Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Shade tree on a summer day. Strong sun in full blaze. And a small group of chairs in the cool shade. 

What happened in the chairs beneath the cool shade? Were they telling family stories on each other? Were they shelling peas or silking the corn? Were they eating a hamburger or eating watermelon?

They are just chairs in the shade of a large tree.

But as I drove buy that rural house and saw the semi-circle of metal and wooden straight-backed chairs, I could almost hear the sound of cheer.

What did this family possess that so many others can not find? Time spent together. Underneath that tree had been a family that liked being together, working together, or enjoying simple pleasures together

They were not strongly tied to the television, smartphone, or computer. They were tied together.

So many families hurt and ache because although they live together, they don't know each other. Husbands loose touch with their wives, and wives don't understand their husbands. Dad does not know why the kids seem to always be 'glued' to a smartphone, and mom is wonders who her daughter is chatting with on the computer. And no one knows who their uncles, aunts, are. What are cousins?

Maybe what this world needs is a power outage. Force people to get outside under the trees, and remember who they are. Tell silly stores on each other. Do a project together. Eat a juicy peaches and laugh at as the juice drips from our chins.

Friends, what have you done to bring your family together this week?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Too Much Like Me

(Writer's note: Quoted text conversation. Used with permission.)

Daughter: Called the dealership. They know you are coming.

Dad: Just left Donaldson.

Daughter: Oh boy!!! I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas when they know they're going to get their favorite present. Would it be too much to ask you to bring it by here on your way back?

Dad: I told your step-mom you would probably want to have me bring it to your office. Ha! Ha! Should be no problem.

Daughter: Oh thank you so much!!! You know me so well!!! Probably because you raised me!!

Dad: Yeah. You are TOO much like me!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

As a former teacher, I developed a skill of knowing parents before I met them. How? Kids mirror their parents. Want to know the parents? Study the child.

Fact: Parents are not perfect prototypes.
Fact: Children learn patterns and paradigms from parents.
Fact: Parents crave for their children to be an improved, more sophisticated version of themselves.

How is the cycle of mirror images shattered? Parents must habitually, methodically drill until the converted, reformed, transformed, mature person arrives. Kids see a demonstration of how to change for the better. If the parents do not try to improve, how can the child know?

"Let your light so shine before men (including your children) in such a way they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven." -- Matthew 5:16!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Burn Out

It looks sad.

You see the portable basketball goal for the little children in the front yard. There is a heap of warped corrugated roofing. Chard lumps of ??? are everywhere. A charcoal wall teeters. The soot-covered chimney weeps for the better days.

In the heart of winter I rode by this same place, as I had many times before. But this day was sad. The red, rotating lights on the fire truck, from the nearby rural volunteer fire department, flashed as the flames blazed from the second story windows. A disconsolate firemen held a dripping hose, having used all the water available. 

In the evening the family picked through the debris, looking for anything. This day was sad.

All this reminds me of a struggle I face frequently, although not alone. John said to "Love not the world, neither the things of the world." (1 John 2:15). Paul wrote Colossians 3:1 to keep seeking the things above. Possessing the possessions, instead of vise versa, is the continuing struggle. 

But when possessions are lost, suddenly, traumatically, as in the case of a fire, those with the proper command of them should be the first to show compassion. When a scene, like the one above occurs, Christians should be first on the scene with help. Now in words, but in deeds (1 John 3:18).

I am completely unsure what I would do in the event of a burn out, but these might be helpful?
  • Collect money from friends to add to your sacrificial contribution. It will be days before insurance matters are settle, but this same day they will need clothes, food, a place to stay, etc. Don't let the smoke settle before help arrives.
  • Don't offer your home as a place to stay. Insist on it. Cause them to use your home for a few days as they study and consider their options.
  • Give them a week with your cell phone and charger. Communications with be in high demand.
  • Don't be concerned as to whether they are members of your fellowship or not. There spiritual state is not your concern, but God's. let Him handle that part. As for you, remember Gal 6:10 begins, "As we therefore have opportunity, let us do good to all men....
If you have experienced a traumatic or sudden loss of possessions such as this, or a flood, tornado, etc. would you please add to these suggestions, or revise them. Let us know what did work for you, or what would have been better. PLEASE, teach your fellow readers!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

You Can't Come In

The scanner barked the information to the patrol officer. "Two males beating on a church door. Inside, the members are watching a movie. They just want the men to go away."

People beating on the doors to get in and members trying to make them go away? Am I just dense, or is there something wrong with this picture?

Yes there is something wrong, but there has been something wrong for centuries.

Four men tore away a roof to get to Jesus. Inside were the curious, the self-righteous, and observers of the Jesus phenomenon. They were in the way. They prevented the needy from getting in.

Bartemaeus, the blind man, wanted his sight. With an obnoxiously load voice, he pleaded for Jesus' mercy. Instead of bringing him to Jesus, many sternly told him to shut up!

Parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch them. But Jesus' own disciples were rebuking the parents. His own people were in the way.

The people of Dalmanuthia needed assistance in meeting Jesus. Their leaders insisted Jesus show them a sign as proof of his authority. The very people who could have helped, blocked access to the Savior.

Real occurrences. Real people. Real needs. But good people got in the way.

I ask myself these questions.
  • Does my occasional apathetic attitude get in the way of people who really need Jesus?
  • Am I in church to see, or be seen, by others?
  • Is my attitude preventing someone from knowing Jesus?
  • Do I want people to improve my life, or do I just want them to go away and leave me alone?
  • Does my sense of church etiquette get in the way of someone crying for His attention?

What answers do you get when you ask yourself these questions?

Friday, June 1, 2012


She was a famous singer. She died form an drug overdose. Now her home is for sale. It has been appraised for four million. That is a 4 with six zeros.

I am sure the house is wonderful. With that much money she could have a basketball court, or a large pond stocked with 8-lbs bass, or an amazingview of the ocean. I certainly hope she spend a lot of time there and was able to enjoy all its features repeatedly. It would be hard to get $4,000,000 worth of pleasure out of any home.

But I have this voice in the back of my head that keeps saying, "And then whose shall these things be?"  I think it is my version of Luke 12:16-20.

We can have nice things, enjoy them properly, and still be good servants of God. But greed is extremely sneaky. He will convince us that we "need" more, or that we "need" bigger, or better. Opulence follows, and that is not God's way.

In the 1930s a young preacher, walking on foot from one place to another, kept praying for God to send him good transportation. He envisioned traveling from place to place in a Model T. He just knew he could do more preaching if he was not spending so much time walking. But till God would answer his prayer, he decided, he would continue to walk. He continued to walk past farms with signs about horses for sale.

How much of what we "need" is really a need?