Thursday, December 2, 2010

are we there yet?

This Ingrid Michaelson song seems like an appropriate way to start the holiday season.

Especially in light of an email I received this week from a dear friend who was attending the funural of a family member who did not know God. He wrote: "I can't smile at someone and say 'I know he is in heaven right now.' I just don't believe that."

I know so many people who are far from God. People I love. There's this gift just waiting for them -- already wrapped and addressed to their name. They just need to open it. And enter the home that has been prepared for them.

Michaelson sings:

They say there's linings made of silver
Folded inside each raining cloud
Well, we need someone to deliver
Our silver lining now

And are we there yet?
Home, home, home
Home, home, home

Our father has already delivered that silver lining. Oh, how I long for the people I love to find their way home this month.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

lessons from the rail trail

Sometimes people are just thirsty

Sometimes being an evangelist means you need to shut up.

Sometimes leading a movement has nothing to do with organizing or programs.

Sometimes when the wind blows, the trees come together to create the most well-choreographed ballet.

Sometimes you need to go out of your normal way to meet someone at the exact place where they wanted to be at that moment in time.

Sometimes people are cynical. Most times they are not.

Sometimes you can hear the river flowing… even when it is well out of range.

Sometimes you can give someone the most amazing gift just by showing up.

Sometimes people will stop and talk, and share things about their life, and not be really sure why they feel so comfortable with a stranger.

Sometimes the moments in life where absolutely nothing is going on are the fullest.

Sometimes people will go out of their way to repay a simple act of kindness.

Sometimes a smile means more than words.

Sometimes… there are not enough sometimes.

The cold and rain have brought an end to rail trail Saturdays for now… spring will be here soon... but not soon enough.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

5 days with james: tuesday

Picking up on this series from a few months ago, the question for today is: how can you tell if you are alive in Christ?

In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul writes:

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

I remember an afternoon in NYC about 30 years ago. A young man approached me on the street and asked “Do you want to be saved?”

So we talked. And I confessed with my mouth that Jesus was Lord. And believed that God raised him from the dead. And was told that I was saved.

But these were all things I had already known… things taught to me by the nuns who taught grammar school… by the Jesuits who reveled in deep theological conversations in high school. Truth is, that afternoon was just another afternoon… more about an interesting encounter with a fellow New Yorker than with the almighty creator of the universe. I confessed and believed… but saved? Hmmmm….

That encounter from years past came to mind as I meditated on what are perhaps the most discussed verses in the Book of James, 2:14-26, where James makes the case that faith—when not accompanied by action and good deeds—is dead.

If all it takes are your mouth and heart to be saved, why are works required to be alive in faith? How does the message from James relate to Romans TNT?

Perhaps faith is not a transaction, it’s a movement. Heart-felt belief cannot be measured once at a point in time… it’s more like the intensity of a light at the end of a well-travelled road… one that gets brighter or dimmer or simply stagnates depending on which way we are walking (or not) at any moment.

On Monday morning, my mind and heart were on Christ as I drove to work. A car was pulled over with its hood raised, so I stopped my car and offered to help. It wasn’t something I thought about… my car just pulled over to the side of the road by itself. There was no way possible that I could pass this stranded driver by while I believed in my heart that God raised his only son from the dead in order to save me. No. way. possible.

But alas, there are many mornings when I simply drive by such people in need. On those days, while I still may confess that Jesus is Lord and believe God raised him from the day… those words don’t consume my heart. And that’s where the difference lies. In the condition of my heart.

Deeds are the measuring stick of the heart.

How frequently does my heart stop beating for Christ? Too often. For while you can have good works without Christ, you cannot have Christ without works. The heart will simply not allow it. And too often, I am simply driving by. Dead when I should be alive.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

what's coming up...

As the "stupid crazy" time at work seems like it is receeding into the "normal crazy" mode... wanted to tee up a few topics that I plan on writing about over the next few weeks. (Making a list helps keep me accountable!)

My fifth day with James. When you start a series called "5 days with James" it helps to write more than four posts.

Reflections from the rail trail. Want to follow up from this August post.

K-P-G. On many days, I end my prayer time with "For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory"... so thought it would be worthwhile to unpack that a bit, starting with "for thine is the kingdom" and continuing from there.

So it is written. So it shall be done.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

my night with huckabee

Mike Huckabee gave a great speech last week.

It was not a political event, it was a fundraiser for the Bridgeport Rescue mission in CT.

At a time when the news cycle is dominated by extremists like O’Donnel, Angle, Miller and Paul… and the say-nothing-partisans like Palin, Gingrich and Beck… one could only get the sense that Mike Huckabee could well be the Republican nominee in 2012.

Huckabee was the keynote speaker for the annual Rescue Mission fundraising dinner last week. Speaking to a non-partisan crowd in CT, I imagine he chose his words wisely.

In fact, he started off by telling the audience he was advised to stay clear of politics and religion – which as an ex-Baptist minister who ran for president presented a few challenges.

Now I have not seen much of Huckabee since he conceded to McCain in 2008 and don’t believe I have ever seen his show. But on this night at least, Huckabee came across as smart, engaging, pragmatic… and most of all, as a man of great empathy.

From his humble roots in Arkansas, he knows what it is like to grow up in hardship. And he shared stories of sitting with families in ER rooms, counseling pregnant teens, standing up for women who had been abused by abusive husbands, helping seniors get healthcare, helping jobless find jobs.

In his tone and manner, I could almost hear another Arkansas governor who once captured America with the words “I feel your pain”.

Yes, there were a few hard-core Republican catch phrases sprinkled throughout his speech that made me cringe. But there were also some moments when this progressive leaned in to hear more.

He spoke about the percent of kids who live in poverty who come from single-parent households or families where the parents did not graduate high school (very high) vs. mother-father families where both parents finished high school (low). And he made the case that our put-em-in-jail-crazed society only serves to create more poverty and never-ending cycles of despair. There’s one line that stuck with me: “It cost us a lot less for the government to pay for four years of college than four years in prison.” Interesting.

Before the night ended, he got up and played in the band.

And yes, he did a great job promoting the work of the Bridgeport Rescue Mission.

Whether or not you’re a Huckabee fan, you have to love the work done at the Bridgeport Rescue Mission. It’s a non-profit, faith-based organization committed to providing food, shelter, clothing, education and job training to hungry, homeless and addicted people throughout Fairfield County, CT. This year, they will serve over 600,000 meals and provide more than 40,000 nights of lodging to those in need. And yes, they need your help. Please go to

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

brother, where art thou?

History has no shortage of famous brothers.

Cain and Able. John, Bobby and Ted Kennedy. Jesse and Frank James. Joel and Ethan Coen. Orville and Wilbur Wright. The Marx Brothers. The Ringling Brothers. The list goes on and on.

Still, it only just occurred to me that the first disciples of Christ were brothers: Simon and Andrew.

Of course, Simon becomes Peter—the rock on which Jesus builds the church. So maybe Andrew just gets lost in the shuffle. Like Tommie Aaron, who shares in the major league record for most home runs ever hit by brothers (768).

But after Peter and Andrew… the next two called by Christ were also brothers: James and John.

And as you read through the Gospels, it becomes clear that Peter, Andrew, James and John were key guys – the inner ring of a small, select group of followers. These brothers climbed the mountain and witnessed the transfiguration, tussled for attention, prayed in Gethsemane and followed Christ through the trials all the way to his death on the cross… then ran to the tomb three days later.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that those called upon to follow Christ and spread the good news were brothers. We know for sure that there were times of doubt, fear and disbelief for these men. There were moments when they wanted to turn their back on God. When persecution and ridicule ran high. When it simply was too tough to believe. And even more difficult to walk in his footsteps.

And yet, they persevered.

Who else but a brother could convince you trust your heart?

Who else but a brother could reassure you in times of darkness?

Who else but a brother could kick you in the ass – and set you straight?

You see, Peter, Andrews, James and John shared a life before Christ. They shared experiences. Perspectives. Through their words, they could validate, strengthen and challenge each other like no other.

Some days I wonder, how much more could I do for Christ if my two brothers walked beside me. Could they reassure me, provide the strength and the nudges (and kicks) I so desperately need to be the man I know I could be? In my moments of doubt, fear and disbelief, could they grab me by the shoulder and whisper in my ear: Brother, we have grown up together... fruit of the same womb... be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be a man of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.

I don’t know.

For unlike Peter, Andrew, James and John… I walk without my brothers.

But I do not walk alone. There’s TK, Stephen, Francisco, Dave, Mike, Kris, Dan, Kevin, Bill, Scott, Norbert, Derek, Perry, Rich. Bob and Byron, to name a few. These are my brothers. We can be honest, and brutal, and forgiving, and a pain in the ass when necessary. We look out for one another. Brothers, for sure.

But… perhaps… not entirely the same.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

borrowed words

from nancy's blog...

i sometimes know
i do not know
and sometimes see
i do not see
so constantly
i must be led
every moment
to be shown
what to do
where to go
my need is great
for Him alone
and in seeking
i am known

Sunday, September 26, 2010

5 days with james: sunday

I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

So what do you say… will you hand over that hamburger?

Let’s try this:

Mary--who you’ve never met--told me that if you gave me a hamburger today, she would pay you two dollars next Tuesday. Really.

Still ready to fork over that burger?

Let’s try one more. James told Stephen who told Jessica. The message was then passed on from Jessica to Aaron, Deidra, Joby, Siobhan, Tommy then John. John told Sue, and it was then passed on from Sue to Jerome, Latasha, Andy, Rachel, Eileen then Josh. Josh told Deepa who relayed the message to Ronnie, Vicki, PD, Lucy, Victor and Diego. Diego told Cho who shared the news with Ed, Jane, Hannah, Rickie, Sahid, Lou and Erin. Erin told Fred, and it went down the line to Xi, Sheila, Suti, Don, Ophelia, Juan, Kiki, Meaghan, Will, Tristan, Helen, Luana, Hal, Henry and Huck. Huck told Gigi, who then told Zoey, Didi, Barbara, Jake, Li, Ione, Chelsea, Karen, Stan, Ursula, Otto, Phil, Kevin, Regis, Debbie, Joy and Gil. Gil had a word with Yuri, who passed it on to Quinne, Jaque, Pablo, Juliette, Charles, Soo, Ni, Larry, Heidi, Jeff, Ahmal, Troy, Mary, Donna then Paul. And Paul passed it on to me. If you give me a hamburger today, that guy James would pay you next week. What do you say?

Because that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? A promise.

A promise from some guy you never met, passed on from generation to generation, told and retold by people you don’t know, people you have no reason to trust. But you do.

Except you’re not asked to fork over a hamburger. You need to give everything. Face trials of every kind. Be slow to anger. Hold your tongue. Don’t judge. Don’t boast. Be patient in the face of suffering.

The Book of James tells us to do this all. For a promise. From a guy you never met.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

5 days with james: thursday

Some of my friends are turned off from God because of what they see as a self-righteous, holier-than-thou attitude among church goers.

The Book of James provides some words that make you think. One the one hand:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

In simplest terms, James 1:27 tells us to love God and love your neighbor. Spiritually, you should focus on your own life, your own heart. And with your hands and feet, help those who need your assistance. There is no judgment, no condemnation, no preaching. Just love. Sounds simple.

But James ends on a slightly different tone:

My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

Here in 5:19-20, the Word seems to be promoting the idea of direct intervention—confrontation when one strays from the path, if you will. Here, victory comes when we turn someone around and steer them toward repentance.

If nothing else, the Book of James reminds me that building an argument for anything around one-off Bible verses is probably note ideal – we need to look at the broader context of the gospels and epistles. Good thing I committed to writing five posts on James… will give me something to think about for the next two.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

5 days with james: wednesday

One of the political blogs I visit regularly requires you to preview comments before you submit them. Once you have a chance to review, you must then choose between “OK to Post” and “Cancel”.

I would estimate that I end of deleting about 50% of my posts, primarily because they are snarky, or mean-spirited or simply do not add anything of value to the conversation.

I wish I had the same “OK to Post” filter in the off-line world.

…take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire… no man can tame the tongue…

On Saturday, I posted a reply on a Facebook post, then went back a few hours later to chastise myself. On Sunday, a group of us were watching a YouTube video taken by a friend where he got very emotional at the sight of a double rainbow—gushing in amazement. In response to this incredible awestruck moment, I handed him a purse, an act that was childish and demeaning in so many ways. Two days later I called to apologize.

Maybe one day I’ll get that “OK to Post/Cancel” feature to work in real-time.

Monday, September 20, 2010

5 days with james: monday

You’ve heard the phrase ‘practice what you preach’. In the Book of James, it reads as such:

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

When a preacher or pastor does something wrong, it makes for headlines. While we are all just as weak or fallible, some can fail in silence while others must succumb to the cry “you hypocrite!”

I wonder, however, whether this affects what topics pastors and preachers choose for their Sunday sermons. I wonder whether this need to ‘practice what you preach’ leads some to simply “preach what they already practice”. After all, do you find it surprising that the most popular sermons among married men involve homosexuality and abortions? Those are pretty safe bets.

Of course, these fears probably extend beyond the pulpit. I am sure that I am more likely to harp on my spouse, my kids, my co-workers in areas that are my strengths – and ignore their lapses in areas where I, let's say, need some more practice.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

so, why don't you give more?

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."

An article in the NY Times Magazine caught my eye last month.

For decades, surveys have shown that upper-income Americans don’t give away as much of their money as they might and are particularly undistinguished as givers when compared with the poor, who are strikingly generous.

Americans as a whole tend to be far more generous than other nations – giving more than $300 billion a year. But when you peel back the numbers, you find that low-income working families are the most generous group, giving away about 4.5 percent of their income on average. This compares to about 2.5 percent among the middle class, and 3 percent among high-income families.

So why is it that those with the most disposable income are less inclined to part with their wealth?

Low income people may just know more people who are in need. Poverty, homelessness and hunger are not statistics or movies of the week – they are family members, neighbors, co-workers. There are faces and stories that bring these issues to life on a daily basis. Need is real.

There’s also the ‘there but for the grace of God’ phenomenon. When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, there is always a chance that you may one day move from donor to donee – a likelihood that becomes less likely when you have a six-figure IRA.

Perhaps, too, we have a much easier time grasping dollars than percentages. While $2,000 for the deli worker may represent more than $20,000 from a bank VP – the $20,000 just sounds like a lot more.

Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

Why are those who have the most to give the least likely to share in their abundance?We fall in love. We fall in love with money. With the pleasure, power and security it provides. We love money more than we love people.

And how do we begin to covet, Clarice? Do we seek out things to covet? We begin by coveting what we see every day.

What’s worse, the NY Times article adds, only a small percentage of charitable giving by the wealthy was actually going to the needs of the poor; instead it was mostly directed to other causes — cultural institutions, alma maters — which often came with the not-inconsequential payoff of enhancing the donor’s status among his or her peers.

So... I’m not looking for an answer to this next question, but hope you will take a moment to reflect in your own way: What is stopping you from give 5%, 10%, 15% or more to those in need?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

is there no going back?

People will come Ray. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack.

There has been a lot of chatter recently regarding the need to “restore America”. So it got me thinking… is there a particular date in time we want to restore?

I walked down my street the other day and thought about the people who live on my block. These are good people, neighbors who are willing to lend a hand, watch out for each others’ kids. They get involved in the community, many go to church or synagogue, they keep their homes neat.

My neighbors are OK, so I guess it’s you and your friends that are causing all the problems.

Over the past two scores and seven years, I have lived in poor, congested city blocks and upper middle-class suburbs. And when I think about the moral character of my neighbors, their honor, their values… the only conclusion that makes any sense is that people are people… much like they have always been. The kids my children hang out with look, sound and act a lot like the kids I want to school with some thirty-off years ago. So what exactly are we trying to restore?

In one blog discussion, a man wrote about how this nation was going downhill, and he talked about rising crime, more abortions, an increase in divorce and a host of other metrics that reflect on our country’s values. The problem, however, is that facts show otherwise.

Violent crime is at its lowest point in 35 years
• The homicide rate is at its lowest point in 45 years
• The abortion rate has steadily declined since 1984
• The divorce rate hasn’t been as low since 1970
• Heck, even the flow of illegal immigrants from Mexico is down

The charitable spirit of America remains high – including a record $300 billion in donations and hundreds upon hundreds of millions of hours volunteered in areas in need, such as New Orleans.

So I wonder, what exactly are we looking to restore?

Look up any point in time in America’s history and you can cite instances of corruption, hate and selfishness… as well as beauty, caring, respect and love.

When you think about what has changed in America in recent years—there are probably three factors that have contributed most to the current “restoration” meme.

1. 24/7 Information Access
We’ve gone from a half-hour of Walter Cronkite to a non-stop barrage of cable news, Internet stories and email chains. As bad news, tragedy and evil provide for good ratings, we are inundated in negative news.

2. The Global Economy
We import more than we export, and for the past ten years about 5% of the US GDP has been transferred to other countries—in essence redistributing wealth around the world.

3. Income Distribution
We have increasingly become a nation of haves and have nots. When I was younger, there was a sense that everyone in the “middle class” was in it together. Today, the upper middle class has broken away from the pack. In the past 40 years, the income of the lower middle class and middle class has risen less than 30%, while the upper middle class (57%) and upper class (74%) have experienced significantly higher gains. (And let's not even discuss the rich.)

In simplest terms we know more, other countries are improving and we no longer share a common lifestyle. But as far as I know, no one wants to give up their Internet, low-cost products or paychecks.

So I pose the question to you… has America changed? Should we go back—or move forward? Are people different today? Or do we simply romanticize about the past, just as our forefathers remembered the good old days?

People will come Ray. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

what a great idea!

As someone who spends half of my day writing, it should come as no surprise that many of the remaining hours are dedicated to research… so I spend a lot of time on the Google machine.

When citing market trends or supporting facts, I always make it a point to find multiple sources. In many cases, however, one could read dozens of articles that make a similar claim – only to find out that everyone has based their story on the same 2003 study out of an Indiana junior college. And when you go download the original 67-page study, you see that its authors included dozens of caveats that never made it into the news.

Apparently, as journalism has migrated from a once-a-day print edition to an endless stream of digital posts, there is no time, budget or desire for fact-checking.

Perhaps I am guilty as well. Often I am telling a story to drive interest in a specific technology or raise awareness about a specific business problem – and when I go online looking for source material, I am usually looking for a fact or tidbit that supports a pre-conceived notion. Given the vastness of the Internet – 230 million Website, another 100 million+ blogs and trillions of pages – you can ALWAYS find someone who can support ANY point of view.

And when you read that opinion that matches your preconceived notion, a light bulb goes off. What a great idea! This guy is a genius! I need to share this article with everyone! Quick, post this link on Facebook!

It’s so easy to find someone who agrees with you—no matter how crazy you are—that there is really no reason to investigate the facts anymore. Or consider an opposing viewpoint. Or question our pre-conieved notions.

After all, if so-and-so writes X and he’s a genius – that makes me pretty smart for agreeing with him. Instant validation!

So here’s my promise for today. Before posting any links to my blog or Facebook page, I will take a moment to consider what Rotary calls the four-way test. Of the things we thing, say or so:

1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Given the standards of most Internet stories, doesn’t sound like I will be posting many links anymore..

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

setting the table

here's what's bouncing around that small filing cabinet above my shoulders. will see if any of these become posts over the next few weeks:

Why is that people with higher incomes give less?

The Google machine makes it easy to search, post and link to a multitude of essays that expound what you believe. But does that simple fact that you agree with the conclusion make ithe author a genius?

Many people are talking about the need to Restore America. So I wonder, are we just romanticizing the past? Are we better off putting this car in drive or reverse?

If you have any thoughts you want to share, let me know. Otherwise stay tuned!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

just a little over 100

The 100 Thing Challenge dares you to live for an extended period of time with only 100 possessions. What you “count” as yours is really up to you. The idea is simply to de-clutter and de-stuff your life so you can make more room for reflection, relationships and the important things.

I have not started my 100 Think Challenge, but was intrigued enough by the idea to take inventory. Surprise, surprise, I came in just over 100. Well, actually the total came in at 458. And that’s not counting several sweaters (in the attic), my “skinny Ed” pants (in boxes) and all the books, CDs, DVDs, photos and videos I’ve accumulated over the years.

Here’s a top-line inventory:

23 Baseball Caps
13 Pair of Shoes
32 Ties
3 Gloves
2 Winter Hats

43 Sweatshirt/Sweaters/Coats
13 Suits/Sports Jackets
50 Pants/Shorts
140 Shirts
63 Socks/Undergarments

16 Rings/Cufflinks/Pins/Watches
7 Memorabilia/Gifts
8 Golf Trophies

12 Household Items (Toolbox. Frying Pans)
11 Sports Related Items (Golf Clubs, Mitt, Bike)
9 Personal Items (Wallet, Razor, etc.)
Many Books, CDs, DVDs, Photos, Videos
Sleeping Bag and Tent

5 Consumer Electronics
1 Car
1 Bible

Some tidbits.

Yes, I own a Barbie Doll (a UVa collectible). There are six watches in my bureau, none work. Of my 300+ articles of clothing, nearly 25% have not been worn in the past year. There’s a golf-ball marker that was used once about a dozen years ago. And a “Milennium” bottle of Bud that has aged a decade in my closet.

Not sure what’s next, so stay tuned. But I can say that I was a Rotary Club meeting last Friday and they were selling club gear – a hat and a T-Shirt for $25. And as I reached into my pocket, it dawned on me that I had 23 baseball caps sitting at home. So I passed. For now.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

a message from god

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"says the Lord. On the contrary:
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:9-21 (NIV)

Sunday, August 22, 2010


This past weekend, a man drove down to a trail in town that is popular with bikers, joggers and dog walkers. He set up a table at a juncture—a spot where many start, end or turn around. On the table sat a pitcher of lemonade, some bottled water and a sign that read “FREE—cold drinks”.

Some people asked what cause he represented, or what he was selling (‘there’s always an agenda’). Others walked by the table, intent on never looking over—because eye contact was dangerous.

But most people smiled and thanked this man. In fact, many were overwhelmed by what was truly the most simplest acts of kindness. Others stopped to chat… their day suddenly changed for the better. One jogger remarked how cold the world had been feeling to him. Another woman, who returned from a six mile run, said ‘I was so hoping you would still be here when I got back’.

After two hours, the man packed up his table, the cooler and his sign and took inventory. He had served a total of five drinks: two lemonades and three bottles of water.

And yet he came away knowing that many more drank that day… for what he came to learn was that people are not thirsty for water or lemonade… they thirst for kindness. They thirst for love.

How indifferent have we become to our brothers and sisters? How often do we go through days with blinders on, focused only on the next destination? How cold has the world become, that such a simple gesture—a glass of water—can mean so much? How have we allowed so many people in our community get so thirsty?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

me and teh gay

I visited a church on Long Island last month. The service was most enjoyable, but when the pastor went into a rant condemning the sin that is homosexuality, I found myself distracted. Disturbed by both the tone and content of his sermon.

I wrote down the scriptures he quoted, and promised myself that I would look them up later. As an evangelical Christian who believes in gay marriage, gay love and gay life, I find myself often scribbling down scripture verses for further study.

Things were much simpler in my early life. We attended the church of the holy convenience, where truthiness ruled and my moral compass could be aligned according to the most prevalent winds. While I certainly knew gay people, it was not a topic of discussion. The only times I used the word gay was in making off-hand insults to one of my brothers or close friends. (Being called gay, you see, was not exactly a compliment.) Actual gay people? Well, what they did was their business.

That changed about a decade ago when I came to know Jesus. To find out that the creator of the universe loved me and wanted to have a personal relationship with me, well that changed everything. I wanted to know everything I could about God. Sunday services was not enough… I needed mid-week services and Bible service.

And one of the things I picked up handing around church people was that being gay was a sin. A gay person could certainly come to church, but they could never serve in a leadership position. And I guess that point of view sunk in. For a while there, I came to believe that being gay—while no worse than being a gossip—was something of which God did not approve. Civil unions, that was okay. But marriage? No way.

Then something happened.

Are you ready? I actually got to know some gay people.

On Facebook. Interacting on blogs. And yes, in real life too. And we would talk about life, and movies, and politics, and families, and work. Over the course of a few years, two things became abundantly clear.

One, the Christian-led opposition to gay marriage caused tremendous hurt and pain. It led to confusion, and in many cases, drove people away from God. Christians spending incredible amounts of resources to drive people away from God.

Two, for gay men and women who were in long-term, monogamous relationships, the love between these two people was as real and warm and magical and blessed as any other relationship I have witnessed. From the spats and hugs to the tears and morning coffees, gay love was simply love.

Over time it became evident that opposition to gay marriage was anything but Christ-like. So where was the disconnect?

The pastor in Long Island who condemned the gay quoted Romans 1: 27-27.

26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

Now I don’t recall ever thinking that the love I have for my wife could adequately be described as “inflamed with lust”. And the gay men and women I know have never used that term either. So I can only wonder… is Paul not condemning the fact of being gay… but rather a specific type of behavior? Is he talking about reckless sex and lust without love?

(I could also mention that Romans 1 is followed by a discourse on why no one should judge anyone else, but I digress.)

You could have similar debates regarding word choice and meaning with most of the other scripture verses used to blanketly vilify gay men and women, such as 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Timothy 1:9-10 and Jude 1:7.

Leviticus is another story. Lev 20:13 reads: If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

I will not venture to wordsmith this passage, but will make two quick remarks. The people I know who swear by the first half of this verse do not believe in the second half. More importantly—and I don’t mean to use this as a Christian crutch—but Jesus changed everything. His life. His death. His resurrection. Everything changed.

So here’s where I am. Is being gay a sin?

Jesus spent a lot of time with both religious leaders and the “non-church crowd”, and he had nothing to say on the topic. But what he did was promise that he would send a Counselor… and that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved – and when you are saved, the law will be placed on your heart.

The law is on my heart. When I wake up in the morning, I have a clear understanding of what I should do—and not do—to both share and proclaim the love I have for God. And yes, God finds ways to ‘raise the bar’ on these expectations over time.

So today, I implore my Christian brothers and sisters to stop wasting their breath discussing what is right and wrong with others and simply focus all of the energy on helping people fall in love with Christ. Just help people fall in love with the one who loves them more than anything.

There is right. There is wrong. And I have complete confidence that anyone who walks toward Christ with love in their hearts will be able to discern right from wrong on their own. I invite you on this journey.

In the meantime, I just want to say thank you to the men and women who had the courage to share their lives and stories with me over the past few years--stories, i imagine, that were not always so easy to share.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

muslim = terrorist

Given all the brouhaha about the Park 51 Project (aka Cordoba House, aka Ground Zero Mosque) – what we are really talking about is something quite simple. Many if not most Americans associate people of muslim faith with the terrorists who attacked this country on 9/11.

muslim = terrorist

Even in today’s “politically correct” world, more than four in ten Americans will readily admit that they are prejudiced against Muslims. One would image that others harbor such thoughts, but are not willing to admit that on a phone call survey.

muslim = terrorist

When American leaders such as Newt Gingrich equate a mosque to a swastika – the comparison could not be any clearer. He is sayting that the symbol of faith for 1.5 billion people is no different than the symbol associated with the most vicious, cold-blooded killers of the past century.

muslim = terrorist

People who lost friends and family in 9/11 must live with that loss every day. To me, it doesn’t matter whether or not it is “appropriate” if a mosque in lower Manhattan will bring back memories of 9/11… the fact is, for many it will. For many, 9/11 may be their only direct engagement with Muslims. While the association between muslims and terrorists may not be rational, no one can say that it is not real. The pain is always real.

muslim = terrorist

This week’s The Economist opined: It is impossible to be sensitive both to those who see the mosque as an affront and those who see opposition to it as proof of prejudice.

I choose not to be saddled by such limitations. Instead, I choose to be embolded by Donna Marsh O'Connor and the September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, a coalition of more than 250 families which recently endorsed the mosque.

"I can understand people saying that this is a slap. This does hurt. But we don't change fundamentally what our nation is about because it will hurt people,” O’Connor said. “We're a family who is forever changed, certainly forever scarred, but we're not the victims of 9/11. Our daughter was the victim of 9/11 and we don't want to see our nation fold.”

muslim = terrorist

Unfortunately, our nation has a history of folding time and time again… when you look at the American math over the years, you find periods where:

indians = savages
blacks = animals
jews = greedy filth
japanese = kamakazi killers

And yet… as we learn more about the people we so freely hate… we always come to find out that we were wrong. We are always wrong. But eventually, we figure that out. And so too we will again.


Monday, August 16, 2010

we're gonna need a bigger boat

There is no doubt that illegal immigration is a serious problem in America.

This past weekend, I was thinking about the 1975 summer blockbuster Jaws, where Chief Martin Brody looks over and suddenly realizes the full scope of the challenge he and his friends face and utters: "we’re gonna need a bigger boat."

That is America today. And yet, our ‘bigger boat’ should not take the form of a bigger fence or a bigger club. What we need are bigger minds and bigger hearts.

Illegal immigration came to the forefront earlier this year with the passage of SB1070 in Arizona. The problem with this approach has nothing to do with illegal immigrants (the key word there being illegal) but rather the tens of millions of U.S. citizens and legal immigrants of Latino descent—who become more likely “suspects” purely because of the color of their skin.

Now some want to amend the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution—the same amendment that ensured that my mother (and her children, including me) were considered citizens of the United States.

Given that we already have laws on the books outlawing illegal immigration (again, hence the word illegal), how does harassing US citizens of Latino descent help solve the problem? Does vilifying newborn babies somehow eradicate the flow of Mexicans across our southern border?

No one, it seems, wants to talk about the real criminals responsible for illegal immigration: the U.S. business owners and homeowners who provide under-the-table jobs to individuals who have no right to work in the United States. Here’s the fact: if there were no jobs, there would not be a lot of immigration.

The anti-immigration site Immigration Counters reports that over 11 million skilled jobs are provided to illegal aliens. Other sites report that the unemployment rate is actually lower among illegals than native born Americans. Who is at bigger fault? The man who wants to feed his family and needs to earn more than the $7 a day wage prevalent in Mexico? Or the greedy business owner who can pad his profits by hiring undocumented day laborers at below-market wages?

My daughter can’t register for her junior soccer without producing a bona fide birth certificate and proof of residence. Why is it so hard for businesses and employers to request that new hires validate that they have the right to work in the United States?

Here’s my plan: fine every business $100,000 per day for every undocumented worker. Fine every homeowner $5,000 per day for ever gardener, pool boy, nanny or maid they pay.

But no—we don’t attack people who could very well be our family or friends. It’s the “outsiders” we attack. The people who are not like us. They are the problem. It’s all their fault.

We ignore the sins of those in our little club and complain about the sins of everyone else. Think we’re gonna need a bigger boat.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

setting the table

Did you hear the latest joke? A gay, a muslim and an illegal immigrant walk into a bar...

Recent events, including the overturn of Prop 8, the plan to build a mosque in NYC and discussions around SB1070 and the 14th ammendment, have fueled--sometimes heated--debates.

These are all complicated issues that cut across many boundaries for me, including my faith, my country and my personal relationships. Over the next three weeks I will use this space to do some thinking and put on paper where I stand. Feel free to point me in any direction... I am open to ideas.

(And now that I wrote that I am going to do this, so it will be done!)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

the '100 thing' thing

This article in the NY Times business section caught my attention this weekend. It tells the story of Tammy Strobel who, emboldened by a Web site that challenges consumers to live with just 100 personal items, winnowed down her wardrobe and toiletries to precisely that number.

With my laptop (personal item #1) and the old Google machine, I came across the 100 Thing Challenge – which motivated me to take a quick glance into my closet this morning. For starters, found:

- 23 baseball caps
- 30 golf shirts
- 11 pair of shoes

It took me all of 30 seconds to count these items. Plan is to do a more complete inventory of “my stuff” over the next week. Not sure where this is going… so stay tuned for more!

Monday, August 9, 2010

rentry into the blogosphere

getting ready to resume my web log. there's definitely value in getting things out of the small filing case above my shoulders.

will probably cover a broader range of topics going forward. will continue to report on my desire to walk with Christ (along with the all-too-frequent detours) but will also expand to cover other topics that i spend time pondering... from politics, movies and sports to family life, relationships and current events.

see ya next week...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

my katrina story

my katrina story

Can one person make a difference?

Twenty years ago, Glen Schrieber visited Central City New Orleans and saw escalating violence, extreme poverty, broken families, poor education and drugs. He felt for the young people growing up in this environment, so he started showing up with footballs and baseballs – playing games with kids at two of the local housing developments. He came back day after day, giving his time, talents and love.

His passion became a ministry – Urban Impact – and today, some of the very kids who were lifted up by Glen and others have picked up the mantle and are serving as role models for a whole new generation.

Last week I was blessed with the opportunity to join Urban Impact – if only for one week – as part of a Katrina Relief mission trip. We worked construction by day. Played with kids in the evening.

While I went down to help rebuild New Orleans, I think New Orleans ended up rebuilding me.

Since Katrina, Urban Impact and their partner organizations Castle Rock Church and Touch Global have hosted over 12,000 volunteers…teams who have invested more than 600,000 hours in helping some of the hardest hit areas of New Orleans.

I am sure many bloggers have been to NOLA since Katrina, and others could provide a more detailed recap of life in the Big Easy these days… but here’s what left an impression on me.

Downtown, the French Quarter and the Garden District were in full swing, loud, lively and showing few ill effects from the 2005 hurricane that devastated this city. St Bernard’s Parish, which I remember seeing on TV a lot back then, bustled with commercial activity.

It’s a much different story in the Ninth Ward. In the “Lower Ninth” you can pass entire blocks – once filled with houses – that are now nothing but knee-high grass. Shattered homes and shattered lives simply bulldozed away… as if they never existed.

We spent most of our time in the “Upper Ninth” where 4 out of 5 homes look much like they did in the months immediately following the storm. Wrecked, boarded up, with spray paint across the front entrance indicated the dates the home was searched. How many were found alive. How many dead. Many adorned the initials TFW: Toxic Flood Waters. All of the schools were still abandoned.

And yet what struck me most about my time in the Upper Ninth was the sense of hope embedded in the people who have come back… and those who are still trying to rebuild. The second day on our job site, a gentleman came up and asked if he could help us paint. His name was Duplexes.

Duplexes lost his home, his job, his life. He currently lived with his brother. The first time I spoke with him, he shared with me how he felt for those who were less fortunate than he. He felt he had so much compared to many in the world. And when I got home that night, I realized he did. He had peace. Satisfaction. And a giving heart. In so many ways, he was richer than I.

I had the pleasure of hearing from Larry, Mat, English, Tyrone, Dingo and many others. They all had stories – especially when it came to Katrina and her aftermath. Being separated from families. Watching a life’s work gradually fade under a rising tide. Being herded like cattle. Shipped to far away states.

There was nothing left for them in New Orleans. But they returned. Pioneers all of them. To rebuild.

The work done by Urban Impact is making a difference in so many ways. We were told from the get go that our work in NOLA was not to rebuild homes, but to help build up lives. The project was secondary to the people. We were encouraged to spend time walking in the neighborhoods where we worked, talk to people, listen to people. And yes, we played games with a lot of kids.

We also prayed and shared God’s love.

But mostly, the amazing people of New Orleans shared God’s love with me. Duplexes reminded me that God’s grace is enough. Dingo – a courageous young man – told me how you need to be the same man both in and out of church. Tyrone reminded me how valuable it is to invest in other people.

Together, they reminded me how one man can make a difference.

Maybe that person is me. Or you.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

praying psalm 28

Crossposted at Daily Prayer.

Two people spoke to me today about Easter.

Neither would describe themselves as religious. And as we were in a “business environment” the subject of God and faith would normally not come up in conversation.

Their circumstances could not have been any more different. One of these business colleagues lost her mother last week after a long illness. She was in mourning. The second had just been hired for a great job after a six month search. She was celebrating.

Both, however, were overcome with a feeling of joy and hope. And both attributed that feeling to Easter… to the point they felt compelled to share such good news.

So my prayer today is that the hope of Easter will continue to blossom this spring, and that the fragrance of this bouquet will fill the air and satisfy the gasping breaths of those most dear to us. Will you pray with me?

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

the final forty...

40 days of thanks, prayer and praise

Day 40. Thank you for the cross.

Day 39. FACEBOOK FRIDAY. Praise!

Day 38. Did not want to close out this 40-day series without sharing this one prayer: that my dear friends and family would come to know the living God.

Some people think I am delusional, worshiping a flying spaghetti monster. Others see Jesus as a historical figure, kind of like George Washington. Many have had bad church experience, or simply find God irrelevant. I know. I was there. I wish I could tell you what it was that triggered me to go looking for God nine years ago. Looking back, things at the time seemed pretty good… you know, getting up each day, trying to live the American dream.

But what I can tell you is this… once I started looking for Jesus, he found me. Not in some blaze of glory, but in a more intimate, personal setting. A relationship. A living relationship. So my prayer today is not that you will go running off to church or join a mission or even that you will come to share my beliefs. My prayer today is simple. That those closest to me can open their heart and take the time to seek.

Day 37. Sometimes a tidal wave of calmness, harmony, stillness and tranquility comes at me with such incredible force. At times when needed most. I give thanks for peace.

Day 36. His name is Jesus. When I seek him out directly, he never judges me. He always saves me. Always. He is everything to me. My King. My Lord. My God.

Day 35. Alone. Perhaps no other feeling conveys such dread. For those who feel the pangs of isolation… in body, thought or spirit… our hope and prayer is that you will discover your connection. Peace.

Day 34. It can express empathy, unity and excellence. Joy, sympathy or romance. An eternal bond between two people shared through a single embrace. Today, I give thanks for the << hug >>.

Day 33. Facebook Friday: PRAYER. For the grace to do God's will for me, even when I don't want to...

Day 32. 3,000 days ago, the holy spirit whispered into my heart. Perhaps that voice was always there… maybe I just allowed myself to listen. In any case, I praise God for the breath of life.

Prior posts in this series start here.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

three days

The events of Holy Week are well documented.

Palm Sunday.

The Last Supper and the Garden.

The Passion and Crucifixion.

But in between the time Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey and the moment he sat down to break bread with his disciples…

He had three days to work with.

Three days.

Taken together, the final three days of Christ’s ministry on earth say a lot about what mattered most to Jesus.


He healed the blind and the lame, and comforted those who came to him.

With a withered fig tree, he reminded us of the power we have when we stand with God, saying If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.

He met with the chief priests and elders, and responded to their challenges with truth and grace.

He encouraged us with the parable of the two sons – and reminded us that our good deeds bring joy to the Father.

Through the parables of the tenants, he established a new covenant with everyone who follows in his footsteps, saying I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be given to a people who will produce its fruit.

He used the parable of the wedding banquet to caution us of the narrow road ahead, advising that Many are invited, but few are chosen.

He inspired us to keep our eyes focused on the Kingdom of Heaven, proclaiming Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God's.

He gave us great hope in the here and now through a lesson on marriage and the resurrection, reminding us He is not the God of the dead but of the living.

He provided us a simple blueprint on how to live our lives, in what has become known as the great commandment:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself.

He spoke out against the dangers of hypocrisy and those who do not practice what they preach. He set a new world order, where whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

He reset the bar on giving, highlighting the actions of a widow, who put in everything – all she had to live on.

He comforted his followers, giving us clear signs of what to expect at the end of the age.

He took away our fears, reminding us that he will come again – arriving on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.

He reminded us to be vigilant and stay alert, as the day and the hour of His return would be unknown.

He filled us with hope, saying: Angels will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

For he did not come to judge the world, but to save it.

He told us what the Kingdom of Heaven will be like. Through the parable of the ten virgins, he taught us how to prepare.

He invited us to use our gifts in abundance with the parable of the talents.

He was anointed with oil… in a beautiful act of love and devotion.

He reminded us that the day will come when we stand before God and he will say to those on his right: Come who are blessed by my Father, take your inheritance… the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat.

I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.

I was a stranger and you invited me in.

I needed clothes and you clothed me.

I was sick and you looked after me.

I was in prison and you came to visit me.

He invited us… the faithful and righteous… to join him in eternal life.

This all occurred in between the time Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, and the moment he sat down to break bread with his disciples.

Three days.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

yes, still more 40

i am gaining more appreciation for 40, now where did we leave off...

Day 31. Unexpected twists and turns add depth to our lives, fuel emotions and embolden our humanity. I give thanks for surprises.

Day 30. My heavenly father has placed eternity on my heart. Praise to the God of Abraham, the God of Jacob, the God of Moses, the God of David, the God of Mary, the God of Ed.

Day 29. Are you willing to ask for help? The big lie is that I can maintain control, that I always know best, that I can handle whatever comes my way alone. I pray that I could be more willing to seek help.

Day 28. Teacher, coach, mentor, tutor, rabbi… your unselfish giving helps us all go further. Hurrah!

Day 27. FACEBOOK FRIDAY. Task: write a note of thanks.

Day 26. Pray for pa ENTER. Pray for pati ENTER. Pray for patien ENTER. Pray for patience. WHEW!

Day 25. Two words for Tommy and Willie: Thank you.

Day 24. Any relationship that instills true hope is worthy of our praise.

Day 23. Please join me in prayer for those out of work. May you take pride in your endeavors today and find everything you seek. Enjoy the ride, for peace and security are on the way.

Day 22. The grandiose epic adventures that take place within a nine-minute snooze-alarm interval are so cool. I am thankful for dreamin'.

Day 21. Facebook Friday: PRAISE to Tony Bennet, TK, Michael Steer and more!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

more 40...

Picking up from here...

Day 20. A few words for those dealing with breast cancer: Fight. Accept. Cherish. Hope. Share. Believe. Persevere. Ignore. Ask. Love. Pray. Conquer.

Day 19. Sometimes you discover the most amazing things later in life. Thankfully, the sinless pleasure of low-fat ice cream no longer eludes me.

Day 18. The never-ending creativity so evident in our universe can not but inspire us to create ourselves. Praise to the architect, painter, writer, sculptor, designer, engineer, cinematographer, programmer, musician, carpenter and artist in all of us.

Day 17. The hateful discrimination against gay men and women sickens me to no end. Today’s prayers are for acceptance, understanding and most of all, love.

Day 16. Whatever "it" is... I can't do it without constant reminders, prodding, questions and scolding. A big thank you to everyone who holds me accountable.

Day 15. Facebook Friday: PRAYER. For the lonliness of chemo, the unexpected loss of a brother, the pains of cancer and facing a friend who just found out everything is about to change. We pray for healing, comfort, wisdom. We pray for peace.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

more thanks, praise and prayer

Picking up from last week...

Day 14. If there were a ‘supreme being’, the world created would be beyond my grasp. I would look around, unable to understand the how, impossible to fathom the why. That would be worthy of my praise.

Day 13. Gentle melodies. Precise harmonies. Penetrating lyrics. Artful perfection. Music transforms the world. If you can sing in key, keep a beat, play a note or strike a chord, I humbly say thank you. You have reached my soul.

Day 12. The truth can hurt, it can sting… even convict. And yet I praise God for truth. For when embraced, truth can show the way, melt away worry, and instill value and acceptance in everything it encounters. It can set you free.

Day 11. Options and uncertainty can add anxiety and frustration to any decision. Today, my prayer is that you find direction, see the way and gain the clarity of vision you need to act with confidence.

Day 10. I praise love. Love is patient and kind. It doesn’t envy or boast. Love is never prideful, rude, self-seeking or easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love rejoices with the truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres.

Day 9. Facebook Friday: THANKS. Response include: underground power lines, blessings, Facebook!, the President, Uncle Roy, family and friends, a loving God, clean clothes, tolenant spouses and NO SNOW!

Day 8. I walked away from an alcohol-induced crash eight years ago (my car? not so lucky.) Others may be on the verge of spinning out, without us knowing. I pray today for strength. Keep your hands on the wheel. Trust the road. For one more day. Then one more after that.

Day 7. I am thankful for moments of unexpected connection. How a random smile from a stranger can validate that you are not alone, we all mean something and everything will be OK.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

40 days of thanks, prayer and praise

Recently have been "micro-blogging" via my facebook status. To prepare my heart, mind and soul for the celebration of Good Friday and Easter, am in the midst of "40 days of thanks, prayer and praise".

What I like about Facebook is that it allows my friends from all walks of life (and all walks of faith) to connect. You are joining this show in progress...

Day 6. On days like today, when I do not have the strength or desire to forgive myself, I can only sit in awe of God’s mercy – and how it flows with no limit. Praise the Lord!

Day 5. Let’s pray for the healers. Doctors, social workers, ministers, nurses, counselors – heal our bodies, our relationships, our spirits. May you persevere and find great joy in your work.

Day 4. My sword and shield serve as both trade and hobby, with the power to compel, entertain, unite and divide. Born from heart and mind, few gifts are as versatile or everlasting. Today I give thanks for the written word.

Day 3. Eyes open, I was struck by the beauty of this world. Snow radiating from treetops in the morning light. Shapes. Colors. Patterns. The ways depth and dimension dance while in motion. Praise to the Lord for beauty.

Day 2. A friend did not want to get out of bed this morning. He suffers from depression and that makes my heart ache. So I pray that he be blessed with courage. The courage to take one small step, so that one step may lead to another, until he is walking, running, flying, soaring.

Day 1. Yesterday’s tomorrow offers a clean slate, new hope. The confidence of the rising sun reminds me that I can still become the man I want to be. I am thankful for the fresh start. I give thanks for today.

Monday, February 8, 2010

the truth shall set you free

In the Book of Samuel, one thing becomes clear early on.

There is always someone ready to step up. Someone is always willing to do it God’s way. When one person stumbles and falls, another is already standing tall. Eli, Samuel, Saul, David.

The question, of course, why not me?

Why am I not the one who is willing to do it God’s way? Why do I always play the part of the one who stumbles and falls, and never the one who stands tall?

What would I need to give up in order to do it God’s way?

• regret
• selfishness
• anger
• pride
• laziness
• close-mindedness
• over-indulgence

Honestly, there is nothing on this list I want to keep. I want to be free.

Today’s a good day to be free.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Reading Samuel and Samuel 2

Have spent the last few months with the Books of Samuel.

Here are the facts: these readings make be less excited about David, less excited about the Bible and less excited about God.

While I would prefer to leave these behind me and start something new, I feel compelled to go back to the beginning and start reading anew.

Any thoughts, guidance, resources, tips most welcome.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

it's thursday

are you out of work? do you have family or friends who are frustrated by unemployment? Come pray with me.

Monday, January 4, 2010

my 2010 list

1. make a list