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.