A Do-It-Yourself-Psalm

Posted by on Apr 5, 2016 in God, Hope, Redemption, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I’m not much of a poet, but Psalm 124 provides a template that even I can follow in writing a personal expression of praise. If the Lord had not been on our side— let Israel say— 2 if the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us, 3 they would have swallowed us alive when their anger flared against us; 4 the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, 5 the raging waters would have swept us away. 6 Praise be to the Lord, who has not let us be torn by their teeth. 7 We have escaped like a bird from the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. 8 Our help is in the Name of the Lord,        the Maker of heaven and earth. The first two verses begin, “If the Lord had not been…if the Lord had not been…” The stage is set for the harmful consequences for us without God’s intervention. Verses 3, 4 and 5 tell what might have happened to us: “they would have…it would have…it would have…they would have…” We clearly see how badly things would have turned out. Verses 6 and 7 describe the results of God’s protection of us: “He has not…we have…it has been…we have…” We express gratitude for what God has done. When you have time for uninterrupted reflection fill in the blanks with an example from your life: “If not for the Lord…it would have…they would have…instead, he has…so I have…” “Our help is in the Name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” v. 8 How would you fill in the...

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Who’s In Charge Here Anyway?!

Posted by on Mar 18, 2016 in Character, Culture, Hope, Leadership | 9 comments

Have we seen a more circus-like political process in our lives? I haven’t. I doubt you have. We are all familiar with the boorish, demeaning, literally below-the-belt accusations flying from one candidate to the other in the current marathon race for the U. S. presidency. Each day brings another series of bewildering headlines revealing head-scratching results and stomach-turning behavior that seem to represent the worst of American politics. I’m saddened by it and ashamed of it. In a recent conversation with a group of friends we carefully shared our frustrations, as well as our hopes for how this might end. I say “carefully” because we’ve probably all learned that there is no telling which of your friends is going to launch into an angry rant about his favorite candidate, or against any that you might entertain. We’re walking on eggshells. And that’s with friends. The depth of emotion in this caucus season reveals the long-simmering disappointment so many feel with our system and our leadership. OK, fine. That doesn’t excuse violent behavior or relationship-killing words. And then, this morning I read Psalm 46:6, “Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.” Indeed, we see nations in uproar; we certainly see kingdoms falling. But what about the last part of that verse? Lord, I long for you to lift your voice and, oh, do we hope to see the earth melt. Melt, not as in a fiery apocalypse, which will eventually come; but melt in a spirit of justice, respect and peace. When in the world is THAT going to happen? Who do we hope in? Personally, not in any of these candidates. We followers of Jesus should be engaged in our world, I’m convinced. I’ll vote, I think. But I have no hope that any one of these limited, flawed humans can bring the kind of world we all long for. Push forward their agenda? Sure, we can count on that. Bring about global (or even national) peace, justice and security? Really? I’m afraid that is well beyond their ability. Who’s in charge here anyway? The Almighty One. He is our hope and our salvation. Not the one who lands the White House. I want to be aligned with God’s Kingdom and his purposes; not one man’s or woman’s. I’m for the Kingdom of heaven and want to speak and live for that one. Therein lies my hope. “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted in the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (v. 10)...

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Dads Matter; Piece by Piece

Posted by on Mar 1, 2016 in Character, Fathers, Legacy, Significance | 6 comments

Media confession: Beryl and I watch American Idol regularly. Because it often actually moves us. Sometimes the performances are lukewarm; every now and then they are jaw-dropping. Recently, Kelly Clarkson, the Season 1 winner, told a story through song that brought tears streaming down my cheeks—and those of the judges and many in the audience. We intuitively know dads matter, but in our dramatically changing family culture that often questions the value of fathers, we sometimes need a reminder. Kelly gave us a jaw-dropping one. Her song, Piece by Piece, compares her experience with a father who disappeared when she was a young girl, to her husband who is a present, loving father to her kids. “He filled the holes you burned in me when I was 6 years old…He restored my faith that a man could be kind, and that a father could stay.” Every small step of engagement he makes with her, her daughter and her soon-to-be born son, instills in them a sense of significance and safety. One day, one decision at a time. If you’re a dad, you can instill that same significance in your kids, too. Because you matter. Piece by piece. (Dads of daughters, please read this: Milestones on Your Journey with Your Daughter. Dads of sons, read this: How to Get to Your Son’s Heart.)...

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The Lure of Passivity

Posted by on Jan 12, 2016 in Character, Courage, Fear, Leadership, Transformation | 0 comments

I really couldn’t have said this any better than my friend Chris Bruno of Restoration Project just did. In fact, he says it even better than I could have. This is worth your time… Engage: The Call on Men to Show...

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A Good Man

Posted by on Dec 15, 2015 in Character, Legacy, Transformation | 0 comments

What does a good man look like? “He whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.” Psalm...

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