Monday, June 22, 2009

Don't Want to Go Through the Motions

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Sidewalks and Paths

I’ve a question: where’s the adventure in walking on sidewalks?
“Doug, you walk the sidewalks where I walk and you would see. It’s not safe!”
Okay, I’ll allow that. However I still ask the question: where’s the adventure in walking on sidewalks?
Give me a path to walk any time and I’ll take it. You never know where a path will lead or what it will throw your way. When I was young, living on an almond ranch in Capay Valley, we had to be careful of rattlesnakes. No problem! It was part of the adventure walking the path.
Today, we’re civilized and with the exception of places like the mountains, or a beach access, paths hardly exist.
If sidewalks are a sign of being civilized, perhaps we’re to civilized. We’ve lost nature’s ultimate visual reality—walking paths. Sidewalks erase adventure. They’re too predictable.
In our search for adventure, we’ve settled instead for virtual reality video games, where adventuring is artificial. Or, shows where others do the adventuring and we “spectate.”
As followers of Christ, have we become sidewalk Christians? Following prescribed ways of coming and going. In so doing have we lost the adventure of taking a path that leads to where we’re not sure, or do not know?
God said he would direct our paths. He’s the God of adventure. In fact he put the “advent” in adventure. (Leonard Sweet)
Let’s decide together to get off the sidewalk of coming and going like we always have and start walking a path to where we’re not sure, or do not know. (For those who’ve lost the spirit of adventure, here’s his promise: “[My] word is a lamp to [your] feet and a light for [your] path.” Psalm 119:105)
By faith lets hike the path. Sidewalks are for sissies. (Now I am in trouble.)
Yours for the path set before us,

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Leaving our first love

Sadly, we fall in love with the donkey, rather than the One who rode the donkey.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mom's Generosity Transformed a Life

I learned it again these past 6–8 months as I watched my mother open her home and pour her life into one of her grandchildren.
I know God ultimately does the work, but I believe God uses people with generous spirits to transform lives.
We were placed here to display God’s generosity. When, with a spirit of generosity, we give, God uses it to transform lives.
Mom, on this Mother’s Day, thanks for a generosity that transforms. All your children rise up and call you blessed. Your generosity transformed a life.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Matter of life and death

It is a matter of life and death for the culture that followers of Christ are clothed with compassion, kindness, gentleness, humility and patience. The world doesn't need more toxic Christians.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Enthusiasm for Others

Titus 2:14 reads: He that he could rescue us from constant falling into sin and make us his very own people, with cleansed hearts and real enthusiasm for doing kind things for others.

The rescue is not only for my own good but the the good of others.

Enthusiastically, I personally respond to the forgiveness of sin. With the same enthusiasm God calls me to do kind things for others.

God help me in this area for self-centered enthusiasm is narcissism. It stinks. May I not be a closed bud, but a full bloomed flower opened outward, bringing beauty and fragrance to the world about me by the enthusiastic doing of good for others. Amen

Monday, March 9, 2009

Is the Whole Earth Filled with His Glory?

Isaiah 6:3

"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."

Really? I mean really?

Is it possible the space I call my life is void of His glory?

Have actions, intentional or not, created a vacuum void of His glory?

This I know: a vacuum void of His presence will be filled with something. With the Spirit’s help I pray it is God.

"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."

Friday, March 6, 2009

What would you do with $100,000?

Matt Wiemer teaches fourth grade at Fresno Christian School and is part of the leadership team in PC for Children Ministries on Sunday mornings. Currently, Mr Wiemer, as he his known to his students, is teaching about the California gold rush.

Camden, our grandson, is in the class and is deep into this part of our state’s history. It has the adventure and intrigue that draws in young boys. One of Cam’s assignments is to tell how he would spend $100,000 of gold he had just found in the Sierra foothills.

Carol asked him for his answer. Here’s what he said: he would buy himself a blanket, then blankets for everyone in his family, then use some to buy blankets for homeless people. Given that there are a lot of other options for a nine year old, we thought he answer was pretty good and showed a carry heart.

I’ve been reading Jentezen Franklin’s book, Fasting. In it he draws attention to Matthew 6, where Jesus speaks, “When you give to the poor…” and “When you pray…” and “When you fast.” This is a pattern by which the child of God is live: giving, praying and fasting. Ps Franklin states, “When giving, praying and fasting are practiced together in the life of a believer, it creates a type of threefold cord that is not easily broken.”

In reading Matthew 6 I’m reminded of Isaiah 58, where the people of Israel fasted and prayed, but God was unhappy with them because they did it to be seen and they overlooked injustice, oppression and the poor.

This past year, when we had 40 days of fasting, Brad and Kellie, Camden’s parents, taught and practiced with their family the value of prayer and fasting. In addition the family helped those who were in need.

As the pace of 2009 picks up, I pray we not lose sight of these three components of our faith: giving to the poor, praying and fasting.

OH! There’s one more part of the story. Carol asked Cam what he would do with the rest of the $100,000. His quick response, “I’d hire a butler to do my homework, clean my room and make my bed.” Draw your own conclusions from that!


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Go to the End of the Road

“Go to the End of the Road”

For a Christmas present this past December I bought myself a TomTom GPS unit which Carol and I used on our recent trip to Hawaii. A number of the roads in Kauai and Maui are a dead end. Several times the GPS’s electronic voice would state, “Go the end of the road.” Or, “At the end of the road, you have reached your destination.”

A go to the end of the road moment was the road to Kauai’s Waimea Canyon. Mark Twain called it the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. I would describe it as the Grand Canyon covered with moss.

Leaving the town of Waimea, you zigzag your way up a mountain. As you do, you have an ever-increasing panorama of the coastline of Kauai and the Pacific Ocean.

There are numerous places to pull over and take a look at what is behind you. Then... Choices: do we go on? Do we abandon the rest of the trip? Perhaps staying at the vista point. Or, making the decision to go back?

We came to a place, where there was a lookout—the main lookout. We got out trudged up the stairs, were blown away by what we saw. It was a “wow” moment. Waimea Canyon spread out before us! For more than a few minutes, we stood there drinking it in. God’s creation in full splendor.

Finally, we turned to walk back to our car. Walking down the steps, we passed a couple. The husband, obviously bored, trailed his wife. This was the last place he wanted to be. I smiled to myself, knowing what I’d just seen. He reached the summit of the stairs. He reached the summit and exclaimed, “Oh WOW!” I chuckled aloud.

Back in our car we drove to the end of the parking lot, where there was a sign: Kokee State Park to the right. Waimea left. We went right heading toward the end of the road.

We came to what seemed to be the end. There was a humble lodge, a museum, and a place to obtain a wilderness permit for hiking and camping and a lot of chickens! Feral chickens are everywhere in Kauai.

To my surprise, beyond the expansive grass area in front of the lodge was a single, pothole-filled lane of asphalt with a sign in Hawaiian: Kalalau Lookout. We took it, pulling over more than once to let those returning down from what was ever up there go by.

At the end of the road we came to a lookout with a view looking beyond the Waimea Canyon towards the ocean. Depending on where you stood, there was either sunshine, mist or full on ran. Such is Kauai. The debate was whether we would get out of the car. We did, and were ever glad. It was one of the greatest of “aha moments” of our trip to Hawaii.

Stretching out before us was a sloping valley flowing all the way to the ocean and above it was a full rainbow. It was worth the ride to the end of the road!
Isaiah writes in Isaiah 56:1—3, 6—7, “1This is what the LORD says, ‘Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed. 2Blessed is the man who does this, the man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.’”

In other words, “Keep going to the end of the road! Keep doing what is right. You may be tempted to stop and campout at your present vista, maybe even turn back. But don’t do it. Go to the end of the road.

Here’s the payoff. Isaiah continues writing the words of God, “6 I will also bless the foreigners [Gentiles] who commit themselves to the Lord, who serve him and love his name, who worship him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest, and who hold fast to my covenant. 7 I will bring them to my holy mountain of Jerusalem and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer.”

When we follow to the end of the road, what is promised us is an AHA MOMENT like none we’ve ever thought or imagined! My friends keep going to the end of the road for he will bring us to the holy mountain and we will be filled with eternal joy!

Go to the end of the road!