The Modern Day god

How do you see God?

Birmingham, Alabama.  It’s in the middle of the Bible belt, but on a trip there, I heard about this massive iron statue that is an iconic symbol of the city.  It’s a statue of Vulcan, the Roman god of volcanoes and/or metal working.

As I saw the massive statue I contemplated, what would drive an artist to construct such a massive iron work? Was it a compulsion, eccentricity, a grand idea that got out of hand, or was it far more, perhaps worship of an image, an idea, or a celebration of good times?

However I envisioned it I kept coming back to why a statue of a Roman god of this magnitude would be so significant to the people of Alabama in the center of the Bible belt even if there was a large population of steel and iron workers in the era when it was built?

Though curious, the thought really isn’t so strange.  I remembered a couple of movie/television scenes that represent what I perceived society believes worship is all about. The craziest scene is the one from the original “Beneath the Planet of the Apes”.

It seemed to me that the producers were making fun of churches from that era in 1970, but I found it interesting that the view of worship is something that’s done in a church with singing, people gathered, showing their true selves to their god and chanting.  The fact that this was done in a cave, in a dark underground place out of the public adds a sense of mysticism and intrigue to the whole thing and a sense of mockery.

The other movie scene that comes to mind is Joe vs. The Volcano when Joe and  Patricia are meeting with the chief to discuss making the ultimate sacrifice to the “Big Woo”.  All the people are gathered together in a celebration that the volcano god will be appeased and not destroy the people of the island.

These scenes while entertaining shed light on a secular view of religion and worship of a god.  In a cinematic way they try to explain, or perhaps in a way lead us to interpret, man’s perception of a relationship with God.  In “Beneath the Planet of the Apes”, the god being worshiped was a nuclear warhead, but the scene was modeled after churches of that period.  The scenes shows crazy religious people bent on destroying the world. They wear masks to cover up their appearances and their beliefs bring doom to the planet.  In Joe vs The Volcano, the Big Woo is bringing destruction on mankind and needs to be appeased with sacrifice.

A few days ago I read an article, ‘Humans will worship AI MESSIAH’ God Robot religion expected to boom posted in the Daily Star by Rachel O’Donoghue about a new religion founded by Anthony Levandowski.  Mr. Levandowski was quoted as saying:

“What is going to be created will effectively be a god.

“It’s not a god in the sense that it makes lighting or causes hurricanes.

“But if there is something a billion times smarter than the smartest human, what else are you going to call it.”

For me, this is not at all how I understand our relationship with God and I find it saddening that so many misunderstand God’s true nature.

God is not something man-made.  He’s not a statue, a bomb or a volcano.  He’s certainly not a figment of imagination and he’s not just an intelligence, though superior to us that views things only in black and white.  Can any of these man made gods create, love, show undeserved grace, instill hope, or give meaning and purpose to our lives?

God is real.  There is irrefutable evidence that he exists, yes, even in scientific evidence.  Skeptics dismiss it and try to explain away everything with reason and enlightenment, but it is God who is the source of all reason and enlightenment.  To deny him is to deny our very existence, reject his order of things and loose hope and purpose for our existence. Continue reading “The Modern Day god”


There was a time when I looked at the sky and wondered where something so beautiful came from.  I laid down on a royal green carpet of grass containing every imaginable thing made from sand, rocks, sticks, leaves and pine needles. The warm air filled my body and shifted my locks under the swaying pine trees and the bright sun.  Creatures real and imagined filled my kingdom including ants, frogs, lizards, birds, fish, alligators, and mosquitoes. There was also my dog, Piedmont, our short legged poodle curly black hair. He loved the backyard games and chasing lizards up the trees.  Panther, our black cat would prowl the backyard forest intent on finding adventure and settling for a nap in the shade or bathing in the sun.  My whole world stood before me in simple pure bliss.

“Mark!  Come on, we need to get ready to go!” The broken silence jolted me into a new reality and the rush to prepare. Dad was boarding windows and packing the car and Mom was filling the bathtub with water.  Something big was coming.

At two and a half years old, I hardly knew what was going on, but when my parents worked up a frenzy and there was a hint of panic in Mom’s voice, I knew something was not right.  There was an air of impending danger.  Something was very wrong.

My father was in the United States Air Force and we lived in a small house in a community off base in Biloxi, Mississippi.  It was August 17th 1969 and the weather service was watching hurricane Camille approaching the United States through the Gulf of Mexico.  Just a few days earlier all was calm and right in the world.

Camille 1967
Hurricane Camille 1967

Dad was designated to ride out the storm at the base along with some of the other soldiers and their families who were stationed there.  All of us convened on the base and were housed in a secured hanger as night fall and Camille approached.

The door of the hanger was shut and none of us were allowed to open it or leave it’s safety. Cots were setup and families gathered in groups on the concrete floors with blankets and candles or flashlights. It was dark and as the storm closed in the wind outside intensified. While we waited it grew louder and louder with each thunder and the winds pounding the walls until there was a loud roar.

After a very long time the wind died down and someone said that we were in the eye of the storm.  “The worst was coming!” they said.  The door was opened and us little ones peered out, but dared not exit for fear the wind would start up again and sweep us away. The door was shut and soon after, the rage began again.

Many hours later we exited the hanger onto the long stretches of concrete that were covered in debris. Eventually we loaded up the car to drive home. Only a few miles away, it was normally a 10 minute drive, but that day it took us over 4 hours.

We saw trees down, trailers lifted from their foundations and placed in the road blocking our passage. Bridges were washed out. The furry and rage of Camille left one house untouched, the next one off it’s foundation, then the next with it’s roof tattered and scatted, and yet another leveled to the ground with all it’s possessions sprawled over the neighborhood.  It was a world changer full of danger.  Praise God it’s furry had passed.

As we drove on, none of us knew what we would find when we arrived home. Would the place where just yesterday I laid looking at the sky enjoying my royal green carpet and playful animals still be there, or would we find devastation and a new start waiting for us?

When we finally arrived in our neighborhood, there were houses that survived, but much like the rest of the drive, others were leveled or destroyed.  We were among the fortunate and our home was still there, in tact. So many others weren’t so lucky.

House At Rest On Top of Cars in Point Cadet, Mississippi (Photo Credit: Fred Hutchings)

More photos of Camille’s destruction here and here.


The scenes of destruction left by Camille are not easily forgotten. Camille took the lives of 131 including 3 who were never identified.  Forty One were never found.  (Read about it here.)

A preacher I know once said that in life we are either going into a storm, in the middle of a storm or coming out of a storm.  Today as I sit and write this, there are many people from Houston, Texas trying to figure out how to put their lives back together from hurricane Harvey.  Still many more are riding out Irma as it enters Florida.

As I came out of that storm so many years ago, it was not the end of my world.  For me life was just beginning.

Over the next year I remember playing in the back yard with Monique, the girl next door and my first official-unofficial girl-friend.  I also remember a large tree that my father and brothers pulled out of the ground leaving behind a massive hole filled with water. It was probably downed in the storm. Somehow I was convinced that the hole contained fish because every time we dug a hole in the back yard it would fill with water. Therefore, it must somehow be connected to the ocean and naturally there had to be fish.

My father gave me a fishing pole and encouraged me to spend some time testing my luck, which I did. He told me there were no fish and knew I would never catch anything, but he never dashed my hopes and dreams as a child. Instead he encouraged me to step out and try and learn.

After experiencing the storm, I suppose some would blame God.  They would say that since he controls the weather it must be his fault that so many people died and that so much destruction occurred.  The same God that made the sky and my royal carpet also made the thunder and wind. But we also know that Jesus sent his disciples into the storm knowing what they would face. He sent them out into a world bent on destroying them when he ascended into Heaven. He knew they would face persecutions of all kinds and be martyred for him.

So, why was it necessary for my family and so many others to stare down Camille and her destruction?  Why was it necessary for so many lives to be lost and for our world to be turned upside down?  A friend of mine recently asked me, “How could a loving God let his children, the ones he created, murder one another?” It is the same question I ask. Why Camille? Why Harvey? Why Irma?

The best explanation I have is that though we think we understand the world that we live in, we truly understand very little. God, as the creator, knows our beginnings and our endings. He knows and decides what’s final and what’s not. He also knows that for there to be love, there must be the freedom to love and experience loss.

As a young child, I trusted my father to take me to safety and he did. When the eye of the stormed passed and the door was opened, I could have chosen to run out believing all was good, but in only a few minutes, I would have been swept away.

I have known many people who have run from God by seeking their own way. They believed that obeying God was a burden. In the end they made a lot of trouble for themselves and God had to clean up their lives.  They ran out into the eye of the storm and abandoned the shelter they were given, but God chased after them and brought them back into safety.

I’ve also known those who have chosen their own path to destruction, not heading the warnings to seek the safety of Jesus’ forgiveness.  These never entered the shelter or hid from our Father as he searched.

Having the doors to the hanger shut reminded me of how God shut the doors of Noah’s ark. The same story of atonement and salvation is repeated many times in the Bible. (Moses, Ruth, Daniel, David, the Exodus from Egypt, the entering into the promised land) Circumstances were grave and man unfaithful, yet those who in the end trusted in God ultimately repented, were cleansed, and redeemed.

The storms of our lives foreshadow our own judgement and our actions model our redemption and salvation just like the Old Testament stories foreshadowed the coming of the Messiah.

As Irma passes and the memories of Camille and Harvey fade, find solace from the storm in the one who is our refuge and strength and model the end by choosing Jesus and taking the forgiveness, atonement and redemption that he offers.

God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come
and the mountains crumble into the sea.
Let the oceans roar and foam.
Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!
Psalm 46:1-3

Time to…

Priorities, busyness, and the spiritual dimension of taking on others burdens

It’s really hard to believe it’s been over a month since I posted a blog.  This wasn’t my choice.  I’ve had a lot of really great inspirational moments over the past month or so.

I have found time to listen to some good audio books while driving, flying or being otherwise engaged on something where my mind was free to listen.  One of those books is Walking With God by John Eldredge.  It’s interesting how John shares his life experiences and his walk with God as well as spiritual warfare.

I found it difficult to accept the spiritual battles and his perspective at first, but at the same time I clearly identify with his experiences to remain holy and pure.

One particularly interesting perspective that I hadn’t thought about regarding spiritual warfare is the enemy’s ability to spread like a virus to those battling for or helping someone who is vulnerable.  According to John, the enemy uses the same exploits, lies, and deception, and spirit against us that is used against those we are trying to help.

This past year, our church has been involved in the V-One initiative.  We try to help one vulnerable person every day.  In spiritual terms, according to John’s insight, this means that as we help vulnerable people we are also exposing ourselves to the same evil that is oppressing them.  Therefore, we should be properly prepared and aware of what is coming and arm ourselves accordingly.

One of the areas that I’ve been struggling with is being too busy.  I have been working a lot of overtime and carrying way more than I probably should in my job.  It’s clearly effected every other area of my life.  I’ve gained weight, partly due to the stress, but also because of the long hours sitting and lack of exercise. I’ve missed time with family and the time I have had was rushed… less focused on the relationship and more on the get it done.  I’ve had less time to prepare for service projects and I generally feel like I’ve been scraping by. My personal projects, writing, and ministries have all suffered.

I had been praying for a friend of mine who had a difficult decision to make and was concerned about his relationships with others in the transition.  Later I learned that he’d been fighting the same busyness issues that we were both battling that same spirit.

John’s book made me think about what things are hindering my ability to serve God. Busyness was a the top of my list.  A job becoming a distraction was not something I had thought of the enemy using to derail my mission, yet it was there front and center.

In this situation values and priorities matter.  What I mean to say is that even when we have a lot of work to do, or things to keep busy, there are certain things that we choose to continue and others that we stop doing.  We don’t stop eating or taking care of ourselves (at least to some minimum standard) because we know that these things are necessary for life. But we certainly scale things back or may even stop watching television, working out, or doing a hobby to spend that time doing something else.  For some of us, getting that one thing done consumes us and that’s what sometimes happens to me.  This time I found myself prioritizing things a little differently.  One of those was Renovate weekend.

I’d signed up to house and spend all day on Saturday with the 6th and 7th grade boys from our church.  Together we served a meal at the Samaritan House.  I’m really proud of the boys for doing this and I really enjoyed our time together, but I was completely and utterly exhausted. There were plenty of times before going into the weekend when I thought to myself, “I wish I hadn’t committed to this”, but I am so glad I did and I am glad I prioritized my time with the youth and adding something into their lives and the lives of others rather than working another weekend away.

Not only did God provide me the energy to get through it, but He also gave me a much needed break from the busyness, calmed my heart and helped me find the right balance to continue on stronger than before. He refueled my spirit and gave me deeper relationships with each of the young men in my group, my friend, the people we served at Samaritan House.  He showed me that even when we’re tired and the outlook is grim, He continues to provide what we need to take on the burdens of others.





What’s in your Alabaster Jar?

An alabaster jar was once used to hold expensive perfumes. The jars were made with a long neck and designed to be broken to use the contents and were ideal for perfume because they kept the contents from spoiling.

There are a couple instances in the New Testament where a woman (or women) anointed Jesus with this perfume from an alabaster jar. (Mt 26:7, Mk 14:3, Lk 7:37) The gift was very, very expensive and once opened was used up. There’s been a lot written about the alabaster jar so I’m not going to analyze and argue the points, but I did want to share some of my personal experience and thoughts.

Matthew 26:6-13

Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head.
The disciples were indignant when they saw this. “What a waste!” they said. “It could have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.”
But Jesus, aware of this, replied, “Why criticize this woman for doing such a good thing to me? You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.” — Matthew 26:6-13

I’ve been a Christian for nearly 37 years. I had a great start, then drifted back and forth in my faith until 5 years ago when I went on a mission trip to Tecate, Mexico. Even before the trip God was doing a work in me. He used that time serving to accelerate the changes in my life and grow my faith by helping me see the path I was blazing and where it was leading me. It wasn’t to a good place.

On my recent trip to El Zapatillo the question came up about the alabaster jar and I asked myself what was in mine, or rather what was my alabaster jar? What is that most precious thing that I give God, but also, what am I holding back?

God doesn’t need anything from us, but he does want us. He’s a jealous god and he isn’t satisfied with a divided heart. The sad thing about my life story even though I’ve been a Christ follower for 37 years is that it’s mostly about what I’ve held back. For much of my life I divided my heart between God and what I wanted for me. I was trying to pour out my alabaster jar on both me and Jesus at the same time. It’s kind of silly to think about it in those terms isn’t it? Much of the perfume would be wasted trying to pour it on both people.

Besides, how can any one of us compare to Jesus? It was he that created the world, came into it in the most humbling of circumstances, lived a perfect life, sacrificed himself for us, and then rose from the dead and offered us a new beginning. He did all of this by his strength.  What have any of us done to compare to that? To say that any one of us should share in an anointing with him in that way makes no sense. Our lives can’t possibly compare on any measure to him.

When these women came to Jesus, they came with remorse, full of repentance and love for a person who gave of himself to save them.  He gave them forgiveness and a restored relationship with God. They gave him a most precious gift in the jar of perfume, but while Jesus accepted this, I believe it wasn’t the fragrance of the perfume that delighted him. It was the fragrance of repentance and love that they showed from their heart that was symbolically portrayed in their actions. It was a pure act of worship, a sacrifice of monumental proportions of the lives that these women led to obtain such a gift.

The irony is that there is nothing we have that God hasn’t first given to us. The perfume that these women brought was provided to them by God. He gave them life and means to either produce or obtain these expensive items. In the end, they chose to use them to honor God. Can there ever be a more beautiful act of worship, but to lay down our lives at the feet of God for his service?

It’s not about the alabaster jar, the perfume, or the woman who gave it. It’s about God, recognizing him for who he is, and honoring him for what he has done.

What’s in your alabaster jar and how will you choose to use it?

Luke 7:36-50

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!”
Then Jesus answered his thoughts. “Simon,” he said to the Pharisee, “I have something to say to you.”
“Go ahead, Teacher,” Simon replied.
Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?”
Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.”
“That’s right,” Jesus said. Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.
“I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The men at the table said among themselves, “Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?”
And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” — Luke 7:36-50

¿como te llamas?

It was time for us to begin the VBS program with the children of El Zapatillo.  Each of us was recognized by name and invited to come to the front .. stadium style.  Then we had a time of music and they brought Rosa up to sing and lead the worship.  Afterwards we did a skit and had a short message before we broke up into our groups.

dscn1275There were five boys in my group (and I had a little girl join the next day).  Their ages ranged from 3 to 8.  We all sat down on the floor and I asked each one his name and age.  The older boys answered for some of the younger ones.

It was hard for me to understand the boys. I’m hard of hearing as it is, but there was a lot of noise in the background and they boys were quiet spoken.  It didn’t help that they were speaking in Spanish … or so I thought.  It may have been the local Mayan language.

Just like kids at home, some were attentive and others were easily distracted.  A couple of my younger ones worried me a little because they seemed too docile.  I’m used to little ones running around with unbounded energy.  I had to wonder if they were getting enough to eat, or if it was just a hard life here.  Some of these kids traveled a long way on foot to be with us.

As each shared his name, I wondered how they’d come to that name.  What kind of family were they from and were they happy?  Were there special needs in their life?  What did they like to do?  The biggest question that I ask with every child I meet is what kind of future is in store for this person?


One thing I’ve learned is that names represent something as much as someone.  Sometimes people make a name for themselves.  By that, I mean that their name becomes synonymous with their actions, accomplishments, or fame.

I wondered what each child would accomplish and where they would be.  Would they make a name for themselves or live up to their name.  Would their name come to represent something good or bad?

Some names are given to represent authority.  Others to show position.  Some people are given nick names symbolizing an event or way about that person.

Even in the Bible, God took pains to name people and he even renamed a few.  Abram, the father of nations was renamed to Abraham.  Saul, persecutor of Christians, was renamed Paul and became the missionary to Christians.  Jesus says that many will receive a white stone engraved with a new name understood only to the one who receives it (Revelation 2:27). Even Jesus, though he has many names will be given a new name (Revelation 3:13).

As I think about the events, I’m keenly aware that I also have a name that God has given me and how I live will either make that name or break it.  I will either be known for good or bad.

What about your name?

Rosa Sings

It was time for our Vacation Bible School and all the children gathered in their chairs.  The small chairs in front, then the medium sized chairs and then the large chairs in the back of the room. Each child chose a chair that fit them.  It was one of the most organized groups of children I’ve seen.

The service began with singing and when it was time, they brought little Rosa to the front and put her on a chair.  Then they handed her the microphone.  Her voice rang out as she led the other children in worship.  Our team was blown away and I think half of us were filming the event.

What made this so surprising is that Rosa is a quiet, polite, unassuming, little girl.  She’s certainly not someone you would expect to stand in front of her friends and raise her voice the way she did.  But, boy did she sing!  She put her whole voice and heart into it.

God raises people like Rosa up from the most unlikely of places and gives them the ability to do things that are inconceivable.  He doesn’t conform to our patterns or molds. He makes them and breaks them to get our attention and uses us in ways that are amazing and sometimes even beyond our comprehension.

I had an opportunity later in the week to talk with Rosa (pictured above on the left with her teacher).  I asked her what her name was and she spoke so quietly, so unassumingly I still couldn’t reconcile how she stood there and raised her voice to God the way she did.

There have been so many times I wanted to stand like Rosa and speak out, but I allowed my peer-fear or excuses to stand in the way and didn’t do what I know I should have. Her courage and her willingness to stand firm and lead are an inspiration.

Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it. — James 4:17

But it is also sad because like the other children in this village Rosa’s opportunities are very limited by the lack of resources, basic healthcare and an education. Undernourishment has taken a serious toll on the development of these children. Even though they come from hard working families, their lack of resources make it a struggle to have their most basic needs met.

The pictures here inside a new church don’t show what’s just outside the walls.  These children live in conditions that we would describe as primitive camping here in the US, but without the transportation, grocery stores, water purification, bathrooms, electricity/generators, and modern conveniences we bring with us, and they don’t just live it for a few days.  It is their life EVERY day.

This is why our church has partnered with CH Global’s child sponsorship program here and in Ethiopia.  We’ve worked to build the preschool and support roughly 1/4 of the 120 neediest children in the village.  There are many others that qualify if we are able to find people who will support them.

Join with us HERE and help children like Rosa learn about the life saving message of Jesus and escape the cycle of extreme poverty.

Dancing on the Rooftops

One of the great ironies of life is that Beauty and Danger are best friends.  I’ve never been one to shy from courting both Beauty and Danger and on this trip, it was par for the course.

During my college years, I spent a summer working for my uncle and cousin in upstate New York. I helped built chimneys, repaired and installed roofs, and did other general construction.  It was a hard summer, but I learned a lot and I came home with a tan, muscles, a new outlook, and a few new tricks.

We used to laugh at Danger and admire Beauty from on high.  Being up on a rooftop has it’s advantages.  I was fortunate that I kept close companions with Caution so Danger never spoiled my day. I wish I could say the same for my cousin.  He’s fallen off the roof twice and both times suffered serious injuries.  He’s lucky to be alive.

There were more than a few moments when this crossed my mind while I was on the roof with my teammate, Adam.  He’s an old hand at this sort of thing having worked in the trades a bit more than I have, he knew exactly how to approach the job in the safest and most efficient manner. One experience has taught me is to respect people who get up early in the morning and create things for a living.  I followed his lead and he taught me a few new tricks.


There were some soft spots in the roof and although it looks solid from a distance we were supported by only a couple of 2×4’s.  If it weren’t for the boards we sat on, we’d have been licking our wounds from the concrete floor.

There was no shortage of work that needed to be done in the village.  When we arrived there was only one working toilet, but no water to flush and no showers. There were several buildings that needed painting including the new preschool, a new roof on the kitchen (pictured), and a home build that was underway.

Basic medical attention was over an hour a way and I’m sure a real hospital was a lot further off. Cell service was only available from the top of the water cistern. I only know this because I saw the pastor of the local church climb to the top to make a phone call. We couldn’t drink the water or even brush our teeth with it and we were instructed to sanitize our hands after every wash.

Life here is hard and every day there is a risk from the dangers of the forest that we know nothing about.  We saw some pretty big, ugly spiders (I’m sure they were harmless… who’s afraid of spiders anyway?) and a few scorpions (those I take seriously).  Going to the bathroom in the middle of the night revealed the tiny eyes of creatures big and small staring back at us.

A spider lurking just under the roof we’d just replaced.

After completing our work each day, we had lunch and then spent time with the children, teaching them, playing with them and just loving them.  We played games and we sang songs together.  We gave them candy and snacks and did crafts together.

We enjoyed meals together, we laughed, we cried, we slept, and we celebrated.

But it wasn’t about the work, or courting Beauty and Danger.  It was like dancing on the rooftops with Jesus.  We were following his lead, learning a new step, and trying some new moves high up in the mountains of Guatemala.  It was exciting, fun, inspirational, and exhausting all at the same time.

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.
And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him. — Ecclesiastes 3:1-14

a new beginning

This is a new chapter, literally, not figuratively.

This new chapter is a blog about the Way. The only Way. I’m not going to tell you that I know everything about this path or that I know the Way better than the next guy who’s writing. In fact, I question myself, “will there be any that take the time to read this?” It is my hope that by sharing my experiences with the rest of the world that perhaps someone else might find the Way that I have found and benefit from it.

My own journey has been a rocky one. It’s never easy and it’s often more challenging when the time is taken to examine and make sense of it. Nevertheless, the path has been rewarding and I find now in my journey a sense of worth, fulfillment and purpose. It wasn’t always that Way.DSCN1099.JPG

There have been many years of my journey where I was simply board. Some years were filled with angst. Some were filled with frustration. Others were just sad. Truth be told, I haven’t had many that I would classify as happy. If I had to sum up the years of my life I would tell you that I never really found my purpose until my Way made me come face to face with the truth of who I was and I finally truly accepted my new path. The only value to my time up to that point was in covering the distance to reach that point. The rest was wasted and I didn’t have to traverse all the miles I did, but I chose to do it because I wanted to make my own choices.

So, now I’ve begun on this journey and while it started more than 35 years ago, it was only in the last 4 years that life has taken on a new meaning truly worth living for, a purpose and a new vision. My reality has shifted and I now understand why I’m here, what I’m here for, and more importantly, what I need to do next. Maybe by reading my blog, you’ll gain some of that as well.

For those that know me, you know I’ve got passion. I have it in my voice and in my heart. Truthfully, it gets in the way sometimes. When I talk about something with conviction, it can be perceived as arguing. My tone is loud and brass, perhaps even arrogant. But, this is passion. It’s a will inside that says, “you have to get these words out and they have to be heard … or else … no matter the cost. Every word in and of itself has a life changing meaning and when spoken must be uttered and presented with the utmost conviction.” It’s like taking the force of the water behind Hoover Dam and putting in a 2 in round pipe and trying to contain it with a carrot. The carrot doesn’t fit and the force of the water is going to find it’s way out one way or the other.

(Why a carrot you ask? Why not? Does it really matter? What’s a carrot got to do with plugging hoover dam? Well, if hoover dam is your mouth then maybe you should chew on that.)

It’s the conviction… the passion. I’m not trying to be bossy or brass. I don’t have all the answers, and I certainly may be wrong about some things, but I say these words with the utmost conviction and they come from the heart. They most certainly come from life experiences and are based on real facts and real life.

My message is simple. You need the Way just like I do. The question is, what are you going to do about it?