August 12, 2020
It was L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz that taught us that for our journey we would need Courage, Wisdom, and Heart. The Tin Man declared, “I shall take the heart. For brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.” It was the same Tin Man who later said, “Now I know I've got a heart, because it is breaking.” In The Four Loves C.S Lewis reminds us of the necessity of a heart in order to love. “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe
August 07, 2020
Several times a day, I am asked or am the one asking, so, how are you? What a loaded question these days. Like when you have a rainy day, then another, and another, we so long for the sunshine. The disruption has now given way to something that feels more permanent. I find the accumulative loss over time is an invitation to sit with God in both sadness and hope. It's been a long time since both were so tangible. As "life goes on,” it goes on in this fog of COVID-19, making every challenge a little more challenging and every blessing a little less beautiful. Jesus, what are you up to in this? Father, what is the good you are writing into our story these days? Holy Spirit, what do I need to move well through this fog? These are questions this Christ-apprentice can ask ... if I can remember
June 09, 2020
When I was a boy in the late 60’s, we lived in Southern California. Most of my parents’ extended family was in the Southwest where we moved from, so we hosted many family visits to The Golden State. The beauty of it all was that we got to play host to all the attractions. This meant several trips a year to Disneyland, Knottsberry Farm, and Sea World! As a boy these were some of the best days of my life, stepping into these large worlds, environments of adventure, exploration, excitement and danger (yes, even in these places of wonder, danger existed). From time to time we would hear of accidents that happened in these parks. It only took a second for a wonderful vacation to somehow turn into an awful and regrettable tragedy. You don’t have to visit a theme park to step into a large
June 08, 2020
When my daughters were growing up, we had some tough moments in which I needed to step in … not at them, not toward them, but for them. In fifth grade, my oldest was being accused of something she didn’t do. She was called into the vice principal’s office, and I was “notified.” We lived very close by so I dropped in and got to confront the authority confronting her. My second daughter was being pursued at middle school by a boy - and not in a good way - so confronting the boy with his mother at a school function seemed like the right place right time. I was kind, but direct. My youngest daughter had a coach on her travel soccer team that was not only missing her heart, but was shaming her with harsh and diminishing “motivational” tactics. We had a meeting. He thought it was going to be an
June 02, 2020
As I have been collecting my thoughts and listening to Jesus these past several days, a phrase comes to bear that I believe can be inserted into many calendar moments of the past several decades … “In light of recent events-” When it comes to Racial Inequality and the voices needed to help our country understand current events as well as history, I quickly confess - I am not that voice. I am one who needs teaching … one who needs to still listen and pursue understanding. So instead of attempting to teach or write about recent events, I would like to offer a voice I have found important to my learning. I received the message below from one of my good friends - another teacher in my life who has been gracious to enter with me, share a much needed perspective foreign to me, and shed light on
May 29, 2020
We’re all familiar with the flight attendant “in preparation for take off” speech. Specifically the part when they say, In the case of sudden loss of cabin pressure oxygen masks will drop. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally… If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person. “Your mask first.” Seems a little selfish, don’t you think? We know better. If you are going to be of any help to your child or loved one you are going to need to tend to your safety first. It’s true in the spiritual realm as well. Fathers, if you are going to be of any help, any encouragement, any strength to your
May 27, 2020
COVID-19, March, April, May … it is amazing what has transpired these past months. What you and I and the world have endured. The losses of life are so many. And for some, the grieving is just beginning -- if we even let ourselves grieve. Loss comes in all shapes and sizes. On the May 14 Thursday Night Gathering, we were joined by our friend Mark Philbrick, who is a grief expert. If you weren't able to join, you may want to give it a look and listen here. Our team has endured these COVID-19 days, and has been able to work from home. We are continuing to ask God for discernment regarding all our conferences scheduled for this fall. The first one (The Heart of a Warrior Encounter Heartland) is scheduled for late August. With Memorial Day behind us, our team is focusing intently on Father's
May 08, 2020
I was seven years old when my family made the trip from Columbus, Ohio to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for the first time. I thought I was in heaven! Surrounded by palm trees, a steel drum band at the pool, and a seafood buffet at the very top of the Hilton Hotel, I felt like a princess! Staying in a fancy place, eating fancy food, not a care in the world. My sister and I would ride the elevators up and down, pretending to be Southerners – speaking with our best Southern drawls – inserting “y’all” with great frequency, believing we were playing the part so well. We were hooked. We did this every year - exploring and making memories from Myrtle Beach to Hilton Head – which had even more beauty, more palm trees, family bike rides, and ice cream at the harbor in the evenings … I decided early
April 30, 2020
About a month ago, my daily routine was disrupted. First and ongoing by the Governor’s declaration of the stay at home order, then by the declining health of our son’s dog Glory. Accustomed to slow early morning time with Jesus, coffee, and sunrises, my mornings became more abrupt. I developed a heightened awareness of where Glory was and what she needed - long walks in circles in our small yard, sitting in clover together. I was always assessing her condition. Was she stumbling more? Less? Confused? Dizzy? It was a Thursday morning, before sunrise, and it felt like it would be our last day with her. My heart was broken, I was crying, my tears soaking her fur, my heart cried Jesus, I’m not ready for this. It is wild how, for some of us, the quarantine has brought the far-flung adult
April 22, 2020
Eowyn: Leave me alone, snake! Wormtongue: Oh, but you are alone. Who knows what you have spoken to the darkness, alone, in the bitter watches of the night, when all your life seems to shrink, the walls of your bower closing in about you, a hutch to trammel some wild thing in. Eowyn: Your words are poison! - from the film The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers I will never forget the day our first daughter was born. I was so excited for this little one! And yet her life seemed opposed from the moment she was born. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck and she was in distress. In their attempt to keep me from freaking out, the doctors calmly gave me instructions so that they could rescue our baby. Ashley arrived safe and sound and then for the next two weeks she cried … we thought