Wednesday, June 25, 2014


"Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. 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, Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" Matt. 6:25-26

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.... you are of more value than many sparrows." Matt. 10:29-31

Wow - really? God actually applies care and compassion and lends his thoughts to sparrows! I wonder if that applies to pigeons as well? I will be honest - I really don't like pigeons - particularly since they have overrun our church recently. There was a whole group of them living above the sanctuary ceiling - I could hear them walking around on Sunday mornings. We eventually drove them out and closed up their access but they have just settled onto other places -  windows, ledges, door tops, roofs, building entrances. I shoo them away but they return the moment i leave. They are everywhere and don't seem to serve any useful purpose other than to snicker behind my back and leave huge messes for everyone to see! Who could possibly care for them?

I came down to the church early this morning and discovered three dead pigeons. One was in pieces on the lawn - probably a victim of the large hawk that lives in the neighborhood. One was lying by the fountain - looked like it had been sickly for a long time. The third was on the roof - like many this time of year - it was probably due to the endless days of 100 plus temperatures. My first thought - forgive me - was "good, that's three less to mess up the building".  My next thought surprised me - my Father in heaven saw these pigeons fall - knew the loss of them - birds he had created and cared about. It is almost too crazy to be true - God's compassion and love even extends to these!

Jesus took time to describe the Father's care for birds and flowers- He has great compassion for them and clothes them like kings - and then He reminds me that there is no comparison to his love for birds and the flowers and the soon to wither grass... and His unending love and care for His own children - us! "How great is the love the Father has given to us that we should be called the children of God!" I John 3:1 "In love He has adopted us." The riches of His grace have been lavished on us! (Eph. 1)

As I sit this morning considering his care for birds that are here today and then gone - I am struck by how great His love must be for me - indescribable...

So, do not be anxious - we are of endless value to our creator - that should change our day!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


So here at the Vineyard Christian Community we are having a unique Father's Day gathering. We normally have a Saturday evening service and then a Sunday morning service. This weekend we actually cancelled our Sunday service - yes, we cancelled "church" on Father's Day and invited everyone to pack in together at our Saturday service. Our intent ... to practice as a body the God designed and practiced rhythm of work and rest - a pattern us dads often neglect. Our plan was to gather in community and in worship - to begin our  "sabbath resting" as one body united around the word and the table. Then we scatter and spend the next 24 hours seeking ways of refreshment in the Lord, ceasing our labors, celebrating life in Him and being reshaped for the full week of work that we will re-enter on Monday. You can listen to the message after june 14th  at

The next step is to read this article by Ruth Haley Barton. It re-outlines some basic principles and then gives some specific and practical steps to experiencing the joys of sabbath - God's gift of time.

You can read it here:

Sunday, June 1, 2014


So I am in Michigan visiting my daughter and staying in my parents - now empty - home by Lake Michigan. A chance to rest, enjoy the green and the water - peace. My brother has a couple of Stand Up Paddle Boards that I have been using each day. Both early in the morning and later in the evening as the sun goes down I paddle up the channel and out into Lake Michigan - an escape into stillness, gliding along untethered, unhindered, just the splash of the paddle and the coolness of the water washing periodically over my feet.

But - each time as I get started - there has been an intrusion - a breaking in upon my mind and heart - a wave of worry and anxiety - unlooked for, unwelcome,  but all very real and difficult to shake. I have always considered myself to be fairly free of anxiety - to be good at "be anxious about nothing" but in truth I just cover it up and bury it in busyness - so it is there, remaining and having its impact while I go on deciding to believe all is well in my soul.

I am not sure if we can ever just stop being anxious but I do know that I can hand it over to Jesus, to have Him come alongside and carry it for me - and the first step towards that is to face it, call it out, see it there weighing upon my heart. So off I go paddling along and in that still place of quiet and solitude the worry comes - as it always does when I fist go to places of solitude - but as I keep paddling along and the worry is unmasked and revealed - I can then hand it over or more often see the Lord take hold of it for me. The troubles don't always go away but the anxiousness gets lifted and my board glides along more peacefully.

Soon I begin to notice more along the way - the Canadian Geese and their little ones, the Crane hiding along the shore, the fish skirting under my board, the glimmers of sun reflecting on the water, the rest that comes when I remember Jesus is bigger and even more present than any sadness, or care or hurt and uncertainty.

And there it is again - the door to renewal, rest, peace and life comes through a pathway of quietness, and time and space and pulling away - not always comfortable at first but always reviving at its conclusion.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Pot Pies

I was recently ill for a few days and not really into our dinners. Instead I had a hunger for a pot pie; my mom always gave us Swanson's Pot Pies when we were sick - its not for every day - just sick days. TV dinners on the other hand are good anytime! (I never claimed that this blog was a good source of nutritional information) I love how TV dinners are all divided up - each food with its own proper place - I can take them on one at a time - never messy, it is neat, clear,  and I know exactly what I am eating (well, maybe).

I have written and spoken on this before but it has intersected my heart once again - I like to treat life like a TV dinner - I have work, family, leisure, projects, church, worship, sports - each is in its own select spot and I live them out one at a time. Whenever they try to interact - think mix - with each other - like foods in a pot pie -I frantically try to regain order and put each back in its place.

Truth - it doesn't make for a very healthy and tasty life - it leaves me hungry, a bit anemic and wondering why my days seem to be lacking some spark of life. In truth, we are to see life more like a pot pie - everything is mixed together.

I have two favorite perspectives on worship:

"When a person, yielding to God and believing the truth of God, is filled with the Spirit of God, even his faintest whisper will be worship!
(A W Tozer)

We are not created to worship. Nor are we created for worship. 
We are created worshipping!
(Harold M. Best)

As God's creation, an image bearer, - all I do is worship - resting, working, talking, reading, doing laundry, getting beat in basketball in the back yard by my son, washing the dog, preaching a sermon, driving across town, hugging my wife, answering an email, taking a walk, eating .....  all is worship! And it is not always neat, doesn't always feel like worship ... but it is all designed to celebrate that we live in the context of a loving, creating God who shows Himself through the most insignificant of our activities  when were are not aware of His working and also in those moments when His Spirit makes Himself clearly known.

So  Lord, in the varied mix of activities and living that make up this day - the worshipping You that is my life - may I breath out worship in every moment. Amen

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


So, just finished almost 3 days on Mt. Lemmon praying with close to 50 other pastors from Tucson; to wait on Him to move, direct, encourage, challenge, unify. Some generous friends made their cabin available to that I was able to arrive at the Prayer Summit a day early and stay an extra day afterward. Some time for quiet, solitude, rest, listening, planning...

It was a perfect place- the trees were incredible, the cabin comfortable and quiet - the only sound was the creaking floor and the wind - I had plenty of coffee - comfortable blankets - perfect! So Wednesday afternoon, evening and Thursday morning were all mine...

But I was so restless!! 

I kept getting distracted from my time and its purposes and kept feeling this urgency to make the short drive back to a full busy life, responsibilities, opportunities, my list that was waiting. The other voice reminded me that I was up here for something of value with just the Lord, to rediscover what makes a truly "full" life...

But I was so restless!

Each year I spend 6-8 days out in the desert near Cascabel - it is completely isolated, silent, absolute solitude. I get restless there as well - the rest of life has a very loud, persistent and compelling voice - but in this desert place, I can't leave - I literally have no way out till my arranged ride comes to pick me up .... so, restless as I am, I persevere through it. It takes a couple days or so, but those loud voices that make me restless begin to quiet down and the benefits of solitude and silence begin to break through.

Up on Mt. Lemmon it was too easy to leave, to give in to the restlessness and so.... I headed down earlier than planned and drove straight to my office, and my mail, and my lists! As a result, some of the shaping that God desired to do in me - didn't happen.

I have come to realize that the restlessness is actually there Holy Spirit letting me know that I have allowed to much in, too much clutter in my heart and mind and soul - the restlessness I feel in my quiet moments are a warning as well as an invitation... an invitation to stillness and rest and fullness and peace and eventually work that is empowered by the Spirit.

So today - stop long enough to feel the restlessness and the invitation. It is only when we hit the brakes and lunge forward that we notice how fast we are going and often how far away we have gotten.

Monday, March 10, 2014


Wow - can't believe my failure to update this - weekly!  I will get back in that good habit. Just wanted to recommend a great site for daily devotionals around the Lent Season. Each day includes music, art, scripture and a prayer. A great way to start each day.

The Lent Project