Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rhythm of the Night

It's late.

A bit past midnight in the middle of the workweek, and my mind cannot find that place of calm and quiet that allows my brain to signal my eyes that they are sleepy. I have worked in the kitchen, folded towels, contemplated changing my status in FaceBook a hundred times. I would vacuum, but that comes with its own set of family relationship issues...... since they are asleep....

The television is on, yet nothing of value is on the television. So I powered down the TV as well as the 921 channels designed for never-ending education and entertainment. What a waste...

That's when I really notice it.

A slight, gentle breeze is blowing through the windchimes on the back deck; very slight, but audible when I am quiet. The cicadas have a rhythm all their own; that odd clicking sound that was the basis of the alien communication in Signs is captivating, and more than slightly distracting.

I notice the crickets that make their homes beneath the redwood deck on our back patio as they call to one another. They have a very steady, irritating pattern of vibrations that make me want to rip my ears off; instead, I choose to remain silent and enjoy the concert.

The dogs in the neighborhood have a standing meeting every night about this time. A few neighborhood puppies gather at the house across the side street to convene a high-level political meeting with two neighbor dogs, held captive behind a beautiful fence. The dogs are either hard of hearing, or passionate about their politics; they are very loud. However, they have no stamina, and disband after just a few minutes.

Suddenly, the crickets stop singing. Just for a moment, the silence of the dark is a welcome change. Soon enough, however, they take up the unconscious and persistent chirping; designed into their DNA from the beginning of creation. Crickets doing what crickets do.

I hear my daughter as she breathes a gentle sigh in her sleep; the sigh of a little girl, content, deep in slumber.

In the quiet of this night, I can also clearly see and review conversations, meetings, email, tweets, and FaceBook postings of this day. Why did I say that? What does she mean when she said my FaceBook photo is not flattering? Why didn't I say that? Why do you think I owe you an explanation for our parking plan at our satellite church? On and on, I recall the people of the day; the joy of being with our fantastic praise team; profound sadness at the unexpected and unexplained loss of a friend.

Rather than asking again for the hundredth time, "Why?", I think I will invest in the quiet by "thanking God upon every remembrance of you"; by seeing your face in my mind and cherishing our relationship; by interrupting the quiet with whispered words of praise and thanksgiving to a Mighty God for blessings beyond imagination; words that confess my ineptitude and selfishness; quiet songs of worship.

I will join the rhythm of the night, adding my own sounds, as I think about you. About me. About God.

Just me doing what I do; worshipping the Beautiful Father. And soon enough, I'm sure my eyes will fall heavy with the need for sleep, and I will rest.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Good Stuff from my friend Marty Stubblefield

Today's Great Day Addendum

80/20 Rule

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no

deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is

without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish

you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical

needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not

accompanied by action, is dead.” – James 2:14-17 NIV

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I’ve Tweeted on Twitter about it. Shared my frustration about it, even heard it

mentioned in a Sunday Morning Small Group.

It started one day at lunch when I stood in line at the local McFast Food restaurant and noticed that though my line was

6 or 7 people deep there was only one lady working the front counter. She feverishly worked the line as folks hemmed

and hawed about what they wanted to order while other McDoodle employees were off to the side laughing and joking

almost to the point of obnoxious.

Now, I’m all abut having fun at work… but I’m even more about getting the job done… taking care of the customer…

and meeting and exceeding the expectations of that customer. I guess it comes from my 22 years in the service industry.

Now, as the 7th person back in the fast food line, I found myself getting more and more frustrated as I watched the one

counter worker doing her best… saw the drive-thru girl hustling to get food out the window… and counted 8 in the

laughing and joking not doing nothing… I even made eye contact with a number of the loafers, but still nothing.

Finally, I ordered… got my drink cup… and waited on my food… and thanked the young lady for hustling like she was

and wondered aloud about her lack of help (loud enough for someone to hear me I’m sure)…Her eyes rolled and a smile

came upon her face when finally one of the 8 broke away from the pack to ask, “May I help the next guest”

And the party on the food line slowly broke up… Some going back to the grill area… some to the lobby area… and I shook

my head in disbelief as some went outside for a smoke break.

The 80/20 Rule: Where 20% of the people do 80% of the work… and vice versa.

We can see this played out live in my McFly experience… but we can also see it live and in person in most any local church

where 80% of what needs to be done is done by 20% of the church…

Over the past week I’ve tweeted and wondered aloud… where are the 80%? Not just at the fast food restaurant… but at the

church as well.

Now, let’s make one thing clear. Whether we choose to get involved or not… work in the church or not… volunteer for a

project or not… play in the band or sing with the Praise Team or not…come to the service, sit on your hands and leave or

not… in no way affects our salvation. Salvation is a free gift of grace from God. We can’t earn it… we can’t work to get it or

more of it. It is what it is: God’s gift of His Son for us.

That being said… Where are the 80%?

Where are the others who can make the line go faster?

Where are the Sunday School workers?

Where are the Infant sitters?

Where are the visitors of the sick?

Where is the set up and tear down crew?

Where is the car parking crew?

Where are the prayer warriors?

Where are the volunteers?

It always seems to be the same 20 doing what would be so much easier, better, stronger, more effective, more efficient, more

purposeful, more people reached for Christ if the other 80 volunteered their gifts and talents as well.

Our expectation seems to be that we give the pastor our thoughts and ideas and expect him (or he and his team) to go do it.

We expect to be entertained. We go to worship on Sunday and leave it behind until next Sunday.

“But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?” – James 2:18-20 NIV

All I’m saying is this… It’s time to get out of the pew and do something… Do anything… Do something… Put your faith to

work. See what needs to be done… and go do it.

Keep the Faith… Carpe Diem

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Sunday, July 19, 2009


I met John this evening.

John was sitting on a bench, just outside the entrance to our church. He was crying; head held in both hands, shoulders slumped beneath the weight of the burdens he carried. John wore a long ponytail, solid black and flowing down his back. His high cheekbones, strong nose and dark red skin revealed his Native-American heritage. Full-blooded Kiowa, John's life was headed down a path familiar to those with money and too much time on their hands.

John is an addict.

The needle marks in his arms, the raw membranes inside his nostrils, and stubby, rotten teeth betrayed his years of drug use and abuse. John was running for his life. Actually, John was running toward life, and away from the life that had stolen his lucrative construction company, his friends, and his family.

John has had enough of that life. He boarded a bus in another city, and rode to Tulsa, where he has only 1 friend, and his friend is not a drug user. His friend is an alcoholic, and he offered John a case of beer and a place to stay.

After consuming 9 beers, John realized that this was not the path to the life he had envisioned for himself. He walked away from the home of his alcoholic friend, and walked back to the bus station, then across to our church.

John was sitting there for me to find. Tired from a long day, I thought I just could not deal with another drifter looking for cash for a bus ticket that would instead be used for his next fix. But John was different. John didn't want money; he wanted help.

John had lots of cash on him, so he didn't need money. John was one of the few who was genuine in his desire for rehabilitation. He seemed so, anyway; but then again, after 9 beers, who can really tell....

I called a friend who was still at church who leads our community ministries. And together, we spoke little, listened a lot, and helped John get to a place where he could find the healing and help he needs.

Tonight, John has a warm bed in a safe place, far removed from the drugs his body craves. Tomorrow morning, John will be introduced to a drug counselor, and to the first steps of the battle to reclaim the life he once knew. He will also be introduced to our Heavenly Father. And I pray that the Great Physician will heal John's body, his mind, and his spirit so that when John has completed rehab, not only will he be free of his personal demons, but spiritual demons as well.

John, I'm with ya, man.....

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The President's Teleprompter

A lot has been said about the failure of President Obama's TelePrompTer at a recent event where he was speaking. Too much, in fact. However, I think this image says it all....



Sorry, friends....

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sea of Galilee

While I am editing video in my office, I often turn to other tasks to while away the time. Today I read an article in World Magazine that brought to mind beautiful memories of a recent trip to Armenia and Israel; specifically the Sea of Galilee. (

I was taken back by the simple beauty of the region; being there helped make the the stories of scripture seem real, seem possible. Standing on the shore; by the home of Peter's mother-in-law (Why did Peter deny Jesus? Because Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law... as told by our guide); at the foot of the hillside where Jesus taught so many.

It is a place of peace. Don't misunderstand- areas nearby are overtly commercialized- but the beauty of the gardens and the sea is unforgettable.

I wish I could remember the scriptures He taught as clearly as I remember the breeze off the sea. I wish I could see my sin as easily as I see in my mind's eye the figure of Jesus, at the bottom of the same hill where I am standing, teaching hundreds and hundreds about love and forgiveness.

My video is complete- back to work. But I retain vivid memories of the beauty of the Sea of Galilee, as well as what I have learned from Jesus who taught there two thousand years ago.

Life is Good!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Death and Celebrity

Scott McClellan posted an interesting blog entry regarding the current social-celebrity worship taking place across the country.....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Lock Your Doors, but Open Your Hearts

It appears that our government is poised to introduce the largest tax increase in history, while in the midst of the most tumultuous economic times since the Great Depression. Energy costs will skyrocket, jobs will be lost, and the economy will stagger under the weight of it all. Change you can believe in....?

Now I don't blame our government for all social and financial problems; just for recklessly making these difficult times much more difficult. However, in our culture, severe economic times may very well result in an increase in petty crimes- theft, burglary, and the like. Struggling families, desperate to provide for their children, may take terrible risks in order to continue to meet their families' needs. And some, who are already prone to those illegal and dangerous activities, will be more bold in their arrogance and lack of respect for others.

We would be prudent to take extra precaution to protect our families and possessions. Be aware of those around you, both at work and at home. Lock your doors, develop an awareness of those around you, and be ready at all times to defend and protect your families.

While doing that, we must also prioritize the biblical mandate to share what we have with those who have less. Find a food bank, a shelter, or some other ministry, and get involved. When you shop for your family, buy an extra can of veggies, some soap, toothpaste, or other item to donate. While shopping for school clothes, by extra socks or jeans to donate to agencies that provide for families who are struggling.

These times will be difficult for all of us. But we can still share. If we all join in God's plan for providing for those without, we are, in effect, protecting what we still value: our families, our possessions, and our heritage.

Just my opinion....