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“When the lights go down in the city, and the sun shines on the bay. Oh, I want to be there, in my city…” Such are some lyrics from an old tune by a group that called itself Journey.

In the very early hours of this August 26, I was awakened to learn that one of my youngest child’s two little birds had passed from life. “Elphie” had been ill for almost two weeks, commanding a special degree of attention from a handful of family members. While one could argue “it was just a little parakeet”, it was one of God’s creatures, and it brought color, song, and joy to the house in its own unique and special way for the past five years.

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As I buried our bright green and yellow little friend in the flowerbed this morning, the contrast of its feathered body against the rich soil of the earth was stark and strong, and I was reminded of some of Christ’s words to us.

Matthew 6:25-30 says: “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

Today is a big day in the life of a local family in the town that I call home. A young man named Andrew, a son and a brother, fell ill last week and passed from this life. A friend to many, Andrew brought color, song, and joy to many who crossed his path. In fact, Andrew was well known for his customary line to all: “Enjoy”. Today, August 26, is the day that Andrew’s family says goodbye, laying his earthly body to rest.

I watched a brief video earlier today where one celebrity was speaking of the recent passing of another, and comparing our lives and our light to those celestial bodies we refer to as “the stars” and how even thousands of years beyond their own extinction, their lights shine on in the heavenly realms for all to see.

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August 26 is a big day in my lineage. Fifty-four years ago, my parents were wed on this day. Some seven or so short weeks ago, in what seems like an eternity of sorts, my father passed from this life. As a result, my mother and my family are sharing the special memories, the color, song, and joy of his life and her life with him, in a very unique and special way today. His light, and theirs, shines on in the lives of those who follow after. His light, and theirs, was also a reflection of the Son who made our hope a reality.

Life is a journey, indeed, but Heaven is our ultimate destination. As an old friend likes to say to his own family about Heaven, “Be There”, and I could not agree more.

When the lights go down, in my city, and the Son shines on… I want to “Be There”, in that City. I look forward to meeting my Dad, Andrew, and perhaps even the rest of God’s resurrected and restored creation, made new, like that little bird we lost earlier today.

I can only imagine the color, song, and joy that await us all there.

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jbinghamoc:

It’s just a song, and none of the words to this older post are originally mine, but it still strikes those chords. #1 finishes her first week of work up north today as #’s 2 and 3 complete their final “first week” as home bound high schoolers. Cats in the cradle, indeed, and I know we’ll get together then, and I know we’ll have a good time…

Originally posted on Bing, Jeffrey Bing:

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking before I knew it and as he grew
He said, “I’m gonna be like you, Dad,
You know I’m gonna be like you”

And the cats in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
When you comin home, dad, I don’t know when,
But we’ll get together then, Son,
You know we’ll have a good time then.

My son turned ten just the other day
He said “Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on lets play
can you teach me to throw?” I said, “Not today,
I got a lot to do” He said “Thats okay”
And then he walked away but his smile…

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jbinghamoc:

These words from 2011 and life in China resonate in 2014 as our sword lady goes to work teaching in the classrooms of Iowa State U. Go get em, little lady!

Originally posted on Bing, Jeffrey Bing:

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“Our little baby’s all grown up and savin’ China…”. I could not have expressed my sentiments any better than our mythical friend “Mushu”, and like him, I don’t do that “tongue thing”, at least I hope not.

Anyway, Baby Girl #1 (and one of the best two young ladies on the planet, may I add) leaves later this morning to see the world, starting with China. I’m so excited for her, and I’m gonna miss her.

But, I’m not worried about her forgetting her sword. On the “Digital Front Porch”, among other places, I have found Hank to be one of the most accomplished swordsmen around. If I could tell her anything this morning before she boards that plane, it would be not to forget her sword, and her shield.

Ephesians 6:16-18: In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of…

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Celebrating Silver:

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Where did the last 25 years go? I’m balancing that with where the last 25 hours, and even the last 25 minutes have gone in the pre dawn hour of our sweet anniversary.

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For a while now, my lovely wife and companion for the past quarter century has asked me how we would celebrate this day. I now think the answer is “rapidly”.

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A year ago, we briefly escaped to celebrate “24” and breath deeply on the front end of what was to become this expectedly busy and life changing past year.

More recently, she has been singing to me a newly released song called “The Glorious Unfolding”, and I can’t think of a better way to describe our life together thus far:

Don’t try to figure it out…

Just listen to what I’m whispering to your heart…

‘Cause I know this is not
Anything like you thought,
The story of your life was gonna be…

There’s so much of the story that’s still yet to unfold…

And this is going to be (and has been, already) a glorious unfolding…

God’s plan from the start…

And the story has only begun…

We were made to run through fields of forever,
Singing songs to our Savior and King

So let us remember this life we’re living
Is just the beginning of the beginning

Of this glorious unfolding
We will watch and see and we will be amazed
If we just keep on believing the story is so far from over
And hold on to every promise God has made to us
We’ll see the glorious unfolding.

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God has been gracious and good to Sherry and I, and we love being in the middle of this roadmap of our life journey together as it continues to unfold, gloriously.

So, as she and I spend our day flipping 30 high school band burgers at sunrise, embracing new roles, and shuffling furniture for a family ever on the move, I think we will smile, take a Tylenol or two, and repeat those words of 25 years ago:

“I love you”, and

“I do”.

And, let me add, “I will”.

Thank you, Dear. It’s been glorious already, this life we’re living, and it Is just the beginning of the beginning!

Happy Anniversary!

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We were made to be courageous
We were made to lead the way
We could be the generation
That finally breaks the chains
We were made to be courageous…
*

I have these friends. They are young. They are active. They care. The future is theirs for the taking.

That doesn’t mean they don’t encounter setbacks, just like all of us have, and do. Not so long ago, I was at their house on an errand, and we were dealing with and discussing a mutual life setback moment that had just occured. As we visited in the driveway before I left, I couldn’t help but notice the street signs in the corner of their yard. Half asking permission, half saying “I’m sorry, but… “, I walked toward the signpost and took out my iPhone to snap the picture shown above. One of the friends quickly replied, “Oh, I see a future blog post coming”. Little did either of us know.

Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3

Down on the corner, out in the street
Willy and the Poorboys are playin’
Bring a nickel; tap your feet.
*

Life moves on. That doesn’t mean things are necessarily easy. However, as the song says, we were made to be courageous. As the other song infers, the beat goes on, and the song on our hearts should be playing loudly for all to see, hear, and tap their feet along with.

The only way we’ll ever stand
Is on our knees with lifted hands
Make us courageous
Lord, make us courageous

Seek justice
Love mercy
Walk humbly with your God

In the war of the mind
I will make my stand
In the battle of the heart
And the battle of the hand

In the war of the mind
I will make my stand
In the battle of the heart
And the battle of the hand

We were made to be courageous
And we’re taking back the fight
We were made to be courageous
And it starts with us tonight

To quote the fictional wiseman, Forrest, Forrest Gump, “that’s all I’ve got to say about that”.

The beat goes on.

We were made to be courageous.

I suspect my friends will not remain down, on the corner, for long. After all, they live at the corner of Liberty and Courageous. What better crossroads could anyone ask for?

* Courageous lyrics by Casting Crowns

* Down on the Corner lyrics by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Expectancies

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The sun arose yet again this morning, and I am left to wonder what we should expect from this day.

What to expect?

Expect the unexpected.

As the sun is setting on the hourglass of time that we have called July 2014, the news making events have been unexpected, indeed.

Personal loss.

Three major plane crashes.

EBOLA.

The personal loss of others.

An infrastructure failure induced flood at storied UCLA.

A cold day in July.

I could go on forever, figuratively speaking, for I will not, at least on this Earth.

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. Romans‬ ‭12‬:‭12‬

That’s just it. We are to be patient, and wait for the promise.

There’s a new Stephen Curtis Chapman tune that has been recently released, and a glorious unfolding sounds like something worth waiting for.

And, something worth expecting.

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Sunday morning greetings from way up high.

As I took a sunrise walk a few moments ago, I was blessed by nature in all its beauty and wonder.

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I was also blessed to find this little church, circa 1876, and I could not help but take the sign at the door at face value.

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The stillness in this old house of worship is powerful. I was reminded of an old song we used to sing growing up, and it seemed fitting to share here. May your Lord’s day morning be blessed as well:

Just a few more days to be filled with praise,

And to tell the old, old story;

Then, when twilight falls, and my Savior calls,

I shall go to Him in glory.

I’ll exchange my cross for a starry crown,

Where the gates swing outward never;

At His feet I’ll lay ev’ry burden down,

And with Jesus reign forever.

Just a few more years with their toil and tears,

And the journey will be ended;

Then I’ll be with Him, where the tide of time

With eternity is blended.

Tho’ the hills be steep and the valleys deep,

With no flow’rs my way adorning;

Tho’ the night be lone and my rest a stone,

Joy awaits me in the morning.

What a joy ’twill be when I wake to see

Him for whom my heart is burning!

Nevermore to sigh, nevermore to die–

For that day my heart is yearning

I’ll exchange my cross for a starry crown,

Where the gates swing outward never;

At His feet I’ll lay ev’ry burden down,

And with Jesus reign forever.

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Lyrics by Charles H. Gabriel, 1917

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