Quad-Shot Americano

...caffeine-inspired drivel from the void

If It Wasn't for the Humidity...

Back in November when the process began of identifying the source of a water leak in the house we live in, the results were unexpected. Because the leak originated behind closed walls and ceilings, a decision was made to open up places to look in and visibly inspect for any signs of standing or flowing water. The location of water damage doesn’t always point to the source of the water itself; water flows with the help of gravity to the lowest point it can find.

Knowing, however, the general location of the plumbing and drain pipes was helpful. The contractor didn’t haphazardly tear holes in the house hoping that his luck would win out on an eventual finding. The approach he took was intentional. In about 15-minutes, a source was found where water had been making its way into the walls anytime the shower was used. The next step was to remove the damage, remove as little of the material that still had integrity, and fix the problem. What the contractor realized, however, was that his initial finding was a source of water that was creating damage; there were more sources of leaks than anyone could have imagined.

Using the same diagnostic approach--removing the damage, digging more deeply into the structure to make sure all the sources of water leakage could be identified, repairing what needed to be repaired--over 15 sources were identified where water had been leaking into the floor and walls of not one bathroom, but three. Some leaks occurred because of attrition; the pipes had just aged and needed to be replaced. Other leaks were from improper installation or faulty components when the house was built. You don’t link copper or brass to galvanized pipes, and you most especially don’t link all three!

Some leaks were quite small; enough to cause residual moisture, but not cause any significant weakness to the structure. While that may sound like a small bit of relief for some of you, what was occurring was that the additional moisture, the lack of air flow and light, and the constant source or humidity had created an environment for a culture to emerge: Mold. Mold was in the drywall and the studs, and under the flooring and tiles, and even in the ceilings. This culture of mold not only emerged, it advanced and spread, affecting not only the house, but the occupants. A culture of mold had transitioned into an environment of mold.

Let’s step out of the house for a moment to consider the spiritual ramifications of what an environment for a culture to emerge looks like, both positively and negatively, in our lives...

We live in a world of competing and overlapping cultures--pop culture, social media, politics, sports, music, entertainment, and even church culture--all within an ever changing environment which advances some cultures while it hinders others. Some environments are toxic to some cultures. Just as an environment of mold can negatively impact health, a environment of bleach negatively impacts a culture of mold.
In addition to mold and bleach, I’ve been thinking a lot about culture lately, and not just youth culture.

As Christians, we need to consider the environment in which we live and into which we willingly place ourselves. Different cultures are allowed to flourish or perish within certain environments. A spiritual culture perishes when a worldly environment is the habitat of choice. When Paul wrote the Corinthian church, he was directly speaking to a Christian culture (the church) in an environment (Corinth) which fostered immorality. You can read 1 Corinthians, specifically chapters 5 & 6 to see what I mean. The impact of that environment was weakening the church and causing it to become unhealthy. The Corinthians were allowing mold to grow in their spiritual foundation, which then spread throughout their body. Then came the transitional change: Their moldy church culture became an unhealthy environment, which no longer fostered a spiritual culture to grow.

One of our youth recently returned from visiting out of state (a different environment), where he participated in a church ministry intended to impact its community (culture). This teenager was equally impacted. He shared with his peers how important it was for a church environment to create and foster a community of discipleship beyond peer-to-peer relationships and what happens when a church culture becomes a church environment, which then impacts the culture of the world around it.

What this teenager identified was how intentional and organic discipleship (environment), affect outreach (culture). Teenagers are not the only ones facing the challenge of competing environments and cultures. Their parents and the rest of us adults make environmental choices every day which impact our cultures of family, friends and church. Sometimes we welcome the mold. Sometimes we don’t even know it is growing. We each need to identify whether the cultures we allow to flourish are healthy for ourselves and those around us, or whether they are making a negative impact on us, our families, our church, and our community.

Do some diagnostic work for yourself. What impact does the worldly environment have upon the cultures in which you live? Are your transitioning into positive or negative environments for spiritual growth and godly living? Are you actively, intentionally partnering with God to tear out the damage and decay from spiritual attrition and worldly suppositions? Building or painting over mold does nothing to remove the mold itself.
I am thankful to say that actions are being taken to remove the culture of mold in the parsonage through changing the environment in the house. The decay is being systematically removed, diagnostic work continues to advance, that which is broken or faulty is being removed or fixed correctly, and the environment is improving.

12.27.15 Sermon: Shine

Click to listen: Shine
Special Music: Aidan & Sarah Lane


…I get to start putting my words on digital paper! It has taken too long to work out the technical aspects and reboot this blog. I want to move "here from there" in the future. Zuckerberg is just my advertiser. See you soon!

6.7.15 Sermon: Message to the 2015 Grads

Click to listen: Message to the 2015 Grads

4.26.15 Sermon: What Are You Praying For?

Click to listen: What Are You Praying For?

I Met an Angel

Yeah. Really….

To preface, I needed to go grocery shopping on Christmas morning; the equivalent of finding a place that has Turbo Man on the day of gift-giving. The reason for this odyssey was that I missed the ingredients i was supposed to pick up that were on my shopping list days earlier. I messed up. What a major inconvenience! Alas…

Best Dream Ever...

You know those dreams that seem so real, bit while they are going on, a little part of your brain tells you,“This is a dream. Enjoy this dream. Let yourself get lost in this dream, because you are really going to have fun!”? Yeah. Had one of those last night.

Candace and I are at a state fair/theme park/some venue of sorts with the Little Ones (who, although they are the only ones with us, are actually little, like when Aidan & Michaela were in 7th & 8th grade). Everyone lis heading into an arena to watch some “presentation”, and Candace goes in with Saryn (reminder: Little Saryn, as in, being carried by mom little Saryn), but Ror seems to have become separated from the others. I ask a security dude if he has seen my boy. He is too busy enjoying the fly-bys from these unmarked aircraft to say anything of value except, “Dude! Are you seeing this!” Explosions begin occurring directly in front of us. I press him for the whereabouts of my son, and he provides a vague answer; either my son is in a place of relative safety, or he has just moved to the place of doom in front of us. Then, a suspicious humvee-like vehicle pulls up, and tries to force its way through the crowd, going in the (potential) direction of my missing son. I try to talk to the driver, but immediately sense that this is not a good guy to whom I am speaking. In fact, something is now terribly, obviously wrong with this driver and his vehicle (It’s a dream... work with me on this!). I pick up a sledge hammer, which just so happens to be conveniently leaning against the security post building, and pond its head through the rear window of the humvee. The driver looks up at me through the rear view mirror, and draws a side arm from its holster and begins shooting at me. Stray shots kill the security guard, and I manage to evade being in the direct line of fire.

And then it happened...
I extend my hands in that certain-sort-of-way, and ping-ping-ping!!! I have the forearm and gloves of an Iron Man suit on, and the repulser rays are charged and engaged. BAM! I blow a hole though the humvee and incapacitate the driver. More aircraft fly overhead, explosions detonate around us, people are now screaming, fully aware that this is not a part of the day’s entertainment. “I need the rest of it, NOW!” I announce to no one in particular (implying that the rest of the suit needs to be attaching itself to me ASAP).

“Do you have any cash in your wallet?” What? This is not part of the dream! This is my wife talking to me, as she readies to leave the house to run a 10k. “uh, yeah... check my wallet,” I respond groggily. Try as can, I am unable to return to the dream.

I didn’t even get to fly.


What a week. That says it all, and says nothing. So much to say, so many inadequate words to use.

  • I got to dance with a Brown-Eyed Girl.
  • I watched my beautiful Bride dance with her oldest. It conjured up memories of watching them dance together in our apartment in Elk Rapids when he was an infant, and she looked as young then as she does now. She led the dance back then. It was good to see him lead his mother, my Beloved, at his wedding. The look in his eyes was all that I needed to see. She taught you how to love a woman, son. I hope your Bride appreciates that.
  • I saw my son lose his breath and weep with joy at the entrance of his own Bride. She was beautiful, beautiful INDEED! I saw the same look in his eyes that is in my own, each time I see his mother. I taught you that, son. I hope your Bride appreciates that.... Wait. It was The Lord who taught us that, son. She will appreciate that. Always.
  • I experienced watching my youngest represent his brother and his family well... Very well, indeed!
  • I danced with my wife... twice. We need to do this more often. We need to do this like we believe that dancing is a celebration of this beautiful life that we have been gifted with. The praxis and the axiology need to be in alignment.
  • That was some amazing food at the reception! Really, really good.

Working it Out...

Over last summer, my daughter was home from the university she attends in Chicago. It was the end of her freshman year, and it was exciting to talk with her about her different experiences, what she was learning, and the new opportunities she was engaged in while away from home. One such new opportunity was to be on the school’s rowing team. Candace and I were pleasantly surprised. Aside from trying out the rowing machine (or, ergometer) at the local gym a few times before she left home for her freshman year, Michaela had never been involved in this type of activity before.

One afternoon, I asked my daughter if we could go to the gym together. My thoughts were that she could join me on the weight machines to get stronger for rowing, and I could join her on the rowing machine to learn how to use the ergometer. As an added blessing, I would grow closer to Michaela in our relationship, as we shared an experience that had become such a joyful part of her life. When we arrived at the gym, I was disappointed that she decided to forego the weights to spend forty minutes “erg-ing.” At the conclusion of my weight lifting session, I sat down next to Michaela on the available ergometer and said, “Let’s row!” After leading me through the basics on how the machine works and how to use it, we began a slow-paced workout together. Our pace quickened, with Michaela leading the way. This is easy! I thought, as I watched the numbers on the digital display climb, showing my calculated distance so far, my calories burned, and my strokes per minute. Matching Michaela’s pace, I thought I was doing pretty well…

“Wanna race?” I asked. This was not a wise suggestion on my part.

“Sure,” she said, with a slight cock of her eyebrow which indicated her amusement with the suggestion, as well as a mix of incredulousness.

She didn’t even wait for me to say GO! The explosion of speed and power next to me was truly amazing. I found myself immediately behind, completely outclassed, and absolutely over my head. After two minutes, she was over fifty meters ahead. At the 4-minute mark, I was well over 100 meters behind. Five minutes found me seeing stars, through which I stubbornly pressed on for one more minute. At that point, I knew I needed to stop before I passed out or threw up… or both. Michaela continued to row on for another ten minutes, with a wisp of a smile on her face.

"Not too bad for a novice, Dad", she said, with, "... and an old man" finishing off her victory trash talk.

I didn’t expect to win in my race with Michaela, but I didn’t expect to perform so poorly, either. After I had physically recovered from my loss, I asked her why I had not done even a little better in the race. The answer, it seems, had little to do with the amount of work I was able to perform, and more about my posture. How I position myself on the machine and how I move my body affects my breathing, and it affects the quality of my output. If my posture is not right, then I can exert more energy and more time, and not really get anywhere. With poor posture, I run the risk of being present in the gym, but only going through the motions of a workout.

After we worked together to improve my posture, I found that I was able to accomplish more, have greater stamina, and enjoy the “work” aspect of the workout much more. And that got me thinking about my spiritual workout...

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13-13)

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the word used to name the rowing machine--the ergometer-- was the same root word in verse twelve of “working out.” Michaela had coached me to understand that having proper posture was the key to my physical workout. As I continued with my rowing under her watchful eye, I could feel myself tending to a posture that was more within my body’s comfort zone, and away from the posture that produced the kinds of results one should look for in rowing. Keeping good posture, it would seem, is difficult work in its own right.

There is spiritual truth to this concept as well. Those of us in full-time ministry understand that the ministry itself can be a lot of work. Certainly, ministry contains many rewards and joyful opportunities! But there are those times when our posture is not what it ought to be. We find ourselves busy in ministry, and not postured correctly. Busyness, sometimes, is our comfort zone. Helping others becomes our spiritual workout, and we neglect our own conditioning.

Rowing is a team sport. So is ministry. Our own spiritual posture before God is as important as the physical posture one must have on an ergometer, and on the open water as well. When we neglect our own workout… when we ignore our own posture… we adversely affect our ability to pull together with the team God has given us. When ministry is about “us”, it ceases to be about HIM, and our posture is all out of whack.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for men…” (Colossians 3:23). Yep. There’s that word again. Don’t forget to spend time present in the spiritual gym, and erg-out with all of your heart.

One More for the Journey...

She taught you how to dance before you could even walk. She would take you up in her arms and hum a soft tune for only your ears and hers to hear, and cheek to cheek you would both sway to the beat of each other’s hearts. For nine whole months she carried you in her womb as you learned her rhythm; the gift from God to two kids scared out of their minds with the task before them. The warmth of the household…

I taught you to laugh. It was clearly in you from the beginning, just waiting for an opportunity to burst forth. When it did, it sounded like a symphony of joy played in two strings. I will never forget the sound of your infant laughter. I will never forget how you used to run to me when I came home, your little feet padding away on the hardwood floor, while you urged the walker forward, oblivious to whatever obstacle that might be between us. When I would take you up in my arms, there was still plenty of dance left in you. We danced, too, you and me. The warmth of the household…

We were both there for your first steps, your first word, your first meal where you fed yourself. We have watched you grow in wisdom and in stature, and have been a part of almost every aspect of your life. We fueled your interest in music as we kept the cd player on in almost constant loop. When your interests turned to sports, we provided the opportunities and shared in the experience. When you encountered frustration, and were tempted to quit, we rallied around you and encouraged you to push through, preserver, and overcome the obstacle; it would make you a better man. The warmth of the household…

When you boarded the plane for Chicago to begin the quest for finding the college of your choice, we sent you out with a mix of pride and trepidation. We were proud that you were forging out with big plans to a big city all on your own. Our trepidation was for the same reasons that people thought we were crazy in allowing you to go by yourself.

Many times I wondered if I was doing it right, this parenting thing. You, like every other child ever born, did not come with an instruction book. But like most, I did the best I could. My mistakes were often quite obvious, and some of them have consequences still. For every time I said too much, there is a time I said too little. That delicate balance between instructing and micromanaging.

Now you have reached the time where I feel your heart has decided that you don’t need us anymore. I fear that we seem to be more of a nuisance than anything.

...There is Nothing as Beautiful...

“There is nothing as beautiful as a naked three year-old. Their bodies are perfect. I wonder if when we receive our glorified bodies, we will be naked three year-olds?”

Naked Three Year Olds...

On one summer evening almost 19 years ago, Candace and I sat on the floor of our bathroom watching our then two and three year old daughter and son engage in their evening bath. Although the day had been filled with joyful play, both of them found reason to celebrate another opportunity to laugh and squeal and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. Aidan took the lead by teaching his sister how to propel her body back and forth along the length of the bathtub as though it was a great waterside, all the while forcing waves of water to cascade over the top of the tub and to the floor. Michaela followed suit, eyes wide, with her giggles grunting out of her with all the beauty of a young Lady Godiva.
Other games followed, more water was splashed, more squeals of laughter commenced, and more life was lived out in front of the eyes of my children’s parents. Candace and I smiled and rejoiced at the beauty before us, and the blessing of seeing two beautiful, unique individuals who came through us enjoying life unabashedly the way it was intended to be enjoyed... with joy.
As the prune-like wrinkles formed more deeply upon the fingertips of my children, we knew it was time to drain the tub and move toward the next step of the nightly ritual... Pajamas. As I opened the drain to the tub, our little ones savored each last drop of water and of time, slipping and sliding, this way and that, capitalizing upon each sud as though it might be the last the world would ever know. Splish! Splash! Squeal!
When the last drop of usable water was squeezed out of bath time fun, I lived Aidan out of the tub and wrapped him in a towel before placing him next to me to dry. I reached in for Michaela and turned to place her next to her brother, but he was no longer there. In his place, there was only an empty towel. I put Michaela down and stepped out of the bathroom just in time to see a glimpse of my son’s naked backside streaking down the hallway and out the front door to the yard, whooping and yelling in joyful triumph. As I gave chase, Michaela once again followed her brother’s lead, heading out the door behind me squealing and giggling her delight. Candace came out to the lawn to see the frolicking spectacle continue to unfold; her babies celebrating their nakedness without shame, without judgement, and with joyful innocence.
After we corralled them back into the house and cleaned them up once again, we completed the pre-bedtime rituals of pajamas and teeth, with giggles and mirth interlaced with the nightly routine. Because they shared a bedroom, Candace and I were able to tuck them in at the same time. A beautiful experience for a family to have together...
Afterward, Candace and I sat in the living room to watch some mindless television. We shared a few words about how fun the earlier events were to witness, and then Candace said something that would impact my relationship with God and my interpretation of certain passages of Scripture to this day, and for the rest of my life, to be sure.
Stay tuned....

The Dog Days of Winter

I do not know what secrets were shared between my oldest daughter and our mongrel chocolate lab on the morning Michaela packed up and headed back to college, but it is clear to those of us who remain in Seattle that an understanding, of sorts, has been reached.  
During the winter break, Breve has enjoyed having her girl home from afar... When Michaela was gone from the house, our faithful friend would sit by the front door, watching for her return.  At night, she would camp outside of Michaela's bedroom until the morning sun rose behind the gray clouds, and then she would venture into the carpeted forbidden zone to coax and call Michaela to rise and play.  The young puppy seemed to return, and with her came all her toys, which she would get out and place in front of my daughter's door.  The dog-universe seemed to be back in order.
As I said at the beginning, I do not know the words the two exchanged, but they certainly took root.  When Michaela went away last Fall, Breve slunk down into a mini-depression or sorts.  She moped this way and that, only coming alive when her dish was rattled or a chance squirrel or neighborhood cat wandered into the yard. The two of them fit each other like a hand in a well-worn glove; warm and comfortable. After this goodbye, it seems she is content with the knowledge her girl has gone away for a few more months to chase her dreams and take her classes before they reunite again in the Spring, and Michaela returns to tell her stories of adventure in the heartland.
In the mean time, it seems I am Breve’s surrogate buddy. Her gentle brown eyes sparkle as she runs off to her pile of toys to select a game we can both play together. Today, she begged a tagalong ride as I delivered my younger daughter to ballet class. Window down, ears flapping, nose a’sniffing, she appeared to be in olfactory heaven. Upon returning home, she wagged her way to the front door and back to her rug; mission accomplished.
I wish I could communicate with her on a deeper level, and have words and ideas to go with her gentle expressions. Maybe we’d talk about another brown-eyed girl, and how much we love her...

The Earth is the Lord's (Pt. 2)

The Apostle Paul (about 1000 years after David) spoke to the Roman Christians about the general consequences of the theological Fall of mankind. “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” ~Romans 1:21-25

In short, in our rejection of God, we embraced everything else but God. Even our good deeds can become all about us or the good feelings we have when we help others, instead of being rooted in and centered around God, His goodness, His love, and our response ability. And yes, I believe we all have a response-ability wired into us... an ability to embrace or reject, to glorify God or ourselves...

Debate Theology Politics

I am a man of God.
There. I said it.
You may all have a different opinion of what that means; whether you have been infulenced by the news media, movies and television, or your own experiences. I often bristle when I see the stereotype that being a Christian means you are automatically a right-wing conservative Republican. One of my favorite professors, as well as one of the most intelligent men I have ever met, is a true-blue Democrat.
I believe that as a Christian, your faith impacts more than just your politics; it affects your life as a whole. These sentiments were echoed tonight, in different ways and, perhaps, to varying degrees, by both Vice President Biden and Representative Ryan during the debate. I found it interesting that a question of faith would be presented in

The Earth is the Lord's and Everything in It...

I want to start by stating that the following comments I am about to make are absolutely non-scientific. Although I may borrow from terminology from the realms of science, I am in no way attempting to make a scientific claim, advance a particular theory, propose a hypothesis, or prove the existence of any thing, force, or Superior Being. Further, and for the record, I readily admit that my opinions are biased, and are rooted within a belief system that influences my approach to such topics as science. To all my science-minded friends: I applaud the work that you do, I appreciate the work that you do, and I admire your commitment to the scientific method, particularly, that of letting the facts speak for themselves without approaching them from a position of bias. You have one leg up on me. I admire you for your objectivity.

No, I do not wish to make any scientific claims. I plan to speak upon a subject that falls mores under the category of the arts. Science has nothing intrinsically to do with the arts, aside from the fact that the arts cannot exist outside of the impact of science. We create within the arts, but we cannot make things manifest which do not already exist. Ideas, nuances, genres, and inspiration all come from outside us. We merely mimic, duplicate, adjust or re-discover that which was already known.

Recently, I have been directing my senior high students to approach life from the direction of David, King of Israel, who wrote the following psalm, listed as the twenty-fourth in the book that bears the title Psalms.
0    Of David. A psalm.
1    The earth is the LORD’S, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters.
3    Who may ascend the hill of the LORD?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.
5 He will receive blessing from the LORD
and vindication from God his Savior.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, O God of Jacob.    Selah
7    Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
the LORD mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?
The LORD Almighty
he is the King of glory.    Selah

I’ve posted the entire psalm, so you all can keep me accountable to the text. I do not wish to take anything out of context. From this point on, I will only refer to verses 1 & 2, but you can look to the whole of what David wrote to see if my observations remain consistent.

That, quite possibly, was the longest disclaimer I have ever posted! :) On with my blog....

Tonight, I had the opportunity to cook dinner for the family. While I admit that there are times when form follows function, I generally look very forward to cooking for my family because it is an opportunity for me to co-create with the Creator of all things. It becomes an exercise in worship.... literally.

*For the sake of my brothers ands sisters out there that do not share my theological views/faith-based system of beliefs, I want you all to know that I am not taking this opportunity to wave a chicken in the air and chant incantations over the bar-b-cue.

Where was I...? Oh, yeah. The Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. When I read everything, I take that word quite literally. For instance: The laptop upon which I am typing this blog may legally belong to the church at which I serve and am employed, but in a greater sense, it belongs to God Himself. Misusing my laptop is a sin against my employer on a lower level, and ultimately a sin against God, since He owns it all. And all this has what to do with food and cooking? Everything.

Every lip-smacking, tastebud tantalizing, olfactory arousing thing to do with God. Each ingredient belongs to God. Each and every thing in tonight’s dinner was supplied by God for my family’s sustenance and for His glory. When I make each recipe about me, I fall short of the mark of glorifying Him. When I get the attention for a particular recipe and do not acknowledge the One who first made all things (including my recipe itself), I enter the realm of egocentricity: It’s all about me and my accomplishments.

Taste is an olfactory sense for which I have limited scientific understanding. But, I grasp the idea that most things have a taste. In the culinary world, there are values placed upon freshness, region of origin, aging, the content of the soil’s nutrients, freshwater or saltwater, corn-fead, grass-fed, milk-fed, etc.... so many variables on the artist’s palate from which to choose, organize, and introduce together. And each one--each mouthwatering molecular miracle--each came by its flavor by design, and we artists do nothing more than discover the treasure from the Master Artist.

And then there is the variable of the cooking process! Fried, boiled, poached, steamed, grilled, sautéed, slow-roasted, over fire (charcoal, gas, propane, wood fire)... in cast iron, stainless, copper... on a cedar plank, or hanging in balance on a rotisserie... every seasoning, every seed bearing plant, every leaf, pod, flower, root.... each with its own fingerprint, essence and aroma, all brought together to make the food sing and dance on our tongues.

And even yet more wonder at it all! The tongue! “With it we praise our Lord and Father, and curse men who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be” (James 3:9-10). The tongue, with its abilities to taste and savor and distinguish and categorize and memorize the different sensations and stimuli it receives during the meal. Wonder, O wonder! Did the tongue evolve to taste, or did the tastes evolve to the tongue? To do so in tandem seems to insure the destruction of one at the satisfaction of the other! Could they have been made by design... to taste that way on purpose... to the Glory of God? His gift to us, that we turned back for worship upon ourselves?

What if? What if I approached every single situation and circumstance in my life with the same ferocity as I do my time of co-creating with The Creator when I enter the grocery store produce aisle or the open the fridge? What if...
  • I treated my wife like she belonged to God and was His special gift to me? Would that affect the way I loved her, took care of her, provided for her and held her?
  • I treated my bosses like they were put there by God to be over me... to teach me to strive for greater things, to work hard and honest, always striving to grow in my own character (completely independent of whether my bosses earned my respect or best work)?
  • I saw my children as a gift on loan, that the work and guidance I poured into them was not for my praise or feelings of worth or purpose, but because my desire was to honor God by being His hands and feet and heart, helping them to grow dependent upon no man for their worth (including themselves), but upon His value that was placed on them, knowing each hair on their heads, beautifully and wonderfully made?
  • My attitude of the Earth belonging to the Lord, and everything in it took over my very being, and I began to see things the way He sees them, and not the materialistic way my culture/politics/media wishes me to see things?

Then I would become a different man, indeed... Joyful always, praying continually, giving thanks in all circumstances... perhaps that is God’s will for my life, if it is rooted in Christ Jesus.

...but follow my lead! (Part 2)

Sorry for the delay. I am trying to be more disciplined in writing.

Now, where was I?...the drivel continues...

Once there was a time, and that time is not now...

Once upon a time, I worked security at a local watering hole in Traverse City. The crew I worked with called it security. I called it “insecurity.” Everybody else called us bouncers. I survived on tact. If there was ever any kind of scrap to be had, I usually either avoided it with words, or ended it quickly with a superior display of force... but I always chose the former over the latter...

I learned something during that time that went beyond being able to avoid a punch. I learned how to read people and be able to discern when they might go a bit postal. If you step in at the right moment, you can diffuse a situation that might otherwise escalate into violence. Timing, it seems, is everything in these situations.

Another observation I made in those testosterone fueled days of my youth was that at the heart of just about every conflict, you will find a woman. In some way, shape or form, it is always the girl that is the motivator, instigator, or driving force behind the tension between the two billy goats making ready to prove their manhood. That, and a few too many beers.......the drivel continues...

The Class of 2012

2012 Grad Service at my church.

Wow. It has been 27 years since I was in high skool.......the drivel continues...

If You Can See This...

Back in January, I went in to get a new pair of glasses. The prescription ran out on my other pair (ba-dump-bump!).

Actually, I suffered a bit of an inconvenience a couple years back when I lost one of the lenses in my old frames. Not being Daddy Warbucks, I needed to prioritize my spending patterns. I was able to knock down some bills AND pay two years of my budgeted amount toward my kids first year of college (Read: I spent WAY more than I was able to keep the kid in school). Eventually, I arrived at the place that if I didn’t purchase new glasses now, I would go another two years squinting through life, causing people at church and the grocery store to think I was angry with them (true reactions... I’ve actually heard this!).

And so began the next saga in my life. It goes something like this:

January 25: Go in for eye exam and order new frames. Why order new frames when the old ones are perfectly fine? Because the scam, I mean “reality” is that my old frames “were just too worn out and would not work.” Red flag #1. So. I asked my lovely wife to join me and pick out a set of frames that she liked. We spent the better part of an hour looking at the small selection the local shop offered (Read: NON-CORPORATE shop), before finalizing. They were o.k. Not as nice as the last pair I had, but they’d do.

February 10: My new glasses are in! Hooray, hooray! I shall now see again with crystal clarity. I stop by the shop, saunter up to the counter, take a seat and pop the new set of exterior eyeballs upon my head and HOLY COW WHAT IN THE WORLD IS WRONG WITH THESE THINGS?!?!?! Red flag #2.

I immediately yank them off my face and tell the receptionist/customer service rep/coffee go-getter, “Uh, I can’t wear these. Something is really wrong.” She giggles at my obvious rapier-like sarcastic wit. “No. Seriously”, I say, “These things are not right.” She continues to giggle. “Look,” says I, wishing to get control of the situation before the giggle becomes a cackle, “I am not walking out of here with these glasses.”

She takes them from me and holds them above her head, peering through them with one eye closed. “They look all right to me.”

Red flag #3.

“Do you have the same prescription I do?” I ask.
“Well, it just seems a bit odd that you can tell they are all right for me just looking through them, and when I look through them, I can tell that they are wrong.” Look. I’m displaying a great deal of patience. You have to go pretty slow with people out here. They’re more interested in the experience than the results.