Monday, July 27, 2015


You are not alone.

You think you're alone, but you aren't.

Peter gets out of a boat in the middle of a storm and takes some steps on water.  He says to Jesus - who's waiting for him in the middle of the sea - 'Since it's You, Jesus, command me to come and I will.'


'You mean - right now?'


So Peter does and after a bit he begins to sink.

'Why did you doubt, Peter?'

I guess I need more faith.  That's our interpretation.  If I can drum up a little more faith, I'll be healed -- if I get more faith, this will end well -- if I manage more faith, problem solved.

But that's hardly the point.  Because that kind of thinking makes faith dependent on what you can produce - but what matters most isn't the measure of your faith - it's the object of your faith.

Faith isn't worth having unless the object of your faith is strong.

Why did Jesus call Peter's faith little?  He got out of the boat, didn't he?

But when the object of his faith changed, he began to sink.

Faith isn't worth having unless the object of your faith is strong.  You can have tons of faith, but if the thing you're putting your faith in isn't worthy of your trust, it's dangerous to put your confidence there.

In your trial - in your storm - in your dilemma - in your 'thing' -- look to the object of your faith - because Jesus loves you.
He cares for you.
He provides for you.
He intercedes for you.
He's with you.
He's sovereign over you.
He's present with you.
He's strength in you.
He'll save you.

You are not alone.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


I think there are probably some people who love Jesus who find themselves in some rising water right now.  But they aren't in deep water because they were disobedient or unfaithful.  They were trying to be obedient but somehow or another now they're in over their heads.

You've been trying to live for God but you find yourself in a situation where there's little strength left -- you're completely drained -- you can't dog paddle one more moment -- the water is rising.

So you do everything the pastor says to do -- you read your Bible
-- you memorize some Scriptures -- you pray -- and still you find yourself taking on water.  You wonder why God isn't rescuing you because, after all, you're doing all the things you're supposed to do but now there's more storm than there is faith.

Put your eyes on a Savior who can save you.

We get so tied up in us -- in our problems -- in our stuff -- until that's all we can see.  But look and see how big Jesus is.  Know He's bigger than the storm.  He's bigger than the flood.  He walks on the storm.

And know that the very thing you think will overwhelm you may be the very thing that brings Jesus to you.

And be blessed.

Friday, July 17, 2015


It's amazing how much prep time it takes just to schedule a rest.

You have this major exhilaration at the thought that "I'm about to enjoy a nice relaxing rest on the sofa in the cool of my living room."

But before you can enjoy it - before you actually sit down - there are things you have to do first so you can truly relish the rest period.

I need to shut a few of the curtains so it's nice and cool in the room.  Done.
Maybe I should pour myself a cool glass of iced tea so I'll have it at my fingertips while I lay.  Check.
Oh yeah, I really should go to the bathroom real quick so I don't have to interrupt my rest time by getting up later.
Where's the remote?
I need a good book.
A bowl of M&Ms.
Where's my cellphone?  I need to silence that first.

And before you know it, rest period is over.

Jesus has a pretty simple prescription when it comes to getting rest.  He says, 'Come to Me.  Just ... come to Me ... and I will give you the rest you seek.'

Come is a call to surrender.  It's a call to submit yourself to His Lordship.

There's no major prep.

No second guessing.

No regrets.

Just perfect rest.

Come ... 

And be blessed.

Saturday, July 11, 2015


Countries that don't use the Metric System
Being in Europe for 50 days meant I had to deal with the metric system -- kilometers, not miles -- kilos, not pounds -- liters, not gallons -- centimeters, not inches - Celsius, not Fahrenheit.

I didn't realize until recently that there are only three nations in the entire world who don't use the metric system:  Liberia, Myanmar and the U.S.  This is why when you see a semi stuck under a bridge, it's likely the driver is an immigrant from a metric-using country who couldn't convert 12' 6" in his head before hitting the overpass.

I'm not sure we're ever going to convert to metric here and get in step with the rest of the world, but I managed to figure it out after a couple of weeks on the German Autobahn.

I figured out that when I hit 160 kilometers-per-hour in my Ford Kuga SUV,  I was going 100 mph.  There's no speed limit on parts of the autobahn.  I have to say I got it up to 185 mph a few times while Joelene was snoozing (that's 115 mph, I'm just saying) and still there were people zooming past me.

During our trip, we drove 7500 kilometers (4,660 miles).  That's about the distance from Edmonton, Alberta to Mexico City.  The GPS indicated we had a total driving time of 101 hours (a little more than 4 days) through 10 different countries (Denmark, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Vatican City, Switzerland and Liechtenstein).

Our driving included some amazing and beautiful scenery (Gold medal:  Switzerland) as well as going the wrong way down one-way streets, driving on bike paths, in 'trolley-only' lanes, on pedestrian only roads and parking on sidewalks.  Nobody's perfect.

Our driving adventures also netted us one 10 euro parking ticket ($11.15) in Munich, Germany (I only left it for 15 minutes) -- and getting stopped by the Slovenian police for not having a vignette (a little $10 sticker you display on your windshield -- you stop at a gas station and get one when you cross a border to allow you to drive legally in the country).  Fine:  150 euros ($167).  Great.

In my defense, I would have stopped and purchased it if I had known I was actually in Slovenia.  There was no 'Welcome to Slovenia' sign.  C'est la vie.  Translation:  "That's life."

Best drivers:  Liechtenstein
Worst drivers:  Italy
Fastest drivers:  Germany
Slowest drivers:  Austria
Best cars:  Germany
Narrowest street:  Prague, Czech Republic / Rome, Italy

Transportation turned out to be one of my favorite experiences while in Europe.  Our list of all the things we rode on/in ...
2 airplanes
4 cars
2 boats
4 taxis
4 vans
14 busses
11 trains
1 gondola
2 ferries
1 rickshaw
1 funicular
2 bicycles
2 bobsleds
... in addition to countless bridges and tunnels.

It's good to be home, but I miss driving a standard transmission and going 100 mph.

And be blessed.

Friday, July 3, 2015


Two of the most important letters in all of Europe when you're traveling are W and C.  When you put these otherwise common letters together, they stand for water closet.

Bathroom.  Toilet.  Restroom.

It isn't always easy finding a public bathroom in Europe.  A lot of places won't let you use theirs unless you're eating/drinking there.  So you're always on the lookout for those two elusive letters on a corner sign, pointing you in the right direction to a public one.

You learn a few critical phrases, too:
In Germany, Austria and Switzerland:  'Wo ist die toilette?'
In Italy:  'Dov'e il bagno?'
In Hungary:  'Hol van a mosdo?'
In Denmark:  'Hvor er toilette?'
In Czech Republic:  'Kde je prosim zachod?'  (I could never figure out how to say this exactly, but I realized that hand gestures work everywhere.  I'd show you, but . . . )

The other thing that happens when it comes to WCs is that you often have to pay to use them.  Some have extremely elaborate systems just to get in -- coin operated turnstiles -- plexiglass doors that open automatically when you drop in your 0,50 euro (about 50 cents) -- specific 'in' and 'out' doors where you have to push a little button first to get the door to open.

It's a learning curve for sure.  I'm not sure this is the area of life where you want one of those, but I found out how quickly you learn when it's really important.

I admit at first I was a little ticked that they ask you to fork over money in order to use a bathroom.  It just seems so inhumane to charge you for that particular activity, but I come from an American point of view.

It isn't wrong; it's just different.

However, I was definitely offended when even the McDonald's in Prague made me pay 50 cents to use theirs.  I mean, McDonalds just seems about as American as you can get.

You wise up in a hurry, though.  Always have some change in your pocket for when the urgency reaches its peak.  That's so important.

What does 50 cents for a good WC get you in Europe?  An attendant who might hand you some paper to use and who comes in and cleans up after you.  Of course, this might be a woman cleaning the men's area, so you have to be prepared to be washing your hands at the sink and have a lady walk behind you.  It's just unsettling the first 12 times.  You get used to it.  But many of the bathrooms are super-sparkly, so that's a plus.

I won't tell you how much we spent between the two of us on this part of our trip, but it was pretty close to the annual GDP of Liechtenstein.  As the shores of America loom ahead for us this next week, we look forward to 'resting' for free.

And be blessed.