Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Everyday - I mean everyday - I walk in the door at the end of my work day and my son, Micah, calls me out to the basketball court (otherwise known as our dirt and gravel backyard). His great joy is to challenge me on the court. We alternate between games to 5 and games of  p-i-g. As of late , this 12 year old upstart has been soundly beating his old dad! Often he will be up 4-1  ... I don't mind losing but I don't want to lose 5-1! To avoid a complete massacre I'll suddenly take full advantage of my only remaining weapon - I've got about 6 inches of height and 50 pounds on him so I'll use it to dominate and crush and by some chance grab a couple more points before he closes the door on me with a basket! Considering his shoe size has surpassed mine I don't think I will be able to use my advantage much longer.

I have been thinking about parenting - we're called to guide, nurture, encourage, love ... and so we do, but what happens when our kids push back a bit on an issue or just plain act badly - too often I abandon the nurture and encouragement and figuratively throw my weight around and squash it on the spot. I suppose there is some kind of victory in that - but not really. Paul speaks to the church in I Thessalonians 2 verses 7, 8, 11 and 12 and  compares his ministry to that of a mother and of a father. He speaks of gentleness, affection, sacrifice, care as well as exhorting, imploring and encouraging. Of course this makes sense because it is how the Lord treats me even when I push back a bit or just plain act badly!

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, self-control...incredible ingredients for great parenting and a demonstration of God's great love for us

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Sitting here in Tucson with the temperature in the 70's it is hard to believe that a few days ago it was only 17 degrees. Like many others we woke up that morning to frozen pipes, no water, no shower. So, instead of a trip to visit ASU with Paige, I was on my way to Home Depot to pick up pipe insulation since the next night was supposed to be very cold as well. I shut off our water and then watched as the day warmed up. Sure enough, around noon, I noticed one of our outdoor pipes dripping - further investigation revealed a 1/2 inch split in the copper pipe. As I headed back to Home Depot I saw many driveways with water pouring down them - all the pipes with weak spots in our neighborhood were making themselves known. At Home Depot the pipe repair aisle was a circus - panicked homeowners like myself trying to correct problems that would have never happened with a little preventative care. Fortunately a 12 inch piece of copper pipe and some connectors solved my problem.

Sunday, for communion, we looked briefly at Colossians 2:6 - "as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him". Verse 7 goes on to say, "having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith." Our walks with Jesus can be much like those pipes. Of course, our relationship and righteousness is taken care of - He "rooted" us in Himself, but we need to continue on - participating in His ongoing, daily work of "being built up in Him." Those small, daily disciplines of depending, trust, worship, community, being in the Word - strengthen and establish us. Neglect of those habits leads to an anemic, weak faith. When the pressures of life come along - and they always do - that weakness makes itself known.

Two lessons come  from the frozen pipes. 1) If there is a weak spot - it gets revealed when the pressure is turned up. 2) Taking small, simple steps of care and maintenance in advance bring long term strength under pressure. When life begins to cave in is not the ideal time to turn our hearts to the Lord (although we should) - rather it is in all the days preceding the difficult times - there are endless opportunities for us to be strengthened and built up today - it beats the trouble that comes when the pipes burst.

I have a little piece of copper pipe sitting on my desk - it has a split in it - a daily reminder to walk daily with Him!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


This Sunday we will celebrate the Lord's Supper/Communion and I have been reflecting on taking communion as a kid. On Sundays we were always on our own for breakfast so I usually went with my favorite - Captain Crunch. Inevitably my stomach would start growling - loudly - about halfway through the Pastor's sermon. I'd spend the remaining time - an eternity - thinking about lunch! This posed a particular problem on Communion Sundays. The ushers would first pass out the "bread" - they were actually little crackers less than a half inch square - then they would pass out the juice and we would have to sit holding both until the Pastor led us to take them. I remember fidgeting with the little plastic cup and on several occasions I would squeeze it too hard and the plastic cup would crack and the juice would start running out all over the pew causing a minor disturbance in the DeHaan row! Anyways, I would sit there with my stomach growling and longing to gobble up that little cracker - something to put in my stomach! Of course it wasn't nearly enough to even touch my hunger (20 of those little crackers might have added up to one saltine) but even so, that little cracker always tasted so good!!

I used to feel really bad about all this because I was only thinking of how it was going to taste instead of thinking about Jesus and the cross ...but perhaps I had it right all along! If Jesus had been sitting in the pew next to me perhaps he would have said - "Take a whole handful, Chris - enjoy it - eat it up!" His death was bitter and painful yet for us it is LIFE! If we listed every good thing that we have received through His death we would would be overwhelmed - filled up with gratitude and joy. We get "every spiritual blessing" and we can hardly even begin to count them. No wonder the Scriptures say "taste and see that the Lord is good" and that Mary sang out "He fills the hungry with good things!"

Do I really hunger for Him - the Bread of Life? Do I daily taste and see? He doesn't offer up some little token serving size of Himself - He offers us daily the full measure of His goodness. I love the invitation of Jesus in John 21:12 "Jesus said to them, 'come and eat.'"