Hawaii 2010

This is a Flickr badge showing public photos and videos from Don in AZ. Make your own badge here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Coffee Shop Conversation

Spent two hours discussing the scriptures with my friend John and his friends. The spiritual hunger is everywhere. We want to know God and to share Him with others. The Coffee shop was right around the corner from the first home we bought 20 years ago. At different times this corner has been deserted and empty of business life, but tonight it was a buzz of activity. This coffee shop was filled with people talking, and studying and connecting. It was good.

Sunday Daniel and Ramona visited from Romania to have some respite from the bitter cold winter and to contact friends and supporters. They live very frugally and find they are being accepted, not as rich Americans, but fellow believers. He shared the truth that living by faith in a difficult place shows the miraculous provision of God to them in ways they never experienced here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Eight More Weeks

We are planning a trip to the Beach this summer. This is the church ruin in San Jaun Capistrano.

My wife Laura is back for the last quarter of the first grade year. Her grade level traveled to the Junior College for a day of learning about water safety.

We chose to go nowhere during her two week vacation, she read and relaxed and helped during our wall damage repair project. After a month we have our water softener back in use.

As the days count down for our kitchen replacement and tile redo throughout the house we are looking forward to the changes and desire to get the house back in shape from its current dissaray.

The date for Easter is so late that many of our folks will be heading home before the holy day.

These days are so uplifting to the spirit as the sounds and smells and blossoming of spring reminds us of the One who brings the Manna from heaven to the world.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Kindle Update 3

I now have 14 books downloaded on my Kindle. The Wireless access is so easy that you have to practice self restraint, (as with all conveniences). The search function along with collected reviews really help the process.

A lovely serendipity is the chance to reread books that meant a lot to you long ago. I am reading the Penrod books by Booth Tarkington which thrilled me in elementary school. As I read his stories of a headstrong boy and his misadventures the authors vocabulary is so rich that I can see how reading this helped me develop as a youth, and I can enjoy the drama of his scrapes with parents, teachers, and just about everyone in his life. And it was a free book. I have done the same for Laura, who reads a classic that leads her to another book she wants to read.

I can definitely report that I am reading more, using reading time more effectively, returning to reading for relaxation more than in past years, and....I bought the coolest man purse to haul my day planner, my Kindle, my ipod, and my smartphone around. It was getting to0 cumbersome to keep them in my hand. It's a Targus, like a computer bag but smaller, designed for the IPad.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Is it possible that God can stand by and be for the victim of violence while at the same time desire to set the victimizer free from his bondage to violence and hatred?

Could the plan of the eons be able to accomplish both? Could love win? Could mercy and justice kiss?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Who wants to live forever?

This is me, summer before last, 20 pounds heavier, I am working on another 20, and it is not easy, but it is good.

I am talking not about life after death, but long life. One of the driving passions of life is to be healthy. The only show I tape every day is Dr. Oz because I want to learn about healthy eating and ways to improve my overall health.

Sometimes Christians emphasize the issue than the moment of your death is known to God and is therefore inflexible?? The very idea of life extension is ridiculous to discuss.

I think there is more of the sowing and reaping issue in this lifestyle and life extension issue. Yes, even if you walk in front of a bus, you should desire to be in shape, flexible, and as healthy as possible for your own body and genetic makeup.

I guess the kind of funny study just revealed that people who attend religious services are heavier than those who don't might have triggered this post. America has an obesity problem, Christians in America have an obesity problem. I have an obesity problem. Let's not be anymore afraid to discuss how to change it, than we are to discuss heaven and hell.

I am a diabetic, I may have a family tendency towards it, but I may have abused carbohydrates at about a billion fried chicken dinners at church. I do not plan to live forever in this body, but I hope to take care of it with healthy eating and reasonable movement for body and activity for mind, and spiritual exercise for my spirit. Sounds like a plan for abundant life for me.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How to be a Christian without Being Religious

The Wapatki Indian Ruins.

I am paying an ode to the first unexpected blessing of my Christian life. I had dropped out of Church when we moved from Alabama to Mississippi in 64. I returned to Church in 67 to spend time with a girlfriend and to rekindle a deeper relationship with God that began in June of 67.

The High School Sunday School was studying Fritz Redenours book with the above title which was a commentary set for our age group of the book of Romans. Not only did Roman's help me get grounded in grace, the title fit my desire not to play false piety games like I had seen in my earlier years of church attendance.

I am still amazed when I dig under the surface of most believers I find a weak under standing of grace, unconditional love and unmerited favor and a strong fear based understanding that God only loves good people, I must therefore look and act right, ie. be culturally religious. So how do you live? Do not judge, Love God and love your neighbor, let no one rob you of your freedom in Christ.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Beautiful day to be outdoors

The desert spring is short and sweet and enjoying a round of golf was the best way to drink in the sun and have some nice experiences.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Revelation confused

Pensacola Beach suffered economically last summer because of bad press, not bad water. We swam three days and only had a spot of two of oil to clean off our feet. I really felt bad the for summer business traffic. I hope things improve this summer.

I tried to share the concept of Platonic dualism that colors our back reading into scripture tonight, and probably failed. It is a slippery concept but extremely important to realize that some later influences affect the way we read and interpret the Bible. Sometimes I get pretty discouraged that we can argue and wrestle with the Bible and miss the main points and get lost in the details and follow historic rabbit trails to sad consequence in our witness to the world. I really like the way Brian McClaren begins at the beginning of the story and sees a God that never gives up on His crowns of creation, never gives up, never gives up, until Love Wins.

I have to believe God keeps the plan on track when we lose track.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ashes to Ashes

Did the kid pulling baseboard and breaking it behind this piece of furniture know we would have to take it apart to fix it?????

We gathered to place Don S. ashes next to his wives in Valley of the Sun. For the second Monday in a row the weather was miserable. At the funeral it was windy city. One of our ladies in church was leaving a building when the door flung her in the street with a violent opening in the wind.

Today our small partial family ceremony was windy and wet. We enjoyed a final celebration lunch at Don's favorite restaurant, Charleston's, and I had one of the best salads ever.

My construction and painting team are repairing the drywall and baseboards as our new tile and kitchen replacement project will begin in the middle of April.

The super moon and rain in the desert increased my appreciation for the desert and God's lovely creation and sustaining of the universe. My life is far removed from issues in Libya, Japan, but I share the same air, water, and planet, and the same world made new by Christ's light.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Love Wins 2

The footbridge in Hanapepe, Kauai. I have visited this place often, on the only navagable river in Hawaii.

I am not a book reviewer, I am a book reader. I belong to no tribe of Christianity, although I carry deep influences from many of the systematic ways of approaching orthodox Christianity. I do believe the family of God has people of differing approaches to key elements and some differences on thing not essential.

When someone thinks a writer has transgressed the key elements then accusations are made and judjments are passed.

I finished Rob Bell's book and found it to be provacative and beautiful in describing the Fathers love, and the reality of fruit bearing.

He breaks boundaries in understanding the doctrine of reconciliation in a broader way. This is based on what I believe is a true understanding of the relationship between this age, ie. time, and the age to come, ie. eternity.

This is the tension and controversy in the book. Traditional Christianity has taught that this life is your chance, your opportunity to repent or face eternal conscioius torment for all eternity. Bell is standing on an older tradition that state that in ages to come the whole world of fallen creation will be restored to the Father through the Son. This is more than a good southern Baptist can stomach.

He does a fine job of presenting this possibility without demanding everyone agree. He has made some hopeful conclusions that keep the purpose of God in Christ unified to the successful conclusion, ie. Love Wins.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Don't keep old meds around the house

Yesterday was my day off, and I played a fun tournament with my friend Jack and the Lions Club at Leisureworld.

All day I was dizzy, and when I put my peg in the ground, I would fight a feeling of blacking out. At home my blood pressure was 90 over 50 and thereabouts, so I was concerned.

Everything was back to normal today and I realized that I took two blood pressure meds accidently, so my body was struggling to keep the blood flowing to my head during exercise.

Luis Palau is speaking at a two day festival here. I remember the Billy Graham outdoor stadium events, and this is sort of the same but on steroids, as they have a huge venue with food and sports and games to attract the young families they hope to reach with the message.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Love wins

An historic church in Maui.

I am halfway through the Kindle publication by Rob Bell entitled Love Wins. It is poetic and probing and interesting the way that he removes the fear of talking about those heaven and hell concepts. I am very moved by the way he fashioned each arguement. It is beautiful, and attractive, and, well within the family of orthodoxy, in my opinion. He is very fair about peoples freedom to reject God and God's determination to end injustice. This is no namby pamby everything is fine kind of exposition. He is serious about revelation, and refreshing about unmasking false narratives that have ruled and created fear.

I do not relish reading the anti reviews and further attacks.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Church Leaves on May 21st

This news has filtered to me from Billboards around our city of a group predicting the rapture of the church in a few months, and on a specific day.

I glanced at the web site and saw some independent type numbering based on some biblical dates and geneologies. I guess time will tell if they have it right or join the over 2500 others who set dates for the rapture and or the end of the world.

Forgive me for adopting a wait and see attitude.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


My beautiful wife and way above average grand children visiting our Church on Sunday.

Wednesdays move from one task to another. At Men's bible study we discussed reconciliation, Rob Bell, and the Bill Board predictions of the rapture coming on May 21st....according to those who put up the sign. Interesting times.

Then some office time and phones and visits.

Then some golf, always a pleasure and a frustration, including a couple of boomer drives.

Then the gym, my lifeline to health.

Then, our new prayer meeting, as we join God in caring for the world, so many needs, so many critical turns and problems. 8 am. til 8 pm. Life happens, and it is good.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The World in Crisis

Above looking down on the countryside of Maui.

I continue to think, reflect, read, and meditate upon the times in which we live. For a number of reasons I do not join those predicting the immanence of Christ's return,though I am ready.... nor do I believe that everything will magically change if we change the party numbers in congress. We are in real economic crisis.

In a few moments a natural disaster sent a country into chaos and a world reeling from the fallout. That is solemn and impressive. I pray for those suffering and those rescuing. I have become convinced in all these things that God desires to rescue us far more than He desires to punish us. He is kind and compassionate.

I have always been convinced that God can bring about His purposes in the world. So, I am watching and waiting yielded and still, and at the same time asking, Lord, what would you have me do to be part of your benevolent New Covenant Kingdom. How can I encourage the church to walk in love?, not in panic, in reaction, in selfishness, in hate.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring Break Help

We had a lovely extended family from Iowa helping us the our monthly lunch bag ministry for the rescue mission. It is really a treat to have kids wandering around our gatherings. They are visiting grandparents during spring break.

It was fun giving our daughter and her hubby a weekend off from kids as we had them for four days. Now Laura is enjoying her own spring break.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Rainbow Acres Choir

A community for special need adults near Verde Valley AZ. A home, school, living environment nearing 40 years of service.

The choir represents over one hundred men and women who live, learn, work and play in that Ranch setting.

We were presented an updated plaque that recognized our place in the top ten of church contributions over the years. Our people enjoy helping them have such a great and meaningful lifestyle. They learn to love the Lord and serve him.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Try a Little Kindness

Showing a little kindness in Mexico last month was a joy.

Glen Campbell had a cute song about kindness in the 80s or 90s. "

If you see your brother standing by the road with a heavy load from the seeds he's sowed, and if you see your sister falling by the way, just stop and say your going the wrong way, you've got to try a little kindness, to show a little kindness show your light for everyone to see, then you'll overlook the blindness of the narrow minded people on their narrow minded streets. don't walk around the down and out, lend a helping hand instead of doubt and The kindness that you show everyday will help someone along the way.

Great song, great truth.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquakes and Tsunami's

Poipu Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the world, and is near our condo. I heard they got some upsurge today, as have so many other locations in the wake of this disaster.

The footage is stunning, the destruction massive, and I am sure the death toll will be significant. May all those who are seeking to save lives, restore services, and begin restoring damages be safe and effective.

Living in these times of tension with thankfulness and concern.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Andrew the Missionary

I did not have my wide angle camera or I could have caught both sides of this double rainbow. Erin Go Braugh???

I have enjoyed dipping into my way above average collection of Celtic Christian and Celtic Music this month. I pulled my copy of Cahill's How the Irish Saved Civilization and marveled that this man returned to minister Christ to his captors and enemies and found ways to connect the faith to their violent and individualistic culture.

Today we sang some Celtic modernizations of the poems and sayings that became associated with Celtic Evangelism. Christ above me, Christ beside me, Christ when I rise and Christ when I sleep.

I celebrate the threeness and confess the oneness of the Creator of the Universe.

Waiting and hoping for someone or something to save Western Civilization.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I believe in the righteous judgment of God

Up to my waist in cold water deep in the jungle of Kauai last summer. It was cold and refreshing after the hour walk and two hour kayak to get there.

When I try to tell people that our traditional understanding of Hell needs reexamining, they assume I have gone crazy and am suddenly completely neglecting massive numbers of passages about God being the judge of all the earth. I deeply love the idea that God will right all wrongs and restore all things.

I believe in Gehenna, Hades, Tarturus, and Sheol, I do not believe in the medieval interpretations of these Greek and Hebrew words and the truth they represent.

I love and respect those who feel the traditional view is correct, I just cannot stay with them in those views. We are both believers in the Gospel. We make agree on more than we realize and disagree on more than we think. History has a way of exposing false understandings. The truth shall set us free.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Someone left a million on my windshield

1,000,000 dollars left on my windshield. It was fake, and had an evangelistic message printed around the edges. I had to turn the bill around and around to read it.

It told me that if I had ever lusted that God hated me and I would go to hell, but He did not want me to go to hell, so Jesus died for me, if I will repent I will have eternal life when I die.

This is why everyone is interested in Rob Bell's upcoming book. Love Wins. The issue of Jesus saving us from God the father has some flaws that need to be reformed, and thankfully the paradigm shift has reached mass in my lifetime.

I could really use the money.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Rembering Don S. and Joni

Mississippi Brown Pelicans begging for food on the trip to Ship Island.

I attended a denominational meeting at Biola University in 1988 and met Bill Bright and Joni Earickson Tada in person. I was inspired. I had followed Joni's story from the beginning, the movie, the book, and her subsequent excellent writings, and ministry. She and I are the same age, so I connected with her story of coping and then accepting God's will in her suffering and paralysis.

Don supported her ministry and always shared materials and messages when he went to the donors conferences. He had mentioned me to some of his contacts.

Today they sent two staff members to Don's memorial service, and the staff member is giving me Don's invitation to the next Governor's prayer breakfast in Arizona, where Joni will be speaking. I am thankful and looking forward to it.

Don's memorial was a testament to what a lovable character he was. Lots of good memories of a man who loved his life, his family, and his friends.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


A little plant, at 10,000 ft above sea level, in a volcanic crater on Maui.

Spoke on Jesus teaching about loving your enemies, and God's kindness and mercy. It is a huge comfort in our polarized world to know and believe this.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Happy 90th, Mary Ellen T.

It's not many days you get invited to share a Birthday dinner with someone celebrating 90 years on this planet. I don't think they plan it, it just happens. But with Mary Ellen it took a big dose of the zest for living, and a generous slathering of gratitude which oozes from her character.

The next picture shows the wind machines we lived with for a week drying out our walls. Glad that's over.

This is the air I breathe

Reading a book about developing a contemplative seeing. The third eye. The author is speaking of the Divine Name YHWH, The I am that I am. He implies that His name is associated with life, as breathing in and breathing out, as the source of all life.

Thus the Spirit is breathe and life as well, goes and does what He will and yet not visible to the human eye. To be seen with the third eye of spiritual life.

I love that praise chorus. This is the air I breathe, Your Holy Presence, living in me.

One man sees a sunset, likes the beauty, goes his way, another see the beauty, knows the science behind earth and sea and sun, goes his way. A third sees all the others see, but beholds the glory of God in that moment, and worships. That...is the third eye.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I love electronic stuff

Tommorrow we are installing a digital recorder and a new cd player on our church audio system. This means we are way behind the official end of cassette tapes. It also acknowledges that people in our church are not asking for recordings.

I still want to save our services just in case, so this will be nice. Interestingly, we are using the SD card that we use for photography. 35 hours of recording. It can then be edited during the service or in the computer which can then be burned to CD.
Hope everyone gets the hang of it.

Then the CD player, which has all kinds of bells and whistles, including MP3 and Ipod. I really want the possibility of adding music from time to time.

Spring is springing here.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Good bye Don S.

Don's mom died recently at 107 and he always hoped his good genetics would work for him. Both of these brothers in the Lord are with the Lord now.

My good friend Don S. missed his tee time this morning. He left this life last night when paramedics responded to a call for help and could not revive him.

He was a huge bear of a man, but a teddy bear, who never stopped teasing and talking with his friends. He was a successful banker with a fine family. He was his wives principle caregiver for many decades as she lived with MS. After her death he became involved with the ministry of Joni Erickson to help get wheelchairs and mobility to those in need around the world.

We teased him incessently when he moved to the ladies..ahem! I mean the Senior tees, and then proceeded to outdrive us and beat us all. It was all part of the fun of knowing this man. He always teased me about the UPS man delivering my sermon to the house on Saturday so I would know what to say on Sunday. I will miss that man. Our Minnasota golfing group has lost another stalwart.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Adventures in memory

Me spouting off about something.......

I rely a lot on my brains ability to bring words and thoughts to the place of utterance. We all do. Here in Sun Lakes and in every aging community we laugh and tease about "Senior Moments" when the name, the word, the idea.....just won't come to your brain.

I have been doing it too much lately. And my multitasking strengths seem to be diminishing of late. I can do five or six things at once on a good day, and juggle a number of jobs, tasks and trains of thought, while reading and listening to something.

I got worried about myself Saturday when I put an egg on the stove, and then got in my car and left to run an errand. The egg on the stove left my head, it was gone from my memory, and boy was wifey upset when she got out of the shower and smelled the burn.

I am putting myself on notice, be careful, Dude....Just sayin.