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May 2022

Road at twilight

It was not my best day ever. I have to be honest. Otherwise, I have nothing of value to say.

Yet, who am I to say anything about a day?

I have experienced, exercised, and exorcised most possible negative emotions. I am so tired and frustrated that I have turned to late night work to energize and encourage me.

It does. The very notion that I can somehow be productive and contribute something lifts my spirits and I think it will lift most people's spirits.

"Bad days" are crossroads. If the day is truly rotten and discouraging, the temptation is to give up. It is a strong temptation, not only to give up, but to do it in some big, demonstrative way that announces to the masses that ... well ... another person has quit.

And then, you expect a monument, a testimonial, or a day of recognition. It is not likely to be that way.

Quitters are a dime a dozen. There is no shortage of people giving up.

At the crossroads we choose: Give up or get up.

We already know how to give up. We need no tutorial on that. What we need is a strategy for getting up when the frustration anchor is deeply embedded in muck of bad luck and the sand of grand plans gone awry. Getting up takes a burst of energy from somewhere else and a big dose of extraordinary courage.


G - - Give it another shot.

Whatever it is and however disappointing the results may have been, agree to taking one more step toward where you are going and being led. You don't have to agree to anything for a week from now - not today. Just agree to give it another day. Then we can talk again tomorrow.

E - Energize!

Squeeze it out. Something is left in you and there is a power greater than you that can supply what is lacking. Stand to your feet and begin. There is one brush left in that bottle of toothpaste. There is one more sip in that glass of water. There is always something left. Spend it on the prize before you!

T - Tell someone that you are not quitting today.

Tell them that you felt like it and that you were justified in it, and that it would have been the easiest and most practical thing for you - but you just aren't going to do it! You are going to keep moving forward,. When you tell it, you commit to it at a deeper level and you accumulate a team of supporters.


U - Utilize every resource you can find.

Muster them all - human, creative, practical, material, and emotional. Getting up from disappointment requires more of everything than starting from the beginning. Be creative. Be resourceful. Be assertive.

P - Pray.

Now some of you, I know, don't believe in God or in prayer, but it will not hurt you to do it as an exercise. Your version might be a time of thought and reflection. For believers, it is that and more. As you pray, you will collect people and resources along with ideas and solutions. You will slow down your frantic thinking and sharpen your focus.

There are no guarantees that you will succeed in your venture or that I will in mine. What you will guarantee is that you woke up to another day and that you did not quit before the right time.




What Must I Do to Be Saved?

Believe and be saved

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Acts 16:16-34
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

One day as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a female slave who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.”

She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.”

And it came out that very hour.

But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men, these Jews, are disturbing our city and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us, being Romans, to adopt or observe.”

The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely. Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was an earthquake so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.”

The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

They answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. He brought them up into the house and set food before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God.

Psalm 97
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice;
let the many coastlands be glad!
Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
and consumes his adversaries on every side.
His lightnings light up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
before the Lord of all the earth.

The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all the peoples behold his glory.
All servants of images are put to shame,
those who make their boast in worthless idols;
all gods bow down before him.
Zion hears and is glad,
and the towns of Judah rejoice
because of your judgments, O God.
For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.

You who love the Lord, hate evil;
he guards the lives of his faithful;
he rescues them from the hand of the wicked.
Light dawns for the righteous
and joy for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!

Revelation 22:12-14, 20-21
New Revised Standard Version

“See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates.

“It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”
And let everyone who hears say, “Come.”
And let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.

The one who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.”

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.

John 17:20-26
New Revised Standard Version

“I ask not only on behalf of these but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

“Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them and I in them.”


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These Days Should be Remembered

Saving memories

And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed. -Esther 9:28

We walk gingerly among the gravestones that dot the pathways of our memories. Like those characters in the Spoon River Anthology, shadows arise from the markers and tell their stories. They are stories of love and laughter, of providence and accidence. They touch mystery and mischief. They are stories of deep devotion and unspeakable sacrifice.

These are the sometimes vivid, sometimes shadowy memories of ordinary men and women swept up into the wave of national conflict, ready to answer the call of duty, desiring to live, willing to die, and gradually being forgotten except for this: We choose to remember them.

We strain to remember them.

In the dash that is their moment between the date of birth and that of death, every choice, every embrace, each and every thought, dream, or word was accomplished and enshrined. Dedicated beneath the stones is a place of memory. Consecrated within the hearts of loved ones are their smiles and presence.

But they too will die and with them, memories.

So, we commit and strain to remember. We tell their stories. We exalt their blood offering. We look upon their suffering with gratitude and horror. We hug their children. We remember.

Long after each of us is gone and our names have been erased from the consciousness of all who knew us or of us, we can still be giving and these who died for country will still be loved and appreciated for their selfless gifts. What they gave will keep on giving.

So let us be reminded, by their memories, to so live, that every day, we shall create a ripple in the river of life that will freshen the stream for all time.



Go with the Flow

Grace flow

The FLOW of Grace

It has been suggested that when storms come into our lives, that we "go with the flow." I would like to suggest that we embrace grace as a flow of God's mercy and attention in our lives.

Psalm 11:1 - "In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain.""

The impulse to flee is one of two that we face in any crisis situation. Fight and flight are the two extremes that confront humans. But there is a third option that occupies the seat of grace – it is to flow and to let God’s grace flow through you as you flow with the circumstances of life. Flowing does not require denial of danger. It acknowledges the truth of the situation, but embraces a greater truth in the mix of reality. It is the truth of God’s presence, His power, and His love. It is the truth that in Him we have a sturdy and steady refuge from danger. In God’s mercy, we neither run to the mountains to avoid potential pain nor stand to fight our battles ourselves alone. The life of faith is a journey of trust and balance. Find your refuge in God today.


Face the Challenge

Psalm 11:2 - "For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart."

Wickedness lives in the midst of dark shadows. It attacks without warning and without rules of engagement. The snipers of sin and temptation align with the forces of discouragement, bitterness, despondency, and cynicism to derail our growth in grace and righteousness. Satan would have us flee to the hills and abandon our God-given assignments. Or he would be equally pleased if we would take the battle in our own strength and suffer defeat at his hand. God calls us to take refuge in Him. His is the battle; He is our protector, defender, and friend. Do not be discouraged, dismayed, or shocked by the sinister conniving of evil. Satan is an accuser and liar and hides in darkness. Bring every thought, motive, and deed to the light. Allow every memory that pains the heart to come into the brilliance of God’s grace. Then we can speak as forthrightly and with the same matter-of-factness as the psalmist. Then we can bring these matters that once caused us to tremble before a God who already knows and cares. We can take refuge in Him, but first, we must face and expose the challenge and name it for what it is.

Lament. Lean into the circumstance and lift up the frustration to God.

Psalm 11:3 - When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Who has not expressed such a lament in the recesses of a discouraged heart? If indeed, the foundations are destroyed, there is not much the righteous can do. The righteous person depends upon foundations to stand under the weight of external conflict and internal stress. There are values and beliefs in which we invest ourselves. We call them ultimate and we hang our lives upon them. There are irreducible standards that we set for our families, our communities, and ourselves. When these are threatened, we are flung into chaos and spasmodic reaction. We cry out to God in utter desperation and confusion. “God,” we cry, “ is there nothing that is sacred, nothing that is permanent, nothing that cannot be destroyed by the forces that afflict with without and within?” And God answers us that what we thought were the foundations were only part of the extended structure of our lives, that He is our true foundation and He will never be shaken. Paul concluded that no other foundation can be laid than that which is laid: Jesus Christ (I Cor. 3:11). Anything else can be destroyed, but the believer whose life is planted in Jesus Christ cannot be toppled. Trust Him in the midst of the quaking of the earth and the battering of the storm.

Observe the presence, power, and stability of God

Psalm 11:4a - "The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne."

When the foundations are seemingly being destroyed, God remains securely seated in His holy temple and rules from His throne. There is no interruption in His reign, no pause in His oversight, and no cause for concern by His subjects. He is the true foundation that cannot be shaken. He is our refuge. He is our sure protection in times of trouble. Nothing escapes His constant attention. When, in the bleakest moments, all that is right appears vanquished, He speaks and the frayed strands of time and space come into their proper order. We are not a patient people. We are easily stirred from our strident faith. We become disturbed by the news, by prognosticating commentaries on our times, and by our own emotions. We gaze into our problems with such intensity that we, for a moment, lose sight of God on His throne. But He is there. He has not moved. He will not be displaced, replaced, or ultimately ignored. The greatest relevance in the universe is that God is active and alive in His Holy temple supervising and involved in the affairs of men and women. Tune your hearts to that reality today and live in joyful confidence in God.


Wait on God with faith that He sees, knows, and is acting. It is not passive waiting, but active trusting with awareness of His attention.

Psalm 11:4b - "He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them."

God is watching. There is a popular song that announces that truth but distorts it with the words, “from a distance.” That is only half-true. There will always be a distance between God and man because He is God and we are men – but that is a distance of essential nature that Jesus bridged and brought us into intimate fellowship with the Father. Even those who do not know Him are known by Him for He is as imminent as He is transcendent. Some envision a God so far away that He requires a telescope to observe us, but it is with His eye that He watches and nothing escapes His notice. He examines us with such divine scrutiny that all is known, even that which our hearts cannot acknowledge in awareness. Knowing that God knows frees us in prayer to be absolutely honest. It liberates us from the limitations of language to open ourselves to Him. He knows every circumstance and every deed done in darkness or in light. He has all the information and, in His wisdom, is the only true and reliable interpreter of history and current events. It would behoove us to withhold judgment until He speaks in a matter for we see only within a thin spectrum of all that is. He sees all. Understand that as you meet Him in prayer today.

Go with God's flow today.

My Thoughts and Prayers

Thoughts prayers action


I am drained.

I have exhausted my thoughts and stretched my prayers.

I am sapped of strength to do either in a meaningful way.

Yet, I pray.

Yet, I think.

And in my thinking and praying, I seek wisdom to act, to do, to behave, to exercise influence, to know and share wisdom.

I have big feet and my elder and Sunday School, Mrs. Emily Daniels, told me I should attach them to my prayers because the most vital intervention in prayer is not outside of ourselves. It is inside of us. It motivates, activates, and empowers us.

Yes. I am thinking about Uvalde and Buffalo and all the hundreds of places and incidents where violence has erupted because of someone with guns. Yes. I am praying.

But fully engaged prayer involves our total being, our bodies, our feet, our voices, our influence, our courage, our problem-solving capacity, our willingness to make sacrifices and work with our adversaries to make changes.

But I am exhausted and numb.

Yesterday peeled another layer off of my neuropathic skin and exposed more rawness. I looked at every picture I could find online of the children, precious, sweet children and of the parents, devastated and grieving and found one bit of good news:

I can still feel.

I can still be shocked.

I can still be devastated.

I am not numb to this.

I am sad and I am angry.

I am sad for them and I am sad for any eighteen year old kids who can be so angry, twisted, self-absorbed, fixated on weapons, unperturbed by death, and mean as to throw away the lives of others and not care about their own.

I am angry that their followers copy them and cheer them.

I am angry that someone buys them guns or sells them guns.

I am angry that the first words out of some peoples' mouths is about our rights to have guns. I have never owned a gun and never will. I actually believe you have the right to have one if you are stable and law abiding and pass at least the same background checks and proportional training comparable to others who hold the power of life an death in their hands:

  • Surgeons
  • Hairdressers
  • Food handlers
  • Drivers

Personally, I do not need them, want them, or allow them in my home. And that is a mutual decision between myself and my wife.  We will find other ways to  protect ourselves or will die. That is our choice.

And I see no need to participate in an armed uprising against the government. We will fight for our rights in peaceful ways or we will suffer persecution.

That is where my thoughts and prayers take me. They move me to use my vote, my words, and my actions to influence reasonable policies that protect everyone's rights, even rights I do not choose to exercise, but with logical limits.

My thoughts and prayers also lead me to be pastoral toward those who are in pain. As I have opportunity to minister, I will take it. That includes my readers and listeners.

My thoughts and prayers further lead me to be respectful, cordial, civil, and gracious toward others. May they also empower me to do so and to put my anger in it place.

What about mental illness?

Some of the kindest, gentlest, and most spiritually healthy people I know deal with mental illness. I support their right not to be lumped together with demented killers. I will certainly not do that to all gun owners and hunters.

However, when distorted thinking comes under the strong influence of evil thinking, there is cause for concern. There is greater concern when that happens to impressionable adolescents at their stage of brain development.

So, how can we address that with our thoughts and prayers?

I am not being sarcastic. I am asking and not expecting a quick answer. If we combine thinking and praying, we may start with more questions than answers. Arrogance does not appreciate that. Genuine spirituality does.

Well, I said I was exhausted and I am. I am done for now without a clever closing. Maybe that is the way it should be.

Put a comma there.




The Big Squeeze


You are a business, social, or spiritual entrepreneur. No doubt, you are also someone's employee while you build your dreams. Most likely, you have a family, a home, and "chores."

You are busy.

You are doing whatever you do in the cracks of your life between other major responsibilities. You frequently complain that you just don't have "enough time." You feel guilty when you relax. you feel frustrated about all the things you didn't get done.

You are in a self-imposed squeeze and, when it comes to building your dreams, you have to "squeeze things in."

Top that off with the troubling reality that you are not all that fond of tight spaces, which is one reason why you ARE and entrepreneur -- so that you can get out of them.

Unfortunately, in order to accomplish that, you need to get into some for a while.

Let's consider some, quite impromptu ideas for coping with the squeeze and letting it even squeeze a little more greatness out of you and efficiency out of your schedule

Here is today's acronym for squeezing it all in.

S is for SCHEDULE.

Make it; break it; bend it; keep it as best as possible. Make it reasonable. Break it gently. Bend it whenever necessary (So keep it flexible). Keep it as a form of disciple and as a planning tool.

Q is for QUIET.

Quiet your soul.

Live by grace.

Receive it and give it.

Relax often.

Leave space in your life for God, family, self, and reflection. Whatever your spiritual, emotional, or intellectual disciplines, include a quiet time in every day. Make it the un-squeezed portion of your life.


Do what you do with a rationale and purpose. Understand yourself: your pace, your purpose, your passion-driven energy, and your productivity index.

By knowing what makes you most effective and how to apportion your energy and time, you will be able to squeeze more out of every hour. Then, also understand the task as part of the whole project and mission and what it takes to get done what you are determined to do. Live with understanding.

E is for ENERGY.

Know that your productivity index is more about how you budget your energy than your time. Time is a necessary commodity, but if you have from midnight to 6 AM every day, it doesn't mean that such time is going to be productive because you will most likely be out of energy and much in need of rest.

E is also for EQUIPPING.

It is said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is just as true that an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of effort. Squeezing an empty tube of toothpaste is a useless activity. Don't become encumbered with useless expenditures of valuable time and effort. Learn what you need to learn.

Read what you need to read.

Plan ahead.

Prepare yourself and others.

Equip yourself for maximum productivity in the squeeze. It may SEEM like a waste of time to read this article when you could be making a call. Ignore that voice that discourages you from equipping yourself and keep preparing.

Z is for ZOO and it is a zoo out there

Yes, it is a zoo without the cages --- more like a zoological reserve with all sorts of wild things roaming around and creating an illusion of unpredictability. The bottom line of this proposition is that no matter how hard you try to bring order to your life, there will be unforeseen events and circumstances. It is predictable that these will arise and with all the information, one might be able to see these crises coming, but no one has nor can they assimilate all the data necessary.

Therefore, what may be a well ordered universe manifests itself as utter chaos from time to time. Count on it and make the appropriate arrangements to cope.

E and the last E is for EITHER/OR

This is the most important letter of all because it is about our choices which are always ours alone to make. When we are in a squeeze we must decide what we are going to do, say, think, or believe.

In 15 seconds one can bend over and pick up a penny on the ground, stand back up and prepare to bend down and pick up another. One person might quip that it would be a waste of time. Another might do the math and realize that at that rate, one would be making $24 per hour.

At that point you'd need to ask yourself if you could be making more in that 15 second period by jotting down a great idea, making a mental note of an insight, or even speaking to the person next to you.

Any of those would be more productive than complaining, blaming, or feeling sorry for oneself.

There are always choices.

You have the same number of hours in a day as everyone else, but it seems less because your dreams are bigger, your expectations higher, and your goals loftier. You will frequently find yourself squeezed, but even in the squeezes you can make choices that will make those tight spaces wide opportunities for great things to happen.

You are a winner.



How Dominant Narratives Dominate Our Thinking

Challenge the narrative corrected

And Cloud Our Vision

Some  of our opinions reflect an honest belief in what we are calling a "dominant narrative" of reality. We generally believe the story in widest circulation among people who share our common experience.
Then, some exposure or new information from sources outside our own experience challenges our embrace of that narrative and creates new conversation.
Most narratives are based upon some truth, but none, by human limitation, on all the truth or necessarily the most determinate truth. As the old cliché speaks to me about my assumptions of reality, "Follow the money."
That is - whatever "money" means in a specific context.
Who benefits and how?
Do we get the results we really want for what we really want and do we really want what we should be wanting?
What if we are getting neither what we want or ought to be wanting? What many good people are working for something that we think is getting what is not being delivered and there is enough temporary reinforcement to train our thinking and behaviors to keep things as they are?
Well, then, we have described the human condition at any given time in history.
So, we must dialogue, seek, challenge our thinking, and create a new story for a future reality. For those who walk in the light of the Kingdom of God as proclaimed by Jesus Christ, this is always an imperative because He always challenged the narrative with a completely new, yet old way of looking at everything.
Our views are to be considered, respected, addressed, challenged, and/or/and examined beyond the first layer of reality.
Jesus told us to seek first the Kingdom and its righteousness which a entirely different from the kingdoms of the world which are systems that can usually boil down to self interest and perpetuation of someone's sense of need to preserve wealth, power, or a false sense of security and safety.
In like manner, it is a different sort of righteousness that is based upon a paradigm flipped over to draw a new picture of laws and principles that all must hang upon our call to vertical and horizontal love of God and neighbor.
Who is my neighbor?
That becomes the question with which we must wrestle in all of our personal and social ethics as they touch our relationships with people and communities.
So, it is no small consideration to ask the right questions and continuing to stir the pots.
I have often wrestled with the difficult consequences of not stirring the pots on my stove adequately.
Stirring is hard work, but scraping the bottom of a burned pan is sheer torture!

Fear and No Fear

The Fear that Nullifies Fear
Only the fear of the Lord begins a process of wisdom.
There is no wisdom in any other sort of fear, only poor choices that seem right in the moment.
All other fears are cast out by that awe-some, jaw-dropping, knee-popping, head-bending, body-trembling unveiling experience of God's power, holiness, and love.
Then, in that love, all fear is cast out.
So, fear of anything or anyone else produces bad decisions whether personal or policy driven.
We live by the liberating law of love.
Fear and love cannot coexist equally in our attitudes toward others. Fear imprisons us and constricts us.
Love sets us free. God's love intervenes when we are inclined to retreat from Him and the hand of Jesus draws us toward Him.
The Spirit fills us and we come. And we come that we may go, fearless into the world.

Help in Purple


A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul.



Psalm 67 Purple blessing

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah

that your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us.

May God continue to bless us; let all the ends of the earth revere him.


John 5:1-9

Arise-Frank WesleyWesley, Frank, 1923-2002. Arise, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.

After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids--blind, lame, and paralyzed.

One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be made well?"

The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me."

Jesus said to him, "Stand up, take your mat and walk."

At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was a sabbath.

Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5

New_Jerusalem _1645

The New Jerusalem. Armenian manuscript by Malnazar and Aghap'ir in New Julfa bible, 1645.

And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.

And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.

Its gates will never be shut by day--and there will be no night there. People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.

But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.

And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.


Acts 16:9-15

Lydia of

Lydia of Thyatira, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. 

During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."

When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them. We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days.

On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there.

A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home."

And she prevailed upon us.


John 14:23-29

Jesus answered him, "Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me."

"I have said these things to you while I am still with you.

"But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you."

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid."

"You heard me say to you, 'I am going away, and I am coming to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe."

God's Bias and Our Alignments


Photo by Mihály Köles on Unsplash

God has this great "thing" for the poor and oppressed.

Don't take my word for it.

Psalm 146:7-9
New International Version

He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

God loves the broken of this world.

Question: If God seems to have this decided bias for the oppressed, the hungry, the prisoners, the blind, the bowed down, the righteous, the alien (Yes, the alien), the orphan, and the widow, ought not we? If He frustrates the ways of the wicked who oppress these, ought we not be cheering Him on?

Whose side are we on when we align ourselves only with those who can improve our own standards of living and who work only for self-interest?

We must follow our dreams. But we must hold our dreams up before God and ask if they are aligned with His dreams. We must focus on goals, but we must allow God to scrutinize our goals. Perhaps our dreams and goals are too measly for us. perhaps we have settled for something less than God's larger dream. Perhaps our circle of hope is too tightly woven around our own personal desires.

Isaiah said it first in Isaiah 61:1-2 and it is then quoted by Jesus as His life mission in Luke 4:18-19. It is the calling to be God's instrument of peace to the most vulnerable of the earth:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Jesus stopped at, "...the acceptable year of the Lord ..." not because the rest was not true, but because He was speaking of His own mission in that moment, His dream, His goals, His calling.

Then, in John 20:21, He declares,

" ... Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent
me, even so send I you.

If our dreams, visions, and goals are to be aligned with His, we must be sent as He was sent and go as He went to live our lives for the Greater Dream.

You can claim that He is only referring to spiritual deliverance if you like, but you will be taking great hermeneutic liberties. Of course, it is spiritual. And of course, we are all poor and broken if we get honest with God. The richest among us is needy and poor. But there is no room for dismissing the obvious and simple application that God is concerned for those who are oppressed by wicked people and institutions in this world.

He is biased toward those who are downtrodden. He takes the side of those who do not have the power to take their own side.

For that reason, I am neither a loyal Republican or Democrat. The politics of Jesus is such that is a bit simpler and, at the same time, more complicated. Both parties are sometimes right and often wrong. That is OK because they are human and doing their own thing.

But there is no party or political philosophy with which a Christian can and ought to be entirely comfortable.

For the same reason, I cannot view my business goals and dreams for success as merely secular pursuits. They are part of a larger view and a bigger dream.

I encourage people to think positively and move toward success as part of this understanding that God wants to lift people and wants to use us to lift people as well. But it is in the context of a deeper understanding and wider perspective.

It is wrapped up in God's grace, in Christ's redemption, in the call to repentance, in the invitation to personal salvation, and in the call of Jesus to follow Him to those places where people are needy and hurting. I cannot be convinced that there is some division between a social conscience and an evangelical message, between a concern for the needy and principles of personal success. They must must be integrated and they must be understood in light of God's big picture.

He is personally invested in the business of lifting people who are broken ... and so must we be, whether our primary calling is ministry through the church, through business, or through public service.

I filter my thinking about many issues through this understanding of the Word and heart of God.

Do Not Worry About Your Life


"Look at the birds."

"Consider the lilies."

Photo by Richard Sagredo on Unsplash 

There was a little blue jay lying lifeless on the ground when I went out to feed my chickens this morning. While I could not tell him apart from the other jays that I feed and enjoy watching, I was reminded that my Heavenly Father knew him personally.

My dog sniffed him curiously and I was sad.

That blue jay had not spent one moment of his life worrying about anything. He probably had not seen death coming. He was pretty much always in the moment.

We often worry ourselves into inaction, but are more often stifled by worry.  We are motivated by what we value.

I like to think I know my own motives and that worry, and the cares of life do not occupy too much of my mind’s real estate.

The truth is, I need some growth.

Jesus’ teaching on the mount continues with the discourse where he connects our worries to our ultimate values. He challenges us to be more connected to value than fear of loss and to examine our motives.

“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.”

“Are you not of more value than they?”

“And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?”

“And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.”

“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you-- you of little faith?”

“Therefore, do not worry, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?' For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.”

“But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. "So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today.”

–Matthew 6:25-34, NRSV

What motivates you? 

What energizes your imagination and activates your soul? 

Are you paralyzed by the fear that you will not be able to provide the necessities of life for yourself and your family? 

Are you enslaved by the need to move forward economically or to build earthly security?

God cares for His own, for birds and lilies, and people who seek Him.  His kingdom and His righteousness are of such great value that nothing else compares with them.

Our task is to check in with what motivates us as we make important decisions and view the realities of life. 

By keeping first things first, we can eliminate the need to juggle multiple priorities or to fret over things that ultimately perish.


Bible Drill Above 

Sidney meets his match in Mother Maria.

Where to Focus

Deserves attention
You have a limited supply of attention to give and you can only really pay attention to one thing at a time. There will be a focus and everything else will be peripheral.
You decide where to focus.
You get to choose where you will spend your attention.
Things that deserve my attention today:

#1 - Being in an honest and transparent relationship with God and with the people in my life.

#2 - Making positive change in the world in those areas where I have influence. The second and third are of equal value so, they should be 3a and 3b.

#3- Paying attention to issues that involve correcting justice in PUBLIC policy, international diplomacy, matters of war and peace, issues of  oppression and other areas where my influence, vote, or comments may count.

#4- Encouraging, inspiring, motivating, and uplifting people.

#5 - Doing my work and minding my own business.

#6- #1976 - A variety of things because there will always be a variety and some things cannot be anticipated. 

And then, at the bottom of the list:

#1977 (if that high) - The personal scandals of high profile people (apparently somewhere between 1-4 on many peoples lists).

These are mine.

What are yours?

What if you paused for five minutes and wrote them down?

"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Change from the CORE

Change machine

Extreme Makeover - Life Edition

How many bloggers does it take to change a lightbulb?

How about life coaches?

What?!!! Change?!!!

If we don't want change, all change is intimidating.

George Carlin said he put some money into one of those change machines and nothing happened.

I'd be delighted to find a change machine that actually produced transformation in any number of areas of my life and community.

That is the appeal of every great movement in history. Those who embrace it and proclaim it know it to be a message of transformation. The human side of transformation is a word that sounds like a Bible thumper's theme, "repentance." It calls forth memories of muggy nights, loud preaching, stern looks, and harsh threats to all who will not repent.

But here is some insight into the word:

It means "change."

The repent is to change one's mind or direction or both.

And that is good news.


The good news is that, when there is a new regime and order of things, change is possible. It can be mandated because it is no longer futile.

If you want different results, you must change the variables. That is not merely a directive; it is a fact of life.

If you want different outcomes, you may have to adjust your behaviors that are driving your outcomes.

A man asked the Zen Buddhist merchant for change for a dollar and he replied, "All change comes from within."

He asked a member of a Twelve Step group and the response was a question, "Does the dollar really want to change?"

All change does come from within and it is driven by desire.

It often requires what our Twelve Step friends of Bill W. call reliance on a higher power.

A few years ago, I was an avid fan of "Extreme Makeover, Home Edition."

How About an Extreme Makeover - Life Edition?

What if we start with the CORE of our lives?

There is some Ultimate Concern, as Tillich called it, dead center in our beings where we define ourselves and order our living. Ultimate Concern defines our WHY for everything we do. It answers the question, "So What?"

Flowing out from that center are three dimensions and manifestations of living from the core of our beings:

  • Community
  • Occupation
  • Resources 
  • Emotions

Yes, that spells, CORE.

Here is a confession: This thinking and writing is part of a bigger project. I am working on a book about how we can make changes in our lives. The acronym is a start.

Community is what surrounds us and envelops us in something human that is greater than our solitary selves. It is our support group. It involves the causes with which we associate and the people we love and align with.

Occupation is what we do daily. It encompasses our purposeful and strategic behaviors that bring us closer to our goals and flesh out our visions of the future.

Resources are the things we need to get it done. They are intellectual, material, relational, physical, social, and most of all, however you define it, spiritual. I will suggest a working substitution for spirituality for those of you on the fence: essential, referring to essence.

Emotions supply energy because they are, are their core, motivational. They move us.

Each of these core elements covers a vast territory of possibilities.

Another key word is related to the construction of a life that is strong and resilient in the midst of the culture quakes, economic tornadoes, circumstantial floods, and faith explosions of our times  is STAND.

I have another acronym. To STAND, we must engage in these commitments:

  • Shore up our foundations.
  • Take a Team approach.
  • Act purposefully.
  • Name our resources.
  • Develop our souls.

It will take the time that I devote to write the book and the time you take to read it in order to consider these matters. It will lifetime to implement. Hopefully, this will get your mind started.

Perhaps you will take the reading and writing journey with me. Perhaps you will contribute.

Change is possible and we can stand and withstand the onslaughts of overwhelming problems in uncertain times if we will develop from the CORE and take a STAND for change.

Or, if you are satisfied with things as they are, click NEXT.

For the rest of you, let's get started.



All Things New in Love

Psalm 148 starry night

Introductory Message

Ps 148 and acts 11

The Table Is Widened

The table of love and acceptance is a big table. Human divisions of culture, background, and religious affiliation are made null and void in Christ.

At that very moment three men … arrived at the house where we were.    The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. - Acts 11:11ac, 12a

Love one another kids

Glory Is Announced

What Jesus is about to say must be understood in view of his sacrifice of love and his commandment to love. Love is of the deepest concern to Jesus because it is the very disposition of the heart of God toward humanity.

“Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. ” - John 13:31

You have to take it all as a package or there is no glory. Jesus understood that these final days were one great redemptive event – from mingling with the crowds and teaching them, to provoking the Sanhedrin with His very presence, to the upper room, the washing of feet, the prayers in the garden, and on to the cross. It was the process of God glorifying Himself in His Son. It was all part of the package: His life, death, and resurrection were one magnificent demonstration of the power of God.

Jesus had spoken similar words when some gentiles had come looking for Him. He responded that the coming of these men was an indication that He was soon to be lifted up from the earth and to draw all men unto Him. Lifting up could mean exaltation or crucifixion. In this case, it meant both. He moves from tragedy to triumph in a split second intersection of time and eternity.

This time he speaks of being glorified as He confronts the one who will betray Him. This is strange to our warped thinking. But this is Jesus who donned the apron and wiped His disciple’s feet. This is the one who taught that the path to greatness is servanthood. This is the Master of great reversals.

Our Lord never lost sight of the big picture. He didn’t stop with cross in His panoramic view of His mission. He didn’t even end the story with rising from the dead. He taught His friends that He was going to the Father through this path of glory and that He would come to them in a new way to indwell them, that they might do even greater works. He promised further that He would come again visibly to introduce a grand new eternal day. It was about glory. It is still about glory.

Take a walk in the garden this morning where there is an empty hole in a rock, a barren place where death once dwelt. What do you notice but emptiness? He is not there. He is risen! The work of redemption is done. It was worth it all. The pain and the suffering have accomplished their ends. He is alive and we can live also. What name do you give to your pain of the moment, your struggle of this hour? Call it suffering or call it glory. It all depends upon whether you view it from the present or from the resurrection.

Now is the Son of man glorified

A Call to Action

In light of God's glory and the glory of the Jesus event of death-resurrection-ascension, we are left with a new command to love with big table and big hearted visible love.

"I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” - John 13:34

The Results Are Predicted

Love is the chief indicator of a community's commitment to be disciples of Jesus. This love is seen by others in the world who can associate it with the characteristic of fellowship among followers of Jesus. In turn, they are drawn to the fellowship because the love is so compelling,

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." - John 13:35

Pastor Tom's Message

The Fulfillment Is Previewed

This is accomplished in the Alpha-Omega God who merges Heaven and Earth in absolute newness and removes all barriers to fellowship with mortals. God comes to live among humanity for whom God has the deepest love and affection.

"… the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them …”  - Revelation 21:3b

Rev 21





Shepherds and Seamstresses - a Mother's Day Message

Shepherds and seamstresses

Download 5-8-22.pdf (936.4K)

View or download the PowerPoint .

What is your name?

What happens when your name is called?

Mother's Day is a celebration of one truly wonderful human relationship.

All human relationships point us to the one vital and life-giving relationship that is necessary for real life, a relationship with God.


Watch the Service Here

Four Insights from Today's Readings

    • When your Name is Called, Rise Up! ( See Acts reading)
    • When Your Name is Called, Rest. ( See Psalm  reading)
    • When You Realize the Shepherd's Name, Rejoice! ( See Revelation reading)
    •  When Your Name is Called, Respond, ( See John reading)

Whether  a shepherd or one of the sheep of a seamstress asleep in the sleep of death, it is all about the relationship between God and God's people that is played out and glimpsed in every human relationship.

The Scriptures in One Place

Acts 9:36-43

New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter got up and went with them, and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. Meanwhile, he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.

Psalm 23

New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
    he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
    I fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    my whole life long.

Revelation 7:9-17

New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying,

“Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne and to the Lamb!”

And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, singing,

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honor
and power and might
be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “Sir, you are the one who knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

For this reason they are before the throne of God
    and worship him day and night within his temple,
    and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.
They will hunger no more and thirst no more;
    the sun will not strike them,
    nor any scorching heat,
for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd,
    and he will guide them to springs of the water of life,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

John 10:22-30

New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

At that time the Festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me, but you do not believe because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, in regard to what he has given me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”

God’s Care 

 An Extra Message

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”- Psalm 23:1

 Today, we take a fresh look at the most familiar words in the Bible. Yahweh, the God of Israel, is my very own shepherd. He has many sheep, but He is MY shepherd who knows me, cares for me, leads me, and speaks in a voice I recognize. He can differentiate me from all other sheep and always knows whether I am walking with His flock or wandering away. When I do wander, He seeks me because I am His. He is jealous for me and will not tolerate anything that would harm me. I can trust Him.

“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters” – Psalm 23:2

 Sheep are not very good at locating their own grazing lands. They tend to wander aimlessly, following this patch of grass to another until they are lost. The Shepherd knows the places of abundant food and pure, sweet water. Worry and care are redundant exercises if one is a member of Yahweh’s flock; He already has our needs in His heart and plans. His care is complete. His provision is sure. Are you wearing your life and patience thin trying to duplicate His efforts? Stop. It is futile. Trust Him.

“ He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” - Psalm 23:3

 The care that God gives us restores something that has been lacking in our lives.  His desire is not simply to keep us going or maintain our existence, but do a deep work of grace in us that places us back on the path of righteousness – right relationships with Him and others and right living that nourishes our souls. As He works profoundly in us, His purposes are accomplished and His Name is glorified. We cannot divorce the glory and love of God as opposing realities. When we prosper, He is exalted.

  “ Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4

This valley was a real place of danger in the psalmist’s time and it is any place of danger and despair in our own where we feel alone and vulnerable. But neither the valley nor death itself are the essential and fearful evils that we shun. Evil overtakes us as we grow frightful and discouraged in the valley and it is that evil that the Shepherd confronts with His rod and staff to comfort our souls. Sometimes it is the rod and staff of discipline, but more often, of protection that reminds us that we are not alone.

“  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” – Psalm 23:5

We are guests of God, honored and prized. So far, the psalmist has portrayed God as a shepherd. Then, he has added the role of friend to the Lord’s description. Now, He is also our host. As we see more of who God is in our lives, our self-image is expanded. We have been invited to sit at the head table and partake of a feast of love, joy, and abundance. Looking on with jealous rage are our impotent enemies –  forces that endanger our souls. They are powerless to interrupt this celebration for God is in charge.

“ Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” – Psalm 23:6

Wherever we go, goodness and love follow. Our journey is a temporal transition leading to an eternal home, but throughout it all, we are accompanied by the presence of God. His Shepherding friendship and hospitality cause us to reinterpret every event of our lives in the light of His purposes and providence. Nothing has meaning apart from Him once we have trusted Him and known His covenant love. Everything prior to our coming to Him was a cruel illusion. But now, we live in a constant state of grace. Amen.

Bonus Message

I Have Already Come

 “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”. – Revelation 7:14

 There are two powerful words joined together in the scriptures – two prepositions that together bring us hope in our trials and tribulations: out of.

We catch a glimpse of Heaven and behold the saints, on display as examples of potential victory and ultimate triumph. These are they who have come out of tribulation. You might as well say, “through.”

Years back, my wife underwent surgery for breast cancer. The next day she was visited by a survivor. While she had already made up her mind to be more than that – even an “overcomer,” the visit was an encouragement. Someone had come out of the struggle, through the difficulties, and over the hurdles. And out of those tribulations, there emerged good.

“I have already come.”

When we hear those words and when we speak those words, we get courage. Whether it is our experience or someone else’s, there is precedent for victory. We affirm again with Paul that we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

We draw upon past victories to nurture belief for present and future challenges. We recognize the power of God’s grace in our lives up until this point. We see where we were, what we had to face, and how we emerged and we know that if we have to, we can do it again.

We don’t want to do it again, but we can.

Then we think of the saints around the throne and know that we have really faced such little hardship compared to them. And from there we look to the cross and know that we have not even approached Christ’s suffering. Then we go back to our Bibles and underscore the words, “out of,” and back to our hymnals and highlight the word, “through.”

I have already come.

A Taste of Excellence

Stay on your toes

Coffee and Honey

09/21/2006, 03:35:30 PM

Two people taught me lessons in entrepreneurial excellence some years ago. They confirmed and illustrated some truth I already knew. You have to stay on your toes to make a lasting impression.

Some folks collect postcards, swag, and other souvenirs when they travel. I do that too, but mostly, I collect memories and ideas. As I was browsing through my files, I found a reflection I had written in 2006 during a trip to Canada. I have blended those words into this final product.

They all go together like coffee and honey.

When you are in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, you must go to Guy's Café and Bakery (  for lunch. You will be greeted by Guy and that is an experience not to be missed. He will entertain you as he gets your order right. The food is worth it without the atmosphere, but with the atmosphere, you will be making a memory.

The coffee is aromatic and delicious. The refills are free.

Your food will be brought to the table by a staff member with an embroidered insignia that reads, "Insane Staff." Our servers had clearly embodied the corporate culture which apparently includes service, fun, and quality with an underlying value for friendliness.

We went in as a group (The California Singing Churchmen) and were invited to sing the Doxology for our dessert. Seldom have as many customers been as unanimously enthusiastic about a lunch and an establishment.

Find Guy at 6201 Grande Blvd., Cochrane, or call 403-851-9955 for directions (in Alberta, Canada).

Don't wait until you get to Canada to try some Canadian honey from the Nixon Honey Farm ( ). Craig and Tammy Nixon raise the bees, gather the honey, and package it for marketing. I have never tasted anything so tasty or met a nicer honey maker as Tammy.

We ran in to her in the mall in Calgary and she supplied us with all the samples in her car - just so that we could have the experience.

The common denominator with both entrepreneurial ventures is the second mile of service and passion associated with delivering that service with quality.

They will go far. So will you if you learn what they know about staying on their TOES!

Take Initiative for Excellence.

Don't wait to be asked. Keep your mind active and your imagination flowing for new ways to go the extra mile and delight your public with joy and fun.

Overwhelm People with Unexpected Enthusiasm.

Be a cheerleader for your brand. Love what you do and what you produce.

Extend Your Service Beyond Anyone's Expectations.

Tammy and Guy both did this. They went out of their way to do the unexpected and that was to the delight of many. We enjoyed what they did and we told many people about it. Sixteen years later, I am still telling the story.

Serve People in Surprising Ways.

Yes! Surprise them and surprise yourself that you thought of something new. This will feed your enthusiasm and energize you as well as energizing your public. People will be come your ambassadors.

I hope to get back some day. I want to visit the Rockies again and I want to check in on my old friends!

Coffee and honey


HUMOR - Spell it Out!


Photo by Aikomo Opeyemi on Unsplash

Download 1973 Conversation from Today

You really do need to take a break from serious thoughts from time to time and laugh at absurdity if you intend to survive with a sound mind. I'm serious. Humor is no laughing matter.

Here are some suggestions (from me) for embracing the HUMOR in life:


The essence of humor is the ability to laugh at oneself. It is not self-deprecation; it is simply humility and the self-esteem and security necessary to be humble.


It is necessary to have some insight into humanity in order to fully appreciate how silly we must look from the outside. The best humor of all actually loves and empathizes with humanity while appreciating its foibles and flaws.


As you grow older, wiser, looser, and better informed, you have more of a smorgasbord of humorous material. Life itself becomes your best source of intelligent humor. The better your command of language, the keener your capacity for wit. The broader your experiences, the deeper your belly laugh. Maturity frees us to enjoy more of what is best about laughter - not at the expense of others, but with them.

Obvious and Ordinary

Humor takes what is obvious and allows it to entertain deeper or alternate meanings. If you want to enjoy the laughter of life, keep your eyes and ears open and be ready for those moments of serendipity when everything comes together, when timing is, indeed, everything.

Rip and Relax

Let it rip! Get over it. Let go of it. Relax. Give yourself permission to take a short vacation into the realm of the absurd.

Download Humor


HUMOR - Spell it Out!


Photo by Aikomo Opeyemi on Unsplash

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You really do need to take a break from serious thoughts from time to time and laugh at absurdity if you intend to survive with a sound mind. I'm serious. Humor is no laughing matter.

Here are some suggestions (from me) for embracing the HUMOR in life:


The essence of humor is the ability to laugh at oneself. It is not self-deprecation; it is simply humility and the self-esteem and security necessary to be humble.


It is necessary to have some insight into humanity in order to fully appreciate how silly we must look from the outside. The best humor of all actually loves and empathizes with humanity while appreciating its foibles and flaws.


As you grow older, wiser, looser, and better informed, you have more of a smorgasbord of humorous material. Life itself becomes your best source of intelligent humor. The better your command of language, the keener your capacity for wit. The broader your experiences, the deeper your belly laugh. Maturity frees us to enjoy more of what is best about laughter - not at the expense of others, but with them.

Obvious and Ordinary

Humor takes what is obvious and allows it to entertain deeper or alternate meanings. If you want to enjoy the laughter of life, keep your eyes and ears open and be ready for those moments of serendipity when everything comes together, when timing is, indeed, everything.

Rip and Relax

Let it rip! Get over it. Let go of it. Relax. Give yourself permission to take a short vacation into the realm of the absurd.

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Reading and Leading

Reading time

Reading Time/Feeding Time

Leaders are readers - and listeners.

That means that they also spend a lot of money on books and audio and are always looking for ways to save.

Tell me I can't read and watch me shrivel up and die. 

I need fresh material.

Many of the great stories and essays have already been written, but many more are being written daily.

I crave the old and the new. Principles never change, but challenges do and so do strategies for applying principles.

We need to be grounded in the past, present in the present, and alert to the future so that we can be one step ahead of change. We spend a great deal of time in our cars these days.

For that reason, as it has often been said, we need to turn those vehicles into universities on wheels. If we are valuing our time behind the wheel as learning time, we will be less stressed about traffic jams and less likely to be dialing our cell phones. Audio books are an excellent option for those hours of driving.

My reading comes in waves where sometimes I am finishing a book a day and sometimes reading very slowly and digesting what I read. However, balanced out over the years of my life, I have spent tens of thousands of dollars on books and audio. Now I am looking for ways to save money without cutting back on consumption.

I shop for used books sometimes. There are numerous sources - online and in real time and space. I use the library, but it is difficult to get the most current titles. No problem, there are thousands of classics I have not yet read. Get a library card. I actually do buy new books and shop for the best deals I can get. I borrow books, but I am at the mercy of the reading habits of my friends.

However you acquire your material, read and listen to it. it is not on your self to impress people or decorate your office. It is there to help you grow as a person and a leader.