Thursday, September 25, 2008

shine - part 2.

... as you hold fast to the word of life..." Phil 2:16a.

Last week at encounter,we talked about what it means for us to work out our salvation, living it out, with fear and trembling, because it is HIS life in us, causing us to will and to work for His purpose. 

What does it look like for followers of Christ to shine His light?

Tonight, a very simple thought: hold fast to the word of life - hold out the word of life.

Word of Life? Jesus. He is whom we cling to. He is the One we share.  

I do not know this family, but they shine the light of Christ so clearly. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

adventures in modeling clay and ice cream

all this fun was followed up with a nice walk in the dark to our neighborhood brusters for free cones for the boys. 

Sunday, September 21, 2008


This weekend, I spoke at our church on the issue of fidelity in marriage. Husbands and wives enter into a covenant relationship with God, to express to one another and to a watching world, a picture of "... as Christ loved the Church." For me, to see that God has expressed His highest value through Jesus: Redemption of man for the Glory of God --- and that I can display (imperfectly, but faithfully) that love of God (as Christ loved the Church) in the way that I love my wife... wow. Glory to Him on the days I obey. Grace from Him in the moments where I fail. When the highest purpose of marriage becomes wrapped up in a spouse .... then the gift of marriage has been hijacked. The HIGHEST purpose of a Christ-following husband and Christ-following wife in marriage is to put on display "as Christ loved the Church" and "as to the Lord". See Ephesians 5. Still thinking a lot. 

Saturday, September 20, 2008

callaway babay.

This weekend, we went over to Callaway Gardens on Saturday afternoon. 30 minutes. You're there with more than enough space to breathe deeply. We packed a great lunch, got everyone into the car, got the stroller, 2 big-wheels, and headed out for the open road. 10 minutes later, we discovered, we left our lunch, in the kitchen. Classic. While the nature and gardens are beautiful... the food there... well... I'll be sure to remember the lunch next time. It was a great day with the family. 

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life... Phil 2:15

No complaining or arguing = becoming. That is a tall order, and one in which requires us to no longer walk as "mere men" (1 Corinthians) -- the idea of becoming blameless and pure, children of God is a  gift of grace (first) and choosing to respond (second) ---

To say such simple things like NOT complaining or NOT arguing (especially within the Church) leads to life on the same scale of light in the universe --- is quite a metaphor, considering the universe is largely without light --- except for the stars... and that without stars... it would be one gigantic black void of ever expanding dark matter in space. 

Funny thing is the light from most of the stars we see --- is really, really old -- as in it's been traveling at the speed of light (which is pretty fast) for thousands (some would say millions or billions) of light years. Stars are born, shine, and die - but their light is seen for generations to come -- and the light that shines --- is unmistakable. 

Stars shine. Period. 

ps -- according to NASA, the images above are (invisible to the human eye) those stars that are part of the draco images, which in theory, are what remains of the "light" from the big bang theory ... I don't buy that theory, but I concede that however old -- stars shine light for generations to come. 

Sunday, September 14, 2008

i'm glad it's leather

Moments before this photo was taken, little Luke demonstrated impressive water pressure, arching a steady stream of baby pee (sterile of course) all over the couch. Come on over. I won't tell you which one. I'm glad it's leather.  Just when you think you know how to gauge whether or not to get the umbrella... yikes, wrong again. Now -- the littlest man is sleeping on my chest. I hear every little breath... and I'm watching "Feasting on Waves w/Alton Brown". 

Saturday, September 13, 2008


We were driving today to "woofstock" a local humane society dog show festival...anyway Shane & Shane's version of "He Is Exalted" was playing --- and instead of "He is exalted, the King is exalted on High... I will praise Him"  Josh heard "Key of Exhaustion, the Key is exhausted..." and was curious why the key was exhausted, and could it still open a door. Can exhausted keys open doors? 

That's a good question.  

being still in the new normal

"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Ps. 46:10

Stillness is more of a posture of my heart, than a reality in my experience these days. Perspective is everything. Admittedly, perspective is a choice, and one I must choose daily, if not hourly. If stillness means no movement, then that pretty much happens when I'm sleeping... I assume. 

Right now, I have 8 lbs of wonder, wrapped in a yellow outfit, with small rabbits around the chest.Big blue eyes are staring up. His little mouth, which trembles slightly when he hiccups, and his little arms that are almost always moving, stretching -- are tiny signs of my own condition before our Holy God. Dearly loved. Greatly held together. Created and Sustained. 

In the background, Rita Springer sings "distant shores and the islands will see your light..." , the dishwasher is running, and Josh and Caleb are playing dinosaurs. April is in the kitchen getting the sink ready for Luke's bath. It's in this moment, where I am choosing to be still, and know, that He is exalted among the nations and on the earth. We want to be a part of seeing His exaltation among the nations. We want our children to participate in the kingdom, to be an active part of seeing His kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven. 

The bath is ready and that's a good thing. Luke just pooped through his diaper, outfit, and it's all over both of us. Not bad. Not bad at all... 

Friday, September 12, 2008

atari 2600 or... Wii

All I know is that when "i was little" we had pole position and dig-dug. Thanks Zach, for letting us borrow the Wii. Fun. Serious Fun. My arms are sore from boxing my sons. I knocked Josh out but only once.  

great use of time

Last night, grace campus hosted [open house] -- a six-location event highlighting areas of involvement with our ministry. I was so blessed to spend time with 29 students considering their own call to vocational ministry last night. Very encouraging to see the potential of future leadership in the Church. From the normal thursday night crowd pictured above, the chance to spend three hours with just a few of them at our office was so good. 

Monday, September 08, 2008

kneeling in the new normal

It's late. I'm tired, but this simple thought is worth saying. The difference between a good day and a really awful, stressful, burdensome, take-me-out kinda day has been this: prayer. Not the kind of prayer we toss up flippantly before meals, but the kind of prayer that after a meeting, or during a meeting, or before a meeting, or in spite of a meeting we are aware that He's the only answer. I say this (to the 2 or 3 normal readers here) to say, I'm re-learning a great lesson in leadership (that I knew, but I'm coming to KNOW again), pray: Pray as I am burdened. Pray before I am stressed out, taken out. Pray when I become aware of someone's need. Pray when I am clueless. Pray when I need wisdom. Pray when someone shares a their pain. Pray, as though, God really hears our prayers, really cares for our concerns, and really honors the prayers of righteous ones. 

Seems obvious, but the obvious is often passed over in busyness, pride, or unbelief. 

Photos courtesy of

Saturday, September 06, 2008

the new normal in black and white.

The new normal is good. Really good. I've been reflecting more on "just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him" and another part of new life is the idea of delight. Eye to eye, little moments where you are quiet enough to hear someone else breathing, content enough to simply be there, and really just be... there. 

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you to desires of your heart." Ps 37:4 

Thursday, September 04, 2008

my new normal.

Before, I was dead in my transgressions. Estranged from God. Alienated. 
Now, I have been rescued, redeemed, adopted into the family of God. 
Before, I was powerless to choose righteousness, enslaved to sin, consumed by my flesh.

Now, I have Christ in me, living in me, being my strength, enslaved to righteousness, and my flesh has been crucified. I am dead to sin. Alive to God. Sin lives in me. Wages war in me. 
But it is not me. I am His and He is my Father, my God, my Sustainer. 

The new normal for us as a family, means less sleep these days, lots of dirty little diapers, different schedules,more flexibility with each other, more intentionality with all three children and each other, more responsibility.

Life is different now. This is our new normal. 
Normal life this week is looking different than last week's normal life. 

Before Christ, the normal was death, sin, struggle. Normal. Expected. Now in Christ, the normal for every believer has to begin with living FROM a relationship with Christ, THROUGH daily dependence on Christ, for the glory (recognition, amplification, exaltation) of Christ. 

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live (your new normal) in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:3-7

My new normal is to walk in hope, to love with His love, to choose right with His strength, to resist my sinfulness by His grace, and to / live / walk / act / love / think in terms of who I am in Him (my new normal). 

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Yesterday was a good day. Everything went as planned until mid afternoon when April called needing me to come home. It wasn't a hard choice, I dropped what I was doing and went home to help her with the boys. It's not that work wasn't important, but that I am committed to what is more important. I want her to know that. 

After a mediocre-cold veggie pizza from Papa John's that took 75 minutes to be delivered, we played Candyland with Josh and Caleb. Good clean fun; I always lose, and Josh and Caleb always win. Actually, Caleb plays in Caleb-world, and is all over the board, from Gramma Nut's to the Ice Cream Princess... there's no order. 

After that, it was bath time and book time for the boys, and then bed. I walked down the stairs, kissed April, and went to meet with an old friend who was hurting pretty badly. I got back a little after 10:00 and little Luke just had his bath and his hair was looking pretty much awesome and fuzzy. 

In that moment, I realized from early that morning until then, I had been something to someone all day long. The sequence went like this : breakfastmaker/ dad / leader / teacher / leader / husband / leader / son / dad / candylandman / childbather / bookreader / husband / marriage counselor / dad / husband. I could not imagine life outside of those relationships. Roles and responsibilities are always designed to point us back to God. I'm pretty sure any responsibility I have is designed make me aware of my need for Him. Check. 

Marriage. Fatherhood. Ministry. Family. Friends. It all goes back to Him. (Romans 11:36) 

When it was all said and done, I came up for air, and realized that the tyranny of urgent had NOT gotten the best of me today, but that I (with Christ in me the hope of glory) had kept in pace with the Spirit of God. People remained more important than projects.  What an incredible difference to not be stressed out, even though there is a mountain of work waiting at the office and growing list of things to do. 

I sit in my office now, caught up on all email. All voicemail. Checking things off the list. Breathing in. Experiencing Him. Really thankful. By the way, the text for tomorrow night at encounter? 

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus as Lord (needy, humble, desperate, dependent, grateful) 
so walk in Him. Col 2:6