Help Us Help Others

Help Us Help Others
Chaplaincy Clark County

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The great unknown where feet may fail.

Good morning,
I pray the day has found you well.

Tim used to take me water-skiing a lot.

I eventually learned to water ski with one ski. I should rephrase this; I eventually learned to stay on top of the water for more than fifteen seconds on one ski, that is more accurate.

Tim however, could do many amazing things.

One of the coolest things Tim did was have the boat bring him in close to shore and then let go of the rope. He would glide over the top of the water with the greatest of ease. When he got to the shore, he would simple step out of the ski and stand on the beach.

I wanted to do this so bad it hurt, because it was so cool.

One day, a whole crowd of us was at Bonnie Dam. When I say a whole crowd, I mean a lot of us. When I say a lot of us there must have been at least ten or twelve. You might not think that ten or twelve teenagers is a lot of people but going up in northwest Kansas, more specifically Cheyenne County, Kansas ten or twelve teens is a lot.

Cheyenne County is located in the Norwest corner of Kansas. It covers roughly 1,022 square miles; back when I lived in Cheyenne County there were roughly 5,000 people that lived in the county. The little town that I grew up in, St. Francis had a population of roughly 1,800 people. This meant that while there were roughly 5,000 people in the county, 1,800 of them lived in town; leaving roughly 3,000 people to occupy the rest of the county. I will check my math later, but I think this only leaves around three people per square mile.

Anytime you had ten or twelve people in any one location, it was a crowd.

In this crowd, there was a bunch of girls. When I say, “A bunch of girls” I mean there were like four, or maybe even five girls in the crowd.

You might not think that four or even maybe five girls are a bunch of girls. If that is what you think, you obviously did not grow up in northwest Kansas.

Tim was busy showing off his water skiing prowess to the crowd on the shore. When he finished he let go of the rope, glided gracefully over the water, ski hitting the sand, Tim stepping gracefully out of the ski, walking up to the crowd of girls saying, “Hey.” Evidently, “Hey” is a pretty cool thing to say once you have just stepped out of a slalom ski because it sure made the girls swoon.

I was busy trying to make a campfire. When you can’t step out of a water-ski onto the beach and make the girls swoon just by saying, “Hey” you make a fire. Bob and I were making a fire. I was glad I had Bob to help me. I never could make a fire but Bob was good at chemistry, I guess that is why he is a doctor now, and had that whole fuel, oxygen, heat thing down pretty good.

I wanted to step out of a water-ski, say, “Hey”, and make the girls swoon too. I wanted to do that so bad that I went up to Tim, who was still standing in front of the crowd of girls smiling his wry smile, and said, “Tim, will you take me water-skiing? Tim said, “Sure” and away we went.

The great unknown where feet may fail.

I took off with only one ski. I managed to stay up as I came out of the water. I even made a couple jumps over the wake, hoping some of the crowd would notice. Tim took me around the lake and then I signaled for him to take me to shore. As we came closer to shore, I could see Tim was yelling something but I could not make it out.

One of the things you do not want to do is let go of the rope too early. There is nothing more embarrassing than gliding to a halt still 20 yards from shore, sinking in the water as your momentum slowed, and then having to swim awkwardly to shore with a ski still attached to your foot.

No, you do not want that to happen.

When I thought I was close enough to the shore to let go, glide gracefully over the water, and step out of the ski on the beach, I let go of the rope.

The great unknown where feet may fail.

At first, everything seemed to be going as planned. I was skimming over the water and I was sure I had enough energy to make to shore. In fact, the thought crossed my mind that I was going pretty fast.

As I got closer to the beach I realized a few things. First, that I was still going way too fast. Second, that I must not have let go of the rope soon enough. Third, things were not going to go as planned.

When I hit the shore I must have still been going about twenty miles an hour; I stepped out of the ski, well maybe it was more like being thrown out of the ski as the ski planted itself rather firmly in the sand. I tried to keep up with my feet, but could not. As my face headed quickly for the sand all I could think of to do was tuck and roll. I did that really well. I tucked and I rolled right through the campfire that Bob and I had just finished building before I went water-skiing.

I had been out skiing just long enough for the fire to take off and grow quite large. It was blazing away when I rolled through it. I came to a stop in front of the crowd of girls, hair smoldering, I through my arms out wide and said, “Ta-Da.”

Nobody swooned.

After Tim parked the boat, he came over to check on me. I asked him what he was trying to tell me. He said that he could see that we were getting to close to the beach and he was yelling for me to let go of the rope.

The great unknown where feet may fail.

As I look back on my youth there are many instances where I tried to over execute. I tried to do things I had no business doing. If I had been more attentive to God, He would have given me the confidence to know that I did not have to water-ski on one ski, and slide into shore to be accepted and loved. Tim had a gift for this and it was cool to watch him do it. If I had been more attentive to God, I would not have had to go to a place where my feet failed. God, in His infinite wisdom, saw this as a teachable moment though. What He taught me was even though I failed at water-skiing onto a beach I had many friends that cared about my wellbeing. People that loved me.

The great unknown where feet may fail.

I went to the great unknown where my feet did fail. What God showed me in this is that not only is He there with me but that it is better to try to fail than to never try at all.

Go into the great unknown.

Give God the opportunity to show you great things.

Blessings,

Monday, December 30, 2013

You call me out upon the waters.

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

You call me out upon the waters.

Growing up in northwest Kansas was a lot of fun. We had T.V.’s but only one station; obviously, this was before the time of satellite T.V., ComCast, Frontier, and all those cable companies. It was before computers, the internets, and WWW./////# and all that stuff.

What we did have was horses, motorcycles, pickup trucks, tractors, and a boat. Actually, I had the horses, a motorcycle it was an orange Yammerhammer 125 Enduro, and a pickup truck, a green and white 1966 Ford F-150. Tim had the tractors, a John Deere 4020, a John Deere 4630, and a 1936 John Deere –G. Tim also had a pick-up truck; it was a GMC with a toolbox bolted onto the bed. The boat also belonged to Tim. It was a Orange Glastron.

Actually, none of us owned any of that stuff, our parents did, but as kids, we thought it was ours as well.

The Great Republican River ran right by our little town, but since it was dammed in the 1930’s it really wasn’t much of a river anymore. The dam created a lake though. It was called Bonnie Lake, for that matter, the dam was called Bonnie Dam. The dam and the lake were actually in Colorado, which sounds as it was far away. In all actuality, Bonnie Dam was a mere 20 miles or so. We lived right on the border of Kansas and Colorado. A note of interest; northeastern Colorado looks an awful lot like northwest Kansas.

One day, Tim, Bob, and I decided to take the boat to Bonnie Dam. Of course, this meant that we had to take the pickup too. We loaded up all our stuff and headed to the lake. Tim was a very accomplished water-skier. He could slalom ski, which always left us impressed. The only time I was on one ski was when the water had just ripped the other one off and I was about to get a face full of lake water or worse.

You call me out upon the waters.

Bob was not much of a water-skier at all. In fact, he had never gotten up on skis before. Today, we decided that Bob would learn how to water-ski.

The lake had little wind waves on it. The wind tends to blow in Kansas, for that matter, the wind tends to blow in eastern Colorado too, not much difference. We experienced boaters called the lake “choppy.”

Bob would get into position, his ski-tips up and facing the boat, yell, “Hit-it” and we would throttle up the boat.

Bob would come most of the way out of the water, bent at the waist with his nose almost touching his toes, arms stretched out straight. Just when we thought he would get up on top of the water and ski he would start to wobble; the wobble becoming more pronounced until he would fall back into the water. He kept a death grip on the towline and we would always have to yell, “Let go.” I was afraid we were going to drown Bob.

The water was “choppy. Bob’s line of sight reduced to a few feet when he bobbed (no pun intended) in the water.
You call me out upon the waters.

A funny phenomenon occurred that day.

Bonnie Dam had many critters that called the lake home. There were deer, coyotes, rabbits, snakes, all sorts of land creatures. Bob was not concerned with land creatures at that moment he was in the water. Bonnie Dam had trout, bass, bluegills carp, and catfish. We had grown up with horror stories of giant catfish that would grab people and eat them. I do not think any of these stories are true, but back when I was a kid we thought about catfish a lot when we were in the lake.

The funny phenomenon was that as the water temperature heated up in the lake it became hypoxic. Hypoxia is when the oxygen levels in the water become low. In itself, hypoxia is not funny, what was funny was that carp, a family of fish that tend to grow large in lakes. Come to the surface and gulp air when the oxygenation of the water falls below certain levels.

The water was “choppy.”

The carp were coming to the surface.

Bob was bobbing.

We saw the carp coming.

We kept asking Bob if he was ready to try again.

Bob kept saying, “Not yet.”

Then it happened.

You call me out upon the waters.

A wave came and went, and right behind the wave was a great big “Killer” carp.

Bob started beating the carp with one hand and yelling, “Hit-it, Hit-it.”

Bob came right up out of the water.

He was skiing.

It was the most amazing thing I ever saw.

A one handed start.

A start with Bob still looking behind him to see if any”Killer Carp” were still chasing him.

You call me out upon the waters.

When I think about growing up in Kansas, I cannot help but see God in the middle of those years.

I also think about when God calls us out upon the waters, He takes us from a place that we perceive ourselves to be safe, to a place of unknown, to a place that takes us out of our comfort zone. It is only then that we have the opportunity to see what we can really do.

Father, continue to call me out upon the waters. Continue to stretch and remake me as I do my best to grow in your image. Forgive my failings as I forgive others who have failed me. Lead me father. Lead me out upon the waters.

Blessings,

Saturday, December 28, 2013

I received a call from a distressed father

Good morning,
I pray the day has found you well.

I received a call this morning from a distressed father.

His adult son is a heroin addict.

The dad was beside himself.

He wanted to help his son but did not know what to do. He had spent most of what he had on counselors to no avail. As I listened to this man my heart began to break. I really did not have any real answers for him. There are no magic bullets to these kind of things. I was able to get him in touch with a rehab center that works it's billing on a sliding scale. He said, "what if I can't get my son to go?" I explained that there are no guarantees and that I cannot promise anything. The father explained how his son was arrested but was released after the heroin wore off and that the police had no answers other than arresting his son again when he reoffends.

We talked for a long time.

Actually he talked and I listened.

I did give him information on narcotics anonymous, a group that helps addicts and their families much the same way that AA does. At the end of the call I prayed with him and told him that I am available and will walk with him through this season of life.

Lord, I come to you now for this fathers son. I ask that you take this addiction from him. I ask that you put people in front of him that will help him along the way. I also ask that you make yourself known to this father in such a way that he cannot deny that it is you. Please give him peace, wisdom, discernment, courage, endurance and hope, especially hope as he goes through this dark night. I also ask that you continue to provide with Your words as I work with this family. Amen

God is amazing, you never know when He will place a sick person, a person who has lost hope in front of you. When He does, He is giving you an opportunity.

Don't miss an opportunity.

Have eyes to see, ears to hear, remember what Christ said.

‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

Blessings,

Friday, December 27, 2013

Ice-skating the Great Republican River

Good morning,
I pray the day has found you well.

The river behind my house has ice on it. It is not iced over, the temperature is not nearly cold enough for that, but it has ice on it non-the-less.

As I stood in my back yard looking at the river, a memory came to mind, a memory from the early 70’s.

Growing up in St. Francis Kansas we had a river that flowed close to town, it was called the Great Republican River.

Bob Sperry, Tim Raile, and I decided to go ice-skating on the Great Republican River.

I know this sounds dangerous but really, it was not, or so we thought.

You see the Great Republican River had been dammed in the late 30’s after a particularly devastating flood. At least that is what we were told. The unintended consequence of this damming of the Great Republican River was that the river was no longer Great. The river had been reduced to a trickle at best and spent most of the summers rather dry.

But, this was not summer, it was winter and there was more water in the river. The water was also frozen.

So Tim, Bob and I decided to go ice-skating. One might ask themselves why three kids from Kansas would have ice-skates; one might ask that question. Of course, one might ask why we had snow ski’s, or an old parachute but then one never knows when something will come in handy.

We went down by the grain elevator, which if you are not from the country might be a little confusing. I will do my best to explain. A grain elevator is exactly what it sounds like, it elevates the grain. I never really understood why grain needed to be elevated, I guess carbohydrates have poor self esteem, and needs to be lifted up. I know that grain has a bad temper, at least that is what I have been told. The grain elevator operators always told us to be careful around grain elevators grain elevators tended to explode. Evidently, smoking really upset carbohydrates. I had heard of a guy smoking in a grain elevator once and the whole thing blew up, nasty tempers those carbohydrates have.

We went down to the grain elevator, which was by the Great Republican River. We put on our skates and quickly fell through the ice. We fell through all the way up to our ankles. We stepped out of the river, back onto the ice, and were on our way. It was quite an adventure really. Skating up river, jumping the sandbars, dodging the unfrozen parts. The river is really pretty in the winter and from the vantage point of the ice everything seemed different.

We skated for quite a while. We skated all the way out to the Riverside Golf Course. We skated to the pond that was at the golf course.

The pond was frozen over too.

We had a blast.

After a little while, Bob made a mistake and took off his gloves. That is when we noticed he did not have any color in his fingers. Everything was fine and dandy until Bob took off his gloves. Immediately we got scared. Thoughts of losing our fingers to frostbite came rushing into our heads and out of our mouths. Once we started down that road, it was a short hop-skip-and-a-jump too wild wolves, mountain lions, and our parents finding our bodies on the bank of the river come springtime. It did not matter that we were no longer on the river. It did not matter that we were fifteen minutes from town. It did not matter that we had never seen a wolf or a mountain lion.

I have often wondered who thought about these things, I think it was Bob he was the smart one.

We gathered sticks to make a fire. We did not have any matches, nor did we have a lighter. None of us smoked, to afraid of upsetting the local carbohydrates. Tim, who we used to call wilderness man. We didn’t actually call him that but looking back we should have. Anyway, Tim grabs one of the sticks and starts to roll it back and forth in his hands the way wilderness men do to make a fire. He never made a fire but what we quickly noticed was all this fire making work warmed our hands up quickly.

As what usually happens with young boys, we got bored, we started to get hungry, and we skated home, making a wide birth around the grain elevator.

Looking back on some of our adventures it is impossible to see that God was not right there with us skating down the river. He showed us many wonderful things; He shared His creation with us. I am sure that He laughed when our imaginations went wild. I had not thought about our ice-skating adventure for many years until today. Thank you Father for reminding me that you want us to enjoy life and that it is an adventure.

My prayer is:
Father, continue to show me things. Continue to nudge me into adventures, while at the same time reminding me of the adventures that You had given me already.

Blessings,

Thursday, December 26, 2013

It is December 26, the day after Christmas.

Good morning,
I pray the day has found you well.

It is December 26, the day after Christmas.

Fall has come and gone. Thanksgiving has passed. All the excitement leading up to Christmas is over. Christmas Day was a joyous celebration.

It is December 26, the day after Christmas.

During the weeks leading up to Christmas many people worked very hard collecting gifts for children that are in need.

During the weeks leading up to Christmas many people worked very hard collecting food for people that do not have enough to eat.

During the weeks leading up to Christmas many people worked very hard collecting clothes for people that do not have enough to wear.

We collected lots of gifts. Our YMCA collected enough to give gifts to over 300 kids.

We collected enough food to feed, I don't even know how many people.

We collected clothes for homeless families; from socks to underwear, all the way to coats and blankets.

We worked hard during the days leading up to Christmas.

It is December 26, the day after Christmas.

The question that I ask myself is, "What do I do now?"

Do I stop collecting gifts for children?

Do I stop collecting food for the hungry?

Do I stop collecting clothes for the naked?

We celebrated Christ's birth yesterday.

I am reminded of something Jesus once said.

“When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’

“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’

Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

“Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because— I was hungry and you gave me no meal, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was homeless and you gave me no bed, I was shivering and you gave me no clothes, Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’

“Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’

“He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth:

Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’ “Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.” (Matthew 25:31-46 MSG)

It is December 26, the day after Christmas. It is also only 364 days until Christmas.

I think I will continue to collect gifts for children.

I think I will continue to collect food for the hungry.

I think I will continue to collect clothes for the naked.

Come along with me, it will be quite a ride.

My prayer is:
Father, I will do my best to have Your eyes, Your ears, and Your heart. I want to celebrate You every day of the year. I will continue to help others as you have helped me. I also ask for Your forgiveness in advance, as I am weak. I know I will pass some by in my humanness. Give me the strength, the courage, and endurance to be Your servant.

Blessings,

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I am going to hunt you down.

I am going to hunt you down.

The thoughts of a cell phone commercial ran through my head as a little girl who we call Mo came running toward me with her arms held out in front of her. She was yelling, “Santa, Santa I have to give you a hug before you leave.”

We had our first “Breakfast with Santa” at the Clark County Family YMCA this past Saturday.

It was an event where we cooked pancakes for the families and then took pictures of the kids sitting with Santa. We had quite the turnout and everyone had a great time. Rhapsody church descended on us with an amazing volunteer team that took all the pressure off Lindsey (The membership supervisor/Child Watch supervisor) and an old chaplain. They helped with the setup, cooking, bussing of tables, registration, photo booth, teardown, and cleanup. Jamba Juice served donated smoothies.

I played Santa.

I sat in the “Santa Chair” talking with kids, asking them what they wanted for Christmas. We had the usual requests, Lego’s, dolls, puppies, kittens…Then came one 5-year-old boy. He came and sat on my lap. He said, “I know there is no Santa.” I said, “Why don’t you think there is a Santa?” He said, “I just had my birthday and I did not get any presents. My mom doesn’t have any money.” She already told me not to expect anything for Christmas.”

The Clark County Family YMCA partners with the Salvation Army during Christmas. We have a giving tree that has many tags on it. Every tag represents a child. Every tag represents a child that will not get a Christmas present if someone does not take a tag off the tree, by the gift, and bring it back to the YMCA so that we can deliver the gift to the Salvation Army. Last year we gave Christmas presents to over 200 kids in need. This year we will double that amount.

Santa looked at the boy, then at the tree. Santa had a face to put with a tag. Santa had a child sitting in his lap that will not get a Christmas present.

Santa asked the boy, “What do you want for Christmas?”

The little boy told Santa his wish.

Santa is a sly elf. He found out where the boy lives. Santa found the caregiver that brought the little boy to Breakfast with Santa.

This little boy is going to have quite a Christmas this year.

Sometimes a chaplain sits with a grieving mother or father.

Sometimes a chaplain works with a family that is broken.

Sometimes a chaplain reads books to the kids that come into Child Watch.

Sometimes a chaplain is Santa and can give the gift of hope to a child that at the age of 5 has already lost it.

I had just walked out of Child Watch after being Santa to the kids in there when Mo ran up and said, “I have to give you a hug before I go.” You see, she had seen that Santa was not in his chair anymore and had dragged her mother all over the YCMA looking for Santa. Mo found Santa and gave him a hug.

Sometimes even Santa needs a hug.

Blessings,

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

You can't fit a square peg into a round hole.

You can't fit a square peg into a round hole.

It is cold this morning. The temperature gauge says 28 degrees. It is still dark, even the sun gets up later this time of year.

As I sat in my chair, watching the dark shape walk past the house, deer walk past in the morning, occasionally stopping to munch grass and stuff that deer find appetizing at this time of day, my mind began to wander.

I began to think about circles; how circles have 360 degrees in them.

I think my mind was stuck on degrees, more aptly the lack of degrees that was currently in place on my front porch.

As I thought about circles, and the 360 degrees contained within them, I started to contemplate triangles.

I think I was having a brain freeze and could only use half of my brain, thus the fact that triangles have 180 degrees in them, only half of what circles have.

As I thought about triangles I thought how two triangles placed in opposite directions make a square. Actually, two triangles placed in opposite directions can make lots of things, one of which is a square.

I started to think about a square.

If a triangle holds 180 degrees, then two triangles hold 360 degrees, the same as a circle.

But squares don't look anything like circles, and circles don't look anything like squares.

Yet, they have so much in common.

Did you know that circles are actually a whole bunch of straight lines attached to each other with obtuse angles?

So if squares are made up of 360 degrees and circles are made up of 360 degrees, and squares are made up of straight lines and circles are made up of straight lines.

Why do we look at them so differently?

Maybe it is because we are only looking at them in a very shallow sense?

When we take the time to learn about circles and squares. When we take the time to learn what makes them up. We see that in fact, they are more alike than we could possibly imagine.

If something as seemly different as squares and circles can have so much in common.

I wonder what this world would look like if we actually took the time to learn about our neighbor.

Square pegs, round holes, not so different after all.

Lord, give me you eyes, Your ears, Your heart. Give me the courage to look at people as your creation not just as "other people". To see we have much more in common than not.

Blessings,

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sitting in the Membership/Healthy Living/Personal Trainer/Group-ex office.

Good morning,
I pray the day has found you well.

I am sitting, yes sitting, in the Membership/Healthy Living/Personal Trainer/Group-ex office. Why am I sitting in the Membership/Healthy Living/Personal Trainer/Group-ex office? Great question, I am sitting in the Membership/Healthy Living/Personal Trainer/Group-ex office because construction is going on in my office, which by the way is also Kari's office/mail room/printer/meeting room.

We are in the middle of a huge remodel/expansion at our YMCA. A remodel/expansion that when finished will provide even more space for us to positively impact peoples lives.

But for now, I am in the Membership/Healthy Living/Personal Trainer/Group-ex office.

It is interesting to sit with people while they work.

Trainers are in and out.

Group-ex instructors are in and out.

Membership staff are in and out.

As I sat watching staff do their thing. I began to notice how they multiple-tasked. They are good multi-taskers.

I began pondering about multi-tasking. In fact I began pondering about tasking in general.

I began to ponder, "Are we really ever present at all."

I started thinking about how when I am doing something, I stop thinking about what I am doing and start thinking about things I still need to do. Then when I start doing the next thing I start thinking about what the next thing is to be done.

In fact, right now I am doing the thing that I was thinking about doing while I was busy doing something else.

Brother Lawrence did something called, "Practicing the Presence," he practiced being present to whatever he was doing. He took it a step deeper though. He practiced being present to God. If he was doing dishes he was intentionally present to washing dishes. Not just to be present for dish washings sake, but to be present as if he was washing a dish Christ would use.

I wonder what life would be like if we all were as intentional to being present for the sake of others, the way brother Lawrence practiced presence.

Something to ponder.

Blessings,

Friday, November 15, 2013

Dancing for God

Good Morning,
I pray that the day is finding you well.

The wind was blowing the other day.

I noticed a leaf being blown in the wind.

First it blew one way, then another.

I watched as it went back and forth tumbling along. Tumbling over its stem then over the tips of the leaf.

I sat there for quite a while watching this leaf.

At first I was amused by the back and forth action, thinking about how the wind changed direction causing the leaf to change its direction.

I thought about how the leaf really didn’t have any say, or influence, on where it wanted to go. The wind was in control.

I began to think about how most of us live and work at the whim of others. If someone decides to go another direction, or the economy takes another dip, our job might go away, and we will have just about as much say in it as the leaf does with the wind.

Then God said, “Relax and watch the leaf.”

I sat silently watching the leaf.

After a while my heart began to change.

I began to see the leaf differently.

I began to see it dance.

It no longer was this out of control leaf being pushed here and there. The leaf was dancing.

A still small voice said, “This leaf makes me smile. It is dancing for me.”

I sat there and watched the leaf for quite a while.

In the end I was no longer thinking in a negative fashion. My thoughts went to thinking about all the blessings, and small miracles that happen everyday. I just need to have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to accept.

My prayer is that we all choose to see the beauty in God’s creation, to see a leaf dance; to ask the question, are we dancing for God or merely allowing ourselves to be blown out of control?

It is a matter of perspective.

Blessings,

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall has officially arrived at my house by the river.

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

Fall has officially arrived at my house by the river.

The salmon are migrating up to where they will lay their eggs.

The trees are turning various shades of yellow, red, brown, and gold.

The days are warm, the nights are cold, and the mornings are brisk.

As I sat in my chair, out by the river, the mist hung in the trees. A squirrel was running through the branches getting the last of its stash into place for the oncoming winter.

There is no noise.

Well there is noise, but not man-made noise.

I listen to the river run.

I listen to squirrel running through the branches.

I listen for God.

So often, in the busyness of our days we are surrounded by other noises.
Cell phones going off.

Printers printing.

People vying for our attention.

The noise of the day can, if we will let it, drowned out the sound of God speaking to us.

God may speck in a booming voice.

God may speak loudly.

God may speak to us in a whisper, coming to us in a gentle breeze.

Are we in a place that will allow us to hear what God is saying to us?

Lord, please be patient with me. I know that I am like a child, distracted by the things that I can see. By the things that are right in front of me now. Please keep talking; please do not go silent simply because I am not paying attention. Father, I ask for your help. Help me to pay attention to the things You would have me do. Give me ears to hear. Amen.

Blessings,

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sitting by the dock of the bay

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

I'm just sitting on the dock of the bay.

I'd be watching the tide role away, except I am on a lake and a lake does not have a tide.

I have been sitting here a while now. The birds fly overhead, the wind rustles the leaves of the trees, waves lap against the shore.

I was sitting here listening for God.

It was a quiet conversation.

I wasn't saying much, He wasn't saying much. You know you are with a friend when you can sit together in silence and it isn't weird. You are just enjoying each other's company without feeling the need to fill the void with noise.

The sun was shining, the day was warm. After a while a boat went by. I watched as it first came into view, then pass by, eventually it was gone. The boat was out in the lake a ways, it did not make much noise. After it went by the wake that it made started coming to shore. The familiar slosh, slosh, slosh could be heard as the little waves broke against the beach.

That was when God broke the silence. He asked the question,"what have you learned from the boat passing by?"

This caused me to ponder for a while.

A friend once said this about me, "It might take Roger a while to come up to speed, but once he gets there he doesn't stay there very long."

I turned to God and said, "Can you throw me a bone?"

This is what He said:

We are all like boats traveling along a lake. We displace things along the way, the same way a boat displaces the water it goes through.

We cause a wake.

The wake itself is neither good or bad, it is just a wake. Our intentions and our presence define the outcome of the wake. We have all seen what bad intentions cause. They leave a wake of destruction. Good intentions, poorly thought out can leave the same wake as a bad intentions wake.
Leaving or not leaving a wake is not the question. We all leave wakes. The question is, "How do we leave a wake that positively impacts others?"

I just looked at God. I knew that if I gave Him the pat answer, "Just look to Jesus." He would say, "Ok, what does that mean? Jesus left a positive wake but look at the wake that some of His followers left, not so positive."

I said, "I guess I don't know."

God said, "You know that you are called to come into right relationship with people. You know that I told you to love you neighbor, even your enemies. You are to help people, not just when it is convenient for you, but all the time. Worry less about principles and more about presence. Your job is to show people a little bit of Me. I will take care of the rest."

My prayer today is;

Lord, have your way with me. Break my heart for the things that break yours. Take away any pride or ambition that inhibits me from doing the work You have called me to do. Make me Your hands and feet. I don't want to be splashing aimlessly, creating waves. Let the wake that I leave behind bring You glory. Amen

Blessings,

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Silver Bay

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

I am sitting here at the Silver Bay YMCA in Silver Bay New York.

I am looking at all the beauty that is here. I totally get why people come to northern New York in the fall, the beauty is overwhelming.

Sitting here looking at God's beauty, I am drawn to something I once read:

“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour. If we refused, or rather used up, such paltry information as we get, the oracles would distinctly inform us how this might be done.”

Excerpt From: Henry David Thoreau. “Walden.” iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

It is easy to fall asleep.

It takes an intentional being to stay awake to the things that God would have us see.

To affect the quality of the day, not for our sake but for the sake of others. That is quite a task, and not one that we can do of our own volition.

Without Christ we are lost.

Without Christ, the why behind the what in everything we do becomes mute.

As I continue the journey of spiritual formation, with the understanding that the process of spiritual formation is being conformed into the image of Christ for the sake of others, I pray that my life will be worthy of contemplation.

Father, help me be the person you have called me to be. Give me Your eye's, Your heart,Your thoughts. As I sit here amidst your splendor. Have mercy on me. Amen

Blessings,


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Enjoy the journey

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

I don't know how many times I have heard, "It's not the destination, it's the journey."

While this is true on some level in spiritual formation it helps to know the destination. Knowing the destination gives us the ability to truly enjoy the journey.

I am at a YMCA camp in Silver Bay, New York.

I arrived last night.

I left early yesterday morning and spent the day in a plane, not my idea of a good time, locked in a small space, in a chair that is too small, next to someone I don't know, eating the worlds smallest bag of mini pretzels, trying to make each one last for as long as it can.

We finally landed in Albany, New York at 4pm. I saw a friend of mine, her name is Janelle, she was going to the retreat too. I was going to rent a car when she said, "See that guy over there, he is renting a car already to go to the retreat maybe you can catch a ride with him?"

I thought that was a brilliant idea, I hate spending money.

I walk over, introduce myself, his name is Dan, and off we went.

As we are leaving the parking garage Dan says, "You're the navigator."

All we had to do was take 87 north to 9 north, simple enough.

It only took us four hours to make the 90 minute trip.

Evidently, we took the wrong 9 north?

We got hungry, there was this BBQ place called pj's. We ate slop buckets with loganberry soda pops. It was real good.

We saw amazing country.

We laughed until we cried.

We almost got to Silver Bay once but there was a tree that fell across the road. We had to find another way.

It got dark.

Being men we did not resort to a map. That would just be silly.

We climbed this huge hill.

We came down the other side. Eventually we found 9 north again, but we wanted to see the tree, so we turned south.

We drove and we drove and we drove.

We found the tree, but the traffic wouldn't allow us to get close enough for a picture. We decided to take a picture of the traffic as proof.

We turned around.

We started to get hungry again. We wanted ice-cream.

We never found an ice-cream shop. What we did find was a new friend.

It turns out that Dan used the lease agreement we had with Rhapsody church as a template at his YMCA.

We talked a lot.

Eventually we got to Silver Bay.

People ask us, "Weren't you tired of riding?"

We just look at each other, smile and say, "Oh, but the journey was awesome!"

I am sitting on the shores of Lake George. The destination is amazing, but the journey was awesome.

Lord, never let tire of the journey. I know the destination. Don't let me become so focused on the destination that I don't take the time to enjoy the life You have given me.

Blessings,

Thursday, September 12, 2013

That Sam I am, that Sam I am

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

I started the fall weight loss challenge last night at the "Y". As usual it took me out of my comfort zone.

First the trainer took my measurements, reality check.

Then the trainer measured my body fat, another reality check.

The cherry on the cake of my day is when the trainer weighed me, serious reality check.

I realized that if I gain anymore weight my only option is to move to a planet with less gravity.

In my line of work I spend a lot of time with people working on their spiritual and emotional health. This kind of work is not hard for me, yet it seems to be very hard for some of the people that I try to help. It takes them out of their comfort zone.

Working on the health of my body is important, I know this; yet, it is hard for me.

If I am to be honest, which by the way I am trying to be. I do not like running on a treadmill. I do not like doing lunges, in fact I despise doing lunges and think they should be against the law, just saying.

I have done these weight loss challenges before and they always go like this.

My trainers name is Sam.

That Sam I am, that Sam I am.

I do not like that Sam I am.

Do you like working out?

I do not like working out!

Would you like it in a house?

I would not like it in a house!

Would you like it with a mouse?

I would not like it with a mouse.

Would you like it in a box?

I would not like it in a box!

A fox, a fox, would you like it with a fox?

Not with a fox.

Not in a box.

Not with a mouse

Not in a house.

I do not like working out. I do not like it Sam I am.

Sam you let me be.

But Sam doesn't let me be. He keeps pestering me until I finally submit and I find that working out is actually fun. Working out doesn't hurt anymore and I actually do feel better.

I still despise lunges though, just saying.

We need all kinds of people in our lives. We need people that care.

While Sam is busy working on the health of my body, I will be busy working on Sam.

My prayer today is,
Dad, as I submit to the pain of working out this old body of mine, give me the strength to present you well. It is hard, Dad, to present my best self in the middle of lunges, You know I don't like lunges. Please give me the endurance to do them well and give me Your breath as I lose mine, to speak your words. Amen

Blessings,

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Getting on Right Race Blvd

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

I hit the ground running this morning.

I did not get much sleep last night. It was one of those nights where I kept waking up, so many thoughts, so little time.

When I got to the "Y" I walked in to a barrage of emails, phone calls, and individual needs.

I was multitasking.

I was responding to emails while at the same time answering phone calls.

Brandon, the pastor of the church that meets at our "Y", and I would be on the phone when an emergency call would come through and I would have to hang up on him and take the call. It is a good thing Brandon and I have a good working relationship and he knows my heart. Then the noise starts. Right outside my wall the Impact hammers start up. I cannot hear anything and I know I must grab my cell phone and iPad, go to a quiet place that has wireless so I can continue my day.

I am walking to my car with my cell phone, iPad, keys and coffee cup in hand (Yes, a coffee cup is a vital part of my ministry) when my phone rings. I answer the phone, ask if I could have a moment to get into my car, the person says yes, I get into my car, throw my iPad, phone and keys on the passenger seat and put my coffee cup to my ear and say I am back. I realize that I am talking into my coffee cup. Put the coffee cup down, pick up my iPhone and hit the end button effectively cutting me off. I call the person back and he says, "What happened?" I tell him I was busy talking to my coffee cup and hung up on him when I realized I was not on the phone.

This is when I knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that I had completely fallen into the rat race this morning.

I am now in a quiet space, a space where I can take a moment to breath and wait on The Lord.

The rat race is an insidious race. You can be in it before you know it and without even trying. Even if you are intentional about not being in this insidious race it will sneak up on you.

The goal then is not so much to stay so far out of things that the race cannot get you. It would be very hard, nay I say impossible to be in active ministry living as a hermit, so being a hermit is not the goal. The goal is to have your rat race radar on so that you realize quickly what is happening and you can make adjustments to get off the rat race highway and onto right race blvd.
Father, continue to give me the nudges so that I can exit the rat race highway and enter right race blvd. Guide me, be my GPS if You will and continue to teach me so that I can present my best self to others so that they may know you. Amen

Blessings,

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Relationships

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

We are mourning the loss of one of our YMCA family today.

I was told of her passing yesterday afternoon right before I was leaving for the day. I drove home with a heavy heart knowing that the next day would be filled with connecting with her children and grandchildren, making myself available for them.

I got to my house, did my chores, made dinner and settled in to watch Monday Night Football. I had taped the game. I like taping games, no commercial breaks. No sooner had I sat down then my son Levi comes bounding through the door saying, “Hi dad, I am here for the night! Oh good, you already have the game on.” I replied, “Is something wrong at your apartment?” Levi says, “Nope, I just came over to watch both games and spend the night. What’s for dinner?”

I think I will get him a tee-shirt that says, “What’s for dinner?”

We watched the game together.

We talked.

We laughed.

When I went to bed, Levi was in the middle of the second game, it was a double-header Monday Night Football night.

Sometime during the evening, I received an email from the YMCA. There was a family in trouble, a broken relationship between a father and a son. The father was looking for a place to put his son.

I sat there as I read the email. I looked over at my son, who was busy making mom laugh. I started to think of all the “What-ifs” in life.

What if I had taken a different stance with my son during a troubling time? Would he still be sitting in my living room, coming over on his own accord just to be with me?

What if I had not shown love to my son as he was grew up? Would he still be sitting in my living room, coming over on his own accord just to be with me?

What if I had not spent time for my son as he grew up? Would he still be sitting in my living room, coming over on his own accord just to be with me?

I do not have the answers to these questions. Only God can see all the what-ifs in life.

This is what I do know.

By placing Christ in the center of my life and doing my best to follow His teachings, He gave me the energy, the heart and the space to take a breath as we raised our children. I do not know what tomorrow will bring, but at least my kids know that their parents love them.

We are mourning the passing of one of our YMCA family. This person has run a long race and finished the race well.
We are going to miss this member of our family, at the same time we are rejoicing because we know she is with Christ.

My prayer is:
Lord, continue to give me Your heart. Continue to give me Your guidance. Continue to give me Your wisdom. Continue to give me Your words. As I run the race that you have put before me, help me run it well. Help me finish well. I do these things not to bring me glory, but to bring you glory. So that others that may not know You will see these things and praise You Father. Amen.

Blessings,

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A quiet morning

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

The season is changing, actually that is a silly term; the seasons are always changing. I am reminded of a weatherman (I guess if I were to be politically correct I would say weatherperson, but this was a guy so I think I am safe saying weatherman, maybe not, I don’t know.) who said, “There was no weather today.” I thought, “What a silly thing to say. Of course there was weather today, there is always weather.”

It is getting a bit cooler and the mornings are dark when I wake up at my house by the river. The birds are still asleep and the air is still. We have an interesting phenomenon where I live. The sun heats the air and causes it to move through the valleys and along the rivers creating a gentle breeze; there was no breeze this morning, there was no sun.

I sat in my chair listening to the river.

I sat in my chair waiting to hear the first rustlings of the birds and other animals that call the river home.

I sat in my chair waiting to hear the waking of the day.

I sat in my chair listening for God.

God did not say anything.

After a while, I got up from my chair and got ready to go to the “Y”.

I got dressed, collected my things that I need for the day. Got in the car, realized I forgot my keys, went back in the house, got my keys, got back into the car, and started driving to work.

As I drove into town, I started to notice noise. I was stopped at a stoplight, which is a good thing to be stopped at. It sure is a lot better than driving through a stoplight. A car pulls up next to me and music is playing, I notice the music. A trucks engine is rumbling, I notice the engine noise. Pretty soon I am noticing a lot of noises.

Then a still small voice said, “The world is full of noise. I gave you this morning so that you could remember the tranquility and draw on that in the midst of the noise of the day."

As I go through my day and listen to noise. I am thankful that God caused me to stop and realize that I can draw on the quiet times. If I am to be an ambassador of Christ, I must not allow myself to be caught up in the noise of the day, but be that respite for people when they do.

Lord, my prayer is that You continue to give me grace as I do my best to abide in You as you are abiding in me. Let me be that quiet moment in a person’s day where they can just sit and decompress. Where they can just sit and be in You as You are in them. Amen

Blessings,

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Just another day

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

I went to our Orchards CDC yesterday.

CDC stands for Child Development Center.

Most people do not know that the YMCA is one of the largest provider of childcare in the United States. We take care of a lot of kids.

Our Orchards center provides childcare for families that do not have a lot of extra money. In fact, it is safe to say that many of the families that call the Orchards CDC home do not have any extras. The CDC is located in the middle of a depressed area. It is safe to say that a majority of the families that utilize this CDC are on state assistance of some kind. Most of the kids that spend their days at the CDC come from single parent families, there are a number of foster kids that spend their days with us.

These are good kids.

Some of the kids that have little to nothing at home; some of these kids have parents working multiple jobs or spend their days looking for work. When they get home, these parents are depressed from a day filled with little joy. They are tired and rung out. Some of these kids have parents that came from dysfunctional families themselves.

There are kids that need someone to show them a different way to look at the world.

This is where the CDC comes in.

At the CDC, the staff works very hard with these kids; showing them how to put the Christian principles of love, respect, honesty, responsibility, and service into their everyday lives.

This is where I come in.

I get the opportunity to work with these kids.

I get the opportunity to spend time with these kids.

It isn’t glamorous work.

It doesn’t make the headlines.

My usual M.O. after I leave the CDC and these kids is to spend time alone with God, crying.

One of the hardest jobs is to let the kids know that they are going to be all right. That someone outside their family cares about them and they can receive positive love and attention.

There are kids that live in a world where they do not know what tomorrow will bring.

A world that is tough enough for an adult. A world that is overwhelming for a six-year boy or girl.

Lord, continue to give me strength. Continue to give me endurance. Continue to give me the courage to be in the midst of tough situations. Father, most of all thank you for being there with me in the midst, as you are with these kids.

Blessings,

Monday, August 19, 2013

The music of a bigger and better YMCA

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

You will have to forgive me, I am sure that I am typing louder than I need to.

We are under construction here at our YMCA. The construction crew is cutting concrete about fifteen feet from my desk. If you have ever been around a construction crew that is cutting concrete inside of a building, you know what I am talking about. If you haven’t, it is very loud. Thus I apologize for my louder than normal typing.

Growing up in Kansas was awesome, with many great sights. I am not saying that Kansas is flat or anything, but I once watched my dog run away from home for four days. Kansas also had many wonderful smells. I remember the first time I smelled a feedlot. A feedlot is a place where there are a lot of cattle all penned up on the final stage of their lives before they end up at a McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King…I looked over my dad and said, “What is that smell?” My dad looked at me and said, “That is the smell of money.”

I sat down at my desk this morning, to the music of a concrete saw. As I sat at my desk thinking of the things that I had on the schedule, I had the opportunity to call Brian. Brian is our Senior Director of Healthy Living. Because of the construction, his office is now an office to membership, healthy living, trainers, and storage. I was thinking about Brian. I was wondering how he was doing sharing what was at one time his space with so many people. I dialed the phone. It rings. Brian answers. He doesn’t say hello. He says, “My God, what is that noise!” I yelled into the phone so I could be heard, “It is the sound of a bigger and better YMCA.” He said, “Are you calling from your desk?” I yelled, “Yes.” Brian said, “My office is looking really good to me.”

I found some earplugs, so the sound was muffled and went to work.

Growing up on the farm taught me many things. One of the things I noticed was that after a while you stopped noticing certain smells.

Sitting at my desk, I began to notice that I did not mind the noise. I started to think of the noise much the same way that I thought about the noise when I had my motorcycle. I never minded the drone of the engine when I rode. As my perspective changed, I began to see the noise of the construction much the same way.

It became white noise.

White noise is a noise that is constant and tends to block everything else out. It allows one to meditate.
I began to meditate on being His hands and feet.

What does that look, taste and feel like. As I ruminated on this, John 4:1-26 came to mind. How Jesus even though He was very tired, worn-out from the day still took the time to talk to someone that no one else would talk to. How He, even though He was very tired, took the time to come into relationship with someone that was really an outcast. How Jesus, even though He could have said He was done for the day, showed someone compassion and love.

As I go through my day, I will remember this and not be so focused on me but keep my focus on others.

Father, thank you for giving me your nudge this morning and allowing me to see that you call me to be Your hands and feet. As I go through my day, continue to nudge me so that my heart will be broken for the things that break yours. I love you. Amen.

Blessings,

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

George Carlin's thoughts

Good evening,
I pray the day is finding you well.

Every so often I read something that is so poignant and beautiful that I just need to share.

The following was written by George Carlin, comedienne and observer. I hope you find it as thought provoking as I did.

An observation by George Carlin:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.

Remember, to say, 'I love you' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.

Take a moment, let his words sink in. Let tomorrow be different than today.

Lord, give me the strength to be the change You want me to be in the world. Give me the endurance to finish well. Give me the courage to be Your hands and feet.

Blessings,

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

We found Jimmy Hoffa!

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

We found Jimmy Hoffa!

Those were the words from my friend Norm as we were cleaning out yet another office as the construction workers advanced on us.

It truly is amazing how much stuff accumulates if you just let it; you do not have to do anything special or make any conscious effort, stuff just accumulates.

As we were cleaning out yet another office, I started to think about our lives. How the environment that we live in has formed and transformed us. We did not need to do anything special. We did not have to make a conscious effort. Stuff just accumulated.

It really comes down to intentionality.

If I want to have a clean office, I must be intentional about picking up stuff. I must throw away things that I do not need or at least give them to someone who has a need for them.

If I want to have a clean thought life, I must be intentional about what it is that I am thinking.

As my thoughts turn to this subject, I realize that I really do not want to go through life unintentional. I do not want to find a “Jimmy Hoffa thought” hidden in the clutter and junk of a mind that has not been gone through and cleaned.

Paul tells us to set our minds on the things above. I will be intentional about that.

Father, help me to be intentional in all that I do. Help me to be intentional in my thought life and not let random thoughts clutter my mind.

Blessings,

Friday, August 9, 2013

We have family in town

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

We have family in town.

It has been a busy week.

At the "Y" we have been cleaning out spaces and moving offices in preparation for the renovation and remodel. I am beginning to think we could be on an episode of "The hoarders, buried alive." We are finding things tucked away in closets that we did not even know existed. We will be fresh and new. We will be fresh and new until we need to clean out again and find that we have hoarded again.

Our workday goes on as usual, I would say normal but that would imply that we have normal days. Anyone who has ever worked in the "Y" knows that YMCA's do not have normal days. The work day goes on as usual. In between our usual work, we clean and move.

We have family in town.

One of the things that I do as a chaplain is visit our camp. We have a beautiful YMCA camp located on the Sandy river.

Camp Collins is a magical place. A place where magic happens and friends last forever. They have a sign when you enter it reads, "please drive slowly, future leaders at play."

I visit the camp and check in with staff and volunteers. Making myself available to them.

We have family in town.

I took my family with me to Camp Collins, I would be there until 9:30pm and would not arrive back home until well after 10pm. We got to camp and checked in at the office. Zumi (everyone has camp names) is just leaving for the evening. I see how she is doing and get a prayer request. Zumi leaves and we continue into camp.

Even before you see any kids you can hear laughter. It is obvious the kids are having a great time.

We walk into the dining hall, dinner has just ended, the kids are cleaning up. Even during cleanup the kids are having fun. Spandex is supervising the cleanup, she sees me and comes up to talk, everything is good in her world, she wanted to tell that.

Bambam, Blitz, and Pike are getting everything ready for campfire.

Campfire is where the whole camp congregates in front of the outdoor stage with a campfire.

My good friend Michael McGinnis is there. Michael is an amazing guy. He is a gifted musician and singer. This is going to be an extra special night.

Campfire is full of singing, play acting and fellowship.

Campfire ends around 9:30pm and we leave after a series of goodbyes, God bless you's and what-not's.

The ride home was filled with excited conversation about camp, Michael (my sister remembers Michael from when he was a music star), and how God showed up that evening.

I am glad we have family in town.

So often we try to segregate our lives. We separate work from home. Friends from other friends. Home from the outside world.

It is good to have space, we call this healthy boundaries. I am not talking about healthy boundaries in this case. I am talking about sharing your world with others.

Jesus had healthy boundaries. He also shared his world with those around Him. In fact, He continues to share Himself with all of us.

I am glad we have family in town.

We also have family at camp.

If I am to be His hands and feet I must learn to share.

Father, give me the courage to share. Give me your eyes Lord. Give me Your heart. Give me the words so that I may share You with others. Amen.

Blessings,

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The only constant in life is change

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

The only constant in life is change.

We are starting phase 2 of our expansion at our YMCA.

The construction company is digging a big hole in the grassy area in front of our pool. We will have a lap pool available in about six months. We are excited about this since there is a lack of pools in our area.

We are in the midst of moving all the office spaces around since we will be remodeling and adding on to the entire building.

When we are done, we will have more space, more offerings, and more things for people in our community to do.

We are changing the look of our YMCA.

As people come in they ask, “What will it look like?”

We tell them what the physical building will look like.

We tell them what new things they can expect to see and do.

Our hope and desire is to be a place that, through this expansion, will be more able to positively impact our community.

Our hope and desire is to be a place that is more able to help people work through their stuff.

Our hope and desire is to be a place that heals the hurt and give hope to the hopeless.

The only constant in life is change.

As I think about change, I think about Christ.

Christ is the great change agent. He is the one who brings great hope, great healing to people’s lives.

As I think about Christ, I cannot help but think about what He would like to see be part of this expansion. For us not to come to Him and ask Him to bless what we are doing, but to come to Him and ask Him what He is currently blessing so that we can come along side of Him and do what He would like us to do.

As I think about Christ, I cannot help but think about what He would like me to do.

Lord, I come to you asking simply, “What is it you would have me do today?” Show me Your will that I may do what you would have me do. I do not come to ask you to bless what I want to do, but only to do your will. I wait for You. I am listening for You. I am attentive to Your nudges. As you continue to shape and change me Lord I thank You for being patient with me. Amen

Blessings,

Monday, August 5, 2013

The little river behind my house

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

I was standing in the river with Abe again this weekend, go figure.

I like rivers.

The water moves in rivers.

Ponds are nice.

Lakes are cool.

Rivers are awesome.

Ponds are nice to laze around in, and by.

Lakes are fun if you have a boat.

Rivers are special.

Rivers move.

The little river behind my house is not big, nor is it deep. The water is crystal clear. It has a rocky bottom that has different depth holes in it. Some hole you can sit in up to your waist. Other holes you can sit in up to your chest; there are some holes that you can sit in that are over your head.

As I was standing in the river with Abe, a leaf floated by. I watched as the leaf went one way, then another as it floated down the river. Sometimes it would spin gently in the current, other times it would come to a rapid and careen through the torrent of water. Once it was through the rapid it would come to a pool of slow moving water and spin gently in the pool once again.

I started to see a metaphor of life in this leaf floating down the river behind my house. As I watched this leaf going on its way, I put myself in the leaf. How life has moments of calmness, when everything seems to be in order. Then the current speeds up, at first we do not even notice, then we see that things are going faster, and faster. Sometimes it is all of a sudden and we find ourselves in the rapids of life. When we are in the rapids of life it is hard to see when the rapids end. Then we come out of the rapids to a gentle pool where we can spin slowly, allowing us to take life in. The process tends to repeat itself as we go through life. No two rapids are the same, but they are rapids non-the-less.

I was in the midst of contemplating this, as I stood in the river behind my house.

My thoughts turned to formation and transformation.

Formation and transformation in Christ is more like a river and less like a pond or lake.

Formation and transformation in Christ is not a stagnant process. It is a process that is constantly moving.

We are not sitting in one place.

We are either moving towards Christ or away from Him.

We are either forming and being transformed into Christlikeness or we are forming and being transformed away from Him.
We are not sitting still.

We are on the river of life.

A thought I can ask myself is, “Which way am I forming?”

Father, as I travel down this river of life help me. It is easy to contemplate you in the gently motion of the slow water. What I ask is that you help me see you in the rapids too. As I endeavor to keep my focus on You Lord. Give me nudges when my attention drifts. I have been saved by your Grace. Help me to grow in You. Amen.

Blessings,

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Abe, a river and Cheetos

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

Swimming in the river.

I seem to find myself swimming in the river behind my house a lot lately, almost everyday. Actually, I do more standing in the river than swimming; standing with a bag of Cheetos Cheese Puffs in my hand.

Abe, my dog, does not like water.

Abe, my dog loves Cheetos Cheese Puffs.

Abe is a Bassidor Retriever. A name I gave him when I first saw him at the rescue shelter nine years ago. Abe is half Bassett Hound, half Golden Retriever and half something else.

One of the best things that I love about being a theologian is, I don't have to worry about math.

Normally, Abe stays well away from water, I guess the Golden half is outdone by the Bassett half. If I get into the river with a bag of Cheetos, all bets are off. No sooner do I get into the river and Abe is right there next to me, paddling his big Bassett feet, waiting for a Cheese puff. Laurie goes down river about 20-yards with a handful of puffs and Abe swims back and forth, eating cheese puffs.

It is actually quite fun.

I like to watch Abe swim. He is really good at it.

Abe likes his cheese puff / swim game.

When I come home from the YMCA, Abe meets me at the door all excited. He leads me to the pantry (right where the puffs are), barks until I get the bag of puffs out. He takes me to the bedroom, where my swimming suit is. He waits for me to put on my river shoes. Then he runs to the river, waiting for his puffs.

I get in the river, and swim time is on.

It has been fun watching Abe get over his fear of water. I do not know, but it seems something must have happened when he was a pup to cause this fear.

The water is cold and clear in the river behind our house. I can see Abe paddling when he swims. His stroke is not anxious, or hurried, it is a slow, powerful stroke. He actually likes to let the current take him, only stroking occasionally. He is relaxed.

As I stood in the river yesterday, watching Abe, my thoughts turned to Christ. How He can take us to places, confront us with our fears, show us that with Him we can overcome these things that inhibit us and truly live a fearless life.

I am reminded of something Jesus said:

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27 ESV)

Father, thank you for your love. Thank you for loving me. Thank you being right there with me during the scary times. Thank you for getting into the water first to show me it is ok saying, "Come on in, the water is just fine." Thank you for being gentle when I doubt You. When I respond, "I don't know if I can do this." Thank you for encouraging and empowering me when I am weak and think it is impossible. I love you. Amen

Blessings,

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I’ve got nothing

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

I’ve got nothing.

You ever have one of those days when you’ve just got nothing?

It’s not a particularly bad day.

It’s not a particularly good day.

I would call it a normal day.

I got up this morning and had my quiet time.

No big revelations there.

I took a shower, the water cascading over my head, waiting for something.

Nothing.

I drove to the YMCA, waiting.

Nothing.

I took my aqua aerobics class.

Nothing.

I talk a lot about living in the mystery.

Living in the mystery is living your life in such a way that you take the day as it comes. Instead of trying to figure out what God is up to, you wait instead. You wait for Him to show you what he wants you to do.
Often times this means we wait.

We wait for him to direct our actions.

Now I am not saying that we do nothing. I am not saying that at all.

We still live our life. We still go through the day being His hands and feet.

What I am saying is, “Don’t push God.”

Don’t try and push Him to give you something special to do, or say.

He will do this in His perfect timing.

It’s ok to say, “I’ve got nothing.”

It’s ok to wait.

Lord, I wait. I wait for You. I am doing my best to do Your will, not my will. Help me to do Your will. In the words of Isaiah, “Here am I Lord send me.” Father, I am only human. It is hard to wait, but I am waiting. Forgive my impatience, forgive my nagging. It is hard to wait. I love you Lord. Amen.

Blessings,

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The cat’s in the cradle and a silver spoon

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

The cat’s in the cradle and a silver spoon.

I was contemplating my bike the other day. An old Cat Stevens song came to mind. As I sang the song in my head, the lyrics changed to:

My bike died just the other day.
It left the world in the usual way.
A Blown engine, too much to repair.
They sold the bike while I was away.
And the cat’s in the cradle and a silver spoon.
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
When we going riding, I don’t know when.
But we’ll have a good time then, yea.
You know we’ll have a good time then.

As I hummed this to myself, I could not help but daydream of rides to come.

Then my mind came back to the original song by Cat Stevens. A song that is quite sad really.

You know the song is about a father who is so busy, consumed really, with the things that he thinks are important. Trivial things really, but all consuming to someone who lives their life worried about the future. Never realizing that what is right in front of them, in the moment, is what is truly important. The father recounts how the little boy would say; when I grow up, I want to be just like you. You can hear the pride in the father’s voice when he sings this. Then the little boy grows up and the father finds out that his son had grown up just like him, too busy for the father and he is left all alone, wanting the only thing that he cannot have; time with his son.

As I sat contemplating this, another visual came to mind. It was the movie “Hook.” In the scene Robin Williams, who plays a father consumed with climbing the ladder and making money is standing at the window. His wife has put his children to bed. His wife walks in and says, “Peter, you are not paying attention. Your children are growing up and you are missing it.”

My bike died the just other day.
It left the world in the usual way.
A Blown engine, too much to repair.
They sold the bike while I was away.
And the cat’s in the cradle and a silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
When we going riding, I don’t know when.
But we’ll have a good time then, yea.
You know we’ll have a good time then.

Brother Lawrence:

Brother Lawrence was a Carmelite monk in the 1600’s. He was not well schooled, and became a monk at an older age than most. In fact, the other monks thought him not up to the task of “high spirituality.” He had been relegated to kitchen duty. He would shop for the food, prepare the food, cleanup after the meals. He did this so that the other monks would not have to take their focus off their devotions.

As Brother Lawrence went through his day, he started practicing the presence of God. When he went to the market, he was buying food as if he was going to use it to feed God. When he prepared the meal, it was a meal for God. When he washed the dishes, he washed dishes for God.

The funny thing is, we do not study the other monks. We study “Practicing the Presence of God.” We study Brother Lawrence. The other monks who spent their time in the sanctuary, we do not know. Brother Lawrence, who spent much less time in the sanctuary, and much more time serving, we do know.

It is good to contemplate the things of God. It is good to daydream of Heaven and being in relationship with Him. Christ never meant for us to be so focused on Him that we let the world and those around us go to hell.

I know that Christ is focused on me; He is not standing with His back to me looking out a window, contemplating the future. He is not so consumed with the future that He says, “Not now.” when I want to talk with him.

Let us take Christ’s example and use it to shape our lives.

Lord, don’t let me become the father in, “The cat’s in the cradle.” Please remind me when I am not being present to the things you want me to be present too. Teach me not to be a monk, but Brother Lawrence. Put people in front of me Lord, so that they may get a glimpse of you, as I am in you and you are in me. Amen.

Blessings,

Monday, July 29, 2013

Have you ever had a nudge?

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

Have you ever had a nudge?

I got home from my trip to Duluth a few days ago. When I tell people that I used my vacation to go to Duluth people look at me kind of funny. I guess they look at me kind of funny anyway.

While I was on the ride Sandy, from Lone Wolf Harley, emailed me and asked if I could send the title to my bike. One of the technicians is going to buy the bike, as a project, and put it back together. I was on my ride and had not responded yet. I was going to simply mail them the title, with a note, and call it good.

Then I got a nudge.

As I sat there looking at the river behind my house a still small voice said, “Roger, I want you to call Lone Wolf Harley and check on them.”

I do not make a habit of calling Harley dealerships.

I definitely do not make a habit of calling Harley dealerships just to check on them.

I called.

I talked with Sandy.

I told Sandy that I was going to send her the title.

I thanked her once again for everything, how they helped me during a time of need.

She told me how they had never seen anyone respond to a problem they way that I did. How they talked about Chuck and I for days after we left. She talked about how we changed the way they look at things.

Then she said something I was not expecting to hear.

She said, “Can you talk to Sasha. One of her friends, an elderly gentleman, had a heart attack and is not expected to make it.” I told her, “Absolutely.” Sandy tried to find Sasha, but could not. Sandy took my cell number and said that she will give it to Sasha.

A few minutes later my phone rings. It is Sasha.

Sasha is in distress.

She is not doing well, and needs someone to listen.

I listen.

As she talks I can hear sniffling, Sasha is crying.

She tells me that he had come in to see her only a couple of days ago. How they had a nice conversation. How he left and she did not say, “I love you.” To him.

Sasha is chained to the “mirror of regret.”

“If only I knew.” Is what she said.

After a bit she became quiet.

I asked her if she wanted to hear a story?

She says, “Yes.”

I will share the story that I told Sasha. It goes like this:
Good Morning,
I pray that the day is finding you well.

We had a retirement party for a very good friend of mine, Ken V. and his wife Rachel. I was asked to M.C. the event.
I joined the Navy in 1983.

I was in navigator school down in Florida during the winter months of 1983. Coming from the high plains portion of the United States, I was not used to having 80+ degree weather in November. To me it was just plain hot. I never did get used to having my glasses fog over every time I walked outside. School was fun, and even though I had been to college, this was a very different environment and I missed my family. I would call home weekly just to hear their voices and to find out what was going on. I usually did this on Saturday evenings. Those were the days before cell phones; pay phones were the only option at the time. I had a choice, I either could line up a bunch of quarters on the little metal shelf in the phone booth, and every two minutes or so be interrupted by the operator, telling me to insert another $2.00, or call collect.

I opted to call collect.

One Saturday evening I called home, my grandfather answered. We called him Boppa. I do not know why we called him Boppa, we called our other grandfather Grampa. I never understand why we give things the names that we do, I try not to think about it, when I do think about it I end up with a headache. I do not like headaches, hence the “I try not to think about it” part.

Boppa was a cool grampa.

He taught me how to hunt.

He taught me how to weld; he was a welder by trade.

Boppa accepted my call after giving the operator a hard time about never hearing of anyone by the name of Roger. Me yelling into the phone, “Just accept the call.” Him keeping up the gag, and just when the operator is about to hang up, Boppa accepts the call. Boppa was quite the character and always told wonderful stories. Nobody else was home so Boppa and I had a great conversation. As the conversation started to wind down, Boppa told me that he was proud of me. I had an almost uncontrollable urge to tell him that I loved him, but I did not. We weren’t that kind of a family. The guys would tell the girls that they loved them and the girls in the family would tell the guys that they loved them, but the guys didn’t tell the guys that they loved each other, I could give a thousand conjectures why, but we just didn’t.

Boppa and I hung up the phone.

Two days later, I get a message from the Red Cross.

The message simple read, “Your grandfather, Boppa died.

Call home.

I have been fairly lucky in life. I do not have a lot of regrets. The one regret I do have is not telling Boppa that I loved him when I had the chance. I know that he knew that I love him; at least that is what I keep telling myself.

When I called home that day, my actions changed.

Not only did I tell my mother and sisters that I loved them, I told my father too.

I M.C.’d Ken and Rachel’s retirement celebration Sunday afternoon. As I talked, Boppa came to mind. I mentioned that so often we wait until it is too late to tell someone how much he or she means to us. How many times we let the moment pass without saying those words. I asked everyone to not let this moment pass without telling Ken and Rachel how much they love and appreciate them.

Ken and Rachel know that I appreciate and love them very much.

My family knows that I appreciate them and love them very much.

The people in my life know that I appreciate them and love them very much.

How important is it to know that a person is loved?

God tells us the following:
Better is open rebuke
than hidden love. (Proverbs 27:5)

It was the last lesson Boppa taught me.

After I told Sasha this story, she said thank you…sat quietly for a moment…then said, “Roger’ I love you.” I said, “I love you too Sasha.”

She thanked me for the call. She thanked me for listening. She is going through the grieving process. I told her she can call anytime, and talk, yell, cry, scream. I told her that I draw the line at hitting; you cannot hit the chaplain.

She laughed and said she would.

My prayer is that we do not miss any more opportunities to let those that we love how much they mean to us.

Blessings,

Saturday, July 27, 2013

God provides

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

I went to Holy Yoga yesterday.

Holy Yoga is a class at our YMCA. It is a class where you are led through a series of stretches and poses while at the same time the instructor reads scripture verses, prays for you, and gives you things of God to meditate on. It is held from noon to 1pm. The class is a wonderful way to reframe and refocus your day. Every class begins and ends in prayer.

As I sat on my mat holding a pose in yesterday's class I was meditating on the phrase, "God will provide."

The word provide comes from the Latin word "provid─ôre" which literally means, "to see ahead". Pro meaning "forward" and vid─ôre "to see".

God will provide.

Many times, in our western sense of things, when we hear this this our minds go to monetary things. We hear, "God will provide" and we say to ourselves, "Is God going to give me a new house or is God going to give me a new car?" Maybe He will, maybe He won't.

I really don't think God is all that interested in cars.

I really don't think that God is all that interested in houses.

What I do think is that God is interested in you, in me, in us.

God does want the best for us.

Life is full of ups and downs.

Times of happiness and times of great sadness.

There will be times when we feel in control.

There will be times when we feel that life is too big and we have little or no control.

God will provide.

I was talking with a friend yesterday. During our conversation I said to her, "I have been living in the mystery so long that life would be boring without it."

As we talked we started recounting how God has been there for us in our lives to:

Provide comfort in times of need.

Provide people that would help us during times of distress.

God has used our painful times as a way to relate to people that are going are going through painful times themselves.

God provides people for us to minister to.

God provides opportunities to show people a glimpse of Him.

God provides.

My prayer this morning is, "Father, give me eyes to see what it is that you are providing. You know what I want you to provide. Not my will Father, but your will be done. Amen."

Laurie and I are going to a wedding today. I can't wait to see how God provides.

Blessings,

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Home again

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

I'm back at the river lodge.

I arrived home yesterday afternoon. Chuck dropped me off. We unloaded my gear from the bike, and said our goodbyes. He headed home and I kissed my wife hello.

It is good to be home.

Chuck said, "It is good to get away, but great to come home. In the end we are both home buddies.

It was an amazing trip, filled with amazing things.

We had good days.

We had bad days.

We had great days.

We had a terrible day.

Looking back our trip really was a microcosm of life.

My bike blew up.

This could have been a flat tire experience. Instead God used it to bring a person to Christ. Someone else will be helped from the proceeds, and hopefully a group of people will look at life through a different lens. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Lone Wolf Harley and the people there.

Thank you again Paul, Sasha, Sandy and especially Beth. Love you lots.

Riding two up on a bike has taught me many things. I learned what it is to be a second seater.

We rode through some of the most beautiful country we had ever seen.

We stayed in hotels. We stayed with family.

It was my pleasure to introduce Chuck to my family.

We saw a number of YMCA's. Our favorite was the Mankato YMCA, it truly is a special place.

I was able to see what my sister does, feeding those in need.

These were great days.

In Rapid City, Chuck needed a new tire. He had not expected to do this.

It was a bad day.

Christ used the down time, as we waited for Chuck's tire to be replaced He brought Charity into our lives. She now reads the Breads.

In Baker City, God brought me another very hurt person to talk with and show her a bit of Christ.

I am home now, and it feels great.

Laurie and I call our home the river lodge. It sits on the bank of a river nestled in the Cascade Range. In fact, as I was writing this two black tail deer came out of the woods and crossed the river right in front of me.

At our old house, before we moved to Washington from Oregon, we had a pond in our yard that looked like a river. It was the brainchild of our middle son Levi. We loved our pond. When we moved here Chuck said, "You built a river at your old house and loved it. God gave you one of His to love."

I like that.

I am home now.

I wonder what God has in store for me today.

May The Lord bless you, and keep you. May His face shine upon you always.

Blessings,

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Another day in the old west

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

Chuck and I are in Baker City, Oregon, almost home.

We left Burley, Idaho yesterday. It was a beautiful run through some of the hottest weather we had experienced. Since we had decided to do the run two-up, we had to really consolidate our things. This meant that I had to wear my leather jacket. There was no place to store it. The teeshirts that I packed for the trip were all long sleeve. Keeping the sun off my arms when riding all day keeps me from feeling poorly at the end of the day. So I have been riding in the backseat wearing a long-sleeve teeshirt and a leather jacket.

We rolled into Baker City, an old mining town (gold was king a hundred years ago), and checked into the hotel. Our rooms were not ready yet. We had forgotten that we gained an hour from Idaho to Oregon and arrived an hour earlier than we anticipated.

I was rung out. I was vastly overheated. I needed water.

The only place open was the lounge.

Chuck and I sauntered into the bar. Country music filled the air. A song about a girl dancing on top of a green tractor hit my ears. I am glad we will be home soon. I miss my wife.

Chuck and I bellied up to the bar (I am picking up on the country lingo in Baker City).

Kate, the barkeep, said, "howdy boys, what will it be?"

This is when my sophistication shines.

I screamed, " Water! Give me water."

My mind went to thoughts of the movie "Wild Hogs."

Kate just looked at me.

I said again, "Bring me water, and keep it coming!" (Since I was in an Old-West town, I added, "And bring a water to everyone in the bar...on me!")

There were only two other old greasers in the bar. They didn't even have the courtesy to say, "Thanks long rider."

So much for western hospitality.

Chuck and I sat there sipping our water. We had already had guzzled four glasses, which evoked Kate, the barkeep, to say, "Slow'r on down there, cowboy, or you're going to find trouble in this here town."

We were sitting there when the saloon girl (a saloon girl is a waitress in an Old-West town...any old western movie will tell you that!) came up to Kate and said, "I have to go home, I can't take it anymore."

The girl looked distraught. Kate looked worried.

They looked in my direction.

I summoned the saloon girl.

She walked over.

I pulled up one of my Breads on my iPhone and asked her to read it.

She sat down, read the Bread, then paused, staring forward.

After a minute she said, "Can we talk?"

I say, "Okay." Let's call her Jeannie.

We went to a table and she sat down in a chair.

Anyone who has experienced sitting in a chair talking with me knows what is about to happen.

I sat and listened to Jeannie. She is a young girl deeply troubled.

After listening to Jeannie tell me her story I said, "Jeannie, usually I have more time to work with someone. Our time is short so with your permission I will be a bit blunt."

Jeannie said, "Okay."

I went right to the heart of her "flat tire experience."

She began to cry.

Over the next several minutes, I gave her tools to fix her flat tire.

Kate, a good friend to Jeannie, sat at a nearby table, not really trusting this water guzzling cowboy.

After Jeannie left, Kate came up to me and said, "That was amazing. I have never seen anything like that before. Thank you for helping."

I told Kate, "I don't know how much help I was. I just tried to give her some tools to help her cope.

God is funny. He doesn't care if you are on vacation or not.

A friend once said you cannot fire pastors. You can quit paying them, but you can't stop them from doing their job. I guess God knows that I feel retired. Since I am retired, every day is a vacation.

My prayer everyday is that He puts people in front of me so that I can give them a little glimpse of Him and His love for us.

God did not care that I was thirsty, tired, and weary.

I am reminded of something John tells us:

"Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, 'Give me a drink.' (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, 'How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?' (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, 'If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, "Give me a drink," you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.' The woman said to him, 'Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.' Jesus said to her, 'Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.' The woman said to him, 'Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water'” (John 4:1-3, 5-15 ESV).

Jesus is the great teacher, healer, He is God incarnate.

If I am to be the hands and feet of Christ, I must be ready for any circumstance that comes my way.

Blessings