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Archive for March, 2014

So I may have to tell Don (aka, Mr. Miller) that he has competition in the man crush department.   Not really, but you will likely get my drift later.

I was driving into work early this morning and was greeted by Matt Redman’s “Your Grace Finds Me”.   His music seems to be hitting me where I need it right now.   See if you agree.   And don’t worry, Don, I still love your books, and the thought of living a better story.  That, and I’m a happily married guy, but I digress.

It’s there in the newborn cry
There in the light of every sunrise
There in the shadows of this life
Your great grace

It’s there on the mountain top
There in the everyday and the mundane
There in the sorrow and the dancing
Your great grace
Oh such grace

From the creation to the cross
There from the cross into eternity
Your grace finds me, yes your grace finds me

It’s there on a wedding day
There in the weeping by the graveside
There in the very breath we breathe
Your great grace

The same for the rich and poor
The same for the saint and for the sinner
Enough for this whole wide world
Your great grace
Oh such grace

There in the darkest night of the soul
There in the sweetest songs of victory
Your grace finds me
Yes your grace finds me

Your great grace
Oh such grace
Your great grace
Oh such grace

So I’m breathing in Your grace
And breathing out Your praise
I’m breathing in Your grace
Forever I’ll be

Your grace finds me
Yes Your grace finds me

 

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…this is precisely when it occurs to me that there is no net…Who is going to rescue me?

So begins the above pictured book.

It was 1987, careening towards the stroke of midnight and the dawn of 1988.  I was in the small “Bible Chair” building as we called them in those days in a stranger’s town at a stranger’s university.  It was the holiday break at old Alma Mater my senior year, and my parent’s new home was in many ways not mine.

Life was about to be changing for me.   One of the few constants in life is change.  That, and our God.
There was this girl, I can’t even remember her name, or face, or where she was from, only that I felt a need to impress her.  So, I turned the television over to MTV, which was playing a recording of Van Halen’s “Live Without a Net” concert tour.   Sammy was crooning about wanting the best of both worlds, and clearly said girl was not impressed.  I’m not sure if we spoke again after that.

Fast forward 26 years.  I still want to woo the girl, albeit the one I won a few months after New Years 1988.  Life is still changing.   I often find myself living as if I want the best of both worlds, “Heaven right here on Earth”.

Well, that’s not going to happen, any more than, well, you know.

Searching for God Knows What is all about the fall of man, losing Eden, and how Christ works outside our prescribed formulas to bring us back into a relationship with our Creator.

You should give it a try.  But, be warned.  No safety net, emotional or otherwise, is visible.  Then again, maybe we just can’t see it…

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Turn off the TV

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I got my good boy marks the past three and a half days, all Smiley faces and stars, with perfect attendance to boot.  And, may I add, I didn’t watch a single second of television for over 72 hours.

Which brings up an interesting first hand experience perspective.  Many of the people speaking to the 25 hours of panel and lecture time I just sat thru were journalists and (former) politicians.

They were not in talking head mode, that much is sure.  They played nice.  Smiley faces and stars are in order.  They spoke rationally about solving problems, and avoiding overreactions, and of getting along with those with whom we often disagree.  It was refreshing, albeit a bit shocking.

And it made me wonder, why are they not like this in TV?  We often counsel each other about what not to do in email, and text, and on Facebook, that being hiding behind the screen.  I wonder if the same phenomenon is true for TV as well?

It was a good few days, and I don’t think I missed a thing, on TV, that is.

Stars and Smiley faces all around…

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I had an interesting question posed by my youngest daughter late Friday night.  She bears a beautiful smile and, given her reserved personality, can be shockingly funny at the most unexpected times with some most unique insights.   She has a twin brother who is sharp, smart, and engagingly witty, and they both keep me on my toes, as does their lovely mother and her 20something virtual twin, our eldest.

But, believe it or not, this post is not about them.

“So, what was your girl’s question”, you might ask?

She was sitting on my bed watching me pack for one of all too many excursions from home that have seemingly consumed these past few weeks.  Spread randomly between the bed and the floor were piles of bags, books, snacks, shirts, and shoes, each seemingly waiting to be placed in a satchel of choice for this most recent trip, or to be tossed into the corner and left behind.

“You like that Don Miller guy, don’t you?  Is he your man crush?” she said.

“WHAT?”  My shocked response drew a big laugh from her.   She pointed to a book of his on the floor, Storyline, which I have yet to successfully dive sufficiently into.  I’ll have more to say on that later.

You say things about his books on Facebook”, she said.   “Is he your man crush?”

All I could do was smile.  That and continue packing.  It’s a stark reminder to know your child (among others) is stalking you on social media and judging accordingly.

To “cut-loose” with a recently heard lyrical phrase, “Somebody’s eyes are watching”.

Indeed, and she may be right.   In my recent travels, and travails, I’ve pulled the four to five of Mr. Miller’s books in our possession from the shelves and have re-engaged in them fully.   I confess he is quite possibly my favorite non-fiction writer.

I confess, as well, to likely being above average on the introspection scale.  I analyze many thoughts and situations, some of which may not be all they seem, ad-infinitum.  It is quite possible that I am one of the world’s most pessimistic “Glass-half-full” philosophers, always searching for ways to add water to the glass so as to not go thirsty.   I could mention how heavy it is to carry water by volume, but I would digress.

I’ve re-read Through Painted Desserts and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years over the past seven days, and am halfway back thru Searching for God Knows What.  Once it is completed, I plan to go back to where it all began (the crush, I guess) almost a decade ago when a good friend and my lovely Little Frau both recommended his first best seller, Blue Like Jazz, to me.  Like Jazz, life seemingly doesn’t resolve, but the beat goes on.

I dove into Storyline, quite literally, while spending a few moments (a very few, sadly) sitting alone on a beach last evening.   It speaks of adventure, and risk, and living a life that endeavors to save the lives of others, physically and spiritually.   I can’t wait to keep working through it.

I find Miller’s thoughts and words on life, and God, and relationships, and loss, and joy to be renewing.  I would call him “Don”, but we’ve never actually met, and I’m a happily married guy, and to do so might lead my daughter to suggest he was my man-crush.   Go figure.

Well, it is Monday, after all…

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A little over a year ago, just a few doors down and maybe a floor or two from where I sit at this moment, I penned some thoughts about being near the beach.   I can’t remember what else I said in that post.   I’d possibly go back to rehash it, but I would digress.

The trip that week was a little unexpected, even though I knew I’d be travelling for work that week.   I just didn’t know everything I would be experiencing.

Much has happened in the year following.   And, even though I knew way back then that what is coming our way about seven weeks from today indeed was likely to do just that, I didn’t really understand what it all meant.

Today, I think it is starting to sink in.   But, much like the sunrise over the Atlantic this morning, it’s not about something sinking, but about two lives rising together into one new and glorious thing, brighter and fuller than even the aforementioned sunrise.

Let me rely on the words of our mythical friend Reptevia from “Fiddler on the Roof” to say what I cannot adequately articulate myself in this moment:

Is this the little girl I carried, 

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Is this the little boy at play? 

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I don’t remember growing older, 
When did they? 

When did she get to be a beauty, 
When did he grow to be so tall? 

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Wasn’t it yesterday when they were small? 

Sunrise, sunset, 
Swiftly flow the days.

Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers, 
Blossoming even as we gaze.

Sunrise, sunset 
Swiftly fly the years, 
One season following another, 
Laiden with happiness and tears.

What words of wisdom can I give them, 
How can I help to ease their way? 

Now they must learn from one another, 
Day by day.

They look so natural together.

Just like two newlyweds should be.

Is there a canopy in store for me? 

Sunrise, sunset 

Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years, 
One season following another, 
Laiden with happiness, 
And tears…

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The first leg of the journey is completed.  Wasn’t that fast?  Of course, I’m talking about the flight, or am I?

Maybe three words will suffice:

I’LL BE BACK.

No, the Terminator is not calling.

Those words are more or less what Jesus said as recorded in John 14.

OK, it is more, much more, and three simple words won’t do.  So, I will stay with my original combination of Five word phrases, and I’ll let His words speak alone.   They are some good words, indeed….

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.  If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 

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Five words

As John Denver once said, I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again.

While that’s not technically true, none of us really know, if you get my drift.

So, when I travel, I routinely have two five word phrases that I alternate with my kids:

Be good, I love you.

…and…

Take care of your mother.

I don’t need to say much more than that to convey what’s important.

So before they shut the door, let me add:

I will be back tomorrow.

Five words.  Sometimes, it is all you need to say.

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