1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9

being there

My son and I just returned last weekend from fulfilling a life long dream trip. It was a "Bucket List" kind of thing. My wife Annette flew us back to Ann Arbor, Michigan to attend a University of Michigan Wolverines football game in the "Big House" which is what they call the stadium there as it is the largest stadium in America.

It was an awesome experience to be able to be there. There were over 109,000 people jammed into that place. The sights, the sounds, the colors, the enormity of it all did not disappoint. Of course, I have been watching Michigan play football on T.V. since I was just a kid. But believe me, there is no way that watching it on TV is anything at all like being there.

So it is with most things in life. Photos, videos, live streaming, Skype etc. are definitely helpful forms of experiencing things but they can never substitute for being there.  In our ever more busy and hectic world we often have to settle for one of the substitutes for being there but we also must discipline ourselves to do what we can to "be there". Where ever "there" is for you, I encourage you to make plans, set your schedule, and make the sacrifice necessary to be present.

daylight saving time

This weekend is the end of Daylight Saving Time. Yes, I am excited about that; mainly because I get one extra hour on Saturday. I love looking at the clock throughout the day and saying to time, "Ha! You're wrong! I've got a whole 'nother hour!". Daylight saving time is a concept that has been around a long time. For the USA, it officially began in 1918. During WW1, Woodrow Wilson instituted it in order to reduce energy consumption by extending the daylight.

I wish we could randomly institute our own personal daylight saving times. You know, when you want a few extra hours of sleep, you could look at the clock and turn it back? Or, when you're behind on a project, you could look at the clock and say "You're wrong, I have 5 more hours". And you know the saying "Time flies when you're having fun"? How cool would it be to be able to turn back the clock and add more hours to the fun?

Well, the truth is we only get this one hour once a year to turn the clocks back and I plan to use my one hour well. The fact is we can't save time; all we can do is use it wisely because we all know time does truly fly.

grandparents

As many of you know,  Annette and I recently became grandparents. It is amazing! From the day Colette was born and that first time we saw her, our lives changed. It was like being thrust back in time when each of my three kids were born. It feels the same now, but also very different. I remember feeling joy at the birth of my kids but I also felt the weight of the responsibility. In holding Colette that first time, all I felt was joy and amazement. I love the pictures that they send us and it's fun to watch Colette grow and change right before our eyes.

Being a grandpa has opened my eyes to a whole other side of how I believe our Heavenly Father looks at us. Through this experience I believe I see the tenderness of God, the delight we can give Him, and the anticipation of who we are becoming.

niagara falls

Annette and I recently had the thrill of taking a vacation back East, in particular a trip to Toronto via train from Vancouver. We saw some awesome sights while on the train and after we arrived in Toronto we rented a car and drove about 90 miles to see Niagara Falls. The Falls were by far the most amazing sight we experienced on this trip. I have of course seen a lot of photos and videos of the Falls but had never been there. I was expecting it to be pretty cool but it was much more than I had anticipated. Actually, the day we were there it was pretty hot and muggy and while I was standing in line (BTW, I hate standing in lines)  for about an hour to get a ticket to get on the boat that took us into the Falls, I was seriously thinking "Do we really need to take this boat? We can see it well enough from here." I almost suggested to Annette that we drop the idea of the boat but I held my tongue and didn't say anything.

So, we finally got our tickets and made our way down to the boat. There were probably about 75 to 100 people on the boat with mostly standing room only. The boat pulled away and it took us up close to the Falls and then into what I call the "U" center of the Falls where all around you is this magnificent wall of water. The sounds, the power, the spray as you're getting soaked because the boat takes you that close; it actually made me think it must have been the same feeling the Jews felt while walking through the Red Sea. Then there were the excited sounds of all the people standing in awe of what we were experiencing. It is to hard to describe accurately.

As I stood there in wonder it made me think of our God. How magnificent He is and how small I am yet He lets me draw close to Him. I could not have gotten that close to the Falls without that boat and, of course, I could not draw close to God without Jesus.

I love those moments in life when you are lost in wonder. Never lose the wonder.

50/30

This year is a milestone year for Annette and I. This year we both turn 50 and celebrate 30 years of marriage. It has gone by so very fast. It's an odd feeling to recognize that we have spent so many more years together than apart. It's a wonderful feeling not because of the "years" part, but because it is possible to stick with anything for a long time if you're disciplined enough, tough enough, or just flat out stubborn enough. It's a wonderful reality because of all the things that we have come up against that we have overcome together. Because of all the fruitful results of loving one another as best as we can. Notice I said as best as we can because we haven't done life together perfectly, we have made a lot of mistakes and have seen God's grace on us. It's fun to look back and see the many blessings that our lives have been marked by. I think we should try and look at all of life this way. Don't concentrate on the discipline required to walk through life; look at the adventure of the journey, the victories won, the blessings we have experienced. It makes the journey so much more fun. Here's to 50/30 and to many more!

weakness

"Each time he said 'My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.' So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me."
2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT

We do not live in a culture that exalts, admires, or appreciates weakness. So much so that we go to extreme lengths to hide our weaknesses, disguise our weaknesses, or at the very least make excuses for our weaknesses. The last thing we are often willing to do is own our weaknesses. To "own" I mean to be open about them, to confess them, to be real about them. Now, I am not advocating flaunting them or using them to get our own way; you know, like exaggerating a limp so I can get a handicapped parking spot when I really don't need it. But I am saying that our weaknesses, according to Paul, give us opportunity to see God's work of grace made more manifest in our lives. When we are nothing but strong we can begin to believe that we are self-dependent, self-reliant in need of no one, and taken to the extreme, not even really needing God. Of course, this defines mankind as a whole. Weaknesses make us aware of our frailty and ultimately cause us to have to look up and get help.   

The other trouble with weakness that I don't like is we seldom get to choose our weaknesses which makes us feel vulnerable and none of us like to be vulnerable. But it's our vulnerability that makes us real and approachable and willing to give sympathy and care to others who have weaknesses.

Whether we like it or not, we have weaknesses. So, we might as well accept it and allow God's grace to strengthen and empower us.

baseball

  This week I took a day off, picked up my son Alec and we went up to Seattle to watch the Mariners play. It was a day game starting at 12:40pm which was kind of special because there are only about 3 of those a season.
 
   However, the day did not go as planned. We thought we had plenty of time to get to the game but we got stuck in a traffic jam within a mile of the stadium. I guess there were a few others that thought going to the game would be fun too. We actually drove right by the stadium but we couldn't find anywhere to park other than one lot open for $60 a spot. So, Alec and I spent the next 45 minutes driving away from the stadium until we finally found a spot for $15 about 2 miles away from the stadium. When we finally got to our seat it was the end of the third inning and the Mariners were already losing. *Sigh*
  
  Well, the Mariners did go on to lose the game and then we had the 2 mile walk back to the car followed by another traffic jam getting back home. Tough day, right? Kind of a bummer? No way! You see, even though nothing went as planned and we experienced frustrations, I was spending the day with my son. Being with him made it all a funny adventure. 
 
   We struggle sometimes in life because we miss the purpose for what we are experiencing. The day's purpose for me was not a baseball game; it was spending time with Alec. The purpose of the day was fulfilled and worth it all. 
 
   Look for the purpose and enjoy the journey.

hope floats

Ok, I'm going to get a bit sappy right now so don't judge me. I watched a cute movie recently. It was called "Hope Floats". It stars Sandra Bullock as a women who's husband has broken his vows, broken her heart and leaves her for another women. In order to deal with her pain she returns to her small hometown where she was the Prom Queen and the popular girl when in high school. She moves back in with her mother and starts to mend. In the process of her life seemingly falling apart she reconnects with old relationships and her formerly strained relationship with her mother is healed.

All in all she puts her life back together and moves on with hope.

The story reminds me of the power of the Hope God gives us and as Romans 5:5 describes, this hope we have "does not disappoint".

Whatever you're going through remember, Hope Floats.

the draft

Today is the NFL draft. I know, I know, some of you are out there groaning right now; but I love the NFL Draft. I love the anticipation of what teams are going to do. Who will be the first pick? What kind of trades will be made? It's fun to try and predict what your favorite teams are going to do. It's fun to debate with family and friends about the decisions that teams make. Yes, there are a bunch of young men whose lives are going to change in a big way today. Life is a lot like the NFL Draft as well. We are constantly being measured for our skills, our abilities, our performance, and where we stand in comparison to others. Whether we like it or not, there are winners and losers in life. That's what makes the Gospel so amazing. We all stand before Jesus the same way- unworthy. And we all are looked at by Jesus the same way- loved.

new!

For the last three years Annette and I struggled with a leaky outdoor faucet. The older it got, the harder we had to wrench down on the handle to get the water to stop running. It eventually became so difficult to tighten that neither of us could get it to shut off completely. So, we took the faucet apart and brought it to McClendon's where a plumber there showed us how to replace a part inside the workings of the faucet. It worked! We basically gave the old faucet an internal renovation. Well, time passed and it started again so we did what we knew to do. We went back to McClendon's and made the same repair to the old faucet. After the Winter passed we used the faucet this Spring and wouldn't you know it there it was again; drip, drip, drip. We realized that we probably needed a little more expert help so we called a plumber. He came out and sure enough, he discovered that we needed a whole new faucet, not just a repair. Not only that, he discovered that the original faucet was not actually placed in our wall correctly. He had to cut into the wall and replace not only the faucet but the connection as well.

The story of our leaky faucet is not dissimilar to our salvation through Jesus Christ. Our lives were leaking and no matter how hard we tried we couldn't shut off the leak. Drip, drip, drip. We tried many attempts to renovate and remodel our lives and the changes seemed to work for awhile but each attempt to change lasted for shorter and shorter periods. Eventually we realized we needed to be Brand New. All of a sudden, Jesus' words about being Born Again made sense to us.

This Easter let's remember that Jesus Died to make All Things New.
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9