Monday, April 27, 2009


Monday, April 27


Reading today about the swine flu breakout that is beginning to occur in places like Mexico. Did you see the picture of the stadium empty while two teams competed in world-cup-level soccer? Erie to the max. People staying away from the chance to catch the flu.

Instructions to wash hands frequently. Get as close to antiseptic as you can.
Check out your bacon.
Stay clear of people who are sick.
Stay home if you suspect you are.....and more.

And all that is wise advice.......
and as well, we should be praying for the Lord's protection and for the plague not to spread and for those who are in charge of national health issues to be given increasingly effective wisdom for the protection of all.

And I think of our son Micah who is in such a non-antiseptic environment.
I dare not write some of the things he has spoken of. But it is rough and challenging and insect ridden....and dangerous.

And I am thinking about all of this and reading the Bible...on my continuing journey through it again this year (not too late to get going and do the same :) - and I come to this place in my reading a few days ago:
"So David gave an order to his men, and they killed them.
They cut off their hands and feet and hung the bodies by the pool in Hebron.
But they took the head of Ish-Bosheth and burned it in Abner's tomb at Hebron." (II Samuel 4:12f)


The sheer starkness, willfulness, bloodiness of it all is fully revulsive.
The fact that King David ordered this, is stunning
...and the Bible recorded it?!

The parallel to some of what is going on in Afghanistan was startling to me.

Human nature has been like this for a long, long time....indeed, it started at the start - check out Genesis.

My reflections about all of this?

*I am so grateful for the culture and time in which we live.
For civility, law and order, and community.

*And I am grateful for those who are engaged (as I write this) in a life-risking struggle to end this kind of action in a troubled part of the world.

*And I am thankful that nothing is new to God.

*And I am thankful that Jesus came midway between II Samuel and now and "took upon Himself the sins of the world."

*And I am thankful that what He went through was enough for all time.
And He embodied meekness and gentleness and grace...and said: "Follow Me."

*And in the end, I want to live with grace and kindness - not violence.

*And I don't ever want to let my rough edges make me think "God can't handle this."

*And until I am with Him some day...while I live, I want to be fully a in whom truth, reality, and grace embrace.

*Oh, and finally, I wouldn't mind being a bit less antiseptic.



You got some reflections too?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

April 23

5475 days ago our family came down the aisle all tuxed up
to watch Dad and Mom join their lives together.

That's 15 years ago!

Our "family" came down the aisle - all five children - because both of us had been widowed and now were taking the plunge again.

Just as nervous as the first time.

More emotional than ever.

We had met in Israel, by the Sea of Galilee. No kidding.
(I tell people that after our first long talk, I went walking on the water.)

Not really...but I was struck by the beauty of this lady.

I was already falling madly in love.

So six months later we were married...
in Salt Lake City and Lincoln.

All of us were in it both times tuxes and with flowers and all each time.

Not too much typical about this arrangement.

And now it's fifteen years.

And we are still in love....our whole family included.

Oh, we have our moments.
Partly because I'm stubborn and ....
And, well...

But she is such a friend and companion.
A protector and help.
A spiritual partner and fellow journeyman.
She has taught me more than I can ever say about life and love,
about "deal with it" and "get over it."
About courage and zeal and play.

Did I tell you about her cooking and decorating and laughing skills?

And so today we celebrate that life has taken us to new places twists and turns - literally, with 8 grandchildren!

But she is the love of my life.
(And Jesus knows what I mean and smiles at this.)

Here's to 15 more....

Jackie, I love you.


The urge

April 22

Read last night about a guy who had it all....but then really didn't.

Ivy League education with graduate degrees, rich family position, eastcoast mansions, manhattan office, power, prestige, a beautiful wife, children, athletics, youth, health...he had it to speak.

And he - Elliot - became Client #9 to a call girl service. He had been the Attorney General of New York with a swashbuckling reputation of going for the bad guys. He became the Governor of New York ... and many thought that was just a prime for much more.

And he became Client #9?

Newsweek ran a feature article trying to get to the "why?" of it all.

I was interested...and read closely.

His admission when asked the why question?

"Power and adulation has a built in seduction to it." It is also something about drives, the urge, pleasure.

Should have not needed to read to even find that out.

All that stuff at the top? has a huge pull downwards.

In all of us are built-indrives that must be managed well or they will wreak their own out-of-control havoic on our lives.

If we sense that we are on a bit of a road like Elliot's, it is time to admit it, head back downwards - to the foot of the cross - and walk like a real man, in humility, integrity and real love.

In Christ...Who is more than enough.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009


April 22 09


Just got off the phone with someone special who updated me on what happened to he and his wife, as they read the blog entry of March 10 - GIVING.

In the context of friendship they had become aware of a couple (he a salesman, she an artist) with children, who were in dire financial straits - out of work and close to losing everything.

God had been speaking to them independent of any conversation together about helping this couple with an "outrageous gift."

Brad had even had a dream along this line.

When he read the blog, it confirmed in his heart that this was what they should do....and now they talked together....with tears of confirmation and anticipation.

They wrote the "outrageous check" for several pieces of the wife's artwork, paying far more for them than they were deemed to be worth.

The next day they received an e-mail with very moving words of thanksgiving.
...and this note as well,
that their son had recently stepped on a nail and needed a tetanus shot. But without insurance (they had to let it go some time back) they had hesitated. Now they would get that for him - pay some back bills, and still have some to spare. New hope was born in their hearts.

"Your post was a confirmation that we are hearing right. We are experiencing again the joy and blessing of giving."

"It is more blessed to give than to receive." - Jesus

May each of us be blessed in these days.



Wednesday, April 15, 2009


April 15


Read an interesting piece yesterday, about ceo's and how they are chosen.

Apparently it is not smarts, or schooling as much as size.

The difference on the hiring chances with just three more inches is stupendous.

It has always been that way. "Man looks on the outward appearance.."

It was that way with King Saul of old....with Goliath...with giants of the time.

But it has rarely been that way with God.

He has nothing against elephants, whales, mountains, universe....

It is just that to Him the insides are much more important than the outsides.

That's why He chose David (small of stature, ruddy of appearance) instead of Saul (head and shoulders above others.)

Like the rest of the verse (above) says - "Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart."

So if you want to be a champion, keep your focus on the inside. Keep seeking a complete makeover, by turning your life over to Jesus in a clear and decisive manner. Talk everything over with Him and seek constantly to become more like Him in spirit and action.

Remember the promise: "If any person is in Christ (turned over completely to Him) he is a new creature."

And when you are looking for a champion to be your friend, or ally, or partner, don't overlook the short guy. He might just be a whole lot bigger on the inside than you think.

6 feet tall, and still growing inside.
....with you


Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Since I last wrote to you, Jackie and I have spent a few days staying in the otherwise vacant home of some friends, near Divide, Colorado. (Thanks Mike and Dianne - your kindness to us will never be forgotten.)

Their home is located about :90 from ours...but, on the west side of Pike's Peak, in the middle of rolling landscape, rocky outcroppings, and thick forrests.

Mike, the home owner, had told me to "be sure to feed the turkeys."
So, each day, I took a half bucket of crushed corn out and scattered it on the ground...banging the bucket to call in the birds...and plentiful deer.
One day it snowed a lot and I wondered if I should continue my feeding. I did proceed and walked out into the 6 inches of fresh snow to scatter the corn. I went downhill towards the treeline and began to pour a long stream of gleeming yellow feed onto the whitened earth.

This is probably useless, I thought - that is, until I turned around - and behind me, following in single file, were twenty or more big turkey's waddling uphill for lunch.

To see them in procession, with their awkward gait and long pinkish legs, brought me to a chuckle.

And I wonder what Jesus sees in us, when we try to follow Him.

It was one of His most repeated calls to His disciples.

Follow Me.

It truly is the secret to a whole lot of God-life in our lives.

And I write myself some quick mental notes...

Follow Me - means that the critical factor in my life is to stay as close as I can to Jesus.

Follow Me - means that I must learn to listen more than look...just the opposite of what we do when a person tells us to "follow" them.

Follow Me - means that I must have a submitted spirit, to always be following - no bullies in the Kingdom.

Follow Me - means that I can be deeply at ease inside, because HE will always be where I end up.

So today, may you and I be really following.

And may we follow so close, until now becomes forever.



Thursday, April 2, 2009

Learning from Palm Sunday


This Sunday I will be speaking to the church in Golden, just west of Denver, whose pastor has been in a three year battle with cancer and is very ill. He is a valiant warrior and I hope that you will pray for him. His name is Crest.

So what do I say given this real situation and the texts of Palm Sunday? This morning here is what is emerging and I share it with you.

The text: Matthew 21:1-9

Parades are surrealistic moments when large crowds, bright colors, artistic inventiveness, and loud noises fill the air.
I love a parade.
We just need some times when we can holler, let out the tension, invest in hope and let our joy ride helium-born into the heavens.
It just does us good.
(Remember: becoming like children is a pretty important kingdom value to Jesus.)

On this day, Jesus found Himself in the center of a parade.
A "red carpet" of robes strewn before him.
"Special effects" palm-branches-waving.
Large crowds shouting hopeful extravagences - "hosanna, King, prophet...there he is!!
And the "shiney black limo"...covered in thick brown hair with occasional bleats as he walked beside his mother...a colt.
Excitement indeed...Oh wow...What's next? is not just one long happy parade.

It wasn't for Jesus either.

At the end of the parade loomed the shaddow of a cross.

Life, according to Jesus, is not picking it all up, but laying it all down.

Paul, the most prolific blogger of the first century, wrote: "I die daily." God forbid that I should revel in anything but the cross of Christ.

So that is the first point...parades are fun, but we are called live with unswerving purpose as did our Lord, and embrace the passion and cross that He allows in our lives.

Unless Jesus returns to this earth and makes "everything new" all of us have an appointment die. It is not the faithless that do is all who have been breathing that do.

The second thing I see is (here, for added insight, read John 12:16-19)
When God is God in our lives....death is never the end.
The parade takes Jesus to the cross.
The cross takes Jesus to death.
And the Father/God takes Jesus into the Resurrection...and a new forever form of existance.

Death dueling resurrection always looses.
It a pin in the first round...a TKO right after the fight has begun.

Jesus appeared after being pummeled to death, speared, nailed, pierced. beaten, spit on...(I cannot endure writing more)....and around 36 hours later he is so healthy and strong, angels attending him are dazzling, gleaming, radiant with the effect of his presence. Can you imagine being honor guard to the first one raised from the dead?!!

So Palm Sunday says to us...
1. It's not about the parade, but the passion.
2. It's not about death, but life.
3. It's not about "the end" but the beginning.

In a generation where so many were martyred, it is no surprise that what we are looking at today was commonly called "the blessed hope."

So...let's have a parade and shout and wave.
Let's stay the course no matter what "cross" is involved.
And let's keep the glow of "forever with Christ" in our hearts and on our faces.

On the journey with you...


Wednesday, April 1, 2009


April 1


Recently I have found a dime, and a bashed up nickel, and a bunch of pennies, and a bicycle reflector and some very smoothe and colorful stones.

It's all happened as I have looked down as I walk neighborhood streets, or restaurant parking lots.

Feels like a bit of a treasure hunt.

And some day, I tell myself, I will find a diamond, or a watch, or something that is really worth a lot.

But that just never does happen.

Looking down seems to bring just scruffed-up pennies....mostly.

But, if I look up

I see mountain peaks,
and birds high in the air,
and cloud formations playing with the last rays of sunlight,
and airplanes on final approach, bouncing slightly in the turbulence.

And if I look up "higher" still....I see God.

My "seeing" of God is helped by
the silence of the walk,
and recalling memorized scripture,
and seeing His fingerprints in everything around me.

Lots better than pennies....this looking up.

Today in these very turbulent times....may you and I look up not down.

God is with us.