Sunday, October 31, 2010

Preslie Shay

We got up very early and drove all day. Jackie and I, putting a two-day "travel to" into one day "coming back." And the trip went quickly...our hearts focused on what would happen when we got "there."

What would happen had actually happened big time, the night before...Friday, about 6:30 Texas time, just before going into the Teen Challenge service. She was born and we were greeted via cell phone in the cooling evening air with the wondrous cry of a newborn. Greeting the world after a rapid entry into it, Preslie Shay was saying hello to us from the delivery room.

And so we traveled fast. And by early evening, we were advancing to the door, and peering in, saw her sound asleep, swaddled in pink, angelic in sweetness. I got to hold her for many moments and as she slept Jackie and I examined her closely. Ears, eyes, hair (rumpled still)...ah the smell... "Johnson and Johnson?", I asked, as I nuzzled her neck.

"No", I was told, "that is just the smell of a newborn." Amazing.

Occasionally she would move her eyes behind those tight lids, as though she was dreaming something special...and ever so rarely she would peer out to see who was holding her now. At an awkward movement, she seemed to flinch and show concern, but at the sound of her mother's voice, she was immediately calm again.

Long fingers, tiny feet, dainty nose, perfect lips, chubby cheeks. are a beauty. One of God's finest.

Welcome to the world. May you make a great difference in it.

I love you.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

The fit

I suppose you are beginning to read with a few, does this mean that someone in his circle got really mad lately?, or does it indicate that the exercise program finally took hold?..and some pride is beginning to surface?

Nope...the title has to do with an experience I had yesterday.

In the morning we (Jackie and I) went to Waterford School in Salt Lake City...that is where two of our grandchildren (Rachel and Evan) are enrolled and our oldest daughter (Cami) teaches. It is a sprawling one-level campus that spreads across acres in east Salt Lake. Its very appearance says, "we care". And they do - seemingly about every student that goes through those doors.

Dress codes for the students...attractive sweaters and dresses. A buzz of focused activity. Teachers greeting one another warmly. Palpable joy and excitement.

Very little corraling of anyone...lots of purposeful, understood direction. Children arriving in classes and opening books immediately and beginning work rather excitedly. Talking with each other with maturity and interest. No acting out.

"The fit" came into view when we got to sit in the second grade math class - Cami's home room. Their love for her and hers for them...the thoroughness and creativity of their approach to learning...their readiness to interact, question and challenge, made the time fly by. Learning. Laughter. Love.

I sat there and backed up into a world of larger proportions, seeing a daughter who is now a leader, a teacher who is now inspiring another generation, and one who is so at ease doing so excellently in her calling. She fits. This is what she was made for. I could see shimmers of her birth mom shining through and thought how wonderful it is--this generational thing. Wet eyes. Expanding chest. Grateful heart.

May we each shine in the place that we fit...and may we work with excellence, investing well in the generations to come.

With a grateful heart...for the fit.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bits and pieces

Just returned from a wonderful marriage-focus weekend in Springfield, Colorado. People from various churches. Eager responses. A weekend we will long remember.

Tomorrow we leave for a short trip to Salt Lake to be a part of Grandparents Day at Waterford School...where two grandchildren attend and their mother (Cami) is a teacher.

Then we come back, repack and head to Texas for a special time with old friends.

And all the while we have been holding our breath, 'cause Jess is very great with that could well change everything and add incredible wonder to all the other things going on.

I'll return to the blog on Sunday...probably with a whole lot of news and ideas to bring a Jesus spark to your life.

Friday, October 22, 2010


People who live life on a rather feelings basis, often have a very hard time with forgiveness. Someone wrongs them - could be a little or big thing. They smart and fuss and get upset....and because they are used to living a lot by how they feel, they either don't forgive (just try to forget it) or live in some form of alienation and broken relationship. Families are shredded over this. Churches divided.

The way of Jesus is amazingly different. It takes only one person to forgive is a unilateral act not a bilateral one (bilateralism has to do with a step after forgiveness, reconciliation.)

Jesus not only taught a lot about this suject, but on the cross gave the most profound model of forgiveness ever: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

The people "doing" it were standing there, still doing it. There was no remorse, only spitting and taunts. Little did they know that their action towards Him and His to them would still be the model of this grace-filled dynamic 2000 years later. By this act of Christ, grace not vengeance was placed in motion and their lives were changed. And Jesus went into "paradise" whole and pure.

Peter was standing there that day and was a candidate for Jesus forgiveness, for he had repeatedly denied being his follower with an oath, with cursing and swearing. He knew the transforming power of forgiveness both from the cross and later with a resurrected Christ. And his letter (I Peter) is filled with this sure to read it if this blog is just too short.

We simply choose to forgive...expressing in some form to the other person that we do so and want them to know it. In this, we encourage the action of God's Spirit in both of our lives, we get a better night's rest and provide a great model to those around us. And we frustrate the plans of the enemy to take us out of action.

Louis Smeedes, who has written a lot about forgiveness said this: "To forgive is to set the prisoner free and discover that prisoner was you."



Wednesday, October 20, 2010


At noon today we crossed the threshold.

My entry to check on the number registered 10,001.

Among the highlights:
People tracking from many different countries in the world.
The ten-state faithful spread of people who seem to drop in all the time.
The people stumbling onto the blog doing research on one of the words in title
...the comments, "I began to tear up," "this answered a need I have felt for a very long time." Like Like Like
...and the book orders..ones, and twos, and twenty-fives.
and the many times I have sat at this console not knowing what to write, and suddenly an idea comes, and a way to start, and a scripture, a title, and a strong sense of movement inside. It continues to feel to me like God likes this.

So, my 232nd blog-entry friend...let's keep going, you and me - writing, reading, thinking and listening for the "blog" His Spirit is writing in all of us.

God bless you!



Life in the Kingdom (where God's Spirit is present and at work) is about flexibility.


Moving in other directions than the plans...and perhaps suddenly.
Going where it seems God will have to "show up" to make it happen.
Doing the water walking, manna munching, giving life in lifeless places.


Stepping out of the controlable into the trusting.
Casting seed (that disappears) into the soil for the impact of much later.
Doing what even seems foolish to gain a later magnificence.

Flexibility tends to purify the soul, increase dependence and welcome God's Spirit.

And on the other side of the spectrum it works just the opposite.
The "got it all figured out," tends to extinguish the listening ear.
The inflexibility of the plan can tend to reduce the best energy from our hearts.
The "have it under control" tends to dampen heart fervency.

Jackie and I lived in this first realm this past weekend. Doing a marriage weekend with folks from Timberline Church - Fort Collins - we prepared very hard...days of thought and prayer and writing and re-writing until a 30 page "script" emerged for the five sessions we would lead. We would do the weekend in tandem.

One hour before it was to begin we both knew suddenly that this was not the way to go. Hard moments, panic...then the decision to trust, to go very flexibly, openly, listening as best as possible to the Spirit.

We went to the first gathering feeling totally dependent on God. In most of the sessions this was the strategy that prevailed...and it was an incredible weekend. Riveted attention, tears, open hearts, reality, growth, friendship, love.

Some points of our reflection:
1. Thanks be to God that we heard His voice and changed gears.
2. Thanks be to God that we prepared so hard, because it made flexibility more substantive.
3. Thanks be to God for His evident purposes far beyond our words and plans.

May you and I walk today in the flexibility of His Spirit...preparing for the tasks at hand, and then heeding well to His texts and twitters.

It is truly an upside down kingdom.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Did a grocery run today. King Supers.

Got the handful of things that we just had to have before our company came tonight and then went and got in line.

The line that says: "Express Lane - 15 items or less."

The line was backed up. To join it I had to stand half in the main flow of traffic.

I looked up and saw why express had gone to depress.

The person in the front had a lot more than 15 items and had decided to push the store's courtesy policy.

I (and others) eyed the cashier who was caught between enforcing the rules and facing probable conflict.

She chose no conflict...and just kept smiling while eyeing us nervously.

We all stood and waited.

What really caught my eye were the eyes of the lady's two daughters.

Fully sensitive to the situation, they were glancing nervously at their mother and then at us.

Finally she was done, grabbed her sacks of stuff and motioned for her girls to follow.

And I wondered about how far they will follow...oh, not just out this door, but will they follow their mother into a lifestyle of me first, the rules can be cheated on, presume on others goodness of heart.

And I thought about Jesus words: "whoever causes one of the least of these to sin..."

It's a lot of little things in life that add up to character...a lot of little things that etch out the true character that is us.

May our littlest actions come together, like the tapping of a chisel on stone, and may what is seen be the face of Christ in the world.



Friday, October 15, 2010


This morning Jackie and I are packing to leave and do a Marriage Enrichment conference with couples from Timberline Church. The conference is being held in Vail....sigh! We will do 5 sessions in 36 hours and have prepared intensely and prayed much about this time. Jackie and I will do all the sessions in tandem/together...hoping to present a model along with information. If you think of us, would you pray for us?

We'll be back on Sunday night and after a few days will drive to Springfield, Colorado to do a Marriage Enrichment weekend with them. This is a small church that is stepping out into new territory...advertizing in the paper, inviting people across spectrum to come.

Then we will have a few days home and then drive to Midland, Texas to do a special service celebrating Norene Gion, a marvellous lady and servant of the Lord. She is on staff at the Teen Challenge Center. That center is using the Spirit Life book as a core discipleship piece - for women, and perhaps for men. It will be exciting to see what is happening there and to be with some terrific people for a short season.

Then, we will return to the city and begin a 4-Sunday Spirit Life series at Restoration their Restoration University. About 30 key leaders will probably attend. I am very excited to be able to present and do labs with Spirit Life.

First Edition is about sold out, but you can still get a copy easily by going to Pay Pal on this site. Spirit Life is being used as a personal devotional, a couples enrichment, church core material, discipleship enhancement...lots of ideas as people see it.

And really huge news for our family...Amy and Jess are great with child and we will have wonderful times of celebrating the arrival of two more grandchildren in the weeks ahead. Family are coming in to encourage and rejoice with us our house will see a lot of of the things that greatly attracts God's Presence. Should be memorable days indeed.

It is a busy time...a blessed time...and a faith time. Thanks for your prayers and support in various ways. Our continuing prayer is "Your will be done" in our lives.

Your friends, always...
Dave and Jackie

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Jackie and I went to bed last night praying for Chile.

We had stayed up late watching the first miners get rescued and be greeted by children and spouses. We had watched the flywheel stop, signaling that the rescue module had reached the 2000+ foot depth and we had seen it go into reverse hauling its precious cargo of heroic human beings to the surface. And we were filled with awe at the resuer who put his life on the line to go down and be with the trapped miners. An epic story of endurance, commitment and the preciousness of life.

And we were noted with joy the references of various of the freed miners to "God"...God was with us, there was one more than all of us down there. And we speculated a bit about the seeming wellbeing of the miner and what incredible difference the God presence made. (And this morning I heard that along with the supplies sent down to sustain life were guitars....hmm, to help them sing what songs?)

And so we prayed this way: God, raise up these miners who have stories to tell of Your faithful presence, even in the heart of the earth. And would you use this amazing story to bring a major revival to Chile and to the Americas? Let their words and simple faith bring release and spiritual rescue to many all across the world.

Let's watch this and keep in prayer.

For a Biblical parallel read Jonah chapter 2.



It is truly a day of joy and promise.


Monday, October 11, 2010


Carson is 4.
Jess and JJ's firstborn. #2 is due in just weeks!

About 4feet tall...and full of energy unleashed to figure out his world.

His language has gone towards logic and reasoning....and recently towards sensitivity and humor. Super fun to be around. In moments really amazing.

Several days ago he came through the door fresh from a soccer "game." Don't you love that age dressed for soccer...fancy shoes, shin pads, shiney shorts, big name jersey and a face of sheer determination. And a trail of dust wherever the teams are in action.

Back to Carson.

Just inside the door he said he had a whisper for Grammy.

She squatted down and offered her ear. And profering his hand to make the moment strictly personal he whispered something to her.

Then it was my turn to squat and listen.
Here is what he was conveying...
"I scored a goal."

He had broken from the pack and was the only one on the field who knew what to do next. He scored.

Then he stood back while we offered our excited "yays" and "way to go's."

And suddenly it became a Jesus moment.

"Unless you become like children you will not see the Kingdom of God."

Rightully proud, while being tempered with humility.
And a dash of fun for good measure.

Jesus, help us to be like children today.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Final Exam

I'm back at reading through the Bible - using my ESV study bible and enjoying it greatly. (Absolutely amazing maps, charts and notes.)

Using coded colors to highlight the most important expressions. (Ask me?)

What happens when I do this is that the big themes stand out clearly - against the backdrop of names and places and intricate stuff.

Often a whole king's life and reign is summed up by either one of these two phrases:
1. Manasseh: "and he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord." - I Kings 21:2
2. Josiah: "and he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord." - I Kings 22:2

It's not just a few times but dozens of times either of these summary statements are pronounced over the lives of people of mention. A whole life summed up in a moral evaluation of behavior.

Thousands of years later it is still in the record, "he did what was good" or "he did what was evil." There seems to be no escaping from this final exam.

Both of these expressions have this in common:
1. it is what we "did" that will be measured - not what we wished, hoped or believed...but what we "did."
2. the "eyes of the Lord" which see it all unfold now, will provide the video reruns that will be the up or down factors that will be determinative. He sees it all, and His determination will be final.
3. we will all have this moment in the end...the New Testament reflects this very clearly.

Looked at my old transcripts a few days ago...the grades are still there, the "with Honor" attached, the degrees awarded, the class dropped, the course not taken for credit...all there. Still having an impact on the present.

One day.
One final exam.
One "grade"...a pronouncement from He Who sees it all.

May we live today, that it may be "well done, good and faithful servant."


Monday, October 4, 2010


Last week there was an article in the morning paper about a teenager who had just completed climbing the last of the 14ers...the tallest mountains in the region. I think he was sixteen!
And as I marvelled at his achievement, I grimmaced at my own. This week I will probably make it up my first vehicle. Hmm.

And I checked out facebook and saw the bylines of an old friend who is pastoring on the west coast and doing well...and I wondered, am I doing as well? Do I look as young? And I carried that process with me a few times as the week unfolded.

And I could go on...the achievements of others can lead us to self-analysis that is healthy - and push us to improvement, or can cause us to self-depricate, and stall us out emotionally, choking off our energy.


Am I as smart as she?
Am I as attractive as he?
Am I as successful as they are?
Had I done that much by that age?
Am I as young-looking as that picture in the paper?
Bigger, better, richer, happier, influential?

It comes at us all the opportunities to compare.

Have you lost some ground today because of comparing?

Here is some sage advice:
"We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves they are not wise." St. Paul

It is the wisdom of the Bible - II Corinthians 10:12ff

And the helps Paul lists in this passge?

1. Be who you are wherever you are - :11

2. Do not get into any boasting - it is a product of comparing

3. Make sure you are doing what "God has assigned" for you to do

4. Know your "limits" - and pull back if you sense you are moving beyond them.

5. Remember often..."it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends." :18