.  He has provided all we need to richly enjoy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Life is.....

Life is....

How you fill in the rest of that statement speaks volumes about you, your heart and your view of God and others.

If you reply, "Life is about me being happy" then I know you will be most unhappy.

If you reply, "Life is about finding meaning, purpose and significance" then I know you will be disappointed with the outcome.

If you reply, "Life is a story told about me..."  then I know you don't see me or anyone else.  It's clear you're looking for a stage, an audience to watch you but your audience will be small and the applause disappointing.

When I ask you to fill in the rest of this sentence, "Life is...." you are telling me about what you value, what you believe life is about, your view of meaning and purpose.  

When your answer is self focused I know you will be frustrated, depressed and disappointed.  When the world is your stage and everyone your audience you will discover few will pay the price of admission.

But if you see more, see life beyond you, beyond others...if you see God's grand purpose, you will find that even sorrows, failures and disappointments are opportunities to watch God work.  

So how do we finish this sentence to see a bigger world, a bigger plan, a big God?

It begins in this way, "Life is the story of a great God madly in love with me, with you, with us!"  And with that clarity we begin to see a plan, a purpose, a hope in everything that happens in our lives.  

"Life is a love story and we are the focus of that love."

How's that for meaning, purpose, fulfillment? 

Saturday, August 08, 2015


Have you noticed that being offended is the new sport of our day, the politically "in" thing to do?  "I'm offended!" can thwart the rights of another, start a protest, insult an innocent person and make the evening news. It doesn't have to be rational, logical or just have to be offended.

But what about the rights of the one who "offended" you?  Are their rights suddenly gone because you claim offense?  It seems that offense is the new moral plumb line of our culture.  It has redefined a whole culture for us and subtly taken away our right of choice, belief and action.

Imagine responding to the offended party, "GET OVER IT!"  That would add a new layer to the offense, wouldn't it?  

So how do we deal with this new dimension of our culture? How do we function when being offended can suppress our rights, when being offended has risen to an art form of control and silencing another view?

It seems, if we are to deal with this rightly, we have to get past the words and deal with the person.  Why are they offended?  What did I do?  Can we talk about it?

I'm afraid that a passage I love dearly may be the application.  It seems that a Christian response would look something like this,  

Luke 6:27 But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you. 32 “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return. 35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.  37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” 

Don't those words bother you a bit?  

Aren't you thinking, "Yeah, but....."  And even as we squirm at these words of Jesus we have to realize what we are really doing is turning it all over to God to deal with.  It's a difficult way to respond to the verbal attacks of our day, but it reflects the very heart of God and it allows room for God to work in the heart of the offended party.

"I'm offended!" is the new world we live in.  In response live out the words of Jesus and let's see what happens.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Run and hide!

There are times when we each want to run and hide.  You have felt it too, haven't you?  That feeling of panic, fear and the wish you could just run away, escape the storm coming and hide from it all.  

This is such a universal feeling I don't really need to explain it.  The moment I mention it we all nod and acknowledge our understanding of that fear, that desire to run and hide.  The bible is filled with honest men and women who go through the same things we do and have to make decisions...will I run and hide or will I trust God? And if I trust God, what does that look like?

My thoughts go to the book of Esther and her fear of confronting the king.  And there is Elijah who, out of fear of a woman, ran for his life.  I think of Gideon who asked God with quivering lips, "Are you sure?"  as he accepted his assignment.  And I remember Joshua who had to be told over and over, "Be strong, be of good courage, don't be afraid."

But the one who shares his fears more vividly and honestly than any other is David.  King David, the man who ran for his life for several years constantly fearing King Saul.  It's in David's words that we have a response to our desire to run and hide.

My adversaries pursue me all day long;
    in their pride many are attacking me.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
    In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?

Psalm 56:2-4

"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you." Fear is the emotion that makes us run and hide or look up in trust. 

This morning I got a letter from a pastor's wife in another state.  They are going through fearful times in their church and in their lives.  Her husband, the pastor, wants to run away and hide, but as I read about David and Jesus, I see men who looked up in the midst of the storm and said, "Lord, when I am afraid I will put my trust in you."  

When you are tempted to run and hide take a moment and look up....your redemption is near, God is on the the storm you will see the amazing work of God, but if you run and hide you will miss it all.