Hawaii 2010

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Saturday, May 31, 2014

The three Grahams cast a shadow over our world

An Oasis of Grace.

I grew up with Billy Graham Evangelistic Crusades. I remember sensing conviction of sin when he gave invitations on our black and white TV in Troy Alabama, and having to leave the room to avoid responding. I remember that clear voice of authority and the mesmerrizing spell his preaching cast upon a generation. When Christianity began to be ruled by shysters in the 80s his organization stood for accountability and integrity. I got up in the middle of the night during college to hear him in person preaching from a platform in Biscayne Bay to an early morning crdwd of Easter sunrise worshippers. Wow, what memories. Yet Billy was always an object of others anger in the inclusive way he welcomes ministers from all persuasions to participate in his crusades. To this day he has enemies in the fundamentalist faith who clain no one was ever saved at a Graham Crusade?!

I like the relief efforts of Franklin Graham mercy organization, Billy's formerly prodigal son come home to the faith. We support the way he responds in mass to human tragedy and need all over the globe. But Franklins participation in the culture wars makes me sad as it sounds like he is more concerned with who we should dispise rather than who we should help. I know he believes this will make things better for America but I think his much older and wiser father stayed out of such battles and lifted an experience of grace and forgiveness higher for all to come forward and receive.

Now Tullian T. Billys Grandson, has distinguished himself by standing against his own reformed gospel traditions about sanctification and has declared along with the Apostle Paul that grace is a declaration, not an offer. That it goes to sinners while they are trapped in their sins, and that this unconditional love of God is the very thing that works the inner transformation that creates not proud former sinners who have cleaned up their act, but compassionate and merciful forgiven sinners who understand the power of sin and can offer grace that transforms without kicking people out of the boat who are not culturally acceptable.

Now that TT has formed a following of churches that put a priority on the message of grace, the theologians are circling and swarming to bring him back to the fold, to shame his extravagant understanding of God's love in Christ extending to all the world, including sinners.

Talk about growing up with the Grahams, we all have. And they prove that our world is changing, that we are being challenged to bring the wheat from the chaff of religion.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The psychology of weight loss

This is me in front of a shrimp plate truck on Oahu several years ago, about to celebrate with spicy garlic shrimp fresh from the ocean.

I accidentally got hooked up on facebook with a weight loss group that pays a lot for a product called skinny fiber. I should quit but it is fascinating to listen to them encourage each other and ask silly questions as they begin about what they can and cannot eat.

Weight loss is a billion dollar industry that is failing all over the globe, as recent studies suggest that one third of the population in the world is obese.

According to charts, I have been forty lbs overweight all my adult life. In reality, with my frame, 20 lbs would change me quite significantly, and there is not a day goes by when I am not planning, denying, strategizing, and eating to lose weight. Everyday it works, and at the end of most months....it has not worked.

I have psychological issues with celebrations, food that is free, cleaning my plate, and buffets. Enough said. Weight loss is a psychological issue.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Why I will never write a book

I could live without golf...but not without reading.

Because someone already wrote it, and did a better job than me.

I am sure there are lots of other reasons, one of which is the fact that you have to write a lot to write a book, and you have to be organized and original, and have the time and inclination to do the work.

Nevertheless I rejoice when a book succeeds at providing the inspiration, information, content and application that accomplishes its goal and helps the reader. I am helped every week.

I read a number of books at the same time in my reading life. Some have been recommended or given to me to read by friends, some I discover myself when I am searching topics, some feed a particular area of interest that I am working on, some help prepare for a future obligation or joy, like the book on exploring New York City that we bought for our trip next month.

Some are on my waiting list, some on started and hope to return and pick up later. Some are in the tryed but now is not the time list.

What if I woke up one day and no longer had a desire to learn? to understand. to grow?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A happy ending.

One evening over the weekend the grand kids found a little bundle of baby ducklings huddled together in the corner of our yard, no mother duck nearby.

The next morning they were all gone....except one little lost and lonely duckling. Laura and Shannon did the only thing they thought would help, take the lone duckling to the water around the corner, and when they released it some large ducks pecked at it and they left discouraged.

Last evening we went back for one look at the drop off place....and the little duckling was happily eating grass next to a couple of protective ducks, and the fact that he was the only duck tells us he was probably adopted by them...and we were very happy that for once nature was not rough but kind to a little lost duckling.

106 in May

Dreaming about walking on a beach today.

Hot afternoon ahead, first of many, get out of town if you can.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Symptoms of a misplaced value

This trend for young people who are unfullfilled to take people with them in violent suicide is beyond my ability to fathom. It has to be fueled by a world connected in such a way that simply committing suicide is not enough, you need to go out with a bang.

The victims of such deranged people really break my heart. They were just living at the moment and in the vicinity of madness and get caught in its evil drama.

If the highest form of love is the willingness to lay down your life for your neighbor, than the lowest form of inhumanity is to take your neighbors life senselessy, wantonly, and for your own sick selfish final moment of revenge.

Knowing how many people lose their lives this way, has caused me to think often about the concept of recompense. It is the opposite idea of vengance. If God promises to exact payment on those who harm others, then will He also restore live to the victims of this theft of time and life, this interupption of life violently?

Its like the last scene in Titanic, when the old survivor dies, and is ushered again into that grand ballroom where the lives of those adventurous shipmates are restored, their memories, their youth, their loves. Yet now in this recompense those in steerage are valued as much as those in first class. Its restorative justice for those caught up in lifes disasters, wars, and senseless acts of rage.

When I stand near those silent, symetrical rows of the graves of our fallen soldiers, and wonder of their last frightened moments, and of the resurrection, I think about those willing to give their life for thier friends, and no matter what when on it their heads and hearts culturally and religiously, they paid the price.

I think about recompense.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Just a few still standing

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, in sure and certain hope of the resurrection.

As I rise to preach today, there will be a few WWII veterans in the building. For a war that ended 70 years ago that is really saying something about the longetivity of my congregation. Bob turned 90 this week, and saw some of the most violent action in the Pacific as a machine gunner. He still has vivid memories of those war years, as do all who were amazed that they lived through it.

I am a baby boomer, one of the vast multitude of kids born after that war, to parents determined to create a free and better life for their families after all they had seen and done.

I saw Krushchev? pound his shoe on the desk and declare he would bury the west.

I lived through the nuclear threats of Communist Cuba.

I schooled myself under the threat of an Asian war calling my own generation to a hopeless conflict, it changed us all.

I rejoiced over the collapse of the Soviet Union.

I watched the rise of militant Islam.

I am watching the dream of a Soviet union trying to rise from the ashes.

War, what is it good for? My counter culture generation said, absolutely nothing.

An older me sees that some were necessary, all are costly. God bless the memory of our war dead.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The loss of identity

Grandma Kennedy and Aunt Wilma standing in our side yard in Oneonta NY. One day I crawled into the middle of this tree and climbed most of the way to the top, pushed through and slid down the branchs to the ground. Crazy but true. I was scratched and scratchy and smelled like pine tar and I loved it and I remember it. I was nine years old.

Memory is identity. When you have no memories you are not living with a sense of who you are, you are existing. The very sad testimony of the men and women in my community who are care giving spouses with memory loss brings this truth to my heart almost every week.

I see the caregiver practicing the part of the wedding vow that many choose to ignore. For better, or worse. The worse has happened and your loved one does not know how to communicate, has no resevoir of shared experience they can call on, forgets to dress, and eat and plan for the day, yet their bodies are not near death. They go on day after day and month after year. Unthinkable loss of quality of life.

That's why we write our histories so others will know what happened, what we experienced. That is why we store our most precious and happy memories to bring back to fill idle moments and create joy in our life again. God remembers, and so do those made in Him image.

I was not alive for my fathers war, but the pictures and stories and movie recreations made it alive in as many ways as possible.
I cannot have every experience or see every place on this planet, but the words and pictures around me can give me a sense of Ireland, or Italy, or the north pole, which is not on my bucket list.

Memory is life and meaning, practice them, keep them, learn from them.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Weekend ahead

A monument to me....NOT!....but some ancestor who served the state of Indiana.

All people who put themselves as risk for violent death are heroes. This is obviously the armed forces, but for me includes police, fire and security.

I would venture to say that no one expects to become a casualty, so their untimely death becomes the badge of their memorial worth. Every statistical death is then a sacrifice, and the general truth the there is no greater love than laying down your life for someone else becomes operative.

Those who personally know someone who died protecting and serving have a much more vested interest and one focused upon a particular loved on, a specific conflict, and hole in the world. My heart goes out to all these families. Nothing brings back the lost ones.

My dad came back from WWII and raised us, and used the VA to extend his life after cancer. Laura's Uncle Wade perished several days after Normandy taking back a French town and is buried in the American War Cemetary in Lyon France. This connection has helped me appreciate Memorial Day. A connection.

Freedom is not free, we say, it takes people willing to protect it. Thanks to God and to the memories of fallen soldiers.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The joy of paying for services

Yesterday Tony G and his family removed a huge truckload of trimmings from our yard, the truck had 12 ft sides and 30 ft long. Three talm palms and a dwarf palm, two Texas sages, five pomegranite bushes, a grapefruit tree and our huge smooth skinned green palo verde with the yellow blooms. They picked up a hundred pounds of fallen flowers that had carpeted the back yard. Oh, how great to write a check...it would have taken me weeks of labor to do what they did in two hours.

As we knew, our back porch sitting area is getting alot of evening use and we love it. I can see Laura having morning coffee out there when school is out next week.

Some trip excitement is building for our week in New York City, although an urban vacation will not have the quiet we enjoy, this exploration of America's apple will be rewarding. The Statue of Liberty, Times Square, 9/11 memorial, Central Park...while staying in a Manhatten upscale hotel...woot!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

2nd Temple Judaism?

A sunset near Lake Okiboji, Iowa some few summers ago. I miss my batchelor trips.

I appreciate people who help me see things about revelation that are helpful. When Israel was defeated and taken captive in Babylon, there country being overrun and their temple destroyed, this did a huge psychological work on the chosen nation. We were the apple of God's eye, what happened? They set about deepening their understand of mercy and restoration rather than priviledge and power, at least for a while.

The whole New Testament is written under the assumption that God would again bring judgement to Israel, and the third temple of Herod would fall, and we see in Paul the theologian a man rethinking God's promises not in the many seeds of Abrahams children, but in the seed of the Christ who would restore humanity's hope. Jesus is the hope of the world, not Isreal, He is the final chapter of their story and the gaurantee that there story is not over. Although it would not be in a city or a temple, but in the city of God and the throne upon which God rules through the King of Kings.

Helps me see through the temporary structures of power and outward strength in this world and keep my eyes on the one who can shake what is and bring forth was should be and will be. Paul saw Gentile blindness followed by Jewish blindness which demonstrated all of man's hopeless condition, and subjected all men to God's wrath, but in Christ, this locking up of all men into disobedience allows God to be merciful to all. Romans 11 conclusion. So, the church does not own grace, we can only give it away. mercy triumphs over judgement

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What is it about life that makes life worth living?

What do we do with our time? How do we find meaning and satisfaction? Does helping others add more meaning and joy to a day, or does the pursuit of pleasure or idle pastimes?

Answer....both duty and destressing are needed. Balance, intensity, relaxation. Work, rest. Concentration, distraction.

Life is give, share, take, feed, rest....it is all life, and it makes it worth living.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Google monday

Class of 1968 goofball...during those high school years jokesters would throw superballs down empty hallways at school and they would bang and bounce forever, I still remember the first day it happened at Murrah High School, the roars of laughter filled the classrooms of studying students, and I swear it was not me.

I like Google. Today they reminded us that the Rubriks Cube is 40 years old. Wow. Now, I never owned one but had access to many, and always lost interest in restoring the colors within minutes.

I have never lost interest in figuring out the puzzle of human existence, good and evil and the blessings and bains of life.

The gadgets that come and go to make life interesting and worthy of a few minutes of our time. I loved the superball, the gryroscope toy that would spin in your hand and defy gravity, the ball rolling toy where you maneuveured your ball through a maze trying to keep in from falling into a hole, and last and not least, our game board which had a chess/checkers table on one side, and pockets in the corners on the other side to play this game with little wooden rings which was like a mixture of marbles and pool.

What fun we had with that toy, remember Judy, Linda, Janet? I would use it as the base for countless hours of building things with my lincoln logs and my bricks, which were both the predecessors of the lego dominion in my kids life of play.

God values play, mental exercise, and good wholesome pastimes, I think. That's why we all have a few games on our smartphones.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Radical Grace

A glorious day of sailing in Biscayne Bay with my college buddies Alex and Tim, sinners saved by grace, enjoying freedom.

Grace should not need a defining adjective. Grace is a radical concept. But law is a powerful draw of bondage to religion and thus it must always be urgently spoken that the law came through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

A glance at any weeks news shows the tragic effects of lawlessness, and religion. ie. Sharia Law, Boko Harem. Double yuk! Yet Christianity keeps believing that our form of law is superior to grace. Paul taught grace, they got it, then they began to fritter it away, one little issue at the time. So Paul the teacher had to correct, over and over again. Till they killed him, just as they had killed the author of grace, Jesus. Teaching and modeling grace is dangerous business.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

House Beautiful, Hendricks version

We always wonder why it takes us so long to improve our home. Yeh, money! So after 11 years we have some of that nice new faux wicker patio furniture. Now to figure out where it best fits and to accessorize with some flowers, nick nacks etc.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Porch Sitting

A view of our main street porch in Crystal Springs....we never sat out on that porch, too many town gossips and looky lous.

I have a friend who sold a beautiful home because the shade did not allow back porch time. His new view and the back porch view in his other home are spectacular. It is a real feature of backyard life in Sun Lakes. When we golf we see so many enjoying the late afternoons on the back porch.

Growing up in the south, people sat on the front porch and greeted passerbys. Front porch sitting was quite important to the life of small town America. I am told the advent of air conditioning pretty much ended that era for many.

We do not have a breathtaking view from our backyard, just some trees, bushes, and the five foot fence. We do have an outstanding shaded enclosure that is long and wide. For the first time in our lives, we have made a decent investment in the new feux wicker outdoor patio furniture. It is being delivered today. We have some serious back porch sitting to do.

I have requested that Laura let me keep our second hand present chairs, not pretty but very comfortable, And we also have a side porch where I do my grilling. Have a happy outdoor weekend friends.

Like my favorite quote when an old uneducated man was asked what he was doing out on the porch. "sometimes I sits and I thinks, sometimes I just sits.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

mediocre salesman anonymous

I think passing gravesites to and from church makes for a healthy perspective on life and change, and hope. This is from the Big Island.

Trying to survive financially with a nine year preparation to be a minister is.....trying. About the only thing that remotely fits us is selling things, and that is what I did for three years. It was not great, sometimes terrible, always challenging.

This discipline plus time, helped me reenter ministry with a better mindset. I understood the struggles of the working man and the way the weekends invite rest and how easy it is to sleep in on Sunday, with Monday looming.

Human character is however like an onion, many layers to peel to get to deep issues.

What I want to communicate today is simply this. What goes on in your head is who you live with. It is better to like the you who you are and to be working on harmony and peace and freedom from anxiety and hatred and replaying the tape of woundedness all the time.

Peace with God and others and yourself. Grace from God, to others, and to yourself. Lifelong learning from you, for you, and to benefit others.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi??

A happy young family with a dark struggle in my heart.

I entered a mental health lock down facility yesterday, a reminder of the importance of the human mind to create harmony or confusion. Lots of wounded people seeking help.

I was reminded of my first big mental struggle in the ministry. We moved to a new city a week or two before I entered high school.
I liked Jackson, Mississippi. The days of high school flew by and I had a conversion experience, which led to four very happy years in a Christian College, and four rather challenging years preparing for ministry. That was nine years of dedication to knowing, enjoying, and serving God in the church He founded.

When I moved into a small southern town, in my own mind, I found people steeped in tradition and active in their own lives, but the church was a duty way down on their priority list below golf, fishing, shopping, eating, TV....you name it.

I had this moment when I realized that my previous nine years had been in small academic worlds, and now I was in the real Mississippi for the first time....and it did not fit. I spent lots of time in the library, This was before the internet, trying to find books that would fix my attitude and growing depression of the silly roles I was playing in this small town ministry.

I would seek out ministers who were loving what they were doing and ask for help and confide my feelings of alienation. There were lots of great things going on and good relationships, but this inner emotional struggle finally got to me and caused me to make a decision based on damaged emotions. That's when I learned we have freedom to fail, and God does not forsake us. He does however allow us to find out what lesser paths can lead to. As I look back the next three years were a hard lesson I could have learned painlessly if I had not followed my depression but stayed where God put me until its lessons were learned.

My heart breaks for people trapped in futile thinking and depression, but God is still there for them.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

self image?

Here is a young teenage boy, constantly moving from one school to another, developing a case of teenage acne, and just unsure enough of himself to feel on the outside of life. Wish I could have told him not to fear.

Some talk on Sunday of a friend suffering from depression, broken marriage, estranged children. I do not know her but know of this type of human suffering. The way she was raised gave her a bad self image.

How can we help someone from this deep seated psychological damage? Can God heal such a long established and constantly fed wound?

The Mother's day pictures this weekend reminded me of something I observed at my high school reunion. A particular guy, who had married the head cheerleader type girl, was partying in such a way that you could tell he had a very strong self image. He would ask a shy fellow graduate to dance and you could see them blossom.

There was a pastor's wife there, very popular in high school, who had gone through a divorce, and you could tell she was uncomfortable reviving all those cliques from high school, and this man pulled her out of her adult self into her more confident self in moments.

I struggled during that weekend with feelings of being out of the in crowd as well. The cheerleader asked me to dance, and I too felt a sense of being lifted from a bad high school self image. For a moment, I was in with the in crowd.

I think our gospel of the Father's love is supposed to help heal this feeling of failure and outness, and I think we do a pretty bad job of expressing that through the church. Fear based, behavior based thinking casts us into the out crowd and we are depressed that we just don't measure up. I may be overreaching on this, but my heart breaks for stories of wounded people who hate life because they feel hated by others.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Maranatha revolution

Dorothy Louise Kennedy Hendricks, dressed for churh in Alabama in the early sixties. Love you mom.

When you are a part of history, you cannot see the change. Yesterday our history insert in the bulliten shared the huge shift in the early 1970s away from traditional piano and organ hymn singing to the use of guitars and drums and the simplification of the hymn structure to what came to be called worship and praise music.

It was simpler, more repetitive, less loaded with theology, and to be sung in unison without singing parts. Maranatha music took those first scripture based tunes and turned into the major publishing house for the new praise music, later adding the even more guitar and rock based music flowing from the vineyard church music.

It created splits, new congregations, young churches without old people who had been fed and raised on the meaty hymns and melodies that deeply inspired faith and devotion.

And there I was, and have been, stuck in the middle, influenced by both and loving both. For five years I played guitar and bass in a praise band, not very well, but with joy and enthusiasm. Of course we learned one of the unfortunate realities when music becomes performance, that people would leave one church if another church has better bands and music.

Yesterday after singing three hymns in tribute to blind writer Fanny Crosby, I watched the opening praise song in a local megachurch on TV. Dark stage with moving lights, dancing girls, and a rah rah attempt to get people clapping and moving to a song that had two lines of thought. Get to your feet people and get moving its time to praise Jesus.

Ive looked at clouds from both sides now, from up and down and still somehow, its clouds illusions I recall, I really don't know clouds at all.

Some how, He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock, moves me just as much as those days when the annointing fell on our praise band and we played a decent set. And for whatever reason good or bad, church has never been the same, change was inevitable, and when we all get to heaven what a sound of rejoicing there will be.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

It's just life

Young college guys right before launching into real life.

There have been some examples in my recent days of people in mid life doing things that radically departed from their pattern of morality and obedience in the faith. Primarily in the area of ending marriages that seemed successful and launching into some sort of fantasy lifestyle perhaps to recover what they felt they lost in a life of service and hard work, child raising and committment.

This has bothered me because many of them I would have considered very mature in the things of the Lord.

It was as if in declaring the joy and freedom of the gospel many took that freedom to license.

In discussing this with friends who love the lord, one friend said, 'its just life'. Meaning that people are driven and motivated by many things we cannot understand, and what may have appeared to be an obedient life really contained the cracks that developed into the break with the past life. I think there was in his statement a largeness of grace that would sort this out.

That may be true, but I desire to end as I have started, imperfect but constant in the goal of a Christ honoring life.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sayin temporary goodbyes

The group I serve shrinks in May and grows in September, and many good friends are enjoying the home states and families while we tough out another scorching summer. Its really not that bad, mornings and evenings are pleasant, just the mid to late afternoons its best to be inside. Said it before, say it again, we are not winter people.

Happy Mothers Day to all you moms and to Laura, the mother of our children.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Healthcare is important

Family pic, 1959 Thanks Mom for raising us along with Dad.

I try not to dwell on it, but the fact is that in almost any other time I would be gone. Life saving surgical interventions have kept me alive. The Healthcare debate and healthcare costs and physician choices are vital to me.

For me this also includes dentists and chiropractors. I am not a hypochondiac. There are modalities in my body that require care. Yesterday my dentist helped me with an issue. As I have begun to massage the surgical scar on my forehead I noticed a place that was not healing. I asked my dentist friend (same office for over 20 years), to take a look and he pulled a huge stitch out of my head that the nurse had missed two weeks ago. We joked about him remembering his premed classes, but dentists still do this stuff. Thank you Dr. B.

Then to my chiropractor, whose diagnostic skills and tests amaze me. Golfers place strain on their bodies no matter how we try to make a simple stress free swing. This things he did yesterday relieved an aggravating shoulder pain and a deep pain in my upper back. I type this morning with a pain free core and an eagerness to enjoy the day before me. Thank you Dr. D.

My heart doctors have been careful and serious and have listened to my own listening to my heart condition. Thank you Dr. K.

The worldwide web provided massive, free information on diet, health, diagnostics, exercise, nutrition. As stubborn and stuck as I often am in my personal habits, my time in the gym and choices we make for eating are based on all we learn. Thank you creative healthcare community on the web. I am reading and listening.

My life has an expiration date. Unlike some of my friends I think the date is a bit flexible depending on our body care, maybe not flexible to Him but still related to my own choices. I do not count out the fact that people have accidents. However, the time I have been given is a gift and my role in the community has been joyful. Thank you Lord. Enough, I go out to live.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Yellow is a lovely thing

Our Palo Verde is bursting with color and the cool spell we are in made last evenings porch time so delightful. Even big Kitty was fascinated by the carpet of yellow.

I wish the global warming debate were scientific, unbiased, non political. Sounds like the desert southwest will be a dry burning inferno in a few years and we will have to leave to survive. Doom and gloom sells.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Hearing someones story

I love the movie, While you were sleeping. A young woman so longs for family that she goes along with being a fiance with an unconscious stranger because she so longs to be part of a family. As the deception falls away, true love develops, and love wins.

Yesterday a women came to visit in my office and ask about our church, after visiting for several Sundays. The funny thing about being a pastor of a church is that people think you and the church are the same, when in fact many of the things we do and believe and the ways we function are not exactly who I am. Even if I had been the original pastor that would still be true. So we sort through the issues and questions as almost every gathering of more than two or three involves some give and take, some compromise, some, "we have always done it that way".

In the midst of this, I listen to her story. How she got to this place, what scars and wounds and strengths and joy are part of her journey. We touch commonalities, as all humans do and even more for those who walk with God. I try to be me, not someone trying to get someone to sign a contract. If we are coerced by anything but freedom, it never works. There has to be a spark to continue a desire to walk together in fellowship and learning. I have to be willing to let her keep looking elsewhere.

We had a local pastor here when I came who had the reputation of a bull dog. If you ever visited his church and he got your name he would dog you until you asked him to leave you alone. Agressive church growth through dogged visitation. Everyone thought it a virtue, a strength.

I did not. Relationships are like a dance. If people want me to be like their favorite pastor, I am pretty much unable to dance like another guy. I do love hearing how God deals with people, and I do desire them to walk with us and learn with us, but we cannot push or impress, we can only be honest.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

An explosion of yellow

Our backyard palo verde we purchased seven years ago as a wee tree now filles the end of our backyard with shade and color. The different types seem to bloom at different rates and ours is finally arriving. The wind creates a yellow carpet to enjoy under the tree. A glass of wine in the evening watching the birds play on the back fence and in the tree creates a feeling of peace.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cinco de Mayo

Building a shelter in Mexico, a very poor country by in large.

Mexican Independence day is a day of celebration and Mexican food bonanza in states with hispanic heritage. I enjoy mexican food and usually eat mexican twice a month, much more fond of oriental food and the endless variety of restaurants that present it.

Still trying to figure out why invitations to eat out and special banquets always increase when I am trying to shed a few pounds.

Dealing with the possible loss of my wallet this week, hoping someone nice found it and will return it.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A small step in my journey

Faith and tradition are strange things. Faith brings vitality and strength and conviction and tradition brings fear and suspicion and abuse. Not all traditions, many are helpful and blessed. I am talking about questionable issues that harden into intimidating pressure to conform.

In my seminary days it was the ins and outs of sabbath keeping.

The freedom to partake in an adult beverage or dance in church life.

Today, we used men and women to pass the communion plate. A great tradition with lots of meaning to the Christian faith, and in my tradition only served by men. No chapter and verse, just another way to demonstration male leadership in the church.

So, today, we used some lovely female saints. I remember all the voices from my religious tradition, and feel how powerful the voices accusing us to keep to the standards. This was not even about women speaking or teaching, this was about the same women who serve us food every day of our lives. Silly, isn't it.

So, its like peeling an onion, one layer at a time, and my eyes watered with a moment of joy during communion when I spoke of Jesus showing himself alive to the attentive, and loving women who went to annoint His body on Easter morning.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

May is nice

Three generations.

We made it to May with using our A/C, yeah us!

I am getting worse at golf as I age, so be it.

We will be getting our first 100 plus week this week. It is a desert city.

Laura is on summer vacation countdown. Bring it on.

Friday, May 2, 2014

We do not sell fire insurance!

Out to enjoy the fairways and greens this morning.

Years ago someone shared that a red flag should rise when some teaching or doctrine is named with a word that has no biblical origin. Forgiveness is a biblical word that has a doctrine.

I kept hearing people in their talks and prayers yesterday talking about the "offer" of the gospel. Like you are selling something that people have to accept.

The word offer is in the old Testament and Hebrews a lot. It always talks about us offering something to God, not about God offering something to us. Salvation is not really an offer, its a declaration. It is based upon what God has done for humanity.

Believing is a biblical word. There is a doctrine about believing. When I believe God I am not accepting his offer of anything. I am believing what He did for me. This belief triggers a set of participitory realities like joy, peace, love, etc.

I wish people would stop using the word offer, like a salesman who closes his briefcase when you say no to his offer and walks out the door. The good news never walks out the door, for the unconditional love of God will be there declaring the love of God every moment of every day. He is not really asking you to accept or reject His offer, He is doing what He said he would do, fleshing out the reconciliation of God and man that is a finished work.

We treat people who are not currently with us as if they had rejected God and were under his wrath, and they sense it. They sense the pride we create as those who have accepted the offer. We are just a bit smarter to have bought the pitch than you stooges that did not. Pleae stop offering the gospel and start living it and proclaiming it with simple trust, stop trying to make a sale.

The Gospel is not an offer, its a declaration that all the purposes of God in Christ will be accomplished, and an invitation to a delightful experience of a good and beautiful God.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Day of Prayer

All these West Point cadets would be in their mid to late 70s by now. Wonder what happened in their service lives, did some give all?

Sixty years ago President Eisenhower was impressed with a message while sitting in the Lincoln pew and put the words "under God" in the pledge. Twenty two years later I was ordained and preached my first sermon on Sunday, July 4th, 1976, our nations 200th Birthday. Thirty eight years later God is dangerously absent from the public square. God have mercy.