Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Last Move

In John Ortberg's book "When the game is over everything goes back in the book" He finishes the book by saying the King still has one more move. In some respects I don't like the analogy of life as a game. I often weary with the game playing in relationships and the strategic moves of upper and lower hands. There are the mental and emotional games of denial and self adulation that distort reality...but mostly games are about winning and losing and I don't like the zero sum analogy to life. I like Ortberg enough and read his stuff, in spite of the increasingly diluted content, it's hard to maintain and sustain depth...Life is not a Zero Sum game of win/lose...The pursuit of Christlikeness is only possible through putting to death the 'deed/desires of the flesh'...somewhere along the way we have lost the understanding that to grow in Christlikeness means to continue to grow in the ability to replace the strong habits of flesh with the practices of righteousness and this cannot happen through effort but through 'training in righteousness' aided by the grace of the Spirit. It's not enough to roll the dice and make the most of your turn...we have lost the vision of being like Jesus and settled for carrying out his mission. You cannot accomplish Mission if you lose Vision. For a season I lost vision... I know how dangerous it can be to take your eyes off of becoming like Christ...merely carrying out the activities of ministry. I watch as so many lose their sense of calling and become mere cogs in a religious wheel...feeling 'good' about their life but having lost the vision of becoming like him. I do believe that the King does get the final move but it is no game it is the ultimate counter offensive, the reaping of the harvest of all who pursue him...and life is in the living...the moments of grasping and pursuing the vision...everything else is the maintaining of righteousness.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Two Steppin

Last night Jody and I went to Floore's Country Store in is a famous dance hall...the stuff of country music songs and lore. Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett and Waylon Jennings have all regularly played Floore's. It was family night and after a refresher lesson...Jody and I gave it our I'm no two stepper but I had fun...mostly being with friends but also watching some old timers cut a rug and have a blast. It was one of those moments...a quintessential South Texas Dance Hall, the boots and hats and country music...and we were two stepping. It's good to be with friends and it's good to's good to see folks with a lot more years under their belt still gives you's good to get a since of history by being part of it and it's good to laugh and we did...we were two steppin.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

In Defense of Food

I read this New York Times best seller and was amazed...In defense of food is about everything..politics, FDA, Marketing, Farming...but the bottom line is that we rarely eat food anymore. In fact one of the first cases of a child being diagnosed simultaneously with obesity and malnutrition has taken place in Oakland. The simple advice is that we should return to eating food...stuff that had a face or grew from the ground. So lately I've been putting it to the test...I eat soups the brothy kind devoid of a can of mushroom soup...salads, chicken and fish...i pass on anything that comes out of a package with ingredients I can't understand. I mean I read the label on my 100% whole wheat bread and I was actually has high fructose corn syrup and a bunch of other stuff I can't pronounce. So I switched to Ezekiel bread..sprouted barley and spelt and rye etc...all 100% peanut butter contents "roasted nuts and salt" that's it...Last night I had an epic meal at a Thai restaurant...Lemongrass soup and lettuce In two weeks I've dropped 7lbs. Yes I'm working out more and all that...but the bottom line is my body is getting what it needs because I'm eating food.
Could it really be that all we really needed was provided in the Garden of Eden afterall. Is it possible we are killing ourselves over abundance of things that are pleasurable for a moment but don't really provide sustenance? How true is that in what I purchase, what I read, what I watch, what I eat....

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Finally after 3 months my Amazon Kindle's an amazing book actually...or bookstore. About the size of a paper back I can download over 100,000 books from anywhere in the world anytime without accessing a wireless port...the whispernet technology connects to whatever wireless tower is available and downloads my pick for only the cost of the book. The features of highlighting, clipping, uploading to my pc and a whole host of other neat little nuances is quite nice. I have three books on my kindle plus the Bible and it all fits into the size of a 7x5 journal. It can hold 100's of books.
I have a feeling my kids will all have kindles...or some tech like it...they will get their newspaper on it, there blogs etc...There will be those of an older generation who won't adapt so quickly but in time we might all be carrying around our library in the palm of our hands.
I was brought up to understand 'if you lead you read'......I think that is true...the kindle is magic to a reader. I researched these for a while, and I waited...not my strength...but so far It has not disappointed. So here's to reading...may it allow you to lead.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Going Postal

Deacon Dick is the thorn in my friend Tony's side. Deacon Dick tries to run the church and is a critic for Tony who is trying to bring about change. There is no encouragement and only the sniveling chisel of critique and unseasoned opinion, the kind of monday morning quarterbacking we are all prone to when we think we know what a certain job/role is about though we've never done it. Tony was a Postal worker before surrendering to ministry and he's lasted longer at the church than any pastor before him.. he says the numbing work and union politics of postal life prepared him to weather 'Deacon Dick'. Nehemiah had SanBallat, Jesus had Judas, there is always going to be someone on the inside who squeaks and creeks, complains and chisels but like Nehemiah the work is too important to be sidetracked and Like Tony God has prepared you for the encounter so lean into the Spirit and don't succumb to the flesh. The other side of the coin is there are people in your life who could use some encouragement or constructive coaching so don't be cavalier with your advice or fancy yourself an expert about their job unless you've done it...think about it...don't be a deacon dick.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Brandon Morton

"like the salt" he said referring to his last name. The first time I met Brandon my sense was 'jovial'...the guy is just a genuinely happy guy. Friendly, joyful, kind. Each time I have come across Brandon he's oozed joy. Last night in the commuter apartment I stay in when I travel to Kansas I learned Brandon's story. Twice he's been inprisoned, once at 16 for armed robbery then later in his twenty's because of drug related parole violation. Brandon was a methamphetamine addict who as he tells it "was stuck on stupid" until he met Jesus. He is radically saved. A plumber by profession serves his local church and is enrolled at the seminary so that he can go into full time ministry. The joy....he who has been forgiven much, loves much. I went to bed last night amazed...another captive set free...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


It's snowing...falling like feathers...huge clumps of snow covering the sky. It's quiet, peaceful and beautiful.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Big Sexy

That's his nickname and I didn't give it to him...It was two years ago when we first met and we roomed with an undergrad when during the summer Mark came out in some tidy whitey underwear and the undergrad said "well aren't you the big sexy' and it stuck.... We've roomed together now off and on when I come to Kansas City for class and it's like rooming with John Wayne if he were one of the disciples. God just put us together since day one and over the last few years we have helped plant a church together and we have networked ministry trips and God has used a strange Felix Unger/Oscar Madison relationship of his own making. This is probably my last trip to Kansas in which I'll have opportunity to room with the Big Sexy and even now as I write this hiding under my blanket so he can snore I am amazed at how God weaves the thread of redemption often using the oddest of combinations...and yet he is the person and cause of Jesus. Jesus is the tie that binds us...even when the couple is odd and the sight not so appealing...tidy whitey's weren't made for everyone.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

evangecube toy

My 11 year old 8 year old and 6 year old were upstairs playing when my 6 year old came across the "evangecube", which is a cube with the story of Christ in very bright illustrated form. My 6 year old was trying to get it to work when she asked the 8 year old for help. So upstairs in our play room the 11 year old and the 8 year old when through the story of salvation and how Jesus had to die for our sin but how if we accept the Jesus and his work upon the Christ we can have the relationship with God that was always intended...My 6 year old came down stairs and told her mom she wanted to 'exchange' her life and as they talked through it she prayed and gave her life to Jesus.
I think the toys we play with are important...our hobbies our make believe define us....I think any Christ follower is capable of helping someone come to Jesus. There is no substitute for the great sense of joy in listening to my 6 year old tell me she 'exchanged' her life...I pulled a rock out of my pocket that day someone had given it to me and on it was chiseled it seems..

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The experiment

Today is day four of no television.....the first step in recovery is to admit you have a problem. It began with my father in laws gift of a 52 inch DLP HD screen a year ago. So we decided it would be a waste if we didn't have 'cable'. Then it slowly devolved into a nightly habit of watching 2 hours of television regardless of what was on...along the way I disovered 'survivorman', the Dog Whisperer and watched more movies that I can remember. John Ortberg says the most dangerous object in the home is the 'easy chair' and I must admit I agree. I've spent less time on the street with neighbors, on my bike or in the garage. I've spent less time with my wife, though next to her at times...luring her into the addiction. So on Monday of this week I quit it...I missed the National Championship...I should say I didn't watch it...I didn't miss life is fuller because of it...Instead Jody and I had Spa night...where we gave each other back rubs...two hours a night equals 14 hours a week...that's two short work days or one massive work day a week...You could spend a month of your life in front of the T.V this's what I did last year...So I quit...I don't quit often...but somethings are worth walking away from. I'm not saying I won't watch a movie from time to time...I just don't want my life to be defined by the 'easy chair'.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Check Engine Light

My check engine light came on in my truck...I had already done the routine maintenance and it was in between 'significant' mile marks. I took the truck into the shop and a day later they called to tell me my fuel air sensor was bad. I asked if that was important and the tech said it was because it determined the amount of air to fuel that my engine should be getting. I pretended to understand what that signified and said alrighty then....They swamped it out in under an hour.
The check engine light in my life comes on from time to time and the Holy Spirit let's me know that an important sensor has gone bad....the difference is that when I pretend to understand verses really comprehending the gravity of the malfunction...nothing is swamped out. So often I need God to open up the hood and just swap a part out but he says come, let me show you and unless I'm willing to see the part, how it works, what went wrong and unless I'm willing to trade the old for new....then I just run with a bad fuel/air sensor and sooner or later things get worse.
Most days I just want to drop my soul off and pick it up later ....all better. That, for our sakes, is not how it works...God does all the diagnosing and repair, but we learn all along the way and we must be active in the process. Full service...yes...blissfully ignorant...No.

Friday, January 4, 2008

gratitude threshold

Studies show that some are more easily grateful than others. There is a certain % of the population that is grateful for simple things while others require something more 'significant' to register in order for gratitude to happen. I like this study because it let's me blame my ingratitude on my 'gratitude tolernace'....but like anything whether genetically predisposed or not that is only a small percent...the rest is discipline and effort. My goal is to bless God 24 times day. This morning I thanked him for my cat and the bradford trees that are a brilliant red this morning. I'm genetically predisposed not to give a rip about cats and bradford trees but so what, we overcome our genetics all the time. The capacity to be transformed is our God Granted is the 'work' of the Holy Spirit in our lives and these little 'reknewings' or revolutions of habit are the pathway. Gratitude is not a gift we give to God in order to acknowledge Him...Gratitude is his gift to is the great capacity to enjoy and he watches with delight. Gratitude is the tastebud at the onset of a tangerine, the eardrum of a symphony, the eye at the oceanside sunrise...Gratitude is God's gift to us...the capacity to enjoy the life he's given us.