Whose Power?

When Isaiah was just a little guy he was drawn to the espresso maker. Now I'd like to think that was because his dad is a coffee drinker, but no, he just wanted to press the glowing red button that starts the pump and pulls the shot.

He wanted so desperately to push the button on his own, but 1 year old fingers aren't strong enough to overcome the resistance of the spring loaded button. That's probably a built-in safety feature so 1 year olds can't get access to caffeine without their parent's approval.

Now there was a way for him to press the button all the way down but it required something As Isaiah placed his finger on the button, I put my finger on his and provided the force for starting the machine.

Sometimes this seems like a picture of how God works. The metaphor doesn't carry all the way through. But I know that's been me, trying to accomplish something that there is no way I could do on my own, but when I obey and step out in faith, God shows up and provides what's needed. Sometimes that's power, other times it's patience.

This is the way it's supposed to be though. Jesus sent His disciples out with His authority to obey Him in something they couldn't do in their own power.
Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” - Matthew 28:18-20
So will you step out in faith to press a button you're not strong enough to press on your own?



Frightening things happen in life. Who calms your storm?

I had the chance to preach at our church last Sunday on fear. Hope it may be helpful to you!


Somebody always offers chocolate

I love snacks.

Particularly snacks with chocolate...or sugar...or really any kind of junk that fits in between the 3 squares a day.

Around the turn of the year I decided that I needed to change this habit. So along with cutting back my coffee intake, I lessened my junk eating during the day. I did this for numerous reasons (health, teeth, self-control, to support exercising instead of exercising to support snacking, etc.)

At first it was easy, as are most resolutions. But that lasted for a week and things got difficult.

You see, there always seems to be someone offering me chocolate. It could be at home, or most definitely at the office. And really, how can you say no?

But the truth is no matter what it is your're trying to quit or cut back on, there's always going to be someone offering you that very thing...often for free!

So I've learned to be ready, know what I'm going to eat before a situation...and act accordingly.

How do you deal with the tempting situations you face?


Viewing Difficulty

How do you view the tough circumstances of life? What is your go-to lens when...

  • a health crisis happens.
  • a difficult issue (or two or three) at work arises.
  • money is tight...and you've been good on your budget!
  • ...something doesn't go the way it should or the way you wanted it to go.
Now obviously there are things we can do in these and many other circumstances, but how do you primarily view the situation?

Maybe it's a guy thing, maybe it's a me thing, but I want to know what I can do to resolve the situation. It's easy for me to become anxious over the problem until I find a solution.

So it amazes me that when Paul went through difficulties he had a very different
Indeed we felt as if the sentence of death had been passed against us, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. - 2 Corinthians 1:9
In a dire circumstance, Paul's default, go-to lens is trust in God.

May our viewing difficulty turn into viewing difficulty as an opportunity to trust God.


To prepare or not to prepare...

Last weekend we traveled with a group to a water/theme park 3 hours away. About to head down the cannonball slide (10 ft. drop in a tube then 8 ft. drop into pool), I thought, should I take off my sunglasses? The answer was yes, but I didn't and when you hit the water after dropping 18 ft. the glasses pop off your head. As I surfaced, I felt them go past my feet. The lifeguards whistled for me to move on as I attempted to get them. Fortunately the lifeguards make dives every 30 minutes and recovered my sunglasses as well as a 3 others.

Later that day our group decided to go on one more roller coaster ride (it had a loop and corkscrew). Having turned in my locker key, I took all my possessions with me to this final ride. I put my keys in my pocket and thought, should I leave these behind in my bag? The answer was yes, but I didn't and after two times through the coaster, including 6 times going upside-down...the keys were gone. Fortunately we had a spare set. I'm still waiting for the park to find them!

I got lucky in both instances...well, we had prepared for the loosing keys by bringing an extra set. But it brought back a statement made by Dr. Gerry Breshears during a recent sermon on Matthew 25.
"You can not borrow preparedness."
I joked with a co-worker that this should be her life quote because she lives by this and we succeed for it. In fact, when she's away, I've had to learn to make sure we're fully prepared with all the little details I think can wait, because in reality, they can't.

So what are you waiting on, procrastinating in? What are those things that I know I should prepare for but for whatever reason you haven't? A test, a meeting, an important conversation, a trip, the next stage in life...or as Dr. Breshears spoke on, ready for Jesus?


Now I Can't Walk

I love my first-born. He's full of energy, loves to learn and enjoys laughing. But sometimes he throws in the towel.

He might be walking along, trip on something and fall. He might have been kneeling too long in one position and try and get up with that leg-numbing pain. He might spill something on the way to the table.

These are all things that invariably happen to any toddler.

Usually his response is to go with the flow, follow our cues and move on. But sometimes, he says, Oh no, now I can't walk. Now I can't eat. Or my favorite, Now I can't go to bed! (He really knows how to extend the bedtime routine!)

Fortunately he gets over the pain/shame of whatever happened pretty quick and we walk/run/eat/sleep as planned.

As funny as those moments are (and as much as I try not to laugh out loud), I've come to realize that I do this too. Maybe you do as well.
  • That email sits in the inbox far too I can't reply or have a good relationship.
  • That project hasn't been started and is it's too late to ever begin.
  • I slept in and didn't get going on the ideal routine I I can't have a good day.
  • Someone did something that I didn't I can't treat them with love.
Some of these we face are simple and petty, some are big. Some are plans that just didn't go our way, sometimes we get hurt. It's a learning process for both my son and I that, in spite of hurt, fear, procrastination, or things not going our way, we can continue on.

So what about you? What's holding you back? What's got you thinking you can't take the next step? I'll bet it's not really as big as we make it out to be.
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
- Philippians 3:13-14


From Fight to Freedom

New skills are a pain to learn.

I'm helping a friend of mine learn how to play the drums. Now part of the problem is that I'm teaching him and not a drum instructor. But after the first session, his right hand did not want to move at different time from the left hand or his right foot. And we have yet to add the left foot.

Your brain fights these until repeated practice wins.

My other friend Jon and I had coffee the other day. (anytime you're in Molalla and need some coffee, Main Street Coffee is the place to go!) But he's been learning a ton of new skills in music and leading in worship. One of those new skills is using a click-track. For those non-musicians, a click-track keeps the beat in your ear to help you keep consistent time.

Now I've never played live with a click track. I think it might be rather annoying. So I asked how that goes, and the process for the band. He described a process that goes like this:

Fight - Focus - Freedom

Stage 1 is Fight. You abhor the click-track. It is frustrating and annoying. You wish it would go away.

Stage 2 is Focus. It's not your friend quite yet, but you realize it's helping you accomplish something greater, and stay in time as a band. But your focus is on the click-track, not the music or worship for that matter!

Stage 3 is Freedom. Your brain, your coordination, your so used to playing with it that it becomes the background stability that give you the launchpad to play and sing freely.

I've see this true as I lean new skills, whether from musical instruments, to leading, to...ahem...keeping my desk clean, to learning to trust and follow the Holy Spirit.

So what are you leaning? Keep at it. Hopefully you move on into Freedom.


Welcome back?

If you're reading this, congrats, I can't believe you still check this blog out considering the last post was in 2010!

How I've missed this place. For many reasons, to share thoughts, practice writing, cement lessons and ideas in my own mind and more.

But since 2010 we now have an almost 3 year old and almost 4 month old. This really is a great time in life! They may have contributed to my lack of energy in blogging.

So this time around, I'm aiming for some regularity. We'll start with once a week. That should leave time for the important things in life, family, ministry, reading, reflection, and playing music.

Catch ya here later.


Isaiah smiling!

It's hard to believe that he's already one month old!


Chosen & Given

We have many relationships with others in life—some chosen, and some given.

My relationship with my wife Alison was chosen. After some time of knowing her we chose to date. After some time of dating we chose to become engaged. And after being engaged, we chose to take it all the way with marriage. It's a great thing! We love each other and chose to commit to life together as husband and wife. I chose to marry her and stay with her knowing her gifting and the things that irritate, knowing what she likes and doesn't. I chose her, and thankfully, she chose me back!

My relationship with my son Isaiah was given. Sure, Alison and I had the desire for a child, but everything about this relationship is given. I didn't choose Isaiah knowing what he likes and what drives him crazy. I don't know what his gifting or the things that irritate me will be. I don't know if he'll like to play music, sports, video games, or just play in the dirt. With Isaiah, I get who I get. I get who he is.

One must decide well with the chosen relationship of marriage so they can face their given relationships—with all the late nights, rude awakenings, poopy diapers, and great joy—fully unified and confident in running the whole race, side by side.

And yes, I chose well!