Sunday, December 31, 2017

Perhaps today

This is the last day of 2017.  One year ends and another begins in just a few hours.  We celebrate the end of one year and welcome the new, but isn't it just another day?

New years resolutions will be made and quickly broken.  Diets started and abandoned. Promises made and broken.  But aren't we simply talking about today?

The real focus at the end of a year, at the end of each day is this- perhaps today the Lord will return.  

Am I living in such a way that I welcome his soon return or dread it?  Am I loving others as he asked me or using them? If today was the last day how would others celebrate my life or welcome my death?  

Perhaps today is your last.  Perhaps today the Lord will return.  Perhaps today the world will end.  I'm not being fatalistic, I'm simply inviting a proper response to the God who will come to judge the living and the dead.

Perhaps today.  Whatever the new year, the next day holds am I living in such a way that pleases my Father?  That's the only question that matters.

Saturday, December 30, 2017


Life is full of changes.  Daily we deal with new things that we each have to adjust to.  One old sage said, "the only thing that never changes is change."  It's a funny saying, but profound.

For me change has happened a lot in the last year.  We have sold our home and moved into a much smaller apartment.  It seems it was time for this change.

We gave away a lot of our possessions as we downsized and felt lighter for the task.  It was cleansing, the release of a weight to rid our lives of so many things.  Now our lives fit into three rooms.  We have found great joy in the simplicity of living with little.

I am also finding a change in what I have been doing.  I've left the pastoral work and after a time of searching found a wonderful company where I serve as a hospice chaplain.  It's a great fit for my gifts.  Now, on a daily basis, I'm dealing with real changes in the lives of others as they pass from this life to the next.

Now change is part of every moment of my life.  

I'm aware, more than I ever have been, of how loosely we must hold this life.  We are only here for moments and then life is over.  As I meet with those finishing life and visit with the ones they leave behind I'm brought face to face with our mortality.  Life is short!

And that reality changes something else for me.  It makes me look at my life differently.  My goals don't really matter.  My dreams are all just illusions. My accomplishments, whatever they may be, add up to little.  All that really matters in the end is this-  do you know the one who made you?

In a life full of change I'm discovering how important it is to have one thing, one person who never changes and that's the Lord of creation.  As the world changes around me with a speed that takes my breath away I can look to one who never changes and find my center, my hope, my "true north" and stabilize my chaos.

Changes are part of life.  In the midst of the changes all around me I am more keenly aware of my wonderful and faithful God who never changes.

Thursday, December 28, 2017


Today I prayed with a man dying of cancer.  

He has come home, in his last days.  

He was asleep on a bed that had been brought into the living room.  

He and his family love the Lord and have lived out their faith for years.  

Today, as his son in law and I prayed for him I gently put my hand on his leg.  When each of us had prayed our "patient" took his turn and prayed.  He was "all there" even though we assumed he was asleep.  He finished our little threesome with an amen.  

I couldn't help smiling.

He was fully present, even in his pain, in his last days and he didn't miss a chance to pray to his wonderful God.

Monday, December 25, 2017


It's Christmas morning
The sun is just creeping over the horizon
I've been up for hours

How great is this love
we celebrate today
that God would
give his son for us

How amazing it is
that he would love us
to such a sacrifice

Sadly I take it too lightly
at times

I celebrate the day
with family
and gifts

But I forget
the love
that should
overwhelm me
with joy
and worship

How amazing is the God
who loved us so much

I wonder if I will ever
really understand
how great his love really is

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Revelation Day

There is a day in history that tells us more than any other.  It's a day that reveals how God feels about us. A day when he shows us what he is willing to do to fix our dilemma.  It's a day when we see, really for the first time, how magnificent the love of God really is!

We call it Christmas, Jesus' birthday, but it's really revelation day- the day when God reveals the great depth of his love for us. How much he really cares...and his love is much more than we could have ever imagined!

So, I want to wish you a very merry and special Christmas...or as it should be called...Revelation Day.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whosover believes in him will never perish but will have everlasting life."  John 3:16

Friday, December 15, 2017

My Servant

One of the great compliments of scripture for any man or woman is when God calls them, "my servant."  It's a rare title, few have earned it, but it's one of highest praise by God.

My servant.  It seems so contrary to the goals of our culture, our world.  Both elements of it go against our pride and independence.  

My- I'm "owned" by someone, I am accountable to someone, report to them and respond to them.  I belong. I have an authority I say "yes" to. 

Servant- It's a title and role we rebel against because it's the lowest, most unknown role.  It kicks against our pride and desire for fame and success.  It means being unknown and being ok with that.  It means I aspire for only one thing....

....pleasing my master.

But God takes great pride in announcing a man or woman who has become "my servant."  We look for titles of power and prominence, but God looks for servants.

With a bowl and towel Jesus showed us what this looked like and invites us, rather commands us, to follow his example.  

I'm on that odyssey now...the odyssey of being no one, being nothing but a servant.  It is assaulting my pride, my ego and my sense of what success looks like, but....

....if I can be called by God "my servant" I will be thrilled!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Thirsty people

Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered.
Proverbs 11

All around you are thirsty people

thirsty for attention
thirsty for encouragement
thirsty for approval
thirsty for friendship

All around you are thirsty people

you can water them with a word
a smile
a listening ear
a pat on the back
a hug

All around you are thirsty people

starving for a little water
water you can give

it's so easy
it will revive a weary soul


Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Finding a place to stand in the earthquake

"The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness, and he will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is Zion's treasure."
Isaiah 33:5-6

As I read those words this morning one portion stopped me, caught my attention and made me read it over and over again...."he will be the stibility of your times."

We live in a world shaking with people looking for stability.  Many look for it in wealth. If I have enough money I will be safe.  

Others look for it in their job.  If I can secure my position I will find stability, safety.

I could go on, but I'm sure you get the idea.  We are looking for stability in things, position, wealth, and a hundred other things....

...but God tells me HE will be the stability of my times.  He is the one foundation that will not shake.  In him alone can I find ground that will not make me fearful.

Looking for a bit of stability in these troubled times?  It's not in things or people, but in God alone.  He will be your stability and he never changes.

Lord, today I come to you and trust you to be my stability. I cannot find it anywhere else and so I come and rest in you.  The one who offers to be my stability in these troubled days.  Even in the earthquake of these days I can stand firm in you.  Thank you.  

Friday, December 01, 2017

Eternal things

The only eternal things
you will ever encounter
in your life
are the people
you meet
each day

Everything else

Only people
will last forever

Focus your life
on the eternal things

Use the things
that will fade
but never
ever make
the main

Here is the conclusion...

As a young man 
I remember the words
that impacted me




Make a difference

But as I age
as I near the end
of this grand race of life

I'm reminded
of words from scripture,

"Why, you do not even know 
what will happen tomorrow
What is your life? 
You are a mist, a vapor
 that appears for a little while 
and then vanishes."

And now I begin to see
that scripture is right

I've made very little impact
done nothing significant
and leave no real legacy

My life
like every other
is just a vapor
a mist
that disappears
when the sun rises

More clearly than ever
I realize that 
Solomon had it right
as he closed his final book
and wrote,

"Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
    for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
 including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil."

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The monoploy

Years ago there was a merchant who was the only source for a much valued product.  Everyone wanted it, but he was the only merchant that had it.

Some complained.  "It's unfair" they said.  

Other merchants protested.  They demanded access to the product so they might sell it as well.

But the little merchant who had the monopoly on this amazing product ignored the complaints and protests.  

You see he wasn't selling his one of a kind product, he was giving it away, but you had to come to his shop to get it.

Some said it wasn't fair and refused to go to him for this valuable and rare gift.  They demanded all merchants have access to it.

And some merchants made copies and sold them.  The copies were not nearly as beautiful, valuable or special, but people bought them even though the original product was absolutely free for anyone who would come to the old merchant and simply ask for it.

We are such strange creatures.  In spite of this wonderful product being free, in spite of everyone wanting it, most simply wouldn't humble themselves to get this gift on the merchants terms.

But many did.  They came, they saw the treasure and with a pause asked, "May I buy one?"  The merchant would always smile and reply, "No, but you can have it for free simply for asking."  

Those who had it were different, happy, at peace.  In spite of this strange series of events- a merchant with a monopoly on a valuable product given to anyone who would ask, most simply refused to go to the merchant to get it.

Most refused to agree to the merchant's terms.  Pride does funny things to us.

And yet, his doors were always open, the only source of the most precious gift anyone could possess.  

How strange, most simply walked past and missed the greatest gift of any life.

“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”

Revelation 7

The little shop keeper is God, the great gift of humanity is salvation and he is the only source. 

It belongs to Him!  

If you want it you have to get it on his terms.  

But don't's free!  All you have to do is ask!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Charles Manson

Charles Manson died.

I've read many jeering and cruel comments on media sites celebrating his death and wishing him well in hell.

I grieve.

Sin has destroyed so much, it's sad when it destroys our humanity as well.

As a Christian I am sad to know of anyone's death without Christ.  

I know, from reading scripture, that God grieves as well.

He says,"I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die."

There is a God who rules the heavens and eternity.  There is a judgment coming. There is a heaven and hell.  I don't claim to understand the justice of all of it, but I do know God is good and I trust him to be more than "fair" with each of us.

Charles Manson now faces eternity.  For a few years on earth he destroyed and ridiculed.  Now he faces eternity.

I grieve.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

in 1,000,000 years

Today you worry about so much. You're distracted by fears, worry, anxiety, concerns over money, the economy, the government, the future....

...But in 1,000,000 years what will be your thoughts about these things?  Will you even remember this moment of anxiety and fear?  Will you be embarrassed by your lack of trust in God?  

Moments seem overwhelming, but when you bring God into the moment everything changes.  Yes, it might be hard right now.  Yes, there may be pain, suffering, loss, doubt and sadness....but we aren't done yet.  All of this is part of a grand plan by a glorious God.

You see, the God of creation is in charge and the outcome will surprise you.  Take a moment, yes, this moment you are so worried about and turn it over to the God of eternity.  Did you forget about him?  Did you think he didn't care?

He's waiting to walk with you, to help you, to meet you in this moment, no matter what the pain may be.  God loves you and he is working on something amazing.


Jesus did something no one had done before.  No one had dared to do before. He called God his Father.  Actually it was more scandelous than that.  He called God "Daddy."  The original word was Abba.  It's the word small children would use for their fathers.  It's an intimate, personal word.  To call the God of creation "Daddy" must have sounded like blasphemy to the religious of Jesus' day.  It did upset them.

But what does it speak to you?  Here is what Paul wrote, "And because you are sons, God has sen the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" so you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God."

The scandal of the gospel is that the God who made us has adopted us as sons and daughters, children called by his name and a people who call him "Daddy."  He has invited us into an intimacy that few of us dare enjoy.  An intimacy of relationship that is driven by a love few really know. 

Do you know that the God who made you is not mad at you? Do you know that he loves you and wants to be your father?  Do you know that he loves you more than you could ever understand? 

God longs to wrap you in his love, to say to you, "my child."  He has loved you with a love that is bigger than you have ever experienced, more than you will ever understand.  And it's free! 

"For God so loved you that he gave his one and only son that if you would believe in him you will not perish, but will have life forever."

Thursday, November 09, 2017


There are times, if we will listen, when God speaks.  It's never a shout.  At times it sounds like a whisper, a voice that speaks into the moment with clarity that makes you aware this is someone else, this is God.

This morning, as I read the word and worked through several other books I'm reading, these words came clearly to me.  They weren't part of what I was thinking or what I was reading, but they were clear and stopped me.  They were,

"I will never leave you or forsake you."

I grabbed my bible to find that passage. It appears twice, once in Joshua and once in Hebrews.  But the phrase started to tumble in my head over and over.  And with each pass I thought about the days ahead.  The people I know. Others who love God as well.  It became clear to me that these words speak to all of life and bring a comfort no one else can offer. A comfort I badly needed.

When I'm well or when I'm ill he will never leave me or forsake me.

When I'm prosperous or when I can't buy bread he will never leave me or forsake me.

When I have a job or when I'm let go he will never leave me or forsake me.

When my family is healthy and even when one I love dies he will never leave me or forsake me.

When I'm happy or full of fear he will never leave me or forsake me.

When I have friends or stand alone he will never leave me or forsake me.

When you are liked or when you are hated he will never leave me or forsake me.

It seems the more I thought about this the more solidly the mortar of this truth firmed under my feet.  No matter what happens, no matter what my situation he will never leave me or forsake me.

In the moments of the days I live in this gave me a footing I badly needed.  When it seems you have lost things that give you value, identity and security a solid foundation is more important than you realize.  For me today, as my mind swirls around a thousand fears, concerns and worries I'm thrilled to hear him say, "I will never leave you or forsake you."

Wednesday, November 08, 2017


I've noticed that some who have walked with Christ, people who I know are Christians, have simply wandered off.....quietly wandered away.  They aren't mad really, they aren't even discouraged....not yet.  They have simply not seen the life of God in the community of faith and have lost interest.  

Life is busy, work is hard, things are crazy, why waste my time with church and church stuff when I get nothing from it?  Why invest my time when no one really knows I'm there or even cares?  I'd rather sleep in.

I think, in these days of craziness, the best weapon of the enemy is apathy.....a slow chilling of faith and interest that leaves us unfeeling and uncaring about the most important thing in life- a walk with God.  Without passion, without a real interest why should I keep going, why should I continue to be part of something that does nothing for me?  

Apathy chills us until we forget what excited us in the first place.....we lose our first love, we get cold.  You need to know this happens to all of us!  We all cool off.  The flames of our faith are something we must fan constantly to keep it fresh.

It means seeking out others for fellowship, time to pray and share our lives.  It means setting aside time to be in the bible, just reading, to hear from God.  Honestly,  it's a lot like paddling upstream!  It's work, it's the narrow road, it's challenging, and it's easier to do nothing....

....but when we do nothing apathy seeps into our very bones and chills us to the point we forget why we were excited about faith in the first place.

It's easy to wander, to become apathetic, to grow cold.  It's a challenge to stay near the flames, to seek out community even when you don't feel like it.  It's important because the greatest weapon of the enemy in our day is not outright's apathy.