Sunday, February 28, 2016


What life action do you need to take right now?

The life alarm is going off but you haven't gotten up to do anything about it yet ...

... in a relationship
... in your diet
... with your family
... in your walk with God.

What is it?  What's the action just waiting for you to move on?

Because listen ... the devil knows if he can get you to hit snooze, he wins.  Ten more minutes and ten more minutes and ten more minutes and suddenly you're at the end of a life.  He doesn't mind you waking up again and again, as long as you never get up.

That was the quandary facing the Prodigal Son in Luke chapter 15.  He's sent off with a fortune by his father.  It's his inheritance - received early at his own request.  He goes to a distant country and spends it all -- then begins working among the pigs, ultimately craving what the swine are eating. At some point he realizes he needs to go back -- under the roof and care of his father -- the one he had left so selfishly and stridently.

Can you imagine what that moment must have been like?


And there waiting for him, his elder brother -- always the perfect one -- who had watched him walk away with his share of the family worth -- now watches him walk back in with nothing but stench on him.

How hard would it have been in that moment for the younger brother to say, 'I have nothing left.  Can I come in?'

'I have nothing left.  Can I come in?'

Don't you see that is exactly our story?

We've enjoyed the love and care of the Father.
We've asked for our own way.
The Father has granted us undeserved blessing.
We've accepted it open-handed and walked away with as much of it as we can carry.
We've used it up in entertaining living and then become depleted due to carelessness, irresponsibility, disobedience, inattention, neglect, disregard.

Then when we've realized the grass wasn't greener after all -- we've decided to be back in the comfort of the Father is where we really belong.  'I have nothing left.  Can I come in?'

What do you think the Father says a million times a day to that question?

'You are all sons and daughters of God thru faith in Christ.'  (Galatians 3:26)

Take action.

And be blessed. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016


You are living a story.  In fact, you are a Living Story.

Some people are dramas, others comedies, a few are tragedies.  Some Stories seem scripted and others impromptu.  A few Stories are poetic; more are melodramatic.  Positive Stories; negative Stories, sweet Stories, crotchety Stories, mega-Novels, short Folios, Narratives.  Some are written on Letterhead, others on Cardboard, Monogrammed Sationary, Parchment, Scratch pads, and everything in between -- your life and my life is a Story.

Unfinished Stories.

That means there are chapters yet to be written.

That means anyone can change his or her Story.  But you must realize you have one first.

My Story has in many ways been on display for years now.  Here.  I've let readers in as far and deep as has been convenient, at times opening wide enough to self-inflict.  On rare occasion I have deleted a Life Story a few days later, hoping it would be forgotten by the many.

There have been times I've needed to take a step back and review my Story from above.

My Story needs a new Author.

How compassionate (or not) have I become?
How have I helped (or hurt) people?
Deep down, am I who I say I am?
Has my own Story encouraged (or defeated) anyone?

I have to somehow be able to read my own Story with honesty and authenticity and courage.  I don't want to see a more generous or joyful or humble adaptation of myself than everyone else sees.

Sometimes my Story needs a revision.  It needs an editor.  A chapter needs to be stricken because it no longer acceptably or accurately describes who I am.  It needs a rewrite.

It can't be deleted, but it can be redrafted.  Yet not in one single setting.  That's too painful.  My Story needs incremental revision.  Anything more is too severe -- too agonizing -- too searing.

It needs unyielding kindness mixed with resolute calculation and unshakable purposefulness.

It needs a new Author.

Fortunately, I know One.

'Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race set before us, looking to Jesus, the AUTHOR and Finisher of our faith ... '  (Hebrews 12:1, 2a)

May the rewrite begin.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


So -- I got a different car a few weeks ago.  It was time.  When you get a different vehicle you see driving thru fresh, guarded lenses -- at least for a few days until the pre-owned smell wears off.

Not my car pictured.  :)
It's amazing how different you drive when you change cars - at first.  Your senses are magnified; you view every car as if it was driven by a homicidal maniac.  You park by straddling the lines so another vehicle can't park too close -- or you only park next to cars way nicer than yours, because they'll be careful about banging their doors into you.

I've had the great opportunity to drive and ride all over the world.

In Manila, Philippines it once took us an hour to go one mile.  We easily could have walked there faster.

In India it's a mishmash of everything on wheels and legs sharing the roadway -- cars, trucks, busses, bicycles, motorcycles, cows, dogs, oxcarts, children, juggling unicyclists -- all with the legal right of way.  The trucks there actually nudge people out of the way.

On the Autobahn in central Germany, where there is no speed limit for long stretches, motorists drive as if they were prepping to leap the Grand Canyon at any moment.

In a tuk-tuk in Bangkok it's better just to cover your eyes when you sit down to ride in one.

In Italy it's all about navigating the hundreds of Vespa riders as they zigzag in and out of traffic.  No one there drives under 60 mph at any time, including in parking garages.

Let's not even talk about Mexico. 

The sanest place I have been is Hong Kong, where people are civil and where subways and trains are spotless of debris.  Signs in the trains warn: 'No drinking or eating,' and no one does.  It's barely human.

But here I am, headed out into the wild streets of Kenosha with my pre-owned vehicle, where stop signs are suggestions half the time (not to me) -- and lane lines are suggestions half the time (not to me) -- where people will sit behind the wheel while reading books, putting on makeup or deodorant, making wardrobe changes, doing arts & crafts, putting both feet up, changing diapers and even shaving (not me).

As D. Rather once said:  'Americans will put up with anything provided it doesn't block traffic.'


And be blessed.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


I'm a big fan of sorrow.

Well, let me back that up and say first that I'm a big fan of grace.  Who wouldn't be?  It's free - it's rich - it's one way - it looks beyond the messy -- what's not to like?

But I'm also a big fan of sorrow.

What I mean is, I love and recognize the unmerited favor that rests on my life simply because I'm one of God's creations -- having done nothing to earn it -- just raise my head and let it pour down.  And yet I don't use that gift as an excuse for my own failures.

I'm in deep anguish over my failures.  If I would begin writing them here, you would get tired of reading long before my list was done, except for those of you who might revel in reading my entire list.

I'm a big fan of sorrow.

I am in sorrow.  And there's great value in that grief.  My pardon has not been casual.  It has come at great expense to all three members of the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Part of my sorrow is beginning to understand the iceberg tip of what it cost to pay for my redemption.

So I am broken by that.  Grieved.  Dolorous.  Distressed.  Sorrowful.

I can't sweep my sin under the nearest rug and call it grace.  That rug provides security and comfort, but every time I step on it it's a reminder of the sorrow I must have in order to experience the repentance I need regarding my own sin.

I'm a big fan of sorrow.

And be blessed.

Sunday, February 14, 2016


In the Gospel of Mark there's an account of a blind beggar.  His name is Bartimaeus.  He sits on the side of the road, day in and day out, completely dependent on what his ears hear.

Everything is about what he smells, touches and hears -- voices every day -- footsteps of passersby every day - fish and bread in baskets every day.

One day Bartimaeus hears many footsteps, traveling together.  And a voice.  This one's different than the others he's used to.  It's loving and caring.  Somehow he senses the compassion in this voice.

He hears someone say the name Jesus.  Could this be the One I've heard so much about passing right by me?

Bartimaeus calls out:  'Son of David, have mercy on me!'

There's a pause -- a quiet.  A voice answers, but it isn't the loving voice he heard a moment ago.  This one's gruff and rude, insolent.  'Shut up!  Get out of the way!'

He's used to having people scold him - kick at him - spit on him - he has little to lose.  He says it again:  'Son of David, have mercy on me!'

Then he hears that other voice - the kind one:  'Bring him to Me.'

Then that second voice - this time pretending to be nice:  'Cheer up, Bartimaeus.  On your feet.  He's calling you.'

Bartimaeus rises.  It's so still.  They must all just be watching.  Footsteps are heard parting the way.  He hears one pair of sandals walking softly toward him now.  A hand rests on his shoulder.  And then - that kind voice:  'What would you have Me do for you?'

At this moment, blind Bartimaeus has a several choices.  He could ask for a blessing.  He needs continued support on the street in order to find food and shelter.  He could ask for another robe.  The one he's wearing has been nibbled away by the rats.  But Bartimaeus goes to his very deepest need.

"I want to see."

'I want to see.'

And Jesus says:  'Your faith has healed you.'

This is an account about recognizing who Jesus is -- and recognizing you have need of Him.  Bartimaeus calls Him Son of David.  You're the One.  I believe in You.  And since You're the Healer - the Deliverer - the Way Shower - the Peace Giver -- I'm not asking for bread.  I'm asking for something only You can give.

I want to see.

But in order to see, we need God's supernatural help.  If God doesn't open our eyes, we'll never see.  The reason we can't see is that we're fallen and blind and hard and proud and independent.  Paul described us in Ephesians:  "We are darkened in our understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance in us, because of the hardness of our hearts."

We need the light.  We need to see.

And be blessed.

Saturday, February 6, 2016


God has holy plans for you.

Isn't that exciting?

It brings God great glory when you're just you.  When you do what you've been wired - created - to do, it makes God smile.  He looks at you and says, 'That's My boy.  He's doing what I made him to do.'

'She's being artistic.  That's My girl.  She's doing what I made her to do.'

When Aaron Rodgers throws a football 65 yards for a Hail Mary pass, God goes, 'That's My boy.  He's doing what I made him to do.'

When Kelly Clarkson belts out a tune, God goes, 'That's My girl.  She's using what I gave her.'  

That brings pleasure to God.  When anything or anyone fulfills the purpose for what it's been created, it brings glory to the Creator.

You being you brings God glory.

You being you brings God glory.

I can't give your message and you can't give mine.  You can only give yours and I can only give mine.  But if you don't give yours, it doesn't get heard.  And what God calls you to do He equips and shapes you to do.

And be blessed.