Working on a Dream




Thursday, May 27, 2010


"Everybody has a reason
Everybody has a friend
Everybody has a reason
to begin again..."
-B. Springsteen, Long Walk Home

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

DASH - Destiny Awaits So Hurry!

Walking through a cemetery can be a sobering thing. Pieces of etched rock to mark people's remains, over grown grass, and an occasional picture or keepsake is the usual scene. Taking a look at the tombstones, we usually read something interesting about the person like that they were a beloved husband or a war vet. Something most every tombstone will have in common is one's (1) Birth date (2) A Dash (3) Year of Death.
Number's 1 and 3 are not as important as number 2--Which is the DASH.
The DASH symbolizes how a person lived their lives. Was the person gracious or a tyrant with people? What were the person's priorities? Etc.
-The DASH is a summation of the person who now lies in the ground- If you are reading this, then you are in your and forming and making your own legacy of how you will be remembered. Ephesians 5: 15-16 states, "Be careful how you walk not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil." I think this is good advice. The Apostle Paul does not want you to throw away your life by wasting it on foolish things. Rather his counsel is for you to live by wisdom-which has its foundation in God's Word.
With all this in mind-remember your DASH... Destiny Awaits So Hurry!
Now is your time
Today is your day
Any moment can be your moment
For a new beginning

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Stinky Sweat

I can remember a job I had in college which required me to stand in bathrooms with yellow rubber gloves on and clean stuff. (Stuff is used purposefully in place of the things I would like to permanently forget). -Moving on. While working, I used to say phrases like, "This job stinks!' (absolutely no pun intended) while sweat rolled off my forehead. Something I read this morning in the Gospel of Luke reminded me of the two words in my title, stinky sweat. In Luke 13, Jesus tells a parable about a barren fig tree. In it, two men discuss the fact that after 3 years, this certain fig tree did not produce fruit and the one guy says its time to whack it. The other man, thinks that the fig tree might deserve another chance and he says that he will, "dig around it and fertilize it." Only after this process is he willing to cut it down.

So I have been thinking about the two men, the two different attitudes and the two drastic implications of those attitudes. First, Man #1 wanted to give up on the tree. For him it was a quick decision. No fruit No problem might be his motto. "Take this ax and cut the tree down." For Man #2, it was a longer decision process. It was almost as if he believed in the sad tree and thought about the future blessings it could bestow. Second, Man #1 had an ax. This tool is sharp and cuts things down above the surface. Man #2 carried a shovel and some fertilizer. A shovel is also sharp but it is used to dig deep into the earth. There is something about digging down below what is seen and into the unknown. The other item Man #2 was equipped with was ... fertilizer. You know what fertilizer is? Right? Don't tell anyone but it was poo. (Yes, the same stuff I was cleaning while in college)

I think if I was in this parable I would definitely be the first guy. Ax in hand. Ready to chop, chop, chop...
I guess I can't stop thinking about my own life while reflecting on this parable.Would I be where I am today, if it were not for people like Man #2? It takes a really wonderful person to look at someone and invest their time, energy, and resources into them rather than cut them down prematurely. When you do this, you will in a real way be like the man who decided to dig deep and get sweaty and then add fertilizer for growth...time to get stinky.
Maybe the point of all of this is when you see a person as God sees them you see the potential fruit hanging off their branches rather than a promise of future bareness.
--Thank you Jesus for being Man # 2.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Charlie List

I'm not totally sure how many of you have actually met my dog Charlie, so I have decided to write a top ten list of his favorites.

-He is watching me type this right now, so I am treading lightly...

1. Sunday mornings. He is a Christian.
2. Sunday afternoons at my parents. He sits under the table right by dad. You can probably guess why.
3. Riding in cars.
4. Going on walks.
5. Sleeping on beds (he is allowed ONLY in the winter. This is Christen's idea by the way...she says he is too cold !?).
6. Prank phone calls. [yes, he picks up the phone and selects random people to call...then just breathes!]
7. His tennis ball.
 8. Treats.
9. Christen (He thinks she is His girlfriend).
10.Going to the park and running after his tennis ball. This routine is filled with treats and adventure. There is simply nothing better in the world of dogdom.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mitzvah Moments

Reading through the book, "Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus" has been very rewarding for me. The authors have a way of making complex ideas simple, and if you know me for more than 5 minutes, you know this is right up my ally.
In one of the chapters, the authors bring up the word for commandments in Hebrew, which is translated, "mitzvah."
-To perform mitzvah is like acting on something God wants you to do & it was never understood to be a burden - rather an opportunity for good-
For instance, someone might say: "I had a chance to do a mitzvah today when I helped with the soup kitchen."
As a follower of Jesus, we probably have more opportunities to do good than we think. Paul says...
"For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith -not by works that no man should boast. For we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works." (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Surely, God did not save us to sit around on our hands. In fact the last two words in the above passage tells us that we have a purpose in this world and that is to live out our calling. Pastor Andrew had a good analogy of this in his sermon this past Sunday. He called it "Piggybacking with Jesus." When someone goes piggybacking , they are bound to the person and will go wherever they go. The same is with Jesus. He will lead you to places and moments you would have never chosen or imagined.
In fact, following Jesus will always lead you to mitzvah moments.
"I am the Light of the World, He who follows Me will never walk in darkness again."
-John 8:12
Is Your Mitzvah Moment right in front of you and your missing it?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Two things to remember when leading

1. Know Yourself
2. Know Your Audience
Believe me when I tell you
that although those are only two short suggestions
involved in them are endless

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Holiness, Justice, Love: 3 Ingredients for making Godly Decisions

Last night wrapped up my fourth course in the MSOL program. The class was on Ethics and Leadership. Throughout the class we used a paradigm by the author Alexander Hill to help us in making Biblical decisions, especially in grey areas. Hill says that, "Christian ethics require three characteristics to be taken into account when decisions are made. " 1. Holiness: When untethered from justice and love it drifts into hypercritical legalism (Your the Pharisee) 2. Justice: When it loses its anchor in Holiness and love, it produces harsh outcomes (Your the hammer and everyone else is the nail) 3. Love: When it is orphaned lacks an adequate moral compass. (Your the human doormat)
Think about how you make decisions? Do you include all three aspects?

As a follower of Jesus, when faced with an ethical situation, I first have to look to my standard, which is God's Word (Holiness). Then, I consider the norms/laws in the organization or community (justice) and finally, I include love, so that I do not end up being rigid or is the ingredient that helps me see each problem uniquely.

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hey, Soul Sister

So you can all pretty much guess that I am not the kind of guy who just puts on his radio and listens to anything and to any station. -It has to be specific for me...its just how I roll. However, to my surprised set of ears, I have recently been pleased to find some pop music that I actually find myself singing along with. One song, I mentioned in a previous blog,"live like your dying" the other is mentioned above in my title, "Hey, soul sister."
-To say I like this song is a major understatement.
A portion of the song goes like this:
"You're the only one I'm dreaming of -
You see I can be myself now finally
In fact there's nothing I cant be
I want the world to see you'll be with me "
Those words remind me of what I tell people when I sit down and do pre-marital counselling with them. I usually ask them to look in each others eyes and then answer this question:
How many times are you planning on getting married?
[Their response generally goes something like this....pause, then deadpan stare at me- like I was kidding...but of course I was not... I never joke.]
Then they turn toward one another again and say, "ONCE" (tear....)
That's when I usually launch into something like:
"You will only be married once, and one day you will be old and grey. You will have a choice to make: will this be the greatest life with your spouse...One for the story books kind of life.
OR will you go through life miserable, holding grudges and all that kind of ugly stuff.
--The decision is yours..."
"Husbands love your wife like Christ has loved His Church." Ephesians 5:25

Monday, May 3, 2010


About two minutes ago, I get this text message from Christen saying that she passed her final exam for her RN Degree. I as sit and reflect on her accomplishments, my mind goes back to the beginning of when this whole thing started. Christen is not the "school-type" so things were a little rough up front. I can remember the struggles, the long drives to Butler, then to Beaver, the constant updates at Career link, the long days at school, the long nights of studying.... This morning I was listening to the new U2 album, No Line on the Horizon in the car. One song in particular is my favorite, "ill go crazy if I don't go crazy tonight." In this song, Bono sings:

Its not a hill Its a Mountain When you first start out the climb Listen for me...Ill be shouting through the darkness...

Those are the words I sent Christen today after she passed. This journey started out hard. --It was like staring up at Mt. Everest-- But as she started walking, she realized she had someone who would be right with her the entire time. Step by step. Side by side.

That was my promise when you started this whole thing.

That was my promise when we stood at the altar.

That was my promise when you asked me what my intentions were when we first started dating.

That will be my promise as long as I live.

Ephesians 5:25, "Love your wives just as Christ has loved the Church"