(Fumes, Form, and Fashion, Part 2)
Something in the woods near his grandfather’s farm seems to call to Adam. Ever since he was a little boy and his dad took him hiking or hunting there, this is the place where Adam, now a father himself, returns. It doesn’t happen nearly as often or nearly enough these days. After all, Adam has responsibilities and stresses, and there never seems to be enough time.
For Phillip, it means a return to old disciplines that kept him in good shape throughout his 20s. Now pushing 40, the problem for Phillip isn’t knowing what to do. It’s finding the will to actually do it.
Jacob follows the trail of his biblical namesake. Just as the Lord called the patriarch back to Bethel – a place where he had previously encountered the Lord – so also Jacob is sensing a stirring to return to a place of spiritual life and growth he has known in the past.
Each of these are examples of a powerful and important tool of renewal and restoration, regardless of who you are. But this is particularly true of men. It’s why you often hear football coaches talk about “going back to the fundamentals.” The biblical language mentions things like “remembering the former days.” Check this out: [click to continue…]
“Today I spent Christmas completely alone…”
(from my journal, December 25, 1995)
Quick quiz: What do Bluebell Ice Cream, Tylenol, Rolaids, SMU Football, and ancient Judah (Israel) all have in common?
Answer: They all experienced a drastic, though temporary shutdown.
Shutdown. The word was hardly used prior to 1950. Now it’s a common part of our lexicon. It’s typically used of the government when Congress can’t seem to get together on a budget or debt ceiling limit (which in government terms is about the same as “budget”). A government shutdown, of course, is commonly believed to be a horrible thing.
Other than that, you often hear the term used to describe some sort of drastic action taken by a company. The whole state of Texas declared a state of emergency on April 4 when Blue Bell started closing its creameries – all of them – because of an incident of listeria contamination.
(If you aren’t from Texas or have never observed that state’s love affair with Blue Bell, picture shutting down football in Tuscaloosa, guns in Wyoming, or lobster rolls in Maine.)
I’ve been thinking about shutdowns lately for a couple of reasons, not the least of which was the heartburn I felt last night and the Rolaids I was gratefully chewing on (sorry Tums, you’ll have to go back to being Plan B). I have also been remembering a personal shutdown period I went through myself exactly 20 years ago. I don’t talk about it much anymore, but it still shapes a large part of who I am today. [click to continue…]
Oh, how I could sing forever of the amazing display of the way of His heart, His truth in your eyes, and the life of His Spirit, freely given and beautifully displayed in you, who have tasted and seen that He is good! I pray for you, that He would:
Hold you in the palm of His hand as He brings restoration and healing to the broken places in your life – so that you sing His praises from a heart of peace…
Take you to the mountains of testimony to announce His peace and bring good news of happiness – so that your life declares that our God reigns… [click to continue…]
Aging and sad, a grand hulk of useless machinery sits in an airplane hangar when it probably should have been sold for scrap. Designed by an Engineer as an elegant flying machine, this plane has never left the ground or even taxied the runway. For reasons that still don’t make sense, when the time came to assemble all the parts, in the end the plane looked more assaulted than assembled.
To an untrained eye everything appeared to be in place. There was a fuselage, wings, wheels, and engine shrouds. But if you looked closer, you would see that the assemblers failed to actually install the engines.
The assemblers did other damage to the interior of the plane as it was being put together – so much, in fact, that the order was canceled and a new plane secured. Having royally failed inspection, the plane was unwanted and unneeded. It would have cost more to fix what was broken than it would have simply to start over. So for years, lost in the shadow of what could have been, the airplane sat, exposed to the elements, powerless, lifeless, and unwanted.
Word reached the Engineer of the plight of the flying machine. Moved by a sense of love for his designed creation and a conviction that airplanes were made to fly, the Engineer did the unthinkable. [click to continue…]
I watched the Robin Hood movie again last night.
No, seriously? Russell Crowe.
I love the quote from there…
About rising and rising again?
Yeah… “Rise and rise again, until lambs become lions.” That really resonates with me.
I can see why. So are you rising and rising again?
Hardly. More like “fall and fall again.”
Why is that? [click to continue…]
Okay, so you bit the dust.
Or somebody else rubbed your face in it.
You zigged when life or the economy or the whole dang world zagged, and now you’re in the soup.
As a 55-year veteran of falling, regardless of the reason, let me take on the role of Captain Obvious: It hurts. And it’s way past scary to try and get back up.
And that’s exactly why you’d better have a Source beyond your own willpower to make that happen. Check this out: [click to continue…]
(Get Out of the Boat, Part 3)
(Note: Today is a very special day for me. It was 40 years ago today that the Lord made it clear to a young high school sophomore’s heart that He had a call and gifts for vocational service for me. All I had asked for is clarity, and on this night He did that in no uncertain terms. There are many things I wish I could have done differently in the last 40 years. But if I had one thing I could say – one lesson learned that surpasses all others during this time – what follows is a pretty good expression of it. Hope you enjoy…)
How long are you going to wear that?
How long are you going to treat that uniform as if it’s a tattoo?
How long are you going to assume that past results are a guarantee of future disappointment?
How long are you going to treat failure as if it is a person – namely you – and not an event?
How long will you believe that people who love Jesus never blow it? And people who blow it could never love Jesus again?
How long – how long – will you assume that forgiveness couldn’t possibly mean restoration?
Maybe you’re the one who needs to get out of the boat. [click to continue…]
God is making your obedience known to all – far more people than you realize.
They see the work He is doing in your life.
And those who hunger for God will be drawn to you.
In your past you have been wise concerning what is evil.
You must now pursue the wisdom of the pure.
And soon the God of Peace will crush Satan under your feet. [click to continue…]
Take me again to the Chamber of the Beloved –
To the place where I can remember my place again.
Sing over me with love and delight.
Restore my soul, oh, restore my soul. [click to continue…]
Years ago I was shopping for a stereo and learned an interesting lesson in the store. I cranked up the volume on a set of speakers and was impressed with what I heard. But the sales assistant told me that even a mediocre set of speakers could do that. The measure of a speaker’s quality, he said, was how low you could turn the volume and still hear quality sound. Then taking the volume all the way to zero, he slowly raised the level. Before the dial reached “1” I was hearing a full range of music from a quality set of speakers.
The same idea is true in the spiritual realm, as no less than Elijah from scripture can testify. [click to continue…]