Drawn to thankfulness

Towne Centre buildings striking in the morning sun

Towne Centre buildings striking in the morning sun

“Making known all that belongs to the Father” was what I jotted into my journal after looking up John 16: 13-15 (NIV) for a study I’m doing.

The passage describes some of the roles of the Holy Spirit.  While the larger context of the verse has more to do with how the Spirit guides believers into truths that are of and honoring to God, what came to me was more literal – the Spirit making known that everything belongs to God.

That morning, I was  moved to thankfulness about something I don’t normally feel thankful about –  high-rise office buildings.  But THAT morning…

Rounding a sweeping curve on my drive to work, how the morning sun reflected off the gold glass of the Towne Centre complex of high-rise office buildings near where I work struck me. Like the beautiful artistry of this four-building complex was “made known” to me as belonging to God.

Not audibly but a thought in my mind, “All you find striking about these buildings, their artistry, engineering, architecture, craftsmanship, materials and how they radiate the sun right now is due entirely to me.” Was that the Holy Spirit speaking?  Certainly not a thought I would conceive given my aversion to high-rise office buildings.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. (Psalm 19:1, NIV)

I often think “creation” when I read this verse, as in “Creation declares…” However, I wouldn’t normally attribute high-rise office buildings for inclusion in any statement having to do with creation or nature. Rather, a lot of creation is altered and plowed under to build these monstrous structures surrounded by oceans of concrete parking interconnected by vast ribbons of highways bringing workers to and from these beacons of commerce.

More like insulation FROM creation than a reflection OF creation. Could God possibly see things differently than me on this?

The four Towne Centre Towers

The four Towne Centre Towers

“There is not one square inch of the entire creation about which Jesus Christ does not cry out, ‘This is mine! This belongs to me!”’ said  the great Dutch prime minister Abraham Kuyper.

The Bible offers plentiful backing to that claim.

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; (Psalm 24:1, NIV)

Everything belongs to God, and all things were created by his power. (Hebrews 2:10a, ESV)

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.    (Colossians 1:16, ESV)

Is anything created or that can be experienced NOT covered by these declarations?

This Thanksgiving week, I’m reminded that to be thankful is a gift that isn’t always tied to the object of appreciation. To be able to appreciate something that’s not customarily in my (or your) “thankfulness wheelhouse” is itself a gift.

To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life–this is indeed a gift from God. (Ecclesiastes 5:19b, NLT)



Towne Centre, Southfield, MI: http://www.southfieldtowncenter.com/

The art of getting back up

Breakage is inevitable but frustrating nonetheless.

Most often, breakage is bothersome but negotiable. Grieve briefly, find and apply a fix and move on. It’s breakage that occurs in runs, or runs upon runs, that is most debilitating.

During these “runs of breakage” times, the tiniest little cracks that surface get blown way out of proportion.  Little cracks that are easily dismissed during relatively smooth periods can open into faults that risk widening into deep, swallowing chasms.

A tiny little crack met me at the beginning of this week.  Now that I’m past it, I’m be embarrassed to say what it was.  Let’s just say that I was despondent when I trudged down to climb onto our NordicTrack and settle into a rhythm of exertion and reading.

Yeah that’s when I do most of my reading. I’ve got a system – a book holder and clips to hold the pages open.  I’m working through my second or third re-reading of “The Call” by Os Guinness that I read first in 2008.

God met me right at the beginning of Chapter 22 that regards drudgery and despondency followed by Chapter 23 about thankfulness and being grateful….

You could say I set myself up to be in a places where God is likely to be so to hear from him in those places is not exactly a mystical “doo-doo-doo-doo-doo” kind of thing.  True. But even so, I don’t know where I’m going to be when I arrive at the meeting place, my state of mind, circumstances unfolding, etc.  But God always knows.  Once in awhile, like today, I’m perfectly primed to hear what he has to say to me.

By the end of the chapters, I was totally ready to jot down G.K. Chesterton’s quote, “You have given so much to me.  Give me one more thing – a grateful heart.” (pg 200)

God specializes in scraping his sorry little people off the pavement after each ugly take-down. We believers make the act of getting back up an art form, literally.

We don’t go down prettily or gracefully. We often go down so ugly that everyone around us is urging, “Stay down!  Don’t get up.  Do yourself and all the rest of us a favor so we won’t all have to watch you make a fool of yourself again and further tarnish the name of that God you profess to follow.”

Notice how we heed “those” audiences less over time?  Guinness calls this the “Audience of One” phenomena, the “One” being God.  As as I drag myself upright, there is God offering me his very capable, helping hand.

God loves his miserable misfits so much that it almost seems he’s a glutton for suffering alongside us.  Note how well God steps into suffering…

But God doesn’t stay down and neither do we. He/we are all about the art of getting back up. God always supports his people to get up and get going again, over and over and over. In fact, he sustains us so much that he, literally, is all we’ve got and all we are.

More often than not, I’d just as soon stay down, curl up and quietly fade away into la-la land.  Before I knew the Lord, that was my M.O. until one day I heard a certain whisper that caught my attention and that I then strained to really, really listen for.

I’ve been listening ever since to WHAT he says, HOW he says it, WHO he says it to.  Wanna give it a go?  Start in his Word, the Bible.

Listen hard and learn to resist jumping to conclusions based on your own reasoning about what you think is going on due to circumstances or breakage and what he should be saying or doing if he were you.  Get this.  Intuition leads away from him and not to him.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. (Proverbs 14:12, ESV)

Like in “The Call,” regarding what Jesus says about hell, that “…his warnings about hell are not delivered to those whom most people in his day thought were going there….He usually directed his warnings about hell against those who were complacent about their places in heaven.” (pg 199)

Live long enough and breakage will occur, perhaps lots of it, incessant runs of it, relentless, debilitating.  Bottomed out yet?  Stop listening to yourself but before you slip down the “checking out” road, stop and listen for Jesus’ call.

Then be still and wait. P.S Stillness and waiting is counter-intuitive. Hang in there.

Tomorrow, arrange a meeting place, grab a Bible and keep your appointment. He’ll be waiting.


Notes: Image source: https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/lindas-corner-office/wp-content/blogs.dir/4/files/2014/09/bigstock-A-Climate-Change-Concept-Image-46595341.jpg

Inspirations hangin’ around, #1

inspire me1Some ideas so inspire me when I read them that I type them up, frame them and hang them close to where I work. I change up the inspirations now and then but often keep the “older” ones nearby to visit again from time to time. Here are a few of those inspirations that I hope also inspire you.  If so, please let me know.

Having to vs. choosing to

A wise person once remarked, “I have learned much more from things I had to do than from things I chose to do.”  Do you want to be able to say that?  Then don’t rebel against the things you have to do.  Instead, wring from them great lessons of life.  But remember, such “wringing skills” need years of practice.

Excerpt from “Our Daily Bread” devotion read on 3/17/1998 regarding Jesus having to travel through Samaria as recounted in John 4: 1-26. (http://odb.org/1998/03/17/wringing-skills/)

Circumstances – morally neutral

… circumstances, whether fortunate or unfortunate, are morally neutral. They simply are what they are; what matters is how we respond to them.  Good and evil, in the moral sense, do not reside in things, but always in persons.

Attributed to Paul Tournier by Philip Yancy in “Where is God when it hurts?”; read in June 2000

A world that makes sense

To be the light of life, and to deliver God’s life to women and men where they are and as they are, is the secret of the enduring relevance of Jesus. Suddenly they are flying right side up in a world that makes sense.

By Dallas Willard in “The Divine Conspiracy” read in September 2002

What (my) says

If our lives are truly “hid with Christ in God,” the astounding thing is that this hiddeness is revealed in all that we say and write.  What we are is going to be visible in our art, no matter how secular (on the surface) that subject may be.

Reflecting on Faith and Art in “Walking on Water” by Madeleine L’Engle; read in March, 2007

Privately engaging or socially irrelevant?

Is your faith privately engaging or socially irrelevant?  Is it as consistent in your workplace as in your home? Are all your memberships and allegiances relativized by your commitment to Christ?  Are you acting as “salt” and “light,” or do you need to be locked out of a Christian ghetto?

From “The Call” by Os Guinness; read in August 2008






Holding up my end

Just attended a retirement gathering for a longtime friend.  I use the term retirement loosely. It was put to him more like, “Retire or we’ll retire you” except the second part wasn’t actually said, just implied.

Last week, similar thing happened to another friend. After 20 years and an impressive run of huge sales wins for his company, he was “let go” without notice.

“Let go” is one of my least favorite terms.  Like any of us who’ve been “let go” were trying to get out but could not until someone finally “let” us.

I was “let go” for the first time in 2008.  Since then, I’ve experienced the privilege three more times.

When you are let go, you launch into searching for another way to earn a living.  My ideal is work that (a) suits my skills and (b) interests, and (c) offers satisfactory income and (d) working conditions.

Ideal isn’t easily found.  Worst case, you come up empty. Slightly better is landing something you can do well enough to “hold up your end” and keep the bill-collector at bay until you can find something better.

I’ve known both these guys since we were dreaming about what we wanted to be when we grew up.  Then we grew up, each landing in careers we succeeded in.  Before we knew it, retirement was just ahead but slightly out of reach.  At this point, finishing well then transitioning to retirement is the goal.  Unless of course, being “let go” enters the picture first.

I was the first of us three to be let go. I diligently pursued new opportunities and found 11 in seven years.  A couple featured more of the a-b-c-d’s than others and the rest were more of the “hold up my end” variety on the way to uncovering that elusive, feature-rich ideal.

When doing something less than ideal, I talk myself into believing that at least I am holding up my end – working competently enough to advance and not detract from the enterprise.  Holding up my end has always been important to me.  In my mind, it spoke to the principle that I worked as for the Lord.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” (Colossians 3:23, NIV)

Recently, I sensed God suggesting I had “appropriated” that verse incorrectly.  “When you (Glenn) are doing the holding and the end being held is yours, who gets the credit, you or Me?”

My parent’s family photo album features an old picture of me as a little boy pushing my toy  lawnmower behind my dad as he is mowing the lawn.  The earnest look on my face reveals my little-boy belief that I was holding up my end of “our” lawn mowing duty.

End holding with God is also like that. Because we matter so much to Him, He unhesitatingly invites us to participate in the holding up of the many and varied ends that make up our lives. But our outlook about it is the essential thing – understanding that we share what God truly bears.

When I “get” that what I bring is repenting and submitting, I have the proper state of mind to respond to my “Abba Father’s” invitation to participate with him in the wondrous kingdom work that runs alongside my life – end holding that is altogether different.

Burdens, Oxen, Rhythms and Fall Rides

Fall Ride roadway

Fall Ride roadway

Fall Ride Sunday is part of a cherished annual rhythm for my wife and I and another person or two we invite to join us. After church, we grab a quick lunch, the camera, pile into the car, pick up our guests and head toward one of several favorite fall ride routes.

Ideally, fall drive scheduling coincides with peak color time in mid to late October. We most enjoy rolling, windy, black-topped roads hugged by stands hardwoods and pines. We take our time, often have a favorite touring CD playing in the background.

Relaxed conversation is punctuated by frequent gasps, oooos and ahhhhs as the next turn or crest reveals a vista of radiant foliage or rolling farm rows of pumpkins on the vine or waves of dried cornstalks furling into the distance.

Rhythm conjures themes like music, working out, a smoothly running engine, routines, and workflow. Seasonal rhythms are of the “circadian” kind, a biological process that displays an endogenous, entrainable oscillation of about 24 hours. These 24-hour rhythms are driven by a circadian clock, and they have been widely observed in plants, animals, fungi, and cyanobacteria. (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circadian_rhythm )

Can people be rhythmic?  Or does rhythm have to do with how much people are into?

Some of the busiest people I know seem rhythmic in spite of the sheer magnitude of what they are involved with.  Others vacillate in and out of rhythm.

Think about symptoms of being out of rhythm – anxiety, weariness, sleeplessness….feeling overwhelmed and/or unproductive, unbalanced and burned out.

While I definitely manifest “un-rhythmicness,”  as I  get older, I am more intentional about inserting pauses in my schedule or stealing an impromptu pause during an otherwise relentless day.  I even included some rhythm themes in my personal mission statement.

Making allowance for rhythm must be “un-normal” because most people more readily boast about their hectic schedules that weave through 50 – 60 hour work weeks than admit to taking a day off for no particular reason or leaving the office in time to have dinner with their families.

Importance is not a reason to be overwhelmed.  Look no further than Jesus, the Savior of the world.  How many times were his “gone missing” instances noted in the gospels?  And where was he always found?  Spending time with his Father in prayer. Whose work is more important that his?

Doing “the Lord’s work” isn’t an excuse either.  Are you as tired as I am hearing that the word “retirement” cannot be found in the Bible? Here’s what Jesus himself says about any work connected with him.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30, ESV)

A friend explained that Jesus had an oxen yoke in mind, claiming for himself the “big ox” role that shoulders most of the load so that his fellow ox (us) experience our work as rest, ease, gentle, and light.

Two-ox yoke.

Two-ox yoke.

Read between the lines.  Jesus is speaking about what’s going on while the work is underway that bears no responsibility whatsoever for results.  If that does NOT track with you, you’re getting there.  Think of the Mary/Martha story.  (See Luke 10: 38-42)

In his superb book “The Call,” Os Guinness quotes Oswald Chambers, “The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus Christ is service for Him….The one aim of the call of God is the satisfaction of God, not a call to do something for Him.”

Are you feeling stressed and overburdened?  Pause to notice that Autumn has arrived.  Take a fall ride or stroll in a wood or along a river.  Think about how Jesus wants your burdens to be – rested, easy, gentle, light.

Time to fold some fresh rhythms into your life?  Start here: Matthew 11: 28-30.


Oxen yoke: http://firstperson.oxfamamerica.org/2011/02/in-afghanistan-a-memory-for-the-future/

When de-grassing: Better 3 than 1

De-grassing alone

De-grassing alone

I spent last Saturday de-grassing at our church community garden. De-grassing is what garden leader Matt calls the removal of unwanted grass.

De-grassing is an ongoing duty in the garden but, according to Matt, season-end de-grassing makes restarting the garden next Spring a little easier.  I certainly hope so because that grass isn’t was not very cooperative about being de-anythinged.

Arrving in the morning, I de-grassed alone for first several hours.  The day was sunny but the temperature was a chilly 45 degrees.  De-grassing is hard work that I’m not particularly fond of doing, especially by myself. Great opportunity to pray, though.

“Lord, you know I’m not too fond of de-grassing but I trust that you can redeem this tedious work with some kind of lesson.  So, what do you have in mind for me?”

The term “de-sinning” popped into my mind. De-sinning?

As de-grassing is the very hard work of removing deeply embedded grass from places where grass is undesirable, de-sinning must be the even harder transformational work whereby deeply imbedded sin is removed en-route to becoming a new person in Christ.

“anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Every Christian knows the Lord’s promise that when we confess our sin, we are forgiven of it.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, NIV)

We also know that sin doesn’t just “de-part,” never to be seen again.  Transformation launched by repentance and confession is a process author Lauren Winner calls “amending.”

Speaking about her church’s sacrament of reconciliation, Winner wrote, “My priest will not speak the words of absolution to me if he does not believe I intend to change… The desire to amend our lives is inseparable from conversion.”

Here is where the de-scipling part comes in, as in “to disciple,” to intentionally come alongside other (Christian) people to mentor them in a way of being, a very certain way of being.

De-scipling generally regards how Christians help each other live “Christianly.” We encourage each other, confess to one another and hold each other accountable. Jesus modelled de-scipling with his 12 apostles.

The way I see it, de-scipling occurred more organically when community was, well, more communal, closer knit.  Thanks to transportation, technology and prosperity, communal communities are no longer necessary for people to survive and thrive so de-scipling requires more intentionality.

Our community garden does that. Bringing people together to plant, cultivate, harvest, and de-grass and, God-willing, de-scipling happens –  Like last Saturday.

Just about when I’d had enough with de-grassing, Matt showed up for garden work and we de-grassed together.  Working side-by-side, casual conversation about life and faith spawned a de-scipling kind of discussion that opened up an avenue for some de-sinning to happen.

As formidable as de-grassing and de-sinning seems, God-inspired de-sipling brings new, essential ingredients – another believer, others, and God.

“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” (Matthew 18:20, NASB)

I was about to abandon de-grassing when Matt showed up. Then we were three.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12, NIV)


Crooked Path Straightener

Image source - see notes
        Image source – see notes

Here I go again with some potential new career developments.  What to do?

“Discernment is always mysterious, tricky, careful work.” offers author Lauren Winner.  “We always see through glass darkly.” Think of vocation as “an invitation from a Friend.  I accept it today in the contours of my present situation until the moment when I will perhaps see more clearly.”

She italicized that word perhaps because clarity is not assured. When clarity remains elusive, we keep our eyes fixed on God and do the best we can, living in the tension.

Quoting theologian Paul Evdokimov, Winner added, “One’s entire vocation is an option, an answer to a call that has been heard….It is never a voice that clarifies everything.  The dimness inherent in faith never leaves us.” (underline added)

Undergirding Winner and Evdokimov’s views  is St. Paul’s teaching on discernment in 1 Corinthians 13:12.  “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (KJV)

Absolute clarity is elusive.  Until then, we make our best calls while trusting in faith that God’s got our backs. Still our experiences beg the question, does God intend we flounder about and just do the best we can or does he really have something specific in mind for each of us?

Books have been written to address that question and a good one is “The Call” by Os Guinness.  Advocating for vocations based on calling instead of just giftedness, Guinness urges we seek to do what we are vs. the more popular “We are what we do.”

But what about when I discover I am not doing what I am but I found a way to make what I am doing work for my life?  Can God still work with me?

Yes, absolutely!  If, say, my God-deemed way is a straight path and the way I’ve chosen apart from God is a crooked path, guess what?  God specializes in crooked path straightening!  Crooked paths, if not best, are normal.

Six weeks ago, I asked my pastor Doug for advisement about a change unfolding in my current job.*  I’ve counseled regularly with him during this long and winding search. This time, I had a couple of options, door number 1 and door number 2.

Doug responded, “Glenn, as deliberate as you’ve been to place this quest in God’s hands, let me assure that no matter what you decide to do, God’s got you covered.”

Doug’s comments sort of encapsulated my theme passage for 2015 in Proverbs 3:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3: 5-6, NIV)

Notice what’s implied.  Crooked paths WILL be encountered.  No matter how God-centered our life-process is, stuff happens.  When it does, everyone who believes in the Lord has a locked-in warranty against all crookedness that occurs, even if it’s intentional.  Among his many specialties, the Lord is an expert “Crooked Path Straightener.”

Note the caveat in the next two verses of Proverbs 3:

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” (Proverbs 3: 7-8, NIV)

NOT leaning on my own understanding is to also NOT be wise in our my eyes.

When the next bomb goes off in the middle of your day, career, family, life, health, try this: 1) Take a deep breath; 2) Commit the situation to the Lord in prayer; 3) Calmly deal with it the best you can.

Even if we mess up or ignore the Lord in our next choice, our Lord is an expert “Crooked Path Straightener” who only waits for our call to be let in to get to work – for our good and His glory.

You and I really matter to him.


  1. Lauren Winner’s quotes are from her book “Real Sex – the naked truth about chastity.”
  2. That meeting with my pastor? See: http://www.farmingtonglenn.net/unbelief-setback/
  3. Image source: http://maureenschaffer.blogspot.com/2011/09/knowing-god-he-goes-before-us.html

Catching the wind

"Fixed" wind chime

“Fixed” wind chime

I recently had one of those Saturdays when I just wanted to be still.  The day was cool and breezy.  Desiring some fresh air, I cracked the window of our home office to catch a little action from the wind chime hanging right outside the window.

But even after a couple of robust gusts, the wind catcher barely moved.

This IS a problem, a chimeless wind chime.  The chime’s wind catcher doesn’t catch enough wind to crash the clapper or striker against the tubes.  Time to do something about that.

The solution turned out to be pretty simple, resolved in less than half an hour.  Out of quarter-inch plywood, I cut a large, angular wind catcher and attached it with fishing line below the original wind catcher.

The wind had no problem finding the new wind catcher and I was rewarded with a cacophony of pleasant chimes that I listened to for a long time. 

Wind is popular in the Bible.

“He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.” (2nd Samuel 22:11)

“the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.” (Psalm 103:16)

I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. (Ecclesiastes 1:14)

Wind chime "parts" (see notes for source site)

Wind chime “parts” (see notes for source site)

My favorite wind passage was said by Jesus during his conversation with Nicodemus in John 3:7-9

“You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

That the Spirit is somewhat like the wind surely gives pause for thought.

Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Whose hands have gathered up the wind? Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is the name of his son? Surely you know! (Proverbs 30:4, NIV)

Imagine God not so detached from His creation  that he gathers the wind?  My wind chimes suggest He is busy today.


  1. Check out cool site where I found wind chime parts: http://awesomeselfhealing.com/reiki-distance-healing-wind-chimes-technique-pipe-people/

Oldies but (very good) Goodies

Kind of Quiet EP by Chain of Lakes, 2011

Kind of Quiet EP by Chain of Lakes, 2011

I somehow lost track of a favorite CD. Fortunately I know the songwriter personally, my nephew Kyle, who willingly offered me a replacement.

Don’t know how many time’s I’ve listened to “A Kind of Quiet,” Kyle’s 6-song “EP” produced in 2011.  Many, many, many times.  Not sure I could articulate what I like so much about it…

No surprise that I appreciate Kyle’s lyrics and the messages they evoke as they rise through the nuances of the musical arrangements.  I do words too but to be able to wrap them with music the way Kyle does really gets me going.

Of course messaging is tricky with songwriting, even with word writing.  The artist’s intent isn’t necessarily what the audience receives. I start with that disclaimer to say that the meanings I attribute to these songs probably differ from Kyle’s intentions.

A radio station I listen to features songwriters recounting the backstory of their songs. Hearing those stories usually enhances my appreciation for a song, but not always.

When I claim as favorite a song or book or photograph or memory is because it spoke to me at a certain moment. The only explanation needed is the context the moment it belongs to. If left alone, re-listening, re-reading, re-viewing, re-calling causes a re-visitation.  At least that’s what happened  when I listened through my old/new “Kind of Quiet.”

I resonate with music and songs and have attempted to play an instrument or two over the years but I find practice wholly unsatisfying so I am stalled at the “hack” level with little interest in progressing. Other expressions engage me more, like writing.  I also have an annual fixation with creating a Christmas ornament that represents a certain idea to me. Already, I am well-along with a concept for ornament 2015 which will be my sixteenth annual.

When Kyle replaced my lost “Kind of Quiet” EP, he commiserated about having boxes of them in his basement. Do those EP-filled boxes remind him of costs that remain unrecouped?  I wonder if the life themes that gave rise to those songs have drifted way far back into the wake of his life? Perhaps compared with themes presently surfacing in his life, the backstories of “Kind of Quiet” songs are oldies now.

“Oldies but Goodies” is an expression that resonates with me.  In fact, many of my best goodies are oldies because the spark of their original goodness defies time.

For me, “Kind of Quiet” is becoming an oldie but (very good) goodie.  The same holds true with other music I cherish, favorite books, phrases I clip and hang, pottery mugs recalling places visited, figurines and framed prints that adorn our house…

The Bible is kind of like that for me, the oldie but (very good) goodie that I turn to often, daily in fact.  While I’ve read it in its entirety several times,  how often has something from its pages “spoken” into my life in a just right, certain kind of way?  Many, many, many times.

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. (Isaiah 40:8)

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; (Lamentations 3: 22-23a)

“Every morning….”  On my drive to work this morning, perhaps I’ll ponder the latest Biblical goodie while also listening to “Kind of Quiet.”

Seems like a great start to my day.


Link to Chain of Lakes music: http://chainoflakesband.bandcamp.com/


The Power of Enter

Reach through the power of enter. (see notes for source site)

Reach through the power of enter. (see notes for source site)

A Christian brother recently expressed that Christians of old seem more principled and winsome than us, their modern day counterparts.  His primary context was social media, how we Christians come across in that platform.

Apparently we don’t pass muster on the “What would Jesus do” scale.  When we could be winsome, we’re accusatory.  When we could bravely suck it up, we whine or make a big deal about our trials and suffering.

Many Christians I know either aren’t using social media at all or only have profiles to keep up with people in their lives who are so engaged – family, friends, colleagues.  Then comes the group I fall into – “somewhat engaged.”

I moderately use Facebook and LinkedIn, rarely use Twitter and Pinterest, and have one-time sign-ons with a bunch of others.  My 200 plus  Facebook “friends” include a number of self-professed Christians who post from occasionally to often. My most active engagement with social media is this blog.

Intrigued by my friend’s view, I visited some of the feeds of Christian FB friends. As I perused various posts, the thought came to me, “Could Christians be accused of aligning with Christ based primarily on our social media content?”

My friend offers that Christians of old had a stronger constitution.  I presume he means those we know primarily from books written by and about them.  Since their era was not “graced” with the internet, our access to them is limited to content that was subjected to multiple editors before arriving on our bookshelves.  .

Being able to put a view out to the entire connected world by simply pressing “Enter” was unimaginable to these past paragons of virtue my friend has in mind.  Were they able to also have our “Enter” capability, I suspect they would be similarly guilty of a fair share of “conduct unbecoming” their Savior,

Not to make light of the waywardness of us modern believers but the oldest book in the world provides plenty of evidence of God’s people behaving badly long before the internet burst onto our scene….or for that matter, the printing press.

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5, ESV)

We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (Isaiah 64:6, ESV)

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23, ESV)

We do behave badly when we are unlike our Savior, indistinguishable from the unbelieving people around us. While we can be ashamed about our faltering, God prefers we not wallow there but simply recognize that we don’t possess the power to be acceptable to Him until we rely exclusively on him.

Only He can save us.  We can’t save ourselves no matter how hard we try.

While the power of  “Enter” may not bode well for the reputation of Christianity, accelerating the realization of our decline potentially offers a significant upside.  The sooner we recognize our absolute need of the Lord, the better positioned we are to give ourselves completely to Him.

Why else does the Bible speak so often and so significantly into the darkest and most dysfunctional places of our beings?

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” (Psalm 40: 2, NIV)

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses… For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10, ESV)


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