Tuesday, February 28, 2006


"In a powerful way the word of the Lord kept spreading and growing." Acts 19:20

A quick word today: I love my church!

Over 7, 000 people attended last weekend after the billboards and website that created a buzz on the coming of a new series on sex-- a topic often taboo in church even though it is directly addressed frequently in the Bible. Sex is a major issue--stats of pregnancy rates, std's, the widespread wealth of the pornography industry . . . the list goes on and on. I am so thankful for a church that, like Christ, tackles the big issues.

Thank you, Lord, for bringing us to a church with a heart for the lost, that embraces the Arts as a medium for Jesus and his message. Today, I pray that you will bless all the staff at GCC. This was a big win for You and the church; the enemy's not going to be happy.

Much like the first church and the original disciples, the story of Jesus is once again speading like wildfire. I love it when history repeats itself!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Brick Wall

"I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate--I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it-- and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God's Spirit and God's power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God's power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else." 1 Corinthians 2:3-5 (Paul on leading the church)

"Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win." Atticus Finch in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

"All in all you're just another brick in the wall." Pink Floyd

Public education is a fickle thing
An undeniably flawed system
with good intentions--sounds familiar.
Where "No child left behind" is a paradox
and "high school" has a double meaning.
Where the students feel like
just another brick in the wall--
The same wall the teachers beat their heads against.
When "one of those days" means the system won
You got caught in the machine again.
But there are these magical moments--
where lightbulbs flicker, mouths turn up,
and they chew on a sense of accomplishment and purpose.
One hundred and twenty-nine souls
enter and leave my classroom each week.
One hundred and twenty-nine.
How can I possible help them all?
How could I possibly reach all of them?
How could I possibly show them that
each and every one of them matters to You
that You have a purpose for their lives,
a reason You created them.
Answer: I can't.
You can.
No "fancy mental or emotional footwork" will do it--
Only You.
In the meantime, with your help, I'll keep trying.
I may be up against a wall,
but I can see it, and it's not brick.
It's stone-each one it's own shape, color, and mass.
Thank You, Lord, for creating these amazing kids
All One Hundred and Twenty-nine.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Bacon

"God will use his wonderful riches in Christ Jesus to give you everything you need." Phillipians 4:19

"Being a provider appears to be at the core of a man's identitity as a male and as a person of worth . . . For a man, bringing home a paycheck is love talk, pure and simple. He has something to prove ("I can take care of you, I am worthy of you) and he wants to deliver." Shanti Feldhahn, For Women Only

The lightbulb has been flickering for some time
But it finally lit up today.
The pressure, the focus, the dedication to his work--
it's not a replacement for me
it's not a competitor for my time
it's not some mistress who steals his attention
it's a gift, an offering, a duty to his family.
An everpresent task that
calls like a siren in traffic
flails like someone waiting to be rescued
and taps its fingers impatiently
just waiting for him to measure up.
Something You dropped in the concoction
At the creation of the male species.
When a bad mood is not just a bad mood,
ESPN is therapy, everything is a problem to solve,
eating what you kill makes it taste better,
a paycheck is a love note,
and isolation brings peace.
Thank You, Lord for my manly man
who was created in the image of You
--our ultimate provider.
Guide him and comfort him
As he seeks Your will in how he can
Bring home the Bacon.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Cloud Rider

Psalm 68:4
"Sing hymns to God; all heaven, sing out; clear the way
for the coming of Cloud-Rider.
Enjoy GOD, cheer when you see him!" (Msg)
I wonder what riding on the clouds is like?
Perhaps a bit like sledding
A gliding, sliding, rush of falling fun.
A wind-chilling, heart-thrilling dash
that holds your breath
pulls at your tummy
and lifts your mouth to a gaspy grin.
Thanks, Cloud-rider, for the gift of winter games that remind me of You.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Mike's Quest

Lord, Be with Mike today.
He is just like Solomon.
Right now, all he can see is smoke.
He thinks death will bring silence
--an end to the smoke, peace and quiet.
Help him, like Solomon, to get
to the place where he understands
that it's not all just smoke.
There is purpose.
There is joy.
There is You.

Ecclesiastes 1
The Quester

1These are the words of the Quester, David's son and king in Jerusalem:

2Smoke, nothing but smoke. [That's what the Quester says.]
There's nothing to anything--it's all smoke.
3What's there to show for a lifetime of work,
a lifetime of working your fingers to the bone?
4One generation goes its way, the next one arrives,
but nothing changes--it's business as usual for old
planet earth.
5The sun comes up and the sun goes down,
then does it again, and again--the same old round.
6The wind blows south, the wind blows north.
Around and around and around it blows,
blowing this way, then that--the whirling, erratic wind.
7All the rivers flow into the sea,
but the sea never fills up.
The rivers keep flowing to the same old place,
and then start all over and do it again.
8Everything's boring, utterly boring--
no one can find any meaning in it.
Boring to the eye,
boring to the ear.
9What was will be again,
what happened will happen again.
There's nothing new on this earth.
Year after year it's the same old thing.
10Does someone call out, "Hey, this is new"?
Don't get excited--it's the same old story.
11Nobody remembers what happened yesterday.
And the things that will happen tomorrow?
Nobody'll remember them either.
Don't count on being remembered.

I've Seen It All 12Call me "the Quester." I've been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13I looked most carefully into everything, searched out all that is done on this earth. And let me tell you, there's not much to write home about. God hasn't made it easy for us. 14I've seen it all and it's nothing but smoke--smoke, and spitting into the wind.

You think you've seen it all, Mike.
I admit it's mostly true.
You are truly a modern day "quester."
Your experiences are amazing,
your accomplishments unparalleled.
Bicycles, BMW's, bureaucratics,
And the pursuit of perfection;
but I know how Vietnam haunts you;
I know how much your children love you.
Your friend was right:
Hope is the difference between the living and the dead,
but it's not the only one.
You don't have to feel like a walking dead person anymore.
Just ask your son.
He'll tell you that, besides you, there's another great father he knows
who has
the answers to your questions
the beginning of purpose
the end to your loneliness
a freedom from nightmares
and a joy unimaginable.
Keep searching. Keep questing.
And I'll keep praying and leaving my classroom door open.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Schedule Change

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." Matthew 11:28-30

Course: Abundant Life 101
Textbook: The Bible
Focus: Red Lettered Text
Classroom: GCC
Study Groups: Small group twice a month
Other Notes:
Private tutors (honor students) are available on Thursday nights and weekends; childcare is provided.
Cliff notes are available in most local bookstores, though the instructor prefers study of the textbook itself.
Copying off of spouses, family members, or peers is not considered cheating.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

To the Wolves

Paint grace--graffiti on the fences; take in your frightened children who are running from the neighborhood bullies straight to you." Psalm 17:7 (Msg)

He grew up in a world of fight or flight--daddy was a drug dealer, mom a survivor. One of the fastest runners in the state. His secret?-- intense training in his neighborhood running for his life. We worked with him until he realizes his gift on the track was his ticket out. But he had to buy his ticket with passing grades. We worked so hard to get him on track. One incident in the cafeteria, and he was expelled. He was cornered like an animal, accused of something he didn't do. He tried to explain; the principal wouldn't listen. Everything was black and white until he saw red. The alternative school is full--we're throwing him to the wolves over a numbers issue? Lord, is there a such thing as loving anger, rage of justice, integrity-filled fury? Lord, I place him in your hands. My modern day Daniel in the lions' den--but the scary thing is, Daniel knew You. Daniel had faith. All my student has are his fists and an open spot in his daddy's business.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Score Card

"Love . . . doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others." 1 Corinthians 13:5

I had a dream 2 nights ago.
In the 3rd row of a stranger's funeral,
I marveled at the eulogy.
An avid golfer chasing the perfect score
had collapsed on the green,
His ball 5 inches from the cup on the 18th.
His wife was reading his score card
in attempt to determine his eternal fate.
But it was not simply his golf game she scrutinized . . .
Apparently, he sliced it when he
kicked his daughter out of the house at 17.
But he recovered for a bogey by paying for her wedding.
He hit it in a water hazzard with an affair in '92,
But his wife granted him a mulligan.
He overshot the green when he stole a candy bar
From a local store when he was 16,
But used his pitching wedge to recover by
always over tipping at restaurants.
He buried his ball in a bunker with
the drunken fight of '84,
But pulled through for par by
mowing his elderly neighbor's lawn.
As she continued with the list,
the panic in her voice rose.
You could sense her mind racing.
Searching for answers on the score card.
She awkwardly held a tiny pencil wondering
why they didn't have erasers.
Would he spend eternity in a sand trap--
Hitting the same ball over and over
as it returned to the same spot?
Or had he made a hole in one
and headed back to the clubhouse
For a relaxing lunch with his buddies?
Would he see his dad? his best friend he lost 3 years ago?
Our old dog max? would he still have back pain?
The swirl of thoughts seemed to boil over
and force the tears to fall
like the rain she'd pray for that day
so he'd postpone his tee time
and cuddle just a little longer.
But there wasn't a cloud in the sky . . .

and then I woke up.

There's nothing worse than a funeral of unbelievers,
of people who haven't met you, haven't heard Your amazing story of hope, mercy, and forgiveness. Thank you, Lord, for tearing our score cards
and loving us even if we're not quite up to par.