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?







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Crosses For Kenya – Should Be ‘Crosses For Africa and Trinidad’, But That Lacked Alliteration

April 29, 2012

In a couple weeks I’m heading back to Kenya. I’m also going to Uganda on this trip with Sunrise at Midnight. In July I head to Trinidad with Sanctuary for Children. Try fitting all that in a title – with alliteration.

Anyway, I like to make crosses. I’ve sold a few here and there, but have given away more as gifts. It’s something I can do in my spare time (meaning when I’m not wasting time on video games), and they’re meaningful to me. They remind me that someone loves me.







Maybe I have a talent for something other than getting into trouble.

I love giving crosses away as a reminder that others are loved. Now I wanna give them away to you. I want to go back to Africa. Not only do I wanna, but God told me I can go. Someone even bought the plane ticket. But there are still lots of expenses – I need help.

I’m going to make crosses and post pictures. If you want one, make a donation of any amount to HisStorytellers, put my name on the memo line or add it as a “note to seller” through PayPal if you prefer the tech option. Just give whatever you and God decide on. Don’t wait on the donation, e-mail me with your name and address and I’ll get a cross in the mail.








Now, some transparency: I use almost all free/recycled material. I buy the stains and some of the accessories I add to them, but the crosses are all hand made out of scrap. Most of them are simple to make and take no time, you’ll see more of these since I still enjoy gardening and hanging out with my family. Others take weeks of carving and sanding. Fortunately I still hate mowing the lawn, so I make progress on these as well.

Shipping is a flat $2. For most of you that’s a rip-off; it’ll only cost a buck, but your other dollar will cover the one I have to ship to Poland or Kenya. How socialist of me.

Here’s the first one up for grabs:









Each one is hand made of bamboo and wire, so the one you get won’t look exactly like the one in the picture. It stands approximately 12″ x 8″ and has a lightweight loop hanger on the back.

The cross is intended to be more than a gimmick to get your money. It’s the message you send me to share: Christ, crucified for our sin, resurrected to defeat death, now interceding from on high, and returning to complete our hope.

(For those who enjoy some back-story:
Christmas 2010 my friend Spanky and I hang out making Christmas gifts.
Not long after, I had a wee tiny meltdown in a craft store over religious art.)




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

November 5, 2011

Cold wind cut across the park. Hungry people shoved their hands deeper into their pockets and tucked their chins into their collars. Numb feet were stomped to bring feeling back. The hot coffee quickly ran out.

The prince walked to his carriage and pulled out a thick, coarse shirt for a young man wearing nothing but a simple light shirt. When he returned to the park, he found the man standing in line for warm food. It had been a few months since they had last spoken.

A small smile was all the prince received when he warmly greeted the man. They briefly exchanged pleasantries, and the prince asked where the man had been. “Back in jail?” he joked.

“The hospital” came the reply.

The prince was not surprised. “Epilepsy or diabetes?” he asked.

The man shook his head. “Stroke.








The prince started to check in on the man regularly. He went out of his way to find him. If there was rain or high winds the prince would be up early the next day to go find the man. Soon the prince was picking the man up and bringing him to his home.

The days became colder, and the cold lasted longer. The man stayed at the prince’s house longer each visit. Then came the 13th of December.

The prince’s family baked a cake. His youngest daughter went with him to find the man. But the man was not to be found. The prince called the jailer and the physician. Neither had the man. They went all over town asking for the man. He was gone.

Unable to find him after hours of searching, the prince and his daughter went home and gave the cake to a sickly young mother – alone – caring for her sickly young child.

As darkness fell the prince build a fire and prepared to host his closest friends and family for dinner and study. However his youngest daughter insisted they travel once more to look for the man. The prince could not deny her.

After more searching on foot and by carriage – and already late for dinner – they gave up. Suddenly the prince stopped and jumped from the carriage. The man was sitting on the side of the road, sipping from a paper sack – alone.

Rushing home, the prince lit the fire while his wife went to buy a cake. Dinner was served, the Words of Life were contemplated and – with great love – cake was forced upon the diabetic man.

But the evening was complete when the youngest daughter spoke to the prince with grave concern.

“Daddy, can the man spend the night with us? No one should be alone on their birthday.

The prince smiled.











Opening Volley – How Do You Embrace Christ This Christmas?

November 2, 2011





Since the retail world has turned mind to Christmas, I suppose it’s not to early for me to start in. Jenifer actually convinced me to play Christmas music (I went with Weezer) BEFORE Thanksgiving – which I resolutely refuse to do – while we schemed our family Christmas celebration.

The core of our discussion was how we would keep Christ in the center of all our plans. Also involved were questions of how much is OK to spend on ourselves as a family. Not so much of what can we afford as what should we afford. What’s needed is the next consideration.

The plans are exciting. So far they involve going to Katie’s performance of The Nutcracker (she’s an Archangel), caroling at a retirement home, making ornaments and gifts, doing Ann Voskamp’s Jesse Tree Advent and spending Christmas Eve together in a cabin. We’re also bringing Tique back.




Tique






All you revolutionaries out there, what are your plans to celebrate Christ and not commercialism and consumerism??




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.





Love your Enemies – One Christians View on 9/11/11

September 10, 2011

I struggle with my military service. Compared with so many who have served in the past ten years, I did nothing but four years of glorified Boy Scouts.




I never left North Carolina, so don’t think I’m speaking as some war hardened vet. I can only speak as the soft North American comfortable Christian that I am. So don’t expect much, OK?

I was the prototype Red, White and Blue American who protested peace protests. I not only owned guns, but subscribed to gun magazines. Never joined a militia, but thought they were neat-o. Republicans loved Jesus and Democrats wanted to kill babies. Et cetera.




Then I realized that Jesus woulda cried over what Christians in both parties do in His name. We bought into this Empire, hook, line and sinker. With respect to Bad Religion, many have sold their immortal souls to an American Jesus that no longer represents me.




I don’t like the other version any better.





I risk sounding like an anarchist, but this American Jesus has it’s agenda. I no longer believe that it serves it’s peoples best interests, and certainly not mine.

My Jesus looks on the weak and powerless with pity.





My Jesus shows mercy and grace.




My Jesus says “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” (Mt 5:44-45a)

As we approach the anniversary of such a terrible event I don’t presume to have all the answers. But I will challenge you: Who are you following?

If you claim Christ, join me and spend tomorrow praying for peace, and crying over the loss of life ten years ago, and every day since.




Don't get mad at me, I didn't say it!


Calm in the Storm – Knowing His Peace

July 2, 2011

My wife has Lyme Disease. We’re also making hard decisions with major life kinda stuff. We also still haven’t figured out everything that goes into being an “adult”, thus we struggle financially far too often – not the sign of a balanced life.




We picked off dozens of these tiny little bastards.






And I still know that everything is going to be OK. I have that surreal, kinda funny feeling peace about it all. It’s almost as if I can actually trust God to deliver on that “I’ll see you through everything” spiel we God-fearing type typically spew.

Through all the pain of making tough decisions and having hard conversations, I’m finding that God constantly – and consistently – reassures me that He’s in charge, and that He’s good to us. He keeps reminding me of little nuggets of truth.

Today’s was: “The LORD God is Holy, and good to His people.” Can’t find that in Scripture, so I guess I’m combining Psalm 99:9 and Hosea 3:5. Or God still whispers crazy truth.

The other thing that’s never far from my lips is a prayer He gave me.

Peace.
My Peace be unto you.
Fear not,
for the Spirit of the LORD is upon you
to do many great things
for which I will prepare you.
ONLY DO THIS:
Live simple, humble lives
for this pleases the LORD.
You have nothing to do but this.
You have nowhere to be but here.
Stay the course:
Love God
Love People
Follow Jesus

That, combined with the sage advice of a dear friend, “In the light of Eternity, what does it matter?”, help me get through the days when tears lurk in the corners of my mind.











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