Out Here Hope Remains

There is hope for the helpless ... Cry Out To Jesus. -- Third Day

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Not An Afternoon Thunderstorm

Hurricane Frances looks to be one bad storm. I don't care much for afternoon thunderstorms that get loud and rowdy and blow out the power. I surely don't care much for a storm that can blow out my city. Wherever Frances makes landfall is going to be desolate afterwards ... unless God intervenes and tones that thing down a bit. Most storms in life are surprises ... more like tornadoes and hail ... it hits it's over...clean up and move on. There are storms that are approaching ... sometimes we can see them ... and it's hard ot know what to do. Do you run or batten down the hatches? Me? I run. Are you crazy? I don't do hurricanes. Unfortunately in life I have run from many of my problems. Some problems you just have to ride out .... if you run, they just get worse. I wonder how many problems could be resolved if we just faced them head-on, instead of running and hiding and letting resentment build up? Have I ever run away from God? Not so much that it showed. But I knew it. And the spirit of Jonah is not far from any of us. Well, that's a mixed bag of thoughts about storms and running and facing up to problems ... not a very good example of staying on topic ... but storms are like that. There's a kind of unpredictability about them.

Monday, August 30, 2004


While at the Football Game I observed the crowd. I noticed several categories of people who attended the game. Socializers were there to see who else was there. They wandered up and down the bleachers, greeting everyone, sitting with friends for a few mintues before moving on to other friends. I think they were vaguely aware that there was a game in progress. Patriots were there to carry on fan traditions. They were the ones with the graying hair, growing middle, and groaning muscles. But they were unstoppable. They knew the cheers. They knew what to do when the band played the fight song. They had memorized the roster and prognosticated as to the outcome the season. No matter how the team does, they will be there cheering in the stands because this where they belong; it is their alma mater. They didn't miss a second of the game. They stood ready to offer their wise counsel as to what could be done better on the field. Enthusiasts were there. All you really have to say is 'football'. They can hear it 60 feet away in a noisy room with their hearing aids turned off! They watched the game with joy, hanging on every hut-hut and thrown flag. They relish every second of play, and regret when it is over. The Others were there. And there were a variety of reasons for their presence. They were people like me who came to see someone play in the band at half time. Maybe they were dragged along by a family member. Perhaps they were just bored and looking for something to do. There's no way to know why they were there, but there they were. We are familiar with these cagetories because we see them everywhere. They are at church, at our workplace, even in our homes. We've filled their shoes in various circumstances and locations. Depending on why we are filling those roles, we have different expectations and hopes. So we need to be careful about being too harsh with The Others when we think they ought to be the Patriots. Caution should be the word of the day for Enthusiasts as they engage the Socializers. Because no matter who you are while you are there, you are there ... and there's something to be gained by being present. Something happens in the heart when everyone is assembled together in the same place. Sometimes it's all I can do to just be The Others ... and know that the Patriots and the Enthusiasts will carry the ball. The Socializers will inquire about my heart, and all will be well. There is one group I didn't mention. The Nobodys. And that's because at the ball game, there's no such thing as a Nobody. They are mythical...no one has ever seen them. Everybody is there for a reason so let's be sure we never treat anybody as a Nobody.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

At The Football Game

For the first time in years I attended a high school football game this past Friday night. Actually I only attended through the halftime show. Anyone who knows me knows that I claim to be a great indoorsman. The idea of going to the football game in this tropical Gulf Coast heat we've been having was not appealing. Sitting on a hard bench, paying way too much for a Pepsi, surrounded by people I do not know doing something I do not understand ... well ... it just wasn't my scene man ... but there I was. During the first 20 minutes I almost got excited. You could tell that everyone was excited at this first game of the season against a rival team. The players were energized. The coaches were doing that thing where they run around from person to person with a clipboard and point a lot. In the stands there were people around me who knew the players. They did not come (like me) as a casual observer, but as passionate supporters. They were ready to discuss strategy (why doesn't he pass more?), ability (even I could be a better coach than that guy), and of course the temperature. The sweaty sea of people could not deny ... it's hot out here. The refs actually called a couple of "official heat time outs", according to the announcer. The woman I was most interested in watching was a mother of two of our team's players. I knew this because it was in big red letters on the back of her white t-shirt. She was not bored in the least. She was intense. She spoke from her place in the stadium with conviction, energy, and (I hope) the knowledge that no one on the field could actually hear her. But even her high-powered enthusiasm didn't catch on with me. But the cheerleaders ... now there's someone I can identify with. I know, that's not too manly. I just felt sorry for them down there on the sidelines. Jumping, shouting, woo-hooing their way through the game. And when they would get to the end of most of the cheers they would jump up and down and wave their arms frantically. In the stands five people stood up and applauded. Why don't cheerleaders just give up? No one is paying attention to them (except maybe parents and boyfriends, and wannabe boyfriends). What Christian leader hasn't felt like a cheerleader sometimes? We just try to give that extra encouragement ... a pat on the back ... a boost to self confidence ... a word of direction ... and mostly we get blank stares back. But there are those five people who just keep on going no matter what. And those are the people who keep us going. I'm going to gather with my spiritual family in a few hours. I'm going to cheer them on in their Christian journey. I'm going to look for someone with whom this is connecting ... and I'm going to know that there are lots of games in the season, if it looks like this isn't our night. There was more at the Football game...but I'll save some of it for another time.

Friday, August 27, 2004

taste and see

I just finished a delectable lunch with Steve a couple of hours ago. He elaborated - as he always does when I ask - on the nuances of macrobiotics, the diet he and Alia are on. I know that John warned me at the start of the summer not to bring anything up about it, lest I be stuck for the next two hours hearing about how processed sugar clogs Steve's lungs, etc. But I am captivated; I am drawn to talk about it with him at least a tiny bit every time we eat together. I think he enjoys it because he imagines he may be winning over a proselyte. Not hardly. Yet I am interested... The morsel I took from it today was something that I kind of brought up. We were talking about acquired tastes, and how everyone is down on them, e.g. "If you have to acquire a taste for it, then it must not be good for ya to start with!" The items of discussion here are usually coffee, wine, sushi or, like, everything on Steve's diet. And about that logic I bring this up: we are giving way too much credit to our own sense of taste. If it's not immediately sweet and satisfying (so we think), we don't want it. We would take a sweet, processed oatmeal creampie over asparagus casserole anyday. But think about everything in life that you've had to acquire a taste for. It is usually more enjoyable, rich, deep, and substantive than anything your senses could've said you wanted at first. In fact, you may have been repulsed by it in the beginning. I think it is a picture of a deep reality. Things like eternal life, real love, grace and truth (especially truth) seem somewhat unsatisfying taken honestly on a surface level. I would much rather go with something I control and that I know works to satisfy me instantly, no matter how soon it wears off. But of course I would. Things of the eternal do not fit naturally within our human experience, therefore we have no real schema to fit them into that makes them immediately attractive. But once we taste and stay with them for an extended time, we see that everything else that always seemed so good and satisfying was just an impostor, a poser, and will never compare to the richness we have found. And we lose our taste for the cheap and the fake. So I finished my Black and Bleu Burger and wondered when I would start craving the real bread and wine at the Banquet. Now I'm headed for some coffee before the game, a wonderful acquired taste.


I like collections. I collect coffee cups. Not just any coffee cups, but unusual ones ... shaped a little different ... but not too commercialized ... yes I'm a bit picky. I'll tell you about my cups one day. I also collect those Avon car decanters that have cologne in them that's gone bad long ago ... but I'm picky about them too. They have to be full, and they have to have the original box. I've got 10 or 15 of them somewhere. I also collect ceramic dogs. Not cheap resin dogs, not cartoony looking dogs, but real ceramic dogs that have to be small. Not TINY ... but small. I've got a certain thing in my mind when I look in 'antique' (read: junk) shops ... but I know it when I see it. I have a nice collection of old sermon books. These come and go. A sermon book that continues to connect over time is hard to write, and not many people have done it. There are some real treasures I have found, though, that I hope to always keep if God permits. Now, if I had the funding I could really get into collecting all kinds of stuff ... but the limitations of storage space and cashola do keep me in check. Although until today I was the sole contributor to this blog, it was created to be a collection. A collection of thinkers who love Jesus and each other. We write in hopes that faith may be provoked through a scattered thought ... a seed that can produce something enriching in our minds. It's not exactly as exalted as the philophers on Mars Hill (wouldn't you love to read their blog?) and not as 'high' as a circle of 60's college students smoking pot and being amazed at the curvature of a fingernail ... but maybe somewhere in between. Yes, this is a collection. A collection of friends. A collection of thoughts. An eclectic one, for sure. It ought to make for some interesting reading in the days ahead. Now if we can just get that quiet one in the corner to step into the light ... just a little.

you didn't know what you were doing

welcome, to the mind of the wild card. the garbage dump of my subconscious directly to web access. nothing negative, just loading and unloading copious amounts of thoughts daily, like a waste truck, but without all the stench and mess. well, I screwed that up. I’d like to make a big splash this morning and tell you all something really spiritual about hope and jesus—I think though that all I got this morning is a death grip on my own hope, desperately trying to get through the day. I’ll have to just depend on Joel. When we meet for lunch today he’ll stir a thought I may share with you. wait, that’s it. here is your simple daily affirmation from the odd ways of me: extend your reach beyond what you can handle; bite off more than you can chew; then you’ll always be stretched and full; and loving God too. (for the one or two of you who aren't yet educted in webdings...sad...here's the translation) welcome, to the mind of the wild card. the garbage dump of my subconscious directly to web access. nothing negative, just loading and unloading copious amounts of thoughts daily, like a waste truck, but without all the stench and mess. well, I screwed that up. I’d like to make a big splash this morning and tell you all something really spiritual about hope and jesus—I think though that all I got this morning is a death grip on my own hope, desperately trying to get through the day. I’ll have to just depend on Joel. When we meet for lunch today he’ll stir a thought I may share with you. wait, that’s it. here is your simple daily affirmation from the odd ways of me: extend your reach beyond what you can handle; bite off more than you can chew; then you’ll always be stretched and full; and loving God too.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Breakfast With A Friend

Of the many blessings I enjoy in my life, a weekly meal with a dear friend has become a cherished time. I'm about to go have breakfast with my friend. It's a simple pleasure for sure. Nothing fancy. We will talk about whatever is on our heart. Sometimes we spend an hour together, sometimes three. I empty out a coffee pot. He doesn't imbibe (how does he make it through the day without java?). We will part, and go about our day. But to be sure, the iron has been sharpened. It seems unintentional ... but it happens. Jesus had breakfast ready on the beach for Peter and the apostles. It was post-resurrection. These deserting denying apostles who went back to fishing when the show was over. That simple breakfast was a moment of world-changing thundering grace. A simple act where the Divine reminded the redeemed that He is near and He loves. They would die for him ... and they did. May we all know God's nearness today.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


Narcolepsy -A disorder characterized by sudden and uncontrollable, though often brief, attacks of deep sleep, sometimes accompanied by paralysis and hallucinations. I haven't slept well in the past week or so. I sorta know that that it is a combination of things. I have been on an eating jag lately. I am nervous about a sermon I have to give Sunday night to the area churches at an area wide worship service. Plus I just have too many things to attend to. Sometimes it piles up. I wonder if I could leave a note on Adrian's blog and get some medical advice. Last night I got four hours of sleep. I found myself several times today having drifted off to sleep (thankfully, no paralysis nor hallucinations!). It's a weird feeling when you do not expect to fall asleep, but suddenly awaken. Did the Prodigal have a kind of spiritual narcolepsy when he came to his senses? I get the feeling sometimes that when it comes to the church, narcolepsy is a common malady. But then again, maybe I'm the one who's asleep at the wheel and will awaken suddenly one day soon? I'll let you know. But for now ... I'm going to try to do some intentional sleeping.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Why Are We Hiding?

We're excellent at hiding. Truly, I almost hate to bring up. Have you observed this unspoken thing we do? I see it all the time. The one who works so hard to make sure that I like him and approve of his actions. The one who dresses impeccably, paying close attention to every detail, as if something that wasn't quite right would expose a hidden fault. The one is such a slob, hoping that no one will notice him. Why do you think that he has such long hair, or that he has shaved his head? Why does she pierce so many places on her body, and why is he covered in tattoos? Isn't his laughter a little forced ... it wasn't that funny. Do you think her story was a bit of a stretch...but why would she lie? Are we hiding behind our weight? Our age? Our education? Maybe a lot of us are like Linus, carrying around our security blanket. Unlike Linus, though, we pretend we aren't carrying our security blanket around ... even though it is obvious. Security blankets can be spiritual in nature, emotional, or even physical. Jesus often snatched the security blanket away from people he was relating to ... because they didn't need it with Him. The poor woman at the well was startled as he snatched her blanket away and exposed her pathetic love life. The Pharisees were tired of him robbing them of their security. The disciples' poorly concealed power plays were brought to light by a simple word or even a glance. His acceptance of them in their failures and weaknesses is amazing. When we are alone with Jesus, we can put our security blankets away. He is the only One around whom I no longer need to defend myself. He knows the real me ... the blanketless me ... the one who comes out of hiding in order to be refreshed and loved and accepted by His tenderness. That is true peace of mind and heart. I do not have to be funny, or look good, or dress up, or dress down for Jesus to know the true person that lives within. The One who knows us best, loves us anyway. With Him we can lay down our blankets and pick up a robe and walk with Him through the quiet hours of prayer. What did you say? No quiet hours of prayer? Is that a signal that we are hiding...even from Him?

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Agnosticism of Grace

Tonight I caught part of a rerun of Larry King interviewing Julia Child. The expert interviewer quizzing the renowned chef. What an odd sad sight to listen to two agnostics discussing the afterlife. No idea what may or may not happen, if anything. It's kind of like listening to two Christians talk about whether or not they think they're saved. Grace agnostics ... Unable to find true rest and peace in Jesus Christ. If we are lost and adrift in our faith, how do we propose to send a strong and sure message to those who are lost and adrift in sin? I believe I am saved but I do not always feel like it. When I'm feeling lost and abandoned by God is when I need to 'remix' my thoughts and remember that my security is not in myself but in Him. I don't think we have much hope of helping the spiritual agnostics of the world until we abandon a kind of agnosticism of grace.

Power Outage

Last night we had a mighty big thunder boomer. We haven't had rain in so long our lawns are turning brown. The bottom dropped out last night and torrential rains and big thunder rolled over our area. After a particularly loud thunder rumble the power went out. Sometimes it comes back on in a few minutes .... but this time it became evident that this was not going to happen. Now the big question we faced was this: What do we do? None of the things that normally occupy our time are available now. We fired up a bunch of candles. Talked a bit. Gave some backrubs. Played guitar and sang a bit. Snoozed a bit. Our hour in the dark had us scratching our heads and trying to think up stuff to do. I could say that maybe the power ought to go out more often ... forcing us away from our technological distractions and focusing our attentions on each other. Or I could say that people who live in the world are in spiritual darkness, sending them into all kinds of activities to fill their hours ... many of which are ungodly ways to pass the time. I could even say that our lives come to a screeching halt when disconnected from the power source, and so do our spiritual lives when we are not connected to God's power. I considered doing a self-loathing blog about our culture and how dependent we are are on something as costly as electricity and how we rob and pillage the planet to live our luxurious lives while impoverished people struggle in other countries. But, I think I'll just tell you that it was a cool storm, our power went out, and it came back on. I'm going to get another cup of coffee.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Lawn Mowing

Today I cut the grass. All the time I was pushing the mower through my yard, I kept thinking things like... *My yard isn't as big as some people's yards, so that's good. *I have a lawnmower that actually starts up quick and works, and that's good. *People in Florida where Charley did it's damage don't even have a house, much less a yard to mow, so I should be thankful. *I have the health to be able to get out and do this, and that's good. *The sun is shining and it's a beautiful day, and that's good. But I still hated it.

Jumping Ruts

Sometimes I feel like my life is a kid's little red wagon racing with jet speed down a steep hill. There are lots of others in their little red wagons all around me ... in front of me ... behind me ... the hillside is nothing but a maze of ruts. The handle of the wagon isn't very good for navigation but it's all I've got. What's left of my hair is flying in the wind, my stomache is in knots, my muscles tense, and all I can do is jump ruts. No matter which little turn of the handle I make to try to get out of the rut I'm in, all I'm doing is jumping into another rut. The hillside isn't even. There are smooth spots with just a hint of a decline and in those places I take a deep breath, look around at the others in their ruts, and declare that I'm not going to do that again. And about the time that I get relaxed, my wagon tips off the edge of the smooth oasis and down I go once again flying toward .... I don't know.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

At The Funeral

I sat at the back today. I never sit in the back, but today it seemed appropriate to leave room for those who were more familiar with the deceased. The minister was a tall Baptist preacher with a deep voice that was cracked around the edges, perhaps still recovering from a fiery sermon this past Sunday. His message was familiar but comfortable. He didn't preach a namby pamby cotton candy sermonette built around a story from which his listeners were to absorb some spiritual insight, no sir. There was no doubt, the only important thing in life is to be saved and gettin' saved is only done when we turn our life over to Jesus. The man who had left behind his earthly tabernacle was saved because he got everything right with the Lord a year and a half ago in a visit with the preacher. Most of the people in front of me listening to the kind but firm admonitions were aged. Not many people come out to a funeral on a Wednesday afternoon these days. Nowadays you're more likely to hear an excuse as to why one can't possibly be at the funeral than to hear of people taking a little time off from work to comfort the grieving. But these people had left the workaday world behind many years ago. Earlier they compared how many years they had been retired with the same passion of neighborhood boys on Christmas morning comparing their new bicycles. Of course all I could see was the backs of their heads. Thinning hair, tightly curled permed hair, hair that was perfectly in place due to a healthy slosh of hair tonic, hair that was colored into a fairly unnatural hue - but not too much so. Hair that once caught they eye of young lovers. Hair that turned gray as it suffered the stress of raising adolescents or contemplating the later years with little financial support. And now hair that adorned the head of one who has seen much in this life, and who is mostly passed over by a society that worships youth and beauty. Those heads were not motionless ... they moved often during the Preacher's sermon. "Do not let your hearts be troubled" brought several nods. In fact whenever the words of Jesus were rehearsed, a room full of aged friends nodded their approval. While the organ music was soft and lovely, the flowers were bright, the American flag draped the casket, the widow softly wept, the children squirmed, someone checked their watch, the preacher labored under his task .... it was the words of my Master in the ears of an elderly listener that yielded the greatest attention at the funeral.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Bumper Sticker

What do you think about THIS SONG? It's called Bumper Sticker.

Monday, August 16, 2004


It occurred to me just before I prepare to go to sleep for the night that there are some things we regard as "not for me" or "options" in Christianity ... but we have simply labeled them so. *We feel no intent nor drive to care for our spiritual babies in the church. They should simply be told once what to do and that ought to take care of it. Thankfully, we do not treat our own human babies this way. Mentoring is a lost art and most of our people have rejected it in favor of arguing about clapping, church hopping, and working on ways to not let Christianity interfere too much with our lives. *We feel no intent nor drive to teach the gospel to the lost. We think someone should, of course. For the most part this has been abandoned so that we can circle our wagons and try to hang on to our identity ... and anyone who wants to walk in and look like us is welcomed. People who walk in that do not look like us are expected to conform to status quo. Some nice thougths to consider as I drift off to sleep. By the way, does anyone have a cure for insomnia?


Out Here Hope Remains ... what kind of blog is this? *First, it's a blog that may not exist ... if existence requires readers. If someone blogs on the internet and no one reads, does it cost more? *I think there was some hope that great concepts that require input from varied sources would be discussed here in such a way that there would be amazement at both the enlightenment and ignorance of the writers. *Shall it be scholarly ... careful (some of my parishoners may actually read this stuff!) ... funny ... dispassionate ... foggy ... or ... what? Yes, but not too much. *Risky ... yes ... the more one reveals about his own thoughts, the more open he is to attack! Some people never think about being attacked by others. They have never been attacked. The ones who have been shot in the back will always be a bit wary. But what's the fun of reading a bunch of carefully crafted material that may be couched in language that is vague enough to warrant more than one interpretation in case of attack? No fun to me. *So, I'm not too worried about writing "articles" ... trying to be funny or serious ... trying to fit in one mold or another ... I think I'll just be me here (with a normal amount of hiding of the worst about me, and a normal amount of magnifying whatever good about me). Joel says he has some contributions to make to the blog. Right. I have invited another twenty-something person to contribute ... but ... I'm not sure he can figure it out. Actually I'd like someone who has a lot of friends to become a main contributor ... so someone would actually read. Thanks, Chris, for reading ... which makes me wonder ... just how bored are you? (those are not beers ... they are ... um ... apple ciders ... with ... whipped cream on top ... geez ... paranoia is a creeping form of protestantism.)


A lot of people dread Mondays ... but I like Mondays. Because I'm a preacher, I have a six day buffer between me and the next day that I have to speak three times. But aside from that it seems to me that Mondays offer a fresh new start. The week ahead will certainly have some surprises and some hurdles ... but Monday morning seems free of all of that. Yes, there are duties that belong to Monday ... but the past week is over and now we can set our course for another week. Mondays remind me that life doesn't have to just "happen" ... we can intentionally carve out for ourselves a meaningful week. Sometimes I feel like a crash-test-dummy who is just cruising through life at a rate of speed that is a little over the safe speed limit and at some point it's going to come to a sudden stop. Not a pretty sight! We're not crash-test-dummies, though. We do have a voice in the circumstances of our lives. Mondays remind me to get back on track. God made the sky on a Monday ... before it was called Monday ... so I should spend my day looking up.

Saturday, August 14, 2004


Let's all be in prayer for the destruction suffered at the hands of Hurricane Charlie.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Kingdom

1. The Hitch Hiker in the Kingdom is an opportunist. He is a creature of opportunity, unwilling and unable to be counted upon in any circumstance other than what is laid before him by someone else. 2. The Hitch Hiker in the Kingdom is a free spirit. Not free in the sense of being set free by the gospel, but free in the sense of being free from responsibility. As such, they are free from usefulness. 3. The Hitch Hiker in the Kingdom is satisfied to travel at the expense of others. 4. The Hitch Hiker in the Kingdom expects little of himself, but much of God. 5. The Hitch Hiker in the Kingdom has faith that everything's going to work out just fine and he will arrive at his final destination. He has not availed himself to know just what that destination might be. 6. The Hitch Hiker in the Kingdom is not able to establish relationships because they are never around very long. 7. The Hitch Hiker in the Kingdom feels free to critique the ways of the Kingdom, although no interest in helping to improve areas of concern evidences itself. 8. The Hitch Hiker in the Kingdom is aware of the love of God, but totally oblivious to the depth and the riches of God's saving grace. These are some thoughts about "spiritual hitch hikers", which was a term used today by Cornell Johnson.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

What's On Your Shirt?

I was reading some posts about this t-shirt at the Emerging Minister blog that had me thinking about wearing a shirt with our sins spelled out on them. It reminds me of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter ... and the adulteress who was identified by the letter on her attire. If your shirt had your sins automatically written on them, what would they say? I cussed out someone today. I had a lustful thought today. I visited a porn site today. I lost my temper today. I lied to cover up a mistake today. I gossiped about a co-worker today. I got drunk last night. I continued to hate an enemy today. I was greedy today. How many people would be proud to wear their sins? I think some would be ok with it, in a rebellious and proud sort of way. Of course their shirts would say "I was rebellious and proud today" and we'd know it! I think most people, though, want to cover up their sins ... run away from them ... hide from them ... escape the consequences of them. They struggle with forgiving themselves because they do not know a God who forgives sinners. To turn the tables a bit, though... Christians have been known to wear t-shirts with Christian messages for a long time. What if your t-shirt expressed the truth about your faith? I doubted God's existence today. God doesn't love me today. I do not have a clue what God wants from me today. I'm tired of trying today. I don't want to forgive the person who hurt me. I just can't serve anyone else today. Walk in the light ... and the only shirt you'll ever need has only one word: FORGIVEN.

Monday, August 09, 2004

A Place for Emptiness

This came today from Landon Saunders, and I liked it. A Place for Emptiness Dear Soul, A lot of times I feel empty inside. Dear Life, That's good, because if there were no empty places inside, there would be no place for what's coming next in your life. Consider the story of the lifesaver. The lifesaver hung on the side of the ship, forever feeling incomplete. And as the years passed, the sense of inner-emptiness increased; the life-saver was often in despair. Then one morning there was a shout-"Man overboard!" And the lifesaver was flying off the side of the ship, landing on a wave, into the hands of a little girl who clutched the lifesaver to her and got inside the ring, so happy to be saved. Now all those years of emptiness made sense. If there had been no emptiness, there would have been no place for the child. Today, I won't overfill my day. I'll leave some blank spaces for new life, new answers, new possibilities. --Landon

Friday, August 06, 2004


On the road for the past week I noticed all kinds of hazards on the way. Most of the things I might have identified as hazardous never materialized. A puddle on the road could send us hydroplaning off the road. What if I had hit that metal gutter that lay in the middle of the causeway? That guy on the motorcycle cut in front of me just a little too close. A woman drove by and as I looked I noticed her passenger, a mother with a baby on her lap, was in the front seat without a seatbelt. Her two year old was perched on her lap ... a deathtrap waiting to happen. I have been known to be overcautious at times ... but there are hazards everywhere. In my opinion it's better to recognize them than to slide through life oblivious to the dangers around. I wonder how aware we are of the dangers that await us on our spiritual journey? I know we are aware of them after they have afflicted us ... all too aware. Like pools of water on roads and trash laying on the highway, we see the dangers but are so willing to take unnecessary risks. A visit to a dubious website, a rented movie that we're hoping no one will see us with, an unplanned stop at the home of a 'friend' who may lead us down the wrong path - all hazards that practically have yellow blinking lights all over them. The hidden hazards come unexpectedly ... but are they really all that unexpected? Are we using the information we have from our experiences and the Word to help us avoid the hazards, or do we judge some hazards to be worth the risk? I'm not sure the hazards are hidden ... except in our willingness to be blind to them.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Out of Town

I've been out of town a few days ... Hope to post something later. I saw something on my trip that really sparked some thoughts ... if I can remember what they are.

Sunday, August 01, 2004


The reality of August on the Gulf Coast is that summer isn't nearly over, and hurricane season is just now coming into its own. Just a few days ago I commented on how this has been a really calm storm season ... and now Tropical Storm Alex is headed toward the East Coast and there's a tropical depression in the Gulf. The heat of the past few days reminds us that Summer is still in full swing. In my mind, though, August moves us closer to my favorite season - Fall. I love the cool days, the falling leaves, the holidays. Maybe it's because August looks a bit like Autumn ... I don't know. Our hope is one that is both presently realistic, and futuristically expectant. In the heat of temptation, doubt, and selfishness we need to seek shelter in the strong tower of the Lord. At the same time, the cool winds of promise are just over the horizon...a new season is coming that will bring true refreshment for the heart.