Thursday, August 28, 2008


For the last few days the DNC (Democratic National Convention) has made front page of every paper I've seen. Obama/Biden have been covered from all angles....even family members and schools and on. Smiles, hugs, bright ties, nicely pressed shirts, arms raised in (hopeful) victory. Hillary calling for everyone to "unanimously" affirm their choice as presidential candidate. Ah, such positioning.

This morning the news was showing the lavish stage that has been put together on the field at Invesco - white pillars, massive lights, chairs arranged carefully, huge stage....some have drawn an analogy to Greek temples and whatnot. Others are starting to question what this must have cost - and what with the economy in trouble. Watch for the banter.

And as I caught some of this over breakfast I thought of the way Jesus entered on His "campaign" trail to change the spiritual environment of the world forever....."He came to his own and His own received Him not." "He was dispised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." Long into the campaign He was asking: "Who do people say that I am?"

He came unobtrusively - unanimously unrecognized - lived with continual rejection, and died pinned to a cross - a loud and public spectacle of mockery - the exclamation point beyond any form of torture and suffering ever yet known to mankind.

If time goes on - (if) - generations to come will be tested to see if they can remember Obama or McCain (certainly not whoever becomes the VP)- and many will sweat profusely at that inquiry and will not succeed......but writing this today, I find myself moved so deeply within, with gratefulness for One Who came as He did. And did what He did.

The power of His upside-down Kingdom remains. The way down is truly the way up.

So may we live the Kingdom today...seeking not the acclaim, but the place of service. Not the bright lights, but the bright hearts lit up by God Himself.

Jesus..."elected" by the Father to the highest "office" there will ever be.



Wednesday, August 27, 2008


John did so much of it that he was called "The Baptizer." Imagine that - being so frequently at it that that act became your nickname!

Jesus insisted that John baptize Him - said it was about doing everything to please God. And when He did....clouds moved, birds flew and everyone went "wow."

At one point in the Bible, they baptised in a certain place because there was much water there. Kinda always turned me away from sprinkling. :)

From the very days of Jesus on earth it has been standard for everyone walking with him through life. Baptism.

I like baptism because it is clear.
Lots of faith is fuzzy.
Baptism gets you wet, puts you under, gets (normally) observed by a crowd.
Its a public, purposeful, messy thing.

When pastoring a growing church we baptised everywhere we could:
in a muddy lake, (with fish nibbling on our legs)
in a goat's milk processing vat,
in a borrowed tank,
in a swimming pool,
in a bathtub,
on a sandy beach (when it was so cold and windy that I couldn't remember the Trinity),
with polished words and rough...."nice" words and plain ones....
with tears, and shouts, and hugs, and laughter...
with children pressing in to see...and strangers dropping by
....and grandfolks driving distances just to be there.
with people jumping in so excited (that they almost self-immersed)

We baptized and baptised.

It was party time...always.

It was always the beginning of so much more.

Baptism is like a sign on the road.
It says to everyone, this is for real and I am on the road that leads to God's place.

Come and join me....let's go together.

Have you been baptized?

Got some water at your place?

Mix it with faith and join in the journey to God's House.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Just Do It

Tuesday - 8-26 - 4:10pm

I'm back.
Returned from a great time in Nebraska last night...and waited all day for work on this computer to be completed.
That's life...right?



Sunday afternoon - sipping tea on a sun deck with old friends.
Recounting favorite memories.
Lots of laughter.
Lots of humility. :)
Roger: "Remember when you and I used to resolve one more time that we would exercise and really get in shape?"
We would solemnly agree and part uplifted that such in-shape-ness was now on its way.

One week later: "How is the exercise program going?"

What we discovered was that Roger had purchased new sneakers. And I had drawn up a masterful chart to follow the progress.

Actual exercise?


And our bodies protest:
Don't worry about fancying me up. Just exercise me.
Don't worry about keeping accurate records of the progress - just do something.

Same with weight loss, and new skill acquisition (how many books have I purchased "to really get good at this" - and then not even read the book?!)

So, the next time you feel prompted to do something important....don't spend your valuable time getting ready to do it...and then not actually doing anything.

Just do something...
cause...even a faltering first step, is worth a lot of sitting.

Reminds me of Jesus' words:
"There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God.
But there's another part that's as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire. Stay alert!"
- The Message Matthew 26:41 -
Known best as "the Spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

Selah*....or shall I say...DOlah? :)


*Selah - an old hebrew expression that means "pause and think about it."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Peace - with God

August 20 - 08

She came into my room. "You ok?"

I had jumped into bed a few minutes before and was waiting for her arrival - and thinking about the condition of my soul.

"Not sure," I said. "Not sure if my heart is really right in God's eyes."

She explained to me that being "right" with God has to do with two basic things.
One: really opening your heart to God. Really and clearly confessing your need of Him to forgive you of your sin and asking Him to begin from that point to exercise His presence and direction in your life.

Two: His part is in forgiving you of your sins and sending a portion of His Holy Spirit to live inside of you forever. He can do this and does it every time someone prays honestly and with faith that way, because His Son, Jesus Christ, lived, died (as a substitution for us) and rose again, alive from the dead (to prove to all that what He had, in this way, arranged for us to be able to do - was really done! It was now in force.).

Party time!

With that good news made clear, I bailed out of bed and we knelt together.

I began to pray...
"God, I admit that I have sinned and that I do not have peace in my heart with You. I ask you, because of what Jesus did, to forgive me of my sins completely." (I've always found it to be so helpful to be specific here in prayer. If something comes to mind to confess, I do so, until the slate before me is all mentioned to God in prayer.)
I continued: "I ask You to bring me into a place of new life. Send a portion of Your Holy Spirit to live within me. This day I enter into partnership with You. As You help me, I will live with/for You, now and forever. Thank You. Amen."

I was in my bedroom. It was my mother who knelt with me that night.

And I slept with a deep sense of peace with God.

Over 50 years later, that prayer is still working in me.


I hope that you will join me on this journey of faith. And if you blog and let me know how, I will make sure you have a New Testament and further words of clear explanation about today's blog in your hands. Just had to do this once as we interact in this way. Welcome - to new life.

I travel tommorrow to Nebraska to do a marriage conference. Will return to the blog next Tuesday - 26th.
God be with you....really!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Tuesday, August 19

Yesterday I took the day off - to celebrate Jackie's birthday. It was a wonderful day.
Thanks for understanding that there was no fresh entry on this blog - always my goal for a Monday.


Today I travelled the usual route to work...a complex path across the city, that adds up being the shortest distance to work.

It was different today though, for my journey took me by an elementary school...and this school is in its first days of a new Fall semester.

Quite a distance from the campus, a flashing light told us "be alert, school is going to start very soon. There are children now all around. Be careful."

Red brake lights punctuated morning air as traffic slowed to 20.

At one challenging juncture, a lady bright in a flourescent jacket, held a "STOP" sign in her hand and walked periodically into the intersection to make sure we did.

Mothers guided young children...many holding hands. New backpacks appeared in the clutches of many of the young. Looks of determination and concern could be easily seen.

And so unfolded an important journey along busy streets...and the experienced and the proud made sure the young traveled safely and on time. Any youthful but erratic behavior would be overcome by an environment that would allow them more than the ususal safety. The major risks for accident were diminished to almost nothing.

As I reviewed in my mind how awful it would be for some kind of accident to occur, I slowed to even below the required levels.

And I wondered how we do with our "young" - in the faith.
* The persons who have just committed their lives to Christ but know little of what it means.
* Those on a path uncertain with "traffic" going by that can have lethal consequences.
* The children and youth among us.

Do we dispatch anyone to bring them along during the early parts of their journey? Is anyone there to be their father and mother, to hold up the "stop" signs, to bring order to an often confusing world?

Will a piece of literature in their hands be enough? ..or a portion of the Bible? Will directions on living, delivered through the mail be life-giving for them?

I don't think so.

But, they will be helped so much more if someone will
call them and talk with them
...and walk with them on the journey
...and drink coffee with them or coke
...and help them sort out the best paths for their lives.

Now there is "follow up" indeed.

The young - in age and faith-
- it is good for us to give them special care.

Jesus said:
"Don't push these children away.
Don't ever get between them and me.
These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom."
Mark 10:14f - The Message.



Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The hummers

I didn't see them at first.

I just saw a sort-of trail in the air - like the flash of a bullet.

I knew something had just gone by the end of the patio...but past my range of clear vision.

Then, out of the corner of my eye...a tiny jerking motion.

Around clusters of orange flowers - one inch long and bell-shaped.
Darting from one flower to another was a black-chinned, 3" long humming bird...up down, back forth, hanging in air...wings almost invisible.

Placing an inch long bill into an inch long flower (!) with bright yellow eyes protruding made me think it had just put on a gas mask as it took sip after sip of "white lightening" from the blossoms.

Then there were two...and then three hummers...and they began to play (or vie for territory?). Round and round in the air they went until, still circling, they shot up into the air vertically.

Then straight down and by me close enough I could hear the hum of their wings.

And that night I draw my breath again as the moon shines bright enough street lights do not matter.

And I think of the galaxies beyond. And the cells within. And the Scottish poem turned to music generations ago...

All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.
He gave us eyes to see them, and lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty, Who has made all things well.

Have an awe-some day....and watch for His fingerprints.


Monday, August 11, 2008

The Race

Monday, August 11, 2008 - 1:20pm

Last night - 10pm. Jackie and I talk of turning off the olympics and quitting for the day.

Decision: watch a bit more. :)

10:24pm - up and off the couch, hands in the air, jumps & shouts of triumph. Laughter. Can-you-believe-it?
...over and over again.

We and a billion others had just witnessed a spectacular race. Fronted by some brash words about who was going to win. And anchored by "a 32-year old turned into a dolphin." Each down stroke on the last yards "seemed to propel him up out of the water."

Over and over the network played the last touch...fingers of two men reaching for the wall. Over and over they showed Michael Phelps and teamate celebrating - with prolonged screams of joy and boyishly abandoned gestures.

Ask in years to come, and we'll all probably remember - the race.

I offer to you a few simple thoughts that come as I ponder the race.

Here they are:

1. Give it your best...till the race is really over.
The winning touch on the wall was just 8/10ths of one second sooner than the second.
Paul reached for his "wall" with this determination..."I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

2. Don't think within: too late, too old, not enough talent to do that.
And now the name of that last swimmer: Jason Lezak - ever heard that name before? Not I.

3. Let the "enemy's" taunts turn you into doing your best.
Don't cave in to negative talk and any other techniques from the camp of defeat. Let that stuff embolden you to go even harder for Christ.

4. Team it
There is synergy always in team. There's more joy in team. There's more hope in team. There is more faith in team. That is why from the start, Jesus has always been putting people together on task, in teams.

So go for the gold...your gold...presented to you some day by Jesus Himself.

Ah, now that's a race indeed.



Wednesday, August 6, 2008

August 6 - noon

Just got a call.
"I'll be there in 15 minutes."
So I am waiting.

Just got back from an appointment. Starbucks. 10:15
"Sorry. I am just leaving." He got there :45 minutes late.

Lots of minutes in every day are spent that way.
Waiting for the plane.
Waiting for the mail.
Waiting for the food.
Waiting for the call.
Waiting for the light to turn green.

I've tried to become a bit creative with waiting.
1. Always carry something with me to record ideas, summaries, to dos.
2. Turn waiting into a mini prayer meeting.
3. Look to engage someone nearby in conversation.
4. Eat you don't have to eat later - while you are waiting.
5. Read.
6. Do not let waiting turn into tension, or at worst even anger. (I've come to understand that God's sovreignty can touch even my schedule. )

In fact, somewhere He prompted someone (who must have needed it, like us) to write it down for all generations to have as wisdom. "Those who wait upon the Lord, will renew their strength. They will mount up....the will run....and they will walk." And sometimes it just is so much easier to keep running than to walk...also a form of tacit waiting.

Well, Ive got to run. Just got a call (really) from my wife to eat lunch. And I'd better not keep her waiting. :)


Monday, August 4, 2008


Jackie and I were walking down the street recently.
Nightly walk.
Tah tah.

50 yards from home we were deep in conversation and suddenly out of nowhere came a very loud and harsh bark - deep - from a 500 pound dog (!). Involuntarily, I shifted (in the air) to the left (away from the sound) and tried to calm down...heart racing, face flushed.
Wife laughing.

Then I figured out that the dog was behind a fence, and we were probably safe.
Heh, heh.

Now, before you respond to this with the language of persecution, let me tell you that early on I had a similar experience when walking. And a little dog came down the flight of stairs and took out a piece of my flesh. (I had short pants on...Boy Scout days!) I ended up needing some quick medical care.
No fun.

So, I involuntarily "jump left" on occasions like this.

And I am very grateful for fences.

Been bitten lately?
Oh, not by a dog, but by TV or a movie, or anger that produced some words unfortunate, or by temptations to greed or sloth or malice?

Here's an idea.
Before the "bark," try building a fence.

Pull the plug.
Set new standards.
Form a partnership against the weakness with someone.
Memorize a verse of scripture that calls for right responses.
Determine the action you will take before you ever hear "the bark."

Believe me, it's a lot better to build a fence early....
...than to give your flesh to the barking dogs.