Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Focus--100 Words


We know the importance of focus.

What teenager hasn’t heard their parent remind them to focus on school, or driving.

What employee doesn’t know that focusing on their job is essential for continued employment.

Yet, focus often eludes us.

It eludes us as we drive—leading to major accidents.

It eludes us as we work. We spend time talking. Gossiping. Texting. Even Facebooking.

It eludes us as we pray. We get distracted. We find ourselves thinking about important things and stupid things.

Why the lack of focus? Why can’t we be single-minded?

No magical answers.

Just random, unfocused thoughts.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Small Towns--100 Words

Small towns.

Small towns usually get a terrible rap.

Few services. Slow when they have services. Many miles from “civilization.”

All of those statements may be true.

Until someone comes along and surprises you with kindness.

Today, I needed some papers faxed. It wasn’t convenient to drive the paperwork to my mortgage person.

A fax was the logical choice.

Several calls to area businesses. No one could fax. Not WalMart. Not Walgreens.

Finally, Snider Pharmacy came through. One man shop. Probably struggling to stay in business.

Offered to fax at no charge!

The wonder of small towns. And, nice people.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Straight Lines--100 Words

[While I wish I could claim ownership of the yard in the photo, alas, it's not our yard. Maybe our new home will look this good!]

Straight lines.

I cut grass today.

I enjoy doing that.

I enjoy cutting the grass in straight lines.

It looks organized. It looks clean. It looks as it should.

How I wish all of life could be measured in straight lines.

You know. The shortest distance between two points.

In relationship to my career, every decision would be clear and the direction would be easily recognized.

In relationship to family, we’d know exactly what each other needed and then tackle it head-on.

Yet, life doesn’t come to us in straight lines.

Normally, it comes like dodging flowers.

And, dog poop.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Control--100 Words


That word can be positive or negative.

When driving a car, you should always remain under control of the vehicle.

On the other hand, in a marriage, it’s not about control, it’s about sharing, and giving.

Too many teenagers feel controlled by their parents.

How many people in their job feel totally controlled by their supervisor or boss?

When we are controlled by others, do we see it as positive or as debilitating?

I know the answer. So do you.

So, why is it that I need to control? What about the pain it causes that I don’t understand?

Friday, July 16, 2010

In Charge--100 Words

In charge.

Who’s in charge?

At your house? With your family? In your job? In your church?

Who’s the boss?

Who gives the orders?

Who does the following?

Is being in charge what it’s all about? Control?

I know people who think they have to be in control.

Of everything.

Seriously. Everything.

From where to eat. To what others do. In big things, little things, and non-existent things.

It’s all about power.

Strange. The One person who had every right to be in charge, wrapped a towel around His waist and washed dirty feet.

Am I above doing the same?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blindsided--100 Words


Ever been blindsided? Sure you have.





I guess what hurts the most is that you just don’t see the sudden jar coming.

Ask Hall of Fame football quarterback Joe Theismann.

Ask the parent whose 15-year-old daughter just got pregnant.

Ask the 30-year-old father who has just been told he has six months to live.

Ask the 61-year-old employee who has just been “downsized.”

Ask the parent of the child whose name shows up on the roadside AMBER alert signs.


Lord help us to deal with the blindsides. Give us Your strength. Wisdom. Grace. Mercy.

Deflating--100 Words


What’s worse, a major blowout or a slow deflating?

Both can be devastating.

With a major blowout, there’s a sudden change, a blowout or blowup. Quick response is required.

With a blowout, only a few seconds are involved, then it is done.

With a deflating, it’s slow. Steady. Hardly noticed. Just a hiss. Almost a whisper.

I’ve been hearing a lot of hissing for some time. Each hiss, alone, isn’t a problem.

But, when you add them all together, the hissing becomes a whirlwind.

I’m trying to understand. Where is God’s voice? I’m listening and waiting. Wanting to hear.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Self Absorbed--100 Words

Self absorbed.

Americans are self absorbed.

Does that trouble you?

I hope so!

We are self absorbed.

Do you doubt me?

We give trophies to every player on every team our children are on. It doesn’t matter whether they are good or even win. They get a trophy.

Basketball players demand and receive a gazillion dollars to play a game.

There’s a fast food restaurant on every corner—we can’t be hungry for 5 minutes.

And, a church as well.

Wonder what starving children who have no basketballs or food or church think about America?

Do we even care anymore?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

An Open Letter to Jesse--100 Words

From one reverend to another.

Jesse, Jesse, Jesse.

Let me understand what you are saying.

LeBron James is a slave?

Dan Gilbert is a slaveholder?

The owner of a basketball team is treating an athlete like a runaway slave?

Are you kidding?

Jesse, I would agree if you had said that Mr. Gilbert’s open letter to LeBron was in bad taste or over the top. It was. He was.

But, a slaveholder?

Jesse, your only point was to put yourself back in the spotlight.

I doubt you care about LeBron.

Please. Stop calling yourself Reverend.

You haven’t served a church.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Praise--425 Words


Ken Thomas wrote a hymn at a time when the established church believed only Scripture should be sung as hymns—-with a special emphasis given to the Psalms. Some church leaders considered it sinful and blasphemous to write new lyrics for church music. It was almost like they were adding words to the Scriptures.

In that atmosphere, Ken wrote this and several other hymns for the boys at Winchester College, with strict instructions that they use them only in their rooms, for private devotions.

Today, we know the last stanza far better than the others. It may be the most frequently used piece of music in worship. Read the hymn from the beginning. Don’t skip ahead. And, as you come to the end, sing out in praise.

At Ken’s request, his hymn was sung at his funeral, fittingly held at sunrise.

“Awake, my soul, and with the sun
Thy daily stage of duty run;
Shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise,
To pay thy morning sacrifice.

“Thy precious time misspent, redeem,
Each present day thy last esteem,
Improve thy talent with due care;
For the great day thyself prepare.

“By influence of the Light divine
Let thy own light to others shine.
Reflect all Heaven’s propitious ways
In ardent love, and cheerful praise.

“In conversation be sincere;
Keep conscience as the noontide clear;
Think how all seeing God thy ways
And all thy secret thoughts surveys.

“Wake, and lift up thyself, my heart,
And with the angels bear thy part,
Who all night long unwearied sing
High praise to the eternal King.

“All praise to Thee, who safe has kept
And hast refreshed me while I slept
Grant, Lord, when I from death shall wake
I may of endless light partake.

“Heav’n is, dear Lord, where’er Thou art,
O never then from me depart;
For to my soul ’tis hell to be
But for one moment void of Thee.

“Lord, I my vows to Thee renew;
Disperse my sins as morning dew.
Guard my first springs of thought and will,
And with Thyself my spirit fill.

“Direct, control, suggest, this day,
All I design, or do, or say,
That all my powers, with all their might,
In Thy sole glory may unite.

“I would not wake nor rise again
And Heaven itself I would disdain,
Wert Thou not there to be enjoyed,
And I in hymns to be employed.

“Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

Friday, July 9, 2010

Puncture--100 Words


A couple of nights ago, something happened.

I found myself with two puncture marks on the top of my head (see above photo).

Here are the possibilities of how it happened:

1) A vampire from the Twilight saga snuck into our house and turned me into a vampire.

2) A rattlesnake bit me as I slept. (With the recent snake visit at our house, anything’s possible.

3) Evan, my two-year-old, while jumping on the couch, jumped at me, slipped, digging his front two teeth into my head, drawing blood, swelling, and pain.

If you are wondering, Evan is fine.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Meaning--100 Words


We search for meaning.

We try to give meaning to how we live.

We hope meaning will be found in our testimony.

Yet, true meaning often alludes us.

Ernest Hemingway said, “Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.”

Another way to say that is found on a tombstone: .

Life’s meaning is determined by what happens on either side of the dash.

We are created the same.

We die the same.

It’s how we live that gives meaning to life.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Idiot-Proof--100 Words


Society has tried to idiot-proof just about everything.

Medicine has child-proof tops on it.

We’ve made tamper-resistant doors for our kitchen cabinets.

There are warning signs for just about everything known to mankind today.

We even have cars that can parallel park!

Yet, we can’t stop an idiot from getting behind the steering wheel of a car.

Yesterday, on my way to work, I was just about run over by a pickup truck. The driver, at the last second, swerved to miss my car as I sat at a red light.

I guess we can’t idiot-proof idiots, can we?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Anticipation--100 Words


Seneca said, “Expecting is the greatest impediment to living. In anticipation of tomorrow, it loses today.”

Countless times in life I have experienced anticipation.

The anticipation of being accepted to school.

The anticipation of entering the sanctuary to marry.

The anticipation of my child’s birth.

The anticipation of job changes. Health concerns. And yes, selling real estate.

All of those life events have caused anticipation, and to some degree, fear.

I wonder how many days I have lost living in wait or anticipation or fear.

How many days have been squandered. Needlessly.

Jesus said, “Fear not.”

I needed that.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

America--100 Words


Land of my birth.

America and I share too much in common.

We both disrespect God regularly.

We both ignore the things of God.

We both would miss the freedom of worship, prayer, Bible study—if they were taken from us.

Yet, we seldom take advantage of freedoms afforded to us by God. The freedom fought for by men and women young and old who died for this nation.

I haven’t yet had to fight for our nation or freedom.

That day may come.

If it does, may I stand tall. And bold.

For the land of my birth.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Aspirations--100 Words


As children, we dreamt big.

Thoughts of being an astronaut or ballerina danced in our heads.

We wanted to be a third baseman or doctor or president. We saw no limit to what our future could be.

Huge dreams. Big plans.

But, somewhere along the way, those dreams faded.

Maybe they faded into reality.

Going to school, getting married, changing diapers, working for a paycheck.

Those things seem to win out more times than not.

Can’t we learn to balance dreams and reality? Does all of life have to be serious and responsible?

Or, can’t dreams still come true?