Monday, December 31, 2007

Flying Alone

My son at 11 flew alone to see his big deal really...the night before he said he dreamt he got lost in the airport. Of course we've all been through the anxieties of life. The first day of school, prom night, job interviews, the test, the big trip. The moments in our lives when our mind wrestles and runs the scenarios of whether or not we will succeed ( and we mean by that whether or not things will work out the way we want them to). Success doesn't happen when events work out the way you want them to (though I agree that is what we most often mean when we say success) but success is perservering through circumstances, regardless of what they are, in order to be shaped and conformed into the image of the person you are becoming. The journey of our lives (good/bad/otherwise) is the pathway to manifesting outwardly the transformation that has taken place inwardly. The beginning (new life) is certain and the end (glorified to be with him) is certain, it's the middle (being transformed into his likeness by the reknewing of our minds) that makes up the journey of our lives. Without struggle or hardship, without doubt or pain, without the angst of the unknown their is no stimulus to grow. The lesson I want my son to learn is that the anxiety of flying alone is the fear of the unknown which is simultaneously the doorway of faith.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Benazir Bhutto

The word Martyr is a strange means witness or representative but it has come to mean someone who is unjustly killed. This is a christian etymology but now is synonymous with anyone who is killed as witness to their cause. Benazir Bhutto was martyred yesterday. She was the first female prime minister of a muslim country who was twice removed under spurious charges of corruption by the male presidents of pakistan. Removed because she was a threat. Removed because she had a vision of representing the poor, the uneducated, the marginalized in a world where the despot is king and the greater the fear the greater the power. I imagine she knew she was in danger. The night she returned Musharaf initiated marshal law.... I imagine that after seven years of exile and in the middle of U.S. occupation she knew the world's attention would never be greater. I'm sure she willingly took the risk that she might advance the cause and liberation of Pakistan. So few martyrs....people willing to lay down thier lives for the lives of few

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Searching for Santa

Last night on Christmas Eve my brother and I were sitting outside by a fire listening to music while the kids played with their toys. His wife had left to head back to his house in order to get ready for "santa". My brother said " you know even though my kids are bigger now (13 and 11) their favorite Christmas tradition is searching for Santa". He continued "every year since they were little I would take them for a walk around the neighborhood while Julie ( his wife) would set up for 'santa'...and now even though they know who santa is...that's still their favorite Christmas tradition". As we sat watching the fire listening it was getting close to santa searching time and I thought to myself....and many years from now when they have kids of their 0wn it will likely remain their favorite Christmas tradition. It's not so much the destination but the journey......

Monday, December 24, 2007

Political Theater

Politicians have 'writers' and they star in commercials and they are convinced that if they can raise the most money in order to run the most and best ads they have a chance of winning. The 'ads' don't inform anyone about the issues but simply try to contrast other ads or 'actor/politicans' most recent commercial...Even the Political satirist/comedian Jon Stewart is off the air because his writers are on strike and while he may actually be funny/smart enough to genuinely discourse about the subject matter he's not a candidate, just a comedian who is off the air because the 'men behind the curtain' are gone. It's Christmas eve and here I am writing on political absurdity...I guess my reflection on the promised one, the child who ushers in justice and mercy and a kingdom of righteousness is acute and while we know he will return to establish his kingdom it is the ridiculous comedy of reality that causes us to long for his returning.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Eva, Tony and a marriage tip

It doensn't take long for the new to wear off...just ask Eva and Tony...3 months in and the accusations fly...As a spurs fan I hope he's innocent...N.B.A. player/French/married to hollywood starlet kinda stacks the generalizations against him...but we will see. Marriage is complex and at times tough secret...Marry your best friend....or for some of you...become best friends with the person your married to. Don't have seperate lives, hobbies, interests, life together. The breaking down of marriage begins with the seperation of roles and duties, jobs and friends and interests and T.V. channel choices... Fight the divide and find the common interest....I don't know whether Tony and Eva will make it...but I will tell you it has everything to do with their choices to live one life or two seperate lives under one roof.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mike Huckabee's Christmas Ad

Mike Huckabee is running for president...I actually know Mike, he's preached at Grace Point...years ago... Mike is under fire for running a Christmas Ad. He basically eschews the politcal fray for the moment and says this is the time when we should focus on family and the birth of Christ. In the ad there is a bookshelf that in advertantly forms a cross which most bookshelves will do when the two boards come together. The critics find the symbolism and the exclusive ad offensive.
Mike is a what you see is what you get person. He's the real thing. I don't know what kind of president he will make and this isn't a political endorsement. I do know what kind of man he of faith and character...funny how those traits don't necessarily make for a good president anymore. He's a candidate who endorses Jesus...not the confused brother of Satan mormon Jesus...but God's only begotten son...He's a candidate who follows Him... and who is willing to be politically incorrect at Christmas....I don't know if he'll make a good president but he makes for a good man....too bad those are different.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Money can't buy

Stephn Covey said " You can buy a person's hands but you can't buy his heart. His heart is where his enthusiasm is, his loyalty is."

Where is your enthusiasm? Where is your loyalty? Many people quit jobs well before the paychecks stop coming.... Many volunteers quit their role long before they graciously/or ingraciously make room for engaged leadership.....


How's yours?

Friday, December 14, 2007


Most people if you listen...sometimes you have to listen closely due to elaborate cloaking mechanisms....most frame their lives into a positive's what we do...we almost need to in order to survive. Others whose lives have caught up with them and are fully wrapped around the axle are more 'realistic', they look back and see the pain, they look forward with hope and they are tentatively sober about the present...recognizing each day for the gift that it is...not guaranteed a tommorrow.
The spin doctors will look back and wish they had spent more time with their families, they will have wished they had taken the risk, they will have wished they had lived to the fullness of their calling, written the book, taken the journey...When they are old and dying in their beds their will be a tinge of regret but after a lifetime of spinning they will say " I did the best I could" the highly developed skill of mitigating regret will ease the thoughts.
Running the race means throwing off the 'encumberances'...which means or implies that we can't spin...we've got to come to terms with where we are...our rate of speed...and the obstacles that are tripping us up...I have a few encumberances and though I don't want to live a life of regret I refuse to dismiss or excuse or spin... This is what allows you to look to tommorrow, because you have the chance to right the regrets...If you spin it, dismiss live in the comfort of denial, blinded by the light your own making.
The only way to live beyond regret is to face them in the past and present...Don't live in the past...but don't dismiss it either.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Captain Caul and Augustus McCray

When "gus" McCray dies at the end of Lonesome Dove he is at the trails end in Montana...his one wish is to be buried back in Texas and Captain Call (Tommy Lee Jones) promises he will take him to that special spot by the river near the Pecan Trees. The word gets out and people can't beleive that a man would risk his life to bury a dead man. A newspaper man wants to write a story...People think Captain Caul has lost his mind. Gus' longtime girlfriend despises his stubbornness " just bury him here in Nebraska"..." a promise is a promise" says Captain Caul. https: The indians shoot at him... the casket and body are nearly lost crossing a river and then finally...beaten down by the miles and elements in a stupor of exhaustion and grief Gus is laid to rest right where he wished, right where Captain Caul promised. " A promise is a promise" This determination and resolve is still around today...nobody reports on it much...people like bad news and gossip... but I know some warriors who still live with such grit
Check out this blog of one such hero..." a promise is a promise" I said I will follow...and I will.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fork in the Road

When Connor and I came to a giant ledge yesterday we had to choose to back up and either go down a rocky hill (not ideal for mountain least not for me) or cut through dense woods to an opening about 100 yards away. Going down would be easier in the short run....the woods would be work but in the long run make for a better trail. We were at a cross roads where we had to choose between Easy/Good Enough and Hard/Best...We chose Hard/Best albeit 5 minutes after we started down the hill...I just couldn't take the path of least resistance knowing in the long run it wouldn't really be that good. I think this happens to me maybe 100 times a day and I'm just not sharp to it. I probably face forks in the road like this all the time and unconsciously I choose...I wonder if I choose the best or the good enough? To tell the whole truth or to soften something to where it's unrecognizable. To look away or to linger with thoughts that purchase to satiate or to practice discipline. To do my very best or to mail it in knowing most won't know the many forks in the road...choose wisely.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Trail Blazing

The new park designated by the city is about two miles from the trail my son and I normally ride. The city forecasted that one day they would be connected. My son and I decided we would build a trail from the park where we ride now to the future park. For four days we sawed, shoveled, cut, lopped and snipped through a dense ridge above Leon Creek. On saturday we broke through to the other side. The trail is not worn in yet and has some hairy areas that need to be graded out but we did it we blazed a trail where no one had ever ridden before and hopefully riders will enjoy for years to come. Trail blazing is slow and tough but it is rewarding all the same. The joy of discovery, the pain and sweat and mostly the time together pursuing an epic common goal are all things that I will hold on to. I have ridden miles of trail that others have provided and unconsciously enjoyed their effort...There is something different about the trail less traveled....or for that matter the trail cut out of dense does make a difference.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Little Notes

I have a little note taped to the back of one of my "preaching" says "Soffen your intensitivity"...."not a good sermon but a great sermon"... the misspelled words are from the hand of my dyslexic dad but the note itself is priceless. My dad's penmanship is beautiful but he struggles with spelling and yet he writes these little notes and they last. More than words often a note will endure. I have a drawer full of little notes...Charles Spurgeon wrote about 20 letters a day, Jimmy Draper continues to prolifically write notes of encouragement and thoughtfulness...these are busy people with time crunches. Those notes are about thoughfulness and selflessness and love. I write too few little's what happens when you value efficiency more than thoughtfulness, or you are under the illusion of focus rather than the grace of selflessness...time doesn't get away it's captured in little notes. Only when we don't have time does time really get away. Whether it's in a drawer for a rainy day or taped somewhere little notes encapsulate time.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Old Friends

Last night we celebrated my wife's birthday with some old friends. The term old friends suggest that in life you continue to make new ones and that in some cases you still have friendships that have endured.
These enduring friendships are the ones that have the greatest capacity for pain and joy. To know someone so well that you know there weaknesses and yet to love them still is a sacred stewardship. To know someone so well that you have multiple memories to ignite unrestrained laughter is a the gift of having endured.
You never feel awkward, you pick up where you left off, you leave secure and lifted...It's good to have old friends...rare...but good.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Tougher Still

It was the summer before my Jr. year in High School and Doug Heinz had moved onto 10 acres and built a new home but was wanting some land clearing done. I unwittingly took the job thinking it would be nice to work outside for a change ( I sold shoes in the mall) Doug wanted me there early... 6 a.m. the heat of the day wouldn't interfere and I cut, chopped, raked mowed, stacked rock etc... all summer long. At the end of each day I would despondently await Doug's return home...he would evaluate the day...I remember recieving an instruction on raking at the end of a long day of raking and the next day I raked it all over again...this time better, this time the right way. I would build rock walls around trees and the poor workmanship or unstable areas would be pointed out and I would re do them. I was forced to get it right, to work harder than I wanted to and to face the quality of my work. My work is still evaluated everyday, there are still some areas where I don't have experience or I simply haven't done my best, but either way I am given the chance to grow or do it get it right. I wanted to quit that job almost everyday...but I stuck with it and toward the end of the summer I could begin to see the transformation of the acerage...slowly but noticeably. It's hard work and it's the type of work that forces you to do your best but the garden of our souls and the souls of others requires the painstaking work of transformation...some will just quit...but either way at the end of the day our work will be judged. I learned some toughness that summer...I'm learning toughness still.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


The Power of focus is the ability to say no to the candy store of good things in order to pursue the one thing you know is your purpose. It is easy to rationalize and bend to modify and make exception...that is how focus is lost and the once forceful flood of focus is diluted and distributed over a vast valley of wants, desires, wishes and concessions. You cannot do everything and accomplish parent well requires a focus and resolve that with clarity says no to good things, to love well means to rule out emotions and behaviors, actions and attitudes that rend and destroy, to lead well means to say no to options and plans, strategies and soft sided concessions that take a team off course...but focus is potent and powerful and when sustained can move the go.................and I'll be with you.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Now it came about in those days....

That a decree went out from Ceasar Augustus...The most powerful man in the world needed some tax in order to pay for his army...everyone seemingly is obeying Ceasar's decree and yet Mary goes from Nazareth to Bethlehem as a result of this decree and gives birth to Jesus in the City of Bethlehem just as the Prophet Micah had foretold...and Immanuel 'God with Us' comes into the world just as Isaiah foretold and eight days after he is born at the temple Simeon says " behold this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel and for a sign to be opposed-and a sword will pierce even your own soul- Ceasar Augustus is not on the thoughts of many people's minds anymore...there is little left from his world wide dominion...but the little baby born in a barn is still changing the world. So often we have the illusion of being in control, but God orchestrates His will in the world that His son might be revealed and made known...we send out many decrees but God is the author of all that lasts and is meaningful. I pray the Christ will open my eyes to see and that the illusion of control will be lost in his come follow me.