Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I'm Still Here . . .

Just a quick note to say that, yes, I am still alive. Maybe someday I will take up a pen to write for the sake of writing. Maybe. But until then, let's live life well. Peace!

Monday, October 01, 2012

Better Together

Last night saw a wonderful weekend draw to a close. There was a chill in the air as October was knocking on the door, and that made a bonfire with friends a great time of sharing life together.

This morning, I am mindful that the more things change, the more they stay the same. There were holes around our fire as sons were away at college, friends and husbands were in other countries, and the pace of life kept some from sharing the night.

And yet, we smiled. We shared a meal. We told stories. And a cool Fall evening was made warmer because, in spite of everything that gets thrown at us, life goes on. And it always - ALWAYS - goes on better when it's lived together.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Pain of Advent

[This short meditation was shared at Mitchell First Christian Church on Christmas Eve, 2011.]

Well, it’s Christmas Eve. It’s the exclamation point of Advent!

For the past four Sundays at our Church, we’ve talked about Advent, and different families have shared Scripture readings intended to make us pause and consider what it means to be a people of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.

But do you ever wonder, “What is Advent?” We talk about it, we celebrate it, but what IS it? Advent is a season in the Church where we anticipate the coming of Jesus. But Advent speaks to more than the birth of Jesus. It’s about our longing, our desire, and our deep expectation that the best is yet to come.

And as we wait, we wait with a real sense that all is not right – there is a brokenness in our world and our hearts tell us that Something is missing.

And so we wait, with an ache.

We don’t wait very well, do we? When I was in high school, and I wanted to go see a movie, there were basically three ways I could find out what movie was playing and when it was playing. I could check in the newspaper. 30 years ago, everybody got the newspaper. And it would have the cinema information in it, but I still had to wait until the paper was delivered. I could also call the theater, but sometimes when you called, you got a busy signal. BEEP BEEP BEEP. Then you had to wait and hit “redial.” I wore that button out! And lastly, if I was really desperate, I could just drive by the theater. If I was on a date, you would kind of guess and say, “Well, I think the movie will be on around 7:30, so let’s drive by at 7 to check. And if there’s time, we’ll squeeze in some Mickey D’s.”

Now, the digital world is at our fingertips. If I asked today’s high school kids what was playing at the Bloomington theater, they would jump on their phone, hit the web and tell me everything I wanted to know as fast as Google could spit out the information. But have you noticed this – it seems as if the ease and speed with which we can get information has actually made us less patient. If you’re trying to connect to the web, and you have to actually wait 6-7 seconds for Google, people just freak out – “Man, this is taking FOREVER! What kind of cheap Wi-Fi is this? Where is 4G when you need it!”

But here’s what I think – waiting can be healthy. We too often cheat people out of the joy of anticipation. Who remembers as a kid when the Sears Wish Book would come in the mail? That was AWESOME, wasn’t it? What was the first thing that you did with the Wish Book? You started circling all of the stuff that you wanted, right? I mean, by Christmas, that catalog would just be trashed – all the pages would be tattered from you just going through it over and over and over. We deeply anticipated Christmas morning, so much so that it was really hard to get to sleep. I can actually remember having this inner conversation with myself, “If you just close your eyes, it will seem like just a second until you wake up and then it will be CHRISTMAS!”

So because we had to wait, we had this consuming sense of anticipation for what Christmas would bring.

In Romans 8, Paul writes that “19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

And so we celebrate Advent with a sense of pain, as Paul reminds us that our longing is much like the pains of child-birth. And we wait. And we remember that it was on Christmas that God sent our Savior. And tonight, we gather together to celebrate God’s faithfulness; because there was a first Advent with the birth of Christ, we place our hope in a second Advent when Jesus will return for His bride, the Church.

Why do we celebrate Advent? Because Advent reminds us that God has not abandoned the world. It reminds us that Hope is real. And Advent reminds us that Rescue is coming again.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


It's been over a year since my last blog post. MUCH has changed, both in me, in my life, and how I am growing in grace and knowledge. Maybe in 2012 I will again make an attempt to share with you some of the stuff that rolls around in my head. I think that would be healthy as a processing exercise, but not at the risk of adding something to my "to do" list. If nothing else, blogging always prompted me to see Jesus in and around my world.

We shall see, I suppose.

But for now . . . God is good. And that is enough.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Self Destruction

I resigned as an Elder at my church a year ago. Since then, I’ve been living with the sensation that I’m just floating through my days, and ultimately, my life. While I realize this isn’t a necessarily healthy statement, I feel that I was a better man when I served as Elder. My close friend Guy and I have talked a lot about the idea that we need a cause, something to give ourselves too. We need a battle to fight in; a hill to charge. The scary truth is that I think we realize that the danger is very real of just totally disconnecting from a purposeful Kingdom life.

Brennan Manning wrote the following devotional, which seems to articulate what I am feeling. I pray that I, Guy, you – all of us, together – will allow the living, vibrant, magnificent image of Christ that is within us to be expressed. May we truly live our lives and not watch them drift by. Here’s to living with Hope!

Self Destruction

There are three ways of committing suicide – taking my own life, letting myself die, and letting myself live without hope. This last form of self-destruction is so subtle that it often goes unrecognized and therefore unchallenged. Ordinarily it takes the form of boredom, monotony, drudgery, feeling overcome by the ordinariness of life.

We begin by admitting in the inner sanctum of our hearts that the Christian calling is too demanding, that life in Christ Jesus is too sublime. We settle into a well-worn groove and lose the stuff of gospel greatness. We become like everyone else, fail ourselves and the community by failing to respond to the living, vibrant, magnificent image of Christ that is within us waiting only to be expressed.

O Israel, put your hope in the LORD,

for with the LORD is unfailing love

And with him is full redemption.

~ Psalm 130:7

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Journey Management

Each year, the government requires that my company is to give me eight hours of annual safety refresher training. Yesterday was my day to sit and watch videos on how to give CPR, which fire extinguishers are for what kind of fires, and how to safely de-energize an electric motor. Big fun! :)

But there was a section of the class intended for those at my plant who work on the rotating shifts, and it had some great content on how to sleep well under those tough circumstances. The video they showed was actually very informative, and in it was a section entitled "Journey Management" which dealt with driving home safely after working a night shift.

But I gotta be honest - after I heard "Journey Management", I heard little else. I thought that was a brilliant description, not so much for a section of a DVD dealing with circadian rhythms and work, but for those of us who are walking through our days with Jesus. A series of questions tumbled out of my head after I considered that phrase, and so I'll share them with you in hopes of prompting some good conversation.
  • Do you consider yourself to be "on" a journey, or is life just a series of steps where you hit "play/rewind/repeat"?
  • Are you on your journey alone, or with others? Lone Ranger or do you have a Tonto? Who is your posse? Do you have peeps? :)
  • Where are you going on your journey? (Cue up Dave Matthews please)
  • Are you satisfied with your journey?
  • Do you need to start out on a new path, a new trail, a new journey for a new day?
We are all on a journey, really. But as I type this, I so want me - and you too - to seek the best journey. The journey that will end with hearing "Well Done."

If you've lost your way, maybe we can rediscover the path, together. Peace.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Me, Writing, and Maybe You

April of 2009 was the last time that I made a post to my blog. 6 months.

That is significant, at least to me, because I am a person who needs to process. A person who needs to think through an issue or an event or a conversation. In doing so, whatever it is that I’m thinking about often becomes a part of me. I am different than I was before that issue, event, or conversation. After I’ve rolled around whatever it is that I’m thinking about, writing is a way for me to verbalize my thoughts. They become more real to me when I can see them with my own eyes. And every once in awhile, whatever jumble of thoughts that falls out of my head might speak to others as well. It’s for those reasons that I hope to again return to the world of blogging.

For me, it is an outlet. I push myself to see and hear God in the everyday coming and goings of life. When I’m actively engaged in putting that down into a tangible expression, it gives me ownership of the truth that my life is a part of the larger story of God. To not write, at least for my own benefit, is to deny God an opportunity to speak to my soul. My words may not always mean much to you, but to me, they are a record of the Journey.

So, here’s to writing. Again.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Resurrection Day!

Lord, you live! Alleluia! Alleluia!
What have we to fear?
Your resurrecting love has overcome
the darkest night. You are alive!
May the light of this news shine
from every cell in our body,
in every thought of our mind,
in every breath of our spirit.
You are alive,
and we exalt You with joy!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

I think sometimes that I struggle with calling the Friday before Easter "Good." And really, how many people ever slow down long enough to think about it? How can we (how dare we?) call the day that Jesus was nailed to a Cross - the day that he experienced such amazing physical pain - "good?"

Then I come face to face with the Message of the Cross, which is this: The demands of justice that I was due to pay for my wrong-doings to a holy, just God were paid by Jesus taking my place on a wooden execution stake. Theologians call this "substitutionary atonement." All I know is that by His Grace and Mercy, I AM FREE.

And that is GOOD.

If you have never given your life to Jesus - if you have never accepted Jesus' atoning work done on the cross in your place - I invite you to email me (thirdstringATyahooDOTcom). I'd love to listen to your questions, and walk a path towards Jesus together.

May the Marvelous Light of Easter shine brightly on you this weekend. Peace!

To read a physician's account of the crucifixion, go here.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Maundy Thursday

The Thursday of Holy Week is known as Maundy Thursday, and it is for me always a profound day. The Cross was just hours away, and Jesus knew that time was short. He spent his last hours in an intimate setting around a table with his disciples - his friends - and gave them amazingly direct and revolutionary teaching. First by washing feet, and then simply by uttering the new commandment to "love one another," Jesus taught us about Kingdom Living. And the world has never been the same.
Today, we will all have things crying out for our time and affections, from baseball games to jobs to a hungry family ready for supper. In the swirling moments of this day, I urge you to create a quiet space and read John 13. Listen to the heart of the Rabbi teach on Love, knowing that the Cross will soon be his to carry. And may we all carry his Kingdom Message.

(You can learn more about Maundy Thursday here and here.)