Wednesday, June 24, 2009


June 24 2009


He arrived safely home.


Our son, who has been stationed in the army in Afghanistan.


No more danger….well, not as much, at least.

No more snipers.

No more Taliban.

No more army food.

No more spiders and bugs.

No more makeshift facilities.

No more cots and crowding.

No more bombardments.

No more constant edgyness.

No more mortars.

No more suffering and death.

No more long times on surveillance.


The battalion exited the plane and assembled in file in the big hangar, which was packed with families and friends.

For five minutes the formalities went on - and then, mercifully, the "dismiss."

And the pandemonium began…"daddys", hugs, tears, kisses, little steps into big arms, clinging, laughter, dancing, relief, joy, clothing thrown in air, words of deep affection and pride.


Families reunited. Joy. Joy. Joy.

And one day we will "land" in heaven and be greeted there to a holy pandemonium.




May something of that….seep into your today, and make a real difference.



Monday, June 22, 2009

The Jesus Style

The Jesus Style

It strikes me over and over that the focus of renewal in our lives and in our churches should be an all-out focus on becoming more like Jesus.

I am becoming more stirred all the time to believe that it was not just what He said that is the gospel, but it was how He lived and brought people to change and maturity in their lives that is our example…and is part of the gospel as well.

What we need is a full-scale move towards the Jesus Style.

And what is the Jesus style all about?

Here is my short list.

  1. It is taking the Jesus life mostly "out there." Seems like we often have made the Jesus life what we talk about in a preset, formalized, meeting-style setting. How many of us go towards containerization – Sundays, Wednesdays, everything "in the building." This seems to create an unavoidable dichotomy in people's minds: .God is there (at church)….and the rest is up to me. What would happen if we could see a shift to seeing the church as truly out there, where life is lived, and the gatherings of the church (the people) are for the purpose of reporting in on what God is doing, rather than learning something new or saying "hello" to the already found.


  2. The Jesus style, when you really think about it, was mostly un-ordered/spontaneous/interrupted – ie walking along, fishing, sitting on a mountain-side – kind of process. And how much energy we spend trying to keep most everything on schedule, and the quicker the better, and 2 or 3 three things at once = more efficient! Really?


  3. The Jesus style? Mostly small, personal, family, group-focused – the twelve not the 3,000 – handpicked. Discipleship, the Jesus style, was about a joined life, not a notebook.

    We count the faces at gatherings…and say "success" if it is growing and "failure," if it is ebbing. Unlike Jesus, who knew success was marked by real life commitment in people and pushed all of them so hard, that he probed those closest to Him with the question: "Will you leave me, too?"


  4. The Jesus style? Mostly close to the earth and unrushed. Did Jesus ever jog? J Not at least in the text of scripture. The "everyone's looking for you" moments seemed to produce a further relaxation of pace, not a speeding up. Oh, the difference between our culture and time and His. When the Bible says that Jesus came in "the fullness of time," I wonder if that implies choice of culture as well as prophetic fulfillment? He came in a time when there were no engines, no public means of transportation, no electricity, no phones, no internet, no printing presses, no TV, no grocery stores, no refrigeration. Can you add to this list? And what does this mean?


  5. The Jesus style? Mostly dependent and humble, relational. Asking for food, lodging, survival. He started out that way at birth… and to the end it was the way He lived. "The Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head" but he sure is "a friend of sinners." Hmm.

    It doesn't make pulling down soft sheets at night to rest, in a home that you own, wrong…..but it does contradict the success measures we so easily add to the "more and more" of our culture.


    There is so much more that could be said about the Jesus Style.


    (Why not read the gospels again and see what you can find? …and I would love to hear from you for I feel very much on the discovery edge of this blog.)


    What then, do we need to ask God for, so that we can move towards the Jesus style?


    Here's another very short list…


    1. More insight into what we are really trying to do, and should be trying to do. And what should be the focus of our church family?


    2. Less energy on what is really not critical to life and spreading the gospel.


    1. A slower, more thoughtful pace of life…walking everything out with Jesus.


    1. More encouragement from steps in the process that is real

      ….and less from nickels and noses being such a supreme index of success.


      Jesus talked about parties in heaven over "one sinner who repents."


      What if we had a party here on earth each time too?


      Jesus, come and fill your church, with your life, your ways and your passion.





Tuesday, June 16, 2009



May 16, 2009

She stood there, tiny and alone.

It was to be her first solo.

The auditorium was large - 700 on the floor and 300 in a balcony. On this occasion the floor was nicely filled and the balcony was empty.

Introduced, she went to the edge of the stage to stand before the microphone.

She began with a quiver....and it all went downhill from there.

She forgot the words, couldn't find her voice and in seconds felt sheer panic.

Until....a gentle voice from behind her said:
"You're ok Pam.
Start again.
And keep your eyes on the balcony."

And she did.

And now a lifetime of songs have filled the air.

The voice: My father, then Pam's pastor.

The story: told at his memorial service with deep gratitude for the impact he has had on her whole life.

And that day after telling the story, she sang again, very well, and looking at the crowd. :)

So, if your beginning has led to humiliation, why not take Dad's advice:
1. Start all over again.
2. Keep looking up - and away from the focus that brings fear.

You can do it.

God will help you.

Go for it.



(Special thanks to Pam Kappi, a soloist for a lifetime.)

Monday, June 15, 2009


June 15, 2009
The count had gone to 7 and 4.
7 bad – 4 good.
7 who said, “I’ll do it my way. I’ll go by what I can see and serve what is immediate, thank you.
And 4 who said, “I’ll trust in a God I can’t see….and serve what is eternal. And make this world a better place for everyone around me.
The history of the immediate past was especially dark….because the 7 and 4 count was of kings…the pace-setters for the nation.
Almost 2 to 1….bad to good.
Then came Josiah….and a great turnaround.
Appointed as king at 8 years of age…the first thing said to describe his life was this “he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in the ways of his father David.” That’s especially interesting, because David lived over 200 years earlier.
But he would be characterized not by his paternal father – but by a man who was his great spiritual model…King David.
And so, during his 31-year reign, he did not turn “either to the right or the left,” but walked a path of integrity, and reform. He got rid of the pagan idols of his time and late in his reign, when he comes across fresh truth from the word of God and the mouth of a prophetess, he tears his clothes in abject humility and stands in the presence of God to remake a covenant with him.
No wonder it could be said of everyone around him – “as long as he (Josiah) lived, they did not fail to follow the Lord, the God of their fathers.” (Read the whole story in II Chronicles 34)
We are almost to Father’s Day.
Dad, are you succumbing to the numbing negatives of your past or present?
Are you saying “everyone’s doing it” so as to give yourself permission?
Are you walking listening to the voice and word of God – and getting your cues from greatness?
Are you repenting when conviction comes to you – and humbling yourself before God?
And are those around you just a whole lot safer and closer to God because of you?
Hope so…hope so…hope so. I John 3:3 David

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Taste

Ottawa, Canada

Tuesday - June 9.

We had gone all day long with little to eat.

A busy day with funeral wrap up.
An emotional day.
Long and deep conversations.
A day of transition.

I was hungry.

(This is special for me - after having no appetite for months several years ago - an appetite signals that lots of me is very well. Ah yes, control the intake....but do give thanks for your appetite.:))

"Where shall we go at this time of day?"

I put in for a trip to the Swiss Chalet.

Let me explain.

Chicken broasted and sold in quarters and halves....front and back.
French fries made out of real potatoes, salted almost sinfully.
And a fresh baked roll for....

....the best thing - the unique Chalet dipping...sauce...
...the hot,
slightly spicy
and delirously good sauce.

It comes in a little dish with each meal.

It makes each of the specialty items just that much better.

And I ordered up three little dishes of the stuff!

Hungry...and anticipating the taste.

Sauce dish #1 - went on the fries....all the word slathered?
Sauce dish #2 - went on the chicken....all over.
Sauce dish #3 - well, that was for the roll, and just in case more was needed...all over.

Did I hear someone say, "Have some food with your sauce?!" :)

Ah....only in that part of the continent...the Swiss Chalet.

It was the taste that drew us there so late in the day
...and back the next day too.
....and next time we are in town?......:)

And it is taste
....among other things
....that draws me back again and again God.

Not ever bitter - but always good.
Not ever sour - but always delightful.
Not ever poisonous - but always life-giving.
Hot with potential and surprise.
With "sides" of joy and more.

"Open your mouth and taste,
open your eyes and see -
how good God is.
Blessed are those who run to Him."

Psalm 34:8 - The Message

May our lives today be permeated
by the taste of goodness and God.



Thursday, June 4, 2009


June 4, 2009


The words pierced the end of a very busy day
....bringing a rush of emotion, shock, energy and sadness with them.

"Your Dad is gone."

He had just slept his way into eternity.

For a long time he had not wanted to eat, and had resisted attempts to do so artificially.
He was down to 95 pounds, almost the same number as his age.
And he was the record holder for longevity in the family.
The last of his many lifetime goals to be achieved.

He made it.

And now, he really made it...
into the presence of God forever.

At the very end...the creeping finality of it all was affecting everything, but he "woke" one more time, long enough to recognize Mary Ellen, his dear wife, he greeted her...
and smiled playfully at her.
Then he lay back and within a short time was "gone."

Way to go, Dad.
You finished strong.
You tied up the pieces.
You ended with a smile....
And your peace, a gift from walking right with God,
put a finishing touch to your faith...and ours.

You crossed the line trusting fully.

You crossed the line smiling broadly, playfully.

You joined the patriarchs of old who
"breathed their last,
"pulled up their legs,
or just were "gathered to their fathers
....and finished in peace and full of faith.

We will miss you.

Oh, you have been diminishing for years....
But we will still miss what remained to the end.

The little jokes
...sometimes even too far! :)
The words of kindness
..."I'm proud of you, son. You're my only boy, you know."
The over-and-over stories
- the big events of our lives. You kept those in place.
The constant invitation to "come and see us."

And I cherish the memories...
*of sweat dripping off the end of your tie...preaching so hard in summer campmeetings.
*of the overloaded 20' canoe...and we didn't even quite know where we were going
*of the huge storm on Lake LaRonge...and mother's brief and imploring prayers
*of pants hitched with forarms - displaying coal dusted hands.
*of new chrome-blessed cars...had to have fins, and power
*of music, and teaching, and hard, hard work.
Saskatoon, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa....the world.

On tough days, I think I am pretty close behind you.

On good days, though, I know I have a long way to go.

And you have shown me a lot about finishing well.

See you again His time
....then it will be forever.

I love you.