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Archive for May, 2013

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Because, he can’t. The story won’t allow it, and we all know how the story ends.

That is the answer, but what is the question?

“WHY doesn’t the villian just kill the hero, aka, the protagonist, and get it over with?”

Just because.

He can’t.

The story doesn’t go like that.

I was watching (again) the first movie in the Iron Man series yesterday with my extended family. As the great deceiver in this story, the good guy turned bad character played by Jeff Bridges, appears to rip the heart out of hero Tony Stark, I was silently asking myself why the villain didn’t just kill him and get it over with.

Just because.

He can’t.

The Author of the story didn’t write it that way.

It may sound simple.

It may sound naive.

Watching the story play out like it often does causes us to feel anxiety, and even pain. But we know the good Guy wins in the end.

It is classic and timeless story telling. I would almost suggest it is imbedded in our DNA, which has been decaying since shortly after the dawn of time. And yet, it remains, and it holds true.

Don’t get me wrong. Watching chapters in the great story, which are lives merely appear to be, is not clean. It is not easy. It certainly is not without pain. Watching the tornados of last week is a case in point.

One only need to read Revelation chapters 12 and 13 to experience that yet again.

And yet, the aftermath of each conflict brings the good guys one step closer to victory.

Revelation.14:12-13: “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”

Amen. Lord, come quickly, Hallelujah. In the meantime, we will hold on, staying true to our parts in the story.
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The road trip has been on the calendar for a long time. Father and son, roughing it, swapping stories, sleeping out by the light…of the monitors?

Not exactly.

Those words do well to characterize the week. Birthday parties, movies, meetings at the office, and Memorial Day adventures were all planned.

What has all happened was largely unplanned.

Hospitalizations. Near miss tornados. Large scale tragedy unfolding before us. An early morning cutting down trees. And, of course, the road trip.
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#1 son and I caught the climbing bug last summer. It has been one of the larger surprises of my middle aged era. I actually enjoyed strapping on some weight, and carrying the load up and down, over long distances, sometimes in pain, while at other moments in awe. You see, I had to endure it all to reach the summit and to enjoy it in all its glory.
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The thought that I was all alone
Broken and afraid
But You were there with me
Yes You were there with me

Well and I didn’t even know
That I had lost my way
But You were there with me
Yes You were there with me

Until You opened up my eyes
I never knew
That I couldn’t ever make it without You

It has been a hard week. Long before the wind ever began to blow, time, priorities, and commitments had required that #1 son and I postpone our long anticipated sojourn to the mountain.

And yet, here we are tonight, outside our element, father and son: all three of us.

Yes, #1 son and I got in the car after all, not as planned, but as unplanned. The journey west took us south. And now, not by the light of the moon, but the monitors, father, and son, and his son, are here together in a hospital room. If all goes as planned, we will lift our packs at the break of dawn and hike our way out of here. That’s the plan. Sometimes, plans change, and we have to learn to be OK with that.

And even though the journey’s long
And I know the road is hard
Well, the one who’s gone before me
He will help me carry on
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Other people’s plans changed this week, as well. People like Jennifer, a true hero, whose day on Monday probably went nothing like she had ever planned. You can read her story here.

And after all that I’ve been through
Now I realize the truth
That I must go through the valley
To stand upon the mountain of God

And as I travel on the road
That You have lead me down
You are here with me

Yes, YAHWEH is here with me.

HE is with you too, and Jennifer, and all the rest of us…

The roadtrip continues, and it is a good one. The ultimate Summit is up ahead, if we just keep climbing.

*The Mountain of God lyrics by Third Day

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I have this friend. No, my friend is not him. But, my little friend might have snagged herself a role as an extra in several scenes of a movie starring somebody who resembles him. I digress.

Said friend excitedly started her day early yesterday headed for a set destination and an expectation of spending a few hours getting filmed before returning home. Hours later, My Little Frau, aka “Mama”, dispatched herself on a relief mission to take some food to our little friend. As this friend returned about midnight, we heard tales of heat, hunger, sunburn, and an occasional WHM sighting. And, she gets to do it all again today. She remains excited to be engaged, but her experiences are not at all like she expected.

Therein lies a great metaphor for life. We never know what to expect. We have no promises. And yet, the opportunity to go about each day pursuing our plans, goals, and dreams keeps us going……

Pardon the interruption there. I had to go outside and squeeze my car into the garage to avoid what appears to be a rapidly approaching hailstorm. Again, I digress, but hopefully you get the point. I wasn’t planning for that anymore than we planned for the devastating tornados of earlier this week that have impacted so many both directly and indirectly. And yet, life goes on, and we are happy to be a part of it.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:13-14

So, this film remains “not yet rated”, and yet we know how the epilogue will appear. We win, so long as we keep running the race set before us.

Give that bell another ring today, little friend. WHM couldn’t do it any better than you.

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The storms were raging yesterday. Soon thereafter, the misinformation began. Some misinformation is intended, but most is more innocent.

Social media posts last evening proclaimed that “all the school children have been accounted for”, but sadly the message was not quite so true. Later news reports haunted us with large numbers lost in the tragedy. Thankfully, subsequent reports improved the numbers dramatically.

People don’t take long to ask “why did this happen? Is God punishing us?“. No, one should say, we live in Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down…. Go ask a Californian if San Andreas is a divine curse. Pardon me. I digress.

Some misinformation can be almost comical, but not without consequence. I drove a van early this morning containing a team of relief volunteers following yesterday’s tragic tornado in Moore. As we prepared to return home hours later, distance, rain, and differing projects and schedules had separated our group. My inquiry about empty seats in my van was met with “they went home early in another van” as a confident and innocent reply. Just after completing our 40 minute return drive and sitting down to a late lunch, the cell phone proclaimed they had been left behind. What’s an extra 50 miles between misinformed friends?

Other misinformation is not always so funny.

Genesis 3:3-5: Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Misinformed, indeed, but not so innocent. And the storms of life have been raging ever since. It’s good that we have Someone to help us recover.

Master, the tempest is raging!
The billows are tossing high!
The sky is o’ershadow with blackness,
No shelter or help is nigh;
Carest Thou not that we perish?
How canst Thou lie asleep,
When each moment so madly is threatening
A grave in the angry deep?

The winds and the waves shall obey Thy will,
Peace, be still!
Whether the wrath of the storm tossed sea,
Or demons or men, or whatever it be
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean, and earth, and skies;
They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,
Peace, be still! Peace, be still!
They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,
Peace, peace, be still!

Master, with anguish of spirit
I bow in my grief today;
The depths of my sad heart are troubled
Oh, waken and save, I pray!
Torrents of sin and of anguish
Sweep o’er my sinking soul;
And I perish! I perish! dear Master
Oh, hasten, and take control.

The winds and the waves shall obey Thy will,
Peace, be still!
Whether the wrath of the storm tossed sea,
Or demons or men, or whatever it be
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean, and earth, and skies;
They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,
Peace, be still! Peace, be still!
They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,
Peace, peace, be still!

Master, the terror is over,
The elements sweetly rest;
Earth’s sun in the calm lake is mirrored,
And heaven’s within my breast;
Linger, O blessed Redeemer!
Leave me alone no more;
And with joy I shall make the blest harbor,
And rest on the blissful shore.
*

*lyrics by Mary A. Baker

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I’ve been challenged this morning. I’ve been challenged by words. Words like “maudlin“, which I admit I had to look up a definition for, were awaiting me this morning. I will confess to being occasionally, if not frequently, guilty of demonstrating said word. I might be sorry, or I might not. For now, I will settle for “guilty”.

And, I have been challenged by The Word. The Word was also awaiting me this morning in the form of an email challenging me to accept a reading plan. Would’nt you know that it started me in John chapter 1?

I don’t want to be maudlin about all of this. I don’t want to lose my head. Or, maybe I do. Maybe that is what He is calling me to. It certainly was the case for John, and he was but one to help point the way for others.

It is Mothers Day today. On this day of recognition, I hope to be learning the path to be a better father.

I may be losing my head. I’m OK with that. If I come across as maudlin in the process, I will plead guilty.

Word up?

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Sometimes when you dream…
Your dreams come true.
In extraordinary ways…
Suddenly, a day can be so amazing…
And sometimes when you yearn, you burn the air.
And then you are not the same.
And the world is-

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Oh. I apologize. Perhaps I should say “good morning”. Now, where was I? Oh, yes.

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Once upon a time, I met a little woman. Sometimes, she is known in the space here as “The Little Frau”. And the rest is history. History, in the making, that is. You see, life comes at you fast. So fast, sometimes, that you don’t see what is coming next. Sometimes that can be bad, but more often than not, it is good. Very good.

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Having number one son surprise you by signing up to be in a musical is just one such surprise. And, may I say, the performance was amazing. The beginning and ending lyric vault moments of this nostalgic post today are courtesy of “Little Women”, the Musical. A team of kids performed it wonderfully at his school the past two nights.

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As I look around this morning, the women, and the men, in my life are not so little anymore. Sometimes they seem to me larger than life.

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As a small child, I used to lie in bed at night and wonder what adulthood would be like. I hoped it would be good. I had no idea it would be like this. I think I like it, warts and all. That is an understatement.

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It was not so very long ago that I sat around another’s breakfast table, a strange man in a strange house, learning of other’s ways that had not been my very own. This morning, the tables were turned, as one shared his breakfast within the routines that have become ours. Truthfully, it doesn’t seem all that strange from where I sit today.

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In days gone by, I’ve visited with others about their kids, and others about their new grand kids, and the miraculous stories between them all. Amazing is an understatement, especially when we compare reality to those “sometimes when you dream” days gone by.

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Lest I neglect the obvious, life is no cakewalk. But life can be very good. I think that is how God intended it. The challenge for us is to find the good, or even better, to help create it.

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May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
(Ephesians 3:19-21)

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She asks how I am,
And so, how am I?
My days are the usual day.
I wake up, I go out,
Time goes by.
My days are exactly the days
I have lived since arriving here.
In fact, how I am is amazed how
This comforts me year by year.
I work and I eat.
Life is muffins and jam.
The house is nice and quiet now.
That is how I am.
. Thank you, Professor Bhaer for helping open my eyes to it all.

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But, even as I write this now, the natives are awaking. The house will not be so quiet soon. The dream lives on.

Sometimes when you dream…
Your dreams come true.
In extraordinary ways…
Suddenly, a day can be so amazing…
And sometimes when you yearn, you burn the air.
And then you are not the same.
And the world is-
….Amazing. Christopher Columbus, indeed.

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