An Everyday Kinda Question – Did Today Matter?

July 8, 2013

Did you live like your life matters? Or did you literally kill time, time you will never get back or see again. Another day of going through the motions? Survived, but not much more?

Sitting around after work listening to Fugazi left me thinking about the brevity of our time and the fleeting footprint we leave behind. How much is wishing for the past and missing the present? How much is weight from the past holding you back from trying again?

It also left me thinking about hypocrisy, the things we say and the reality of what we do. Why is that? What keeps us from seeing things through and keeping our word?

And if we’ve established that we’re not all doing what we say we’ll do, what are we doing? Where does our time go? How much of our busy schedule is busy taking care of our own desires, the wants far beyond our needs?

And for those of us who call Christ our King and declare ourselves His servants, how busy were we about the Masters work? Did you serve today? What works of faith would you offer if He called an account of your time today, time He allowed? We read the parables about the master returning unexpectedly and finding the true character of his workers, yet fail to discern the truth of those words. Most followers of Christ accept that He could return at any moment, and most would say they look forward to that day. What would He find if He were to return this hour?

How much more should we be about His work if we believe Him to be the Creator God, all knowing, all present and all powerful – the only true God? Face to face or “only” His indwelling Spirit taking account of your thoughts and actions today, should we not shudder to think of wasted time and opportunity?

Both Jesus and John the baptizer had the same message, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God in near.” If only we could grasp that truth, how might it change our lives?


Time Flies – Doing What Matters Most

November 18, 2012

I’m feeling acutely aware of how short our time on earth really is. Millions have walked these streets before I have and, if the Lord don’t come back soon, millions more will after I pass. Feeling this way, I ache for my time to mean something great for His Kingdom.

Photo by Rion Nakaya

I can’t bring anything with me from this world to the next, so, while I still feel want, I try to fight my love of material things. I treasure my family, and spend as much time as possible with them. This time is meaningful, something that carries on after me in my children and on to their children’s children. (WARNING: The bad stuff goes with them too! Be good!)

I hope to do great things for my God and His Kingdom. I ache for meaning and purpose beyond serving my own desires. Maybe this is pride. I wish I had more direction, and clearer vision. The one I have is too vague, too ambiguous: just love people. Too many days that’s a challenge, again due to my pride.

And because of that pride I wonder if I’d do better to work less on serving God and more on simply listening and obeying Him.

For now I wait, not always patiently, and try to listen.

Tom Waits demonstrates how to listen closely.

Once Upon A Time – Fairytales Do Come True: Chapter Two

October 23, 2011

The prince did not accept that he was a prince. He was blind, and had decided the world was beautiful and he was ugly. He did not act like a prince, unable to believe that anyone as flawed as himself could be royalty.

Soon enough he walked away from the Kingdom in search of a place where he might hide his imperfections. The prince tried to fit in here and there, with these people and with those. He hid his identity from everyone until he forgot it himself.

One day he heard a story about his father the king. The storyteller told of his great love and kindness, and the humility he showed in dealing with his subjects. The young prince listened to the tale of his father’s bravery and sacrifice, and came to understood the kingdom in a new way.

The prince decided to be a good and loyal subject. He would start by following the rules his father had enacted. As if for the first time, he studied the laws of his father’s kingdom. The prince was surprised to find he enjoyed his life more than ever he had.

In fact, the very first time he went to the public square to serve his village, he met an extraordinary friend -although he didn’t know it at the time. The prince came across a homeless man, both epileptic and diabetic, and neither had slowed his drinking. He was planning to kill himself.

The young prince did all he could for the poor man, he listened and offered a plate of warm eggs as a last meal. The man declined, he was in great despair and wanted no comfort. He would take all of his insulin that night and walk until he fell over dead.

The man dismissed the prince. “You don’t understand” he said, “I’m calling it quits.”

The prince replied, “You’re right. I do not understand. But I will listen if you’ll tell me.”

As his tale was told, the man’s tears dried and his eyes cleared. The prince offered food again, and the man again refused. “I can’t see.” The prince stood and extended his hand, which the man took. They crossed the street together.

When the plates had been cleaned and the cups emptied, the man stood to leave. Before turning away he said, “If you should ever want to know how many of the poor live, come walk an evening with me.”

Would I find you alive if I did?”

I’ll be around” assured the man. The young prince smiled.

One warm evening a few weeks later the prince went again to the park. He found the man sitting under a tree, listening to musicians play and sipping from a bag. The prince greeted the man, who spoke with him hesitantly.

The prince noted the simple, sharp knife laying close at hand, and understood that his new friend lived under laws of a different sort. The man was small and sickly – he would stab first and avoid a fight he could not win.

Over the next few years the prince and the man would cross paths and speak pleasantly. From time to time the man would disappear, and the prince came to expect this. The man explained he had been at times under a physicians care, others he had been under the jailers lock.

Still, they would part ways until next they met. However this all changed one cold October morning.

Once Upon A Time – Fairytales Do Come True: Chapter One

October 14, 2011

I’d like to tell you a story if you’ll allow. It will take some time, but I do enjoy telling a story. My mom says I’m good at it. I learned it from my dad.

He would tell exorbitantly long tales ending in the most terrible puns you’ve ever heard. But when I was a kid, he turned the kitchen table into the campfire and tell tall tales and silly stories to make my brother and I laugh. Ask me about the Rabbi and some Tridds…

One of my favorite stories is about falling out of a helicopter. It’s funny, and I tell it with action and movement, but it tends to lose something on the flat screen. Maybe one day I’ll get to tell you in person. Maybe you’ll even laugh.

But this story is going to be messy. I’m not going for fancy, and my editing will be, well…raw at points, but I hope you’ll find yourself drawn into my little tale.

But I have to warn you, if the Greeks are correct and there’s only two kinds of stories – either comedy or tragedy – you should treasure the few laughs along the way.

It starts, as many stories do, with a death…

The little boy was scared. He hated hospitals and sick people and all the noise. He didn’t understand them. Mamma had been crying all day, and then he found himself standing at the end of a hospital bed, looking at a lump of coal. They told him it was his father.

The ground is still unused and toxic, polluted, even today. Probably forever. The explosion soaked the ground, contaminated it. His father had been working in the field of gas tanks with a cigarette clenched between his teeth. The boy never touched the things.

His brothers were all older, so he hung around with the older kids. The nicer ones let him tag along as they drank beer and fixed cars. He learned his trade looking over the big kids shoulders. Some of his closest friends have been cars.

Life in that part of town was hard. There were no tar roads, all gravel and dirt. It had always been that way. When he was little, his daddy had shot a man right through the front window for pulling the fire-box and calling the fire brigade as a prank once too often. Had warned him, then shot him.

Years later he was standing on his buddies porch when his friends momma walked out, slapped the glasses off his daddy’s face, then shot him straight through the heart. He has lots of stories like those. Too many.

Then the family curse took effect – diabetes killing his brothers and sisters. When his mother died, he was the one who found her. That severed his last mooring. He drifted away, responsibility and hope always floated nearby, but just out of reach.

The Big “C” – Why We Pray

February 5, 2011

Many of you are dear friends, so I thought you may wish to know that we’re awaiting some important test results for Jenifer. She had an abnormal pap smear and a biopsy on the follow-up. The doctor has discussed cervical cancer with her.

We’re confident in the doctors casual attitude toward the potential diagnosis, but more so of our Fathers grace and strength. Because of that we ask for your prayers. He’s listening.

High Tide And Changing Currents – A Plan Is Born

February 4, 2011

God answers prayer. We can debate issues of how our prayers affect God’s plan, but it’s an immutable truth that our God listens and responds when His faithful pray.

I’ve been pleading with God to show me what I can do to serve His kingdom, and it looks like He’s answering me. An opportunity to use the gifts He’s given me in order to strengthen His church, rally the “doers” to His work, and serve His people – I can’t think of anything more exciting.

A name that’s been dropped, a casual introduction, an intentional meeting, and a follow-up with an offer and an assignment. My wheels turn as various facets of personality, talent, and purpose swim into focus. God’s hand at work in our world.

Pray with me, please, that God will continue to move and work in me as I explore this intriguing new possibility. Maybe – just maybe – I’ll get to be one of His storytellers.

Please Interrupt Me – Redefining My Job

January 9, 2011

My wife is perfect. Seriously. I know God’s pleased with me, cuz He gives me the good stuff, rewards me richly. Jenifer is top of that list. She is exactly the person I need by my side as I try to navigate this life.

My perfect wife sent me a blog the other day. I was too busy to read it. (And don’t you feel that way sometimes? You see a new Gods Jester blog and just know it will be long and convoluted, so you don’t bother to read it? Me too.) So Jenifer summarized it for me.

This lady is a missionary in Indonesia, but knows that her first priority is to be a missionary to her family. She calls herself a stay-at-home-missionary: reaching the world for Christ, beginning in the home. How simple. How profound.

I just read the blog. It’s about interruptions, how we can plan and schedule but life is lived in the interruptions. It’s the things that distract us that make up the substance of life. My wife decorated a cupboard with quotes once. One of them reads “Trifles are the sum of life.” How true.

I resent interruptions. They get in my way. I’m busy, and they keep me from doing what I want. See the problem? My focus on me = frustration and irritation. How very UN-Christ-like of me.

I’m realizing (slowly!) that my perspective needs to change. So, please – interrupt me. Call me. Text me. E-mail me. Stop by and knock on my door. Ask me for a ride, borrow a few dollars, just vent. Whatever you need, I’m here for you.

God gave me this time on the planet. I’m gunna use it for Him, and I’ll do it by being available to you. Maybe you’re exactly what God had planned for me today.

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