I learned a lot about life growing up on a desert ranch in Arizona. Most people have a romanticized understanding of cowboy life. The reality is it’s not much different than any other occupation that demands hard physical work. Granted, being fully immersed in God’s creation every day regardless of weather or circumstance is a unique experience. Every day was a new day filled with new adventures yet somehow the same… all woven together becoming life on the ranch without interruption.
We never took a family vacation. In fact, vacation was not something I was familiar with until I became corrupted by college life. Our time away from the work of ranching was really just an extension of what we did every day. It was and still is called rodeo but it is very different today. The stories I heard as a child were of local ranch hands gathering and plying their skills of roping and riding without an audience or an arena to perform in. My dad and my uncle were charter members of th...
The Saturday morning "Journey Men" breakfast often settles into a discussion of the struggles men face in the world and in our walk with the Lord. That is of course after the usual back and forth of events, personal and public and a smattering of sports, cars and boyhood escapades.
Last meeting’s discussion finally centered on a question every Christian comes to grips with sooner or later...
"How are you spreading the gospel?" Or perhaps more specifically, "Why do we find it so hard to do?"
A few days before the meeting, I had an encounter with a truck driver delivering a shipment to a store I work in on campus. We exchanged a few manly comments about work and the like and I began to share with him some of my life and mentioned that I had worked for many years at a not for profit called "empty tomb"... He said "So you know the Lord?" I said I did but admitted that I fail miserably at obeying him and ultimately sharing Him with others. He agreed and replied "The hardest thing for me to d...
I met a new friend a few weeks ago and she did something that caught my attention. She kept asking questions over and over again. When something needed to be done, a problem solved or something needed to be found, she never hesitated to ask a question … but not to any of us … she asked all of her questions to Siri.
“Siri, call Tom Sawyer cell …”
“Siri, find the number for Savoy Wal-Mart Eye Center …”
“Siri, who sings the song ‘Slow Fade’ …”
“Siri, what day will March 10th 2020 be …”
I know she’s not the only one. And as a professional working single mom, I can only imagine how helpful it is to have siri readily available to answer those questions (while multi-tasking). I know others who don’t use siri as often, but frequent google to ask and rely on for their questions.
I remember when Andrew and I first got married, smart phones were just becoming a thing. We both soon had one, but we hadn’t been introduced to Siri yet, nor did we have google at our fingertips every hour of the day. But we...
How do you know if something is good or bad? If it real or a fake imitation? We find proof one way or another. I know a good donut because I have tasted it or had a reference from someone whom I trust his or her judgment and skill. Encountering something helps me to determine the truth.
A couple of weeks ago, we discussed Peter’s restoration by Jesus Christ after Christ had been resurrected. Peter in John 13:37 declared “I will lay down my life for you.” Words are easy to proclaim in some moments when the reality of what they really mean are not before us. Have you ever said “I will do something…” or “I will never do…” and then in a moment when this reality is before us and the reality of those words paled in comparison to the truth, you end up doing the opposite of what you said you would do? Most of us, if we are real, would say we have been at this place more than we care to confess. You and I are more like Peter than we realize.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! –Psalm 37:7
Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone astray. –Job 6:24
Being still is not something I have ever been good at. I was always the “go-getter” perfectionist that tried to get the best grades in school, strive to make my parents and employers proud, and was easily influenced by ANY motivational speaker or non-fiction personal growth book. If I failed or made a mistake, I often beat myself up, felt like a failure and would dwell on it for hours or even days. My success in my work and family life determined my identity. If I wasn’t good at something, I would often give up. I didn’t like to face the fact that the task in which I was assigned was simply not my God given gift.
When I first came to Christ back in 2008, I felt on fire! I was hungry for God’s word, hungry to disciple others, and just craving t...
During December we’ve been reading the advent study, The Cradle, Cross and Crown by Billy Graham. These are three great symbols of Christmas: the cradle of the baby Jesus, the cross of Jesus, and the crown Jesus wears as he sits at the right hand of God. All three are inextricably linked together and yet most of the time, we don't think about it this way.
Many see the cradle or the manger as a symbol of Christmas. The cradle was the beginning, but it was not the whole story. The Bible tells us that Mary and Joseph made the first bed of Jesus in a manger, but even that manger scene as they swaddled the baby Jesus tells the story of sacrifice.
Surrounding Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus were animals that were used as sacrifices in the temple. The hay around the manger had to be sacrificed, it had to die and it had to be cut as food that those animals could be fed and nourished. Everything spoke of sacrifice surrounding the birth of...
When I was a youth pastor in Texas some years ago, we incorporated the Silent 15 as often as possible. It is a simple principle; for 15 minutes, everything stops, all noises are silenced, distractions set aside and you are still. It was just a different space that changed the pace and therefore, welcomed the Almighty God in a different way. And it was a game changer.
The change of pace allowed space for emotions to settle which helped restore some tense relationship issues. The change of pace allowed us to see what was right in front of us (and what we had been missing). The change of space allowed us to silence the lies and hear the voice of Truth. The change of pace allowed our hearts to slow down to the rhythm of our Creator. The change of pace gave us new eyes to see the heart-issues of those around us; brokenness, loneliness, hurt, pain ...
When I think back, I’m amazed at how the teenagers grew to love the Silent 15. They rarely fought against the opportunity to be q...
I was listening to the radio the other day and the song came on the radio “It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” This is a Christmas classic song that we all know and probably sing. Yet, I found myself asking what does Christmas look like? The first two verses say:
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go
Take a look in the five and ten glistening once again
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Toys in every store
But the prettiest sight to see, is the holly that will be
On your own front door
Is this really what Christmas looks like? Maybe this is how it looked back a few years ago, but what about today? Does it look like Santa Clause? Does is it look like Christmas lights, trees and displays? Does Christmas look like “Black Friday” or “Cyber Monday”? I think the answer to this question depends on who you ask and their life perspective. So what does “It is beginning to look a lot l...
When I was in Hawaii this summer, I got to go to the beach and play in the water and the waves. Though I may be nearly 50 (yikes), put me on a beach with waves and sand and I turn into a little kid. I could stay in the water all day long. The joy and exhilaration of feeling the power and refreshment of the waves brings such life to me.
While in Kauai, we found this great beach with soft, clean sand and waves that were big enough to challenge your ability to stand, but would not sweep you out to the ocean. It is always good to know this difference. It did not take me long to get into the water and position myself to take the power of the wave. My feet were firmly planted on the sand and my leg muscles tensed up to brace against the fury of the waves. Generally, I was able to stand the impact of the waves and not be moved. However, the challenge of standing in sand was the waves would move the sand around my feet so I constantly had to reposition my feet. There were a few times I thought...
I hear the word love used in lots of ways these days. It has become a way of describing just about everything we really like… a lot. It’s my perception that women use the word love more often and in more ways than men. Often about a hair style, nails or a book or movie. Men usually blurt it out at the end of a phone conversation or because we think it’s required to keep a relationship going. Sometimes we say ”I love you” to make up for a lot of stupid things we’ve done or said. Generally it is a truncated, barely recognizable, low volume utterance “luvya” right before hanging up or dashing out the door. So, what exactly is love besides an overused word?
I worked in a ministry for nearly 20 years coordinating home repairs for low income families done “Free in the name of Jesus”. I didn’t grow up in the church and had no deep knowledge of the Bible but serving God in this way brought me closer to Him and I “grew” in my understanding of His “kind” of love. Before...