I had a "Giant Cavernous Aneurysm" behind my left eye. I went to Dallas for surgery and it was killed...however post op my eye is unresponsive. It is if I am looking out of a steamy shower door. Some days it is better than others. Please pray that my sight will be restored. God has been putting words on my heart that I feel I must put on paper. The following thoughts are those I feel that the Lord is speaking to me lately. Enjoy.

April 30, 2005

A picture of the neighbors chicks, just before Luke nearly crushed the little black one to death.

Notice the poop by the left elbow? Yep, it's now on the rugby.

April 29, 2005

Firm Footing

I recently took my family to Mueller State Park. It’s a fantastic place way up in the mountains. The coolest part of Mueller is the nature center. I know you’re asking, “How can you be out in the middle of the Rocky Mountains and you go indoors to the nature center?” I’m not sure, but I’m glad we did.

As we explored the exhibits, we found an area that had the foot of a bighorn sheep. I think it was a replica, or at least I hope so, because at one point my two year old was licking it. I was amazed at the bottom of this animals hoof. It had the grip of a rubber tire and the perfect angle for climbing. Have you ever seen some of the cliffs these animals traverse? It’s absolutely amazing and nearly vertical in some cases. Bighorn sheep do not fear heights, nor do they worry about falling. They are protected up there…that’s why they climb to these incredible heights. It removes the fear of predators.

In the bible, there is a tiny book called Habakkuk. Within that tiny 3 chapter book is a verse that says, “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.” I was moved when I read this. Refer back to the bighorn sheep. They can climb nearly impossible vertical paths without falling because they have the perfect feet. Their paths are incredibly difficult, but they are able to negotiate them because of the Lord’s design. He equips them with the proper footing for the task ahead.

My path is difficult right now. I’m not sure where it leads. It is rocky and steep, and there are times when fear grips me when I look at the narrow, steep grades. It contains terrain that is simply impassable without the intervention of Christ himself. I pray that the Lord would give me the appropriate feet to walk on what lies ahead.

I thank God that He is protecting me from predators. The predator of doubt. The predator of fear. The predator of anxiety. He has protected me from the fear of falling. When you climb to these heights with the Lord, you find a peace there. You realize that He has provided safety and shelter in the midst of what looks to be some pretty intimidating landscape.

What treacherous terrain lies ahead of you? Does it look intimidating? Is it uphill? I pray today for you to be equipped with the right feet for the path ahead. I believe we serve a huge God who knows exactly the feet you need to walk whatever path lies ahead. Begin walking with your new, perfectly equipped feet. You're gonna look cute in your new little hooves.

April 28, 2005

Peter, Peter Water Eater

Do you ever get that sinking feeling? You look up and realize the Titanic is going down, and you’re Leonardo DiCaprio? Peter knows exactly how you feel.

The story was pretty amazing. Jesus sends the disciples out in the boat so that he can have some peace and quiet to be with his Dad. When he finishes, he’s finds his buddies way out to sea. Jesus is in need of aquatic transportation. Jesus, being Jesus, decides that he would just start walking…on the water. I wonder if this is the first time he had ever done it. Or perhaps when we get to Heaven, will we find out that he often did this as a child. I can picture Mary saying, “Jesus, please get down in the pool with the rest of the children.” I digress.

As Jesus approached the boat, his best friends thought he was a ghost. Keep in mind that by this time they had seen this man 1) bring a girl back from dead, 2) heal a mute man to speak again, 3) restore a man’s withered hand, 4) give sight to a couple of blind guy’s, 5) drive out demons from people. And this was only the beginning.

They, of all people, knew the miraculous power of Jesus. They lived it. They breathed it. However, when they saw Jesus walking on the water, it was too much…it was over the top, even for the miracle worker.

In order for Peter to believe it was really Jesus, he was going to have to give it a whirl. So he asked Jesus if he could join him for a stroll on the sea. Everything goes extremely well until Peter becomes scared. When doubt set in, he felt the weight of the circumstances surrounding him. Humanness began to sink Peter. Because of his fear and sudden lack of faith, he found himself disappearing into the depths of the dark sea.

For those who haven’t seen the movie, Jesus comes through. Peter looks up with his panicked eyes and reaches for his “life preserver.” Jesus reached down into the darkness and rescued his child…immediately. I love that the Bible tells us that Jesus “immediately” rescues His children from darkness.

Like Peter, when circumstances pile up around you, do you begin doubting and find yourself slowly sinking into the darkness? We all find ourselves there. Life is going great, and then something unscheduled happens. Without Christ, sinking is the only alternative. It’s just the laws of physics. You can no longer remain afloat. Physically you can only bear the weight for so long before it begins to crush you and your spirit.

Or do you find yourself out on the water with your Daddy through the good times and the bad? There is no greater feeling in the world. Not only have you ‘stepped out of the boat’ in faith, but you now begin to do things that are supernatural. You begin to live in a higher plain of faith and dependence on your God. You’ve just found the key to unlock the door of Heaven, and blessings begin to flood into your life.

Become a wave walker. Leave the comfort of the boat, and step out in faith knowing that your Saving Grace is there waiting. Your greatest growth happens when you leave the boat. Faith is increased. Love is deepened. Dependence on the Lord reaches depths that you’ve never imagined. The freedom of complete dependence can only be experienced here.

Where do you find yourself sinking? Is it your health, your finances, your family, your relationships, your work or your walk with the Lord? Isn’t it incredible to know that Christ will never leave you, even in your darkest hour?

Which one of these areas resembles the Titanic? Unlike Leonardo, you only have to extend your hand to be rescued. Christ is waiting to pull you back up to once again walk on water.

Step out of the boat and believe that the same Lord who ordered the waves and winds to calm, can also calm the storm in you and around you.

April 27, 2005


I’ve been asked several times to put down my quill, and tell you how I’m feeling. I may have picked the wrong day for an update, but here it goes.

Today was horrible. I’ll just get that out of the way now. I began having a headache at 11 am and it went away around 7 pm. Here were the symptoms: Headache, dizziness and double vision, numbness on the left side of my face, lips and eyelids feeling like they were in a lake of fire, and the feeling like someone is pulling out my molars and bicuspids one by one with no anesthesia. But other than that I felt great.

O.K. Other than that craziness, I have felt great. Seriously. There are not many days that go by without a headache, but they generally last for only an hour or two. I am extremely grateful for those days. The side effects are interesting in that they are somewhat of a grab bag. You never know what you’re going to get. It may be the fiery eyelids and bicuspids, or it may be just the numbness and tightness in my throat. It’s strange, I know. And yes, I’ve asked the doctors and they have no idea why I experience the grab bag of symptoms.

So, what are you doing for Cinco de Mayo? Joe T. Garcia’s, On the Border or maybe La Hacienda Ranch? Good. “I’m ready to order. Let’s see, for my appetizer I’ll take a needle to my groin, followed by a 12 gauge catheter inserted in my femoral artery all the way to my brain, and for dessert, I think I’ll have a stint deployed across my aneurysm…and a Diet Coke through an I.V…please.

I feel at ease about this procedure. I suppose if I think about the 6-8% stroke rate for a long time, I get a little uneasy. Yes, I know it’s only 6-8%, but if you had those odds on the Texas Lottery, I guarantee you’d be down at 7-11 buying a ticket. God has given Suzi and I a real peace about this. I am so ready for relief. For the past 90 days, there have only been a handful of days that brought relief from these headaches. I’m getting tired, and can hardly wait to get to the other side.

I wouldn’t have traded the past 90 days for anything. God and I have been reintroduced to one another, but this time in a higher plain. I did not know this level of intimacy until now, and quite honestly, didn’t even know it existed. But, I’m glad it does.

I have been blessed with so many friends. You. I’m constantly amazed at your prayers and your words. Thank you for loving Suzi, me and the boys the way you do.

I have to say how much I love my wife. I adore her. Suzi has been the most amazing, supportive, spiritual friend during this time. I do not know what I would have done without her. God has blessed me greatly with a mighty spiritual warrior. She is my best friend.

I had to break from writing this as, Gabe my 6 year old just prayed for me. He held my head with his hands and said, “God, please help my daddy to be healed. Please help that spot behind my daddy’s eye be filled. As you say in Luke 1:37 ‘Nothing is impossible for You.’ We love you, God. Amen.”

Friends, I am truly blessed beyond words. I must end now, as looking through these tears is messing up my typing.

April 26, 2005

The Need For A Capitalized God

This response was posted to my web blog regarding my letter yesterday (April 25, 2005):

Anonymous said...
Friend, the universe is a cold, nasty chaos. God neither gives nor takes away. What you are going through is random and cruel. The strength you are finding to bear it is YOURS. YOU are your own power. I'd like to see you give yourself some credit. Good luck.

Dear Anonymous,

My heart dropped when I read your post. You live in a dark and hopeless world. Truly, my heart aches for you…not in a condescending way, but in a heartfelt way. I felt depressed after I read your post, not because I subscribe to your philosophy, rather I felt the sense of hopelessness you must feel day in and day out.

I want to take a second and review what you wrote to me.

“Friend, the universe is a cold, nasty chaos.”
“God neither gives nor takes away.”
“What you are going through is random and cruel.”
“The strength you are finding to bear, it is YOURS.”
“YOU are your own power.”
“I’d like to see you give yourself some credit.”
“Good luck.”

1) The universe is the antithesis of chaos. Look around at what you Creator has done. For example, the human body is amazing and orderly…each intricate part working in tandem with the next. Anonymous, your next breath is a part of a symphony that can only be led by an orchestration of the mighty Conductor. It’s only by the grace of God that you take this breath…now. Talk about orderly, what if God allowed the Sun to move 10 miles closer or further from the Earth. The Creator of the Heavens and the Earth knew exactly where Anonymous needed to live in order not to be fried or frozen. God defines order. People define chaos. It’s easy to look at the chaos and assume that God is behind it. Look deeper…and you’ll find warmth and order in our universe.

2) The Lord both gives and takes away. The Lord has given me peace. The Lord has taken away my fear. Did God allow this or put this aneurysm in my head…or neither? I don’t know. I don’t claim to fully understand the Lord’s ways. If I could fully conceive my God, He would not be much of a God at all. It is the fact that He is not fully known that embodies His mystery. I’m alright with that.

3) What I am going through is a blessing. This one may be hard for you to understand. I believe God is refining my love for Him. Each day I live with this aneurysm is a stroll on a cool spring day with my Father. I feel an intimacy with Him that is indescribable. Quite simply, this is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Reread that sentence. I carefully thought out the words that I just wrote. My joy is not conjured up or contrived. This is why I wrote the original letter “An Open Letter to a Non-Christ Follower.” It was my attempt to let you see the impossible…joy in the midst of trial. Your joy is being stolen from satan. There is a disconnect here because it is impossible for your pain and burden to be lifted by the god you serve.

4) Anonymous, please reread my blog. How long can a guy pull himself up by his own bootstraps? It is only because the God who knows my inner being is walking with me that I am able to deal with this blood-filled golf ball in my brain. I know me. If I was facing this on my own I would be feeling worry, pain, frustration, hopelessness and complete depression.

5) I’ve walked with the power you have. I failed….miserably. It was only when I cried out in utter desperation, did I have a power that can only be given from Heaven. I am not wired up to carry this burden on my own…neither are you. I am often asked how I’m doing. It’s my friends who have not fully submitted their lives to the Lord that say, “No way.” Or, “I don’t know how you’re holding up.” This response, while I do not stand in judgment of my friends, is expected because of their life’s experiences. It’s difficult to walk this road without my Daddy walking it with me.

6) Anonymous, I prayed (with tears running down my face) the day that I saw this monstrosity in my head, “God, please allow me to walk through whatever I’m about to face with peace, humility and the unwavering desire to give You the credit for what comes out of this. God, let me resist the temptation to approach this with fear or trepidation, rather let me approach this rocky road with a wild abandon for your grace and faithfulness.” He has answered my prayer.

7) Luck is for Vegas, horseshoes and the lottery. Faith, prayer and complete humility before my Maker are what I need most right now.

First of all, thanks for taking the time to respond to this post. However, I have to say this was one of the hardest things I have ever read. Not because you have disagreed with my writings, but because I have never read something that embodies the word ‘hopelessness’ before.

I noticed that you capitalized “God.” I’m not sure you would have done this if it had not been the first word in the sentence. From your statements, I would presume you do not serve a “capitalized God.” Taken straight from your statements, your god is unable to: 1) bring warmth 2) bring blessing 3) bring comfort 4) bring strength 5) bring power 6) bring sovereignty or 7) bring answers to your prayers. You are in desperate need for a capitalized God.

Anonymous, I appreciate your words. I don’t judge you in any way, but pray that you would come to know the God who orders the universe, and who has given more to me than I could have ever asked or imagined and who has led me down a rocky road with gentleness and complete faithfulness. He’s good. You’d really like Him if you got to know Him. I challenge you to capitalize your god. I pray that as you take your next breath, you would be unable to take in for granted, but instead give credit to Him who gave it to you.

April 25, 2005

An Open Letter To Non-Christ Followers

This letter will not contain the words ‘Hell, Hades, Purgatory, Hot or Lake of Fire,’ so please read on.

I want to share with you from one man’s perspective why you simply can not keep resisting the love of God. It’s too great. The pull is as weighty as gravity itself. Stand up and jump. Did you feel it…gravity won’t let you go far before you are brought back to your source. So it is with God. Deep down, whether or not you have recognized it yet, there is a pulling in your heart to find your way back to your Daddy.

God, being the Creator of life draws you to Him. You were born from Him and your natural instinct is to find Him again. But because you live in a world that tries to find happiness in everything but God, you play the game.

Money is fun for a while, but the proverbial tail-chasing of getting ahead becomes tiresome. Drugs and alcohol…temporary fixes until the next morning when you find yourself making deals with the very God you’re not sure exists. By the way, the Lord sits on a throne made out of something other than porcelain. Sex can be satisfying short-term, but then the hole in your gut returns. These are all temporary band-aids that eventually peel off, and the sore is exposed once again. So how do you stop exposing the sore? The One who created your being is the only one who understands how to heal it. No band-aid required.

What father would intentionally hurt his child? The bible answers this by giving the following example. It asks the question, “What father, when he is asked by his child for bread would give him stones instead?” In other words your Heavenly Daddy longs to love on you, not to hurt you. He longs to prepare a feast for your return. He desires time with you again. Those pebbles you’re chewing on were put there by your own hand. God longs for you to spit out the pebbles and feed you fresh-baked San Francisco sourdough instead.

For those who have been hurt by religion, I want to say that my heart is heavy for you. You tried. You went to church or to camp or became close to a man or a woman of God that abused you…physically, emotionally, financially or spiritually. I truly don’t blame you. I would be hurt too. The very people who you thought would love you, hurt you. You were hurt by humans, not the God of Life. His plans for you are good plans.

As hard as this is to say, maybe it’s time to forgive. The wounds are deep and it may take time. But today is a good day to start. The best time to plant a tree was 40 years ago. The second best time is today. Just as you have mercy on your husband or wife or significant other, healing will come from forgiveness. If you never deal with the pain, that part of your heart will always be wounded, never feeling the freedom from the burden.

If you’ve tried religion and got bored, try relationship instead. Jesus wants nothing more than to walk with you through your daily trials. He’s really there. Can’t see Him? Nor can you see the next batch of air you will breath in your lungs, but you have faith it’s there. It’s a difficult process, and one that will take time to accept.

You have resisted for so long. Although through His perfect plan He allows you to screw up, He understands that ultimately you can never be happy until you find your way back.

Believing that God exists is not a spineless act. Just the contrary, you believe in a Being that creates the very air you breathe. Have you ever ridden a roller coaster? Just as you sit in a roller coaster you believe in the one who designed it, built it, and maintains it for your very life. Congratulations, you have the capability of putting your life in something you can not see. Now, consider putting your life in the hands of the One who knit you together. He knows you. He believes in you. He is your number one cheerleader. He’s a good one to have on your sideline.

Unless you enjoy ripping your hair out every time you remove another band-aid, look to Heaven for the answer. Spit out your gritty rocks and begin enjoying the feast your Maker has for you.

April 23, 2005

Our Backyard on Saturday

Luke keeping Tyson safe

Three Baby Red Foxes Living Across The Street

We've got baby foxes (3) across the street!

Waiting for mom to bring him a mouse

April 22, 2005

The Blessed Life

As I sat in my office the other day, busy doing whatever it was that I felt to be important, I felt the presence of my 6 year old Gabe at my side. I looked up to see him with a both hands full of change, totaling somewhere around a dollar. Tears were forming in his eyes.

“Son, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong”, he said. “I want to give you all the money in my 'Shrek' piggy bank.”
“I can’t take that” I said. I felt my Spirit telling me to take it but I resisted.
“Dad, I want to give you all my money”, he said now with a tear rolling down his cheek.
I too began to feel a lump forming in my throat. “Alright,” I conceded, as if I had a choice.

He began to lay his treasure out before me. I told him I had something for him as well. I reached into my wallet and pulled out a $5 bill. His eyes got as big as saucers. You would have thought I had given him a million dollars.

“Gabe, because you gave me all you had, I want to give you this. You see, like your daddy, God loves it when we give to Him. And when we give everything we have, He will always give back more than we gave.” I think this life lesson catapulted me into the fatherhood hall of fame. I felt like I had taught him a great lesson, but the real life lesson was coming in about an hour.

I heard my 4 year old, Luke shaking his 'Hulk' bank until one coin hit the dresser. He slowly approached me with a little smirk.

“Dad, because I want $5, I wanted to give you this penny” he said slowly and deliberately. Silence that felt like an eternity ensued.

What was I to do? I’m not sure this was inspired, but I repeated the same lesson as before. I also called a family meeting to announce that this exchange rate was officially over.

A more perfect picture has never been portrayed of us. Some approach the Father with a feeling of gratitude and thanks…bringing everything they have to the King. There is little expected in return, but a heart that says “it’s all yours, Lord.” He pours out blessings beyond our wildest expectations. The Lord will reward a heart like this. He can trust a heart like this.

Others approach the throne with expectation and empty pockets. We bring nothing in the way of sacrifice to the Author of Life, but believe that we are owed something. God have mercy on us for our selfishness.

If you’ve gotten this far, and believe this is all about money or tithing, you’re wrong. What we bring to the Lord is our lives. We bring Him our children, our finances, our spouses, our everything. Bring it all to the Lord and lay it on His altar. The Lord will bless you as He sees that you are trustworthy with what you’ve been blessed with.

God promises us that if we bring him everything, we won’t be disappointed. Why do we still hold back in unbelief?
So, no more shaking your ‘Hulk’ bank until one penny finds its way through the opening. Bust your ‘Shrek’ bank open and lay your lives before the Lord. You will be richer in spirit because of your faith. It will change your heart, your marriage and your life.

April 21, 2005

Woman of God

I have a murderous heart. If my mother’s attacker was human, I would defeat it…in fact, I would kill it. My mom suffers at the hand of a ruthless attacker. It is relentless…it simply won’t let up.

My precious mother suffers from a disease named after a man named Parkinson. I write this with tears welling up in my eyes. This cruel disease has taken an otherwise young 74 year old lady and increased her physical age by 20 years overnight. The best visual I could give you for her condition is that when she stands ‘upright’ she resembles a number 7…hunched over in a 90 degree angle down and to the right. Her spine curves to the left, right and then back left again. Some days her pain is simply unbearable…and she can do nothing but weep. Her tremors can sometimes be controlled with medication, but at times become uncontrollable and embarrassing to her spirit.

My mom’s condition got considerably worse when my father went to be with Jesus. My mother lost her soul mate and her health began to deteriorate immediately. It makes me sad to see pictures of my mom at my son’s one year old birthday party and then see her again when he turned two. It is a picture in opposites. She went from walking a mile a day to shuffling along with a walker looking over the top rim of her glasses in order to see her world. My mom’s desire is to look to Heaven but most often sees dirt. Her precious Spirit soars in the midst of a body that can’t.

Through it all, my mom’s faith has not wavered. I am so encouraged by this incredible woman of God. Spiritually, she stands tall. She is grace in the midst of an ungraceful circumstance.

Her favorite story from the Bible is from Luke 13. It’s the story where a woman had suffered for eighteen years with a disease perhaps like Parkinson’s, in which she was bent over…and then she met The Great Physician. Jesus saw a woman who resembled my mother and had great compassion for her. Jehovah Rophe laid His hands on her making her spine straight and upright. She immediately stood tall and glorified God. No wonder this is my mom’s favorite story. It offers her hope and a smile thinking that this might be her.

She is the woman. He is the Healer. I long to see you meet and watch as the Savior’s eyes well up with tears of compassion. He moves close and holds you tightly. He whispers, “Be healed, woman of faith.” I watch as your body is regenerated and you once again stand straight and upright. This was your time for healing. You dance and praise and give glory to your Healer and your God.

You are my hero in the midst of my physical trials. You are the hero to many. Your unfailing love and unwavering faith are a testimony to your Source of Life. Your Spirit is contagious. Your courage in sharing your faith to anyone that will listen is enviable. Woman of God, you will dance again.

April 20, 2005

I love my Gabe

Obstructed Views

I live on the Front Range. This is one of the most beautiful places in Colorado. Pikes Peak in all its wonder towers above the rest in splendor. Its summit covered with snow and grace. Its peak is treeless as if God Himself took his finger at creation, drew a line and said, “Trees, stop here.” If you need help believing that God exists, spend some time in my world….soon there will be no doubt.

Dense fog had set in as I was driving down I-25 this morning to join a friend for breakfast. The range wasn’t visible…Pikes Peak apparently disappearing overnight. The beauty was hidden by the clouds. I wondered how many people were driving through town for the first time thinking, “So this is what all of the hubbub is about? I always heard Colorado Springs was beautiful.” And they travel on, never knowing the beauty that is right next to them…never laying eyes on the 14,000 foot giant beside them. They missed it.

As I sit here writing this, I have a headache, my face is numb and I stare at this screen with double vision. It feels as though someone is pulling out my molars without anesthesia, and someone is holding a flame inches from my eyelid and upper lip. I would recommend everyone feel this feeling just once. An aneurysm is pressing on my optic nerve distorting my view of the world. How many times have I gone through trials missing the beauty of my world around me due to the fog in my life? If I could just remember that the mountain has not moved.

As you travel down I-25, you can exit at Highway 24. This road is a beautiful drive as it takes you by The Garden of the God next to Pike’s Peak. As you drive higher in elevation, you will eventually rise above the clouds until you reach sunshine. The town of Woodland Park sees many more days of sunshine than do we in the Springs. There aren’t many days those people don’t see the mountain or the sunshine. I envy them.

Today I pray that my obstructed view becomes unobstructed, not because the circumstances have changed, but because in faith, I can still see the sunshine and the mountain. I close my eyes and remember the beauty and strength of my God. The only thing that has changed is my perception. I pray that I allow God to elevate me above the fog of my circumstances. I pray that I understand that the One who created the mountains also commands them to bow down in His presence.

It’s all about perception. Some days God’s majesty is clear, and some days it takes faith to remember what He looks like.

In this season of life I have an uninvited guest living in my head. I challenge you to move past your “aneurysm.” What’s living in your head that keeps you from seeing the world as the Creator designed it to be? The beauty of the mountain is still next to you. Choose to reside in Woodland Park where you experience clarity…no matter what circumstances arise.

April 19, 2005

The Unrecognizable Jesus

You would think you would recognize a man who drove seven demons out of you. One might think that the closest friends of Jesus would know Him if they saw Him. Even a “doubting Thomas” would at least identify the man he saw daily for the past three years. Two mourners walking sadly down a lonely road would certainly recognize the very Man they mourn. Why did no one recognize the risen Lord? Why don’t we?

In each of these accounts one thing remains constant. The people who were closest to Jesus went through a time of uncertainty as to who He was. In their darkest time, identifying the Risen Lord was impossible…and then it happened. The scales fell from their eyes. One by one, their eyes were opened and they began to recognize their Savior. They saw in the physical what they believed in the spiritual. They thought He was gone...their hopes and dreams were apparently wiped out. Everything they believed in was nailed to that cross just days before.

Are we any different? Why do we doubt the claims of Jesus? What is it about us that fails to recognize the presence of our Lord in our midst?

I remember the moment in time when I felt the scales fall from my eyes. It was a dark time in my life, my marriage and my walk with the Lord. I had slowly but surely taken control of my own life. I became the lead role. This was my life’s play. I was writing the scenes and it was horrible.

It was a dark and lonely place to be. It came as I cried out to the God of Life contemplating whether or not it was worth it to keep walking. I was hurting…He knew it. He heard me, probably would have heard me without yelling, but nevertheless He heard me. He met me there. My God showed up. There were no fireworks going off or visible angels in my passenger seat, just a peace that overtook me confirming His presence. The exchange was surreal. I immediately felt His presence as if He were sitting right next to me….as my “co-pilot,” so to speak. I hate that bumper sticker. Please let Him pilot your life.

When you go through a time like that in your life, the question is not whether or not He shows up. He’s there. The question during the crisis is whether or not you recognize Him. When we grieve, when we hurt, when we hit rock bottom, it’s easy to distort the image of Jesus. Our Comforter wants to walk with us down that road to Emmaus. Just as He did with the two men mourning, He is dying to know what is on our hearts. Literally…dying. Do we trust Him enough to let Him help us?

I don’t want to imply that the cataracts don’t come back. I get foggy vision; I wonder where He is from time to time. There are times when I do not feel as close to Him as I did on that day sitting in my car. But I know that he is the Great Physician, and He will perform lasik surgery if you ask. He offers a 20/20 guarantee or your money back.

Do you see Him? He’s there, right next to you. Switch seats, He’s a better driver.

April 18, 2005

Nate, Luke and Gabe at the Garden of the God

God Drunk

Most days I’m inebriated. I’m drunk, not with spirits but with Spirit.

There is a difference in between sleepwalking through your life as a Christian, and being consumed with thoughts of the Father day in and day out. I now realize that there was a long period of time when, I too was a sleepwalker. I lived under the umbrella of the name of “Christian,” but looking back, I was doing very little to further the work of the kingdom.

I remember one particular day going to church and feeling like I was in a scene from “The night of the living dead.” Oh yes, everyone had their little pasted smiles on, and when asked, the answer was always “great,” but you would have to be one talented salesman to have any unbeliever buy your product. There is nothing sadder for me than to sit in a church service today, watching the masses look as if they would rather be rearranging their sock drawer, than worshipping at the foot of their risen Lord. They might as well be rearranging their sock drawers, because the Lord is not impressed with lukewarm praise and adoration. As a matter of fact, it makes the Lord want to vomit (literal translation) you out of His mouth. Strong words, maybe they are included in the Bible for a reason.

Sometimes I wish there was hidden camera following the same guy out of his pew at church and into his seats inside Texas Stadium when the Dallas Cowboys are getting ready to kick off. I can see him now with his foot long hotdog, nachos and a Diet Coke, full of excitement and anticipation about what the next two hours will bring. There is an electricity inside his gut that was non-existent in his worship just hours before.

Unfortunately, this brings him life. Two hours before he looked as though he had been beat in the head with a bat and drug into the doors of the Church, bringing God a blank stare and a cold heart. If only the Dallas Cowboys offered eternal life. Some believe they do.

Are you sleepwalking? If so, you are missing out on so much of what being a follower of Christ is all about. Accepting Christ as your Savior does not make you a follower of Christ. When one follows Christ, you passionately pursue him. He becomes the air you breathe. Without Him, makes you gasp for air like a fish out of water…starving for you next breath.

I love The David Crowder Band. They have a song that really moves me that says, “If I’m outta my mind, it’s You, ‘cause I’m crazy in love with You, inebriated by You, ‘cause I’m head over heels with You.” Can you sing this to God? Some days I can. Those are sweet days…I pray for them to come more often.

My prayer for the sleepwalkers; I pray that your eyes would be open to the world of following Christ, not just merely professing Christianity. I pray you wake up tomorrow gasping for air, waking to find Christ Himself performing CPR on your life…bringing with it, breath that is sweeter than honey and life-giving beyond your wildest dreams.

I encourage you to become inebriated with the love of Christ. Drink Him up. No one is going to pull you over and ask you to touch the tip of your nose or take a breath-a-lyzer test. The joy your life brings to yourself and others is all that is needed to prove your inebriation.

April 17, 2005

The boys doing a little rock climbing

April 16, 2005

Sweet Nate showing his muscles

April 15, 2005

Death, Taxes and Grace

Three things you can’t avoid are death, taxes and grace. I added grace because the first two have always been so depressing. Could there be a more depressing saying? I don’t think so.

You can’t avoid grace. It’s everywhere. It’s around every corner. It hunts down your sin like a bounty hunter hunts down crime. Grace covers you like a warm down blanket on a cold, wintry night.

We often think of grace as “dodging the bullet” or “whew, that was a close one.” This concept of grace is interchangeable with the word “blessing.” When you barely avoid a car wreck you might say, “By the grace of God we missed that car. That was a real blessing.” “There by the grace of God, go I” is another example of how we dodge the bullet. This implies the caretaker side of God. This ‘blessing’ form of grace is important, but it only tells one side of the grace picture.

The other face of grace is the forgiveness we receive from the Lord. This is the freedom of forgetfulness that comes when we mess up. This is the part that blows my mind. How could the Creator of the heavens and the earth “throw our sins into the sea of forgetfulness…throw them as far as the East is from the West?” However, this has always confused me a little because eventually the East and West meet up again. I hope He throws them somewhere right in the middle. I digress.

Grace is an amazing thing and is not very easily understood by earthlings. How can something so huge care about something so small like me? I’m one out of billions. If you add in the animals, insects, plants and trees, I’m one of quadrillions. Even still, a sparrow does not die without the Lord knowing and caring. Again, it’s unfathomable.

We all sin and can never compare to the greatness of God. But it’s great to know that we are “justified freely by His grace.” Pardoned. Are you kidding me? We were once strapped to the electric chair, sitting in the gas chamber or waiting for the deadly drip to begin and the red phone rang. It was God. He was instructing the executioners to free you…no questions asked. This is the ultimate gift of being a follower of Christ.

I don’t know that I will ever fully grasp grace. It may be ungraspable on this side of Heaven. But for now I trust. I believe what the Bible promises about this gift. And as much stuff as I have buried at the bottom of the Sea of Forgetfulness, I am eternally grateful to a God who thought this up.

If you are not a follower of Christ, let me ask you a question. Is this too good to be true? Is this the ultimate multi-level marketing scheme, where you’re on the ground level? The answer is “yes,” except for the multi-level marketing thing. And yes, when you call out to Him to rescue you from your self-sufficiency, He is there…no questions asked. Your past is not too much for God’s grace to cover. As soon as you call on His name, your red phone rings…there is good news on the other end of the line. You have just received your grace call. Congratulations. You too will be eternally grateful.

April 14, 2005

Holy Spit

Have you ever heard of the term “here’s spit in your eye?” I wonder if this originated from the time when Jesus spit into the dirt and made mud, placing it on the blind man’s eyes. Sometimes you just wish the Bible gave you more details as to why. Why did Jesus use His spit to make mud to wipe on the guy’s eyes? There are many other accounts where a simple touch or word from Jesus is all it took for healing. In one account, a woman simply touched His garment, and was healed.

So what was the purpose of the “holy mud,” the “divine dirt,” the “spiritual spittle?” Could it be that Jesus knew 2,000 years later we would use the same technique with slices of cucumbers over our eyes? Probably not.

So the mud was a little weird, but then comes even more confusion. Jesus asked the man to walk a distance to the Pool of Siloam to wash the mud off of his eyes. Was this really necessary…making the man walk to the pool, everyone staring, bumping into walls…just to wash his face? Probably not in the grand scheme of healing, but perhaps in the grand scheme of teaching.

I suppose in that moment Jesus was asking the man to put his faith into action. Perhaps Jesus knew that simply touching the man’s eyes would not give him the intimacy with his Savior that Jesus so desperately longed for him to have. Jesus knew in order for this man to fully come to know and trust his Savior, that action faith was needed as part of his healing.

Let’s revisit the woman who was healed by a mere touch of Jesus’ garment. Maybe the woman’s faith with the bleeding disorder only required the touch of the Master’s garment for healing. When she first heard of this man, she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Did it sound like there was any doubt in her mind? Jesus tells her that “her faith has healed her.” I love her faith. I long for her faith.

Perhaps in order for me to achieve the level of faith and intimacy with Him, Jesus is asking me to go through this trial in my life. People ask me if I would forgo the pain and uncertainty of this aneurysm to rewind my faith to a month ago. No…absolutely not. I can tell you that I would not trade a thing for the level of love I have for my Daddy today. I would rather die knowing the love my Daddy has for me, than to live oblivious to the depth of His love.

I am going through a time of discipline. Not punishment, but discipline. Refinement comes from discipline. Purity comes from discipline. God knows His children. He loves His children. Like an athlete in training is well aware, discipline is the key to great things. It takes hard work, sacrifice and surrender to be disciplined. I do not feel I am being spanked by the Cosmic Principle but instead being loved by a Father who wants a deeper relationship with His child.

Honestly, there was a time when this story of the holy mud grossed me out. I’m quite positive that Jesus’ breath didn’t smell minty fresh…and mixed with mud didn’t help for crying out loud. Just a stab in the dark, but I wonder if Jesus used two symbols of things that we perceive as unclean to further show His holiness.

What area of your life do you need spiritual spittle from the Great Physician? Your marriage? Your career? Your health? How about your life, in general? Receive healing. Believe as the bleeding woman believed. Believe with the faith of a child. A child doesn’t realize that he can’t be a super hero, and he doesn’t believe that God has limits. Children serve a limitless God. Why don’t we?

Today, I long for holy mud on my face. Spit often, Jesus.

April 13, 2005

Can You Hear Me Now?

How many times a day do we say that? You should live in Colorado where the mountains are a cell phone’s worst enemy. Does it ever fail that it happens at the most critical point in the conversation when you find that you are alone. Or worse, you’re in the middle of an incredibly long story only to find that you’ve been sharing it with no one for who knows how long. It’s enough to make me pull out the remainder of my hairs.I have no greater frustration in a day. It drives me crazy when my communication gets cut off. I am not being heard and what is on my heart is not being shared. This is not an issue with God. Our communication is never in question…at least His end is never in question. I believe the Lord wants to communicate, both listening and speaking with us nonstop. It is our end of the conversation that gets screwed up. We find ourselves busy, self-absorbed and generally unwilling to dial Him up. If we would just talk openly with our Father, we would find the communication open up from both ends. I believe we would begin hearing from Him as well. This is perhaps more important than our speaking to Him. God longs to answer us. After all, why would you continue to pray if there was never an answer? It would be like having your call dropped in the middle of a long dissertation with no one listening. God answers. If praying is new to you here’s a helpful hint. There is no wrong way to pray. God is not impressed with the “thee’s and thou’s” that we often throw into the conversation. Verbal diarrhea is something God can do without. Open your mouth and speak as if He’s sitting next to you. It’s your heart that the Lord is hearing, not your perfectly crafted words. He already knows your concerns before you even utter them. In obedience to him, tell Him. Begin to ask for answers, and He will begin to speak. What if we really believed that “if My people who are called by My name would humble themselves and pray…then I will hear from Heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land.” Heal their hurts. Heal their hearts. Heal their families. It would change us. The Lord has the “most bars,” the best coverage area, rollover minutes and no roaming charges. Dial Him up. You’ll be surprised; it will sound like He’s right next to you.

Duke for President

I made the pilgrimage to Dallas. I had a great appointment with Dr. Duke Samson. I actually ended up seeing 3 doctors there in the clinic, including his partner, Dr. Replogle.

This report will sound confusing, because it is confusing. According to Duke, the aneurysm, we will call it “Wally the walnut,” (see 3d image posted 4/9) is outside the brain. Yes, I know, we’ve heard otherwise…twice. His explanation was good enough for me…being the aneurysm expert.

He also said that he feels that we HAVE to try to coil this guy. Yes, I know…refer to the former paragraph. Apparently, Dr. Replogle (who does the interventional radiology stuff) uses a technique that would not only coil, but stint as well. This will hold the coils in place inside the aneurysm.

Again, Duke’s reputation precedes him. I felt as though if this were his brain at 36, this is what he would do…I feel like this is a good thing. It is not without risks, as there is a 6-8 % stroke rate with this procedure. Not too high, but if you heard you had those odds on tonight’s lottery, most of you would be buying a ticket.

This is a two step process. First on May 5th, I will have a stint put across the aneurysm. Then 6 weeks later, around 6/12, I will have the coils placed inside Wally.
So, Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise, my Cinco de Mayo will be celebrated somewhere other than with fajitas and ritas. I’ll celebrate with a catheter up my groin and deploying a stint across my aneurysm. I would rather be deciding on beef or chicken…but.

Suzi and I are grateful that this option exists. We thought going into the appointment that it didn’t. Please pray for the next couple of weeks for continued peace. We thank you for caring enough to keep up with us.

April 12, 2005

Beverly Hillbillies move to Colorado

Picture from inside the garage

We Are Family, My Brother, Sister and Me

This was the mother of all white outs, and its April. EVERYTHING in Colorado was closed, including I-25 across the state. Suzi and I had gone to the store the night before to get prepared. We have enough stuff for a month.

The interesting thing about a blizzard is that the wind blows so fiercely that you may have grass showing in one part of your yard and an 8 foot drift in another. We had a 3 foot drift up against our garage with our cars trapped inside. What to do. I needed to go into the office today to finish some things before flying to Dallas, but I was stuck in my own garage.

Being a Texan, I had not yet gone to buy a snow shovel. So, my option was to use the boy’s sleds to dig some snow out to try and back out. After 30 minutes, Suzi and I had little luck. I had to do something drastic. I felt trapped. I had the family back away. I started the Sequoia and put it in reverse. I floored it and bashed through the wall of snow. My neighbors must have thought I’d lost my ever-loving mind…but it worked. I was out. I then proceeded to get stuck right there in my driveway. Great!

The same neighbors, who I thought five minutes earlier must be thinking I was an idiot, came over with snow shovels in hand. The whole family was out there helping me dig out. I apologized for not helping, but explained my need for not elevating my blood pressure because of the aneurysm. You could see their demeanor change…enter the Holy Spirit.

Soon, my SUV was freed from the bondage of snow and I was out of there. They weren’t. For the next couple of hours the entire family dug out my entire driveway by hand. Suzi called me and I was moved to tears thinking of their sacrifice of time and effort. They are Christians. The father works for Compassion International…appropriate name for their compassion showed.

When I first was diagnosed with this giant aneurysm, I had this feeling of “Why here, God, my support base is back in Texas.” I quickly came to find out God’s family extends beyond the borders of the Lone Star State. I can not believe the amount of help with meals, kids and prayer that we have received from the great folks of Colorado. God’s family is big. I see more than ever the benefits of being a part of such a family.

My encouragement for you is to tap into that family. Don’t wait until you become ill or hear of someone becoming ill to serve. Serve to serve. Love to love. Give to give. Your service and Christ-like behavior will come back around to you one day.

If you’re reading this and have no idea of what I’m talking about, because you are not a follower of Christ, I urge to get connected to the Lord’s family. This type of community is part of that “God-shaped” hole inside of us. The longing for authentic relationships is inherent within each of us.

I had a friend of mine, who is not sure there is a God, tell me once, “I wish everyone was a Christian…the world would be a better place.” What an incredible observation from someone who’s not sure who their Creator is.

April 10, 2005

The Role of a Lifetime

The best actors are those who know their place in the movie. They understand the role they play. Tom Cruise, Sean Connery, Meryl Streep, and Julia Roberts…they know their role. They look as good as they do because of the supporting cast around them. Someone creative wrote their script. Someone imaginative directed and produced their film. And, they have a fantastic supporting crew of actors to make them look better than they are.

I had this epiphany the other day that in the movie of my life, I am not the starring role. I’m not the director. I’m not the producer or even the writer of the script. I am a supporting actor, with God Himself as the star. My role is to support. The Lord writes the script, directs and produces the film.

Like all supporting casts, my number one task is to make the film a success. I am called to make the lead actor look good. Yes, it’s my movie. I understand, but I now see where I have struggled for so long. I have done everything to star, direct or write the next scene. No. That’s not it. I exist to bring glory to the Father. I can not bring glory to God while trying to compete for the lead role.

We have written our own scenes into our life’s movie from time to time. Looking back, it didn’t make sense. It didn’t flow. It’s as if a kindergartener writes a scene for Gladiator. Imagine in this scene Maximus is in the arena awaiting the lions to be released, but in our stupidity we write into the script for the soldiers to yell, “Release the rabbits.” Wow, that would be a confusing twist to the movie. I have done this. I’ve written the stupidest scenes into my life’s play that don’t make sense. It’s when I get out of the way, and allow the Creator who breathed life into my lungs to lead, life begins to make sense again.

I long to hear my name called when the “Best Supporting Actor” award is handed out. As I stand before my audience of one, I give my acceptance speech: “I would like to thank you, Lord. Thank you for this amazing script you have written. I didn’t always know where you were going from one scene to the next, but now it all makes sense. Thank you for the way you directed my life, gently bringing me through life’s trials. You never left me. I pray that I brought you glory in my life’s script…for You are who I live for.”

I challenge you today to evaluate the movie of your life. What role do you play?

April 09, 2005

Wally the walnut

3d image

Adam, Eve and Jocko

Adam, Eve and Jocko…Adam, Eve and Jocko. I must have said it 100 times during the procedure. You see, my dad had a similar procedure to my angiogram 10 years ago, in which he had a stroke. We knew something was wrong when after the procedure we asked my father who the first two people in the garden were. He responded, “Alvin and Speedy.” Something was definitely wrong, he knew the bible backwards and forwards.

We had a poodle at home named Jocko. He came home from the hospital, bent over to pet the dog on the head and said, “Hello, Greg.” There has never been a more “non-dog” name in the world than Greg. Again, this was a result of his stroke.

So, as I lay on the table yesterday having this balloon blown up in my brain, all I could do was repeat, “Adam, Eve and Jocko.” Every time it came out of my mouth, I smiled knowing at least I knew these three names. The test went great, hurt like stink, but it went great.

They found out that the aneurysm can not be coiled. That was the easiest treatment. It’s simply the wrong shape. But, they did find that I had very good blood circulation in my head…contrary to what some of my teachers thought growing up. This finding was positive. This opens more possibilities for treatment.

He agreed that I needed to consult with Dr. Duke Samson out of Dallas. I will do this next Tuesday. I’m excited to get to this appointment and receive further answers.

April 07, 2005

Fire Walker

Yesterday was a “white out.” It’s April. It was a full blown blizzard. Visibility was next to nothing. To a guy from Texas, this was incredible. I have never seen snow blow sideways. I can’t believe I traversed the roads to go to work, but I guess its Colorado and you know the saying, “when in Rome…” The roads were crazy. I left the house early. I started out before the sand trucks with the snow plows cleared the roads.

In front of me, I had a little old lady driving somewhere between 4 and 9 mph going up and down some extremely steep hills. She had a four wheel drive, I didn’t. I finally figured out in order to get up the next hill I would have to stop at the bottom. I would have to let her putt along ahead so that I could get enough steam to get up the hill without sliding off into the ditch.

I was late for work, I was cold, my head hurt, the blinding snow had me drenched before I got to the door of Focus on the Family. I looked like a wet overgrown rat. I was pretty well frustrated and having a fantastic start to my day.

I stuck around for a few hours until, surprisingly enough, many people went home due to the snowstorm.

My alarm went off at 6 am today. I was expecting another day like yesterday…only to see the sun rising on Pike’s Peak. It was a gorgeous day. It was a day unlike any other day. The sun was brilliant, the temperature was in the low 70’s, the skies were a deep ocean blue and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. People say that a lot, but even as they are saying it, there’s probably one little puffy cloud over in the corner of the sky. But not here…not today. It was absolutely perfect.

A little side note. Have you ever noticed no matter where you live, the local saying is “if you don’t like the weather today, just wait a day. It’ll change.” Anyway, I digress.

I thought about it on the drive home. How many times do we find ourselves in the midst of a raging storm…either in us or around us? It seems hopeless. The light at the end of the tunnel turns out to be a locomotive. Life seems somewhat unbearable.

It’s amazing how quickly things can change with God. God can instantly rescue us from our circumstances. So, why doesn’t He always? Don’t know. Maybe He has more refining coming from the fire we are walking through. I can tell you in my life’s fires, the Lord doesn’t always rescue at the very moment that I wished He would. Looking back, I am glad that I stayed there longer because I needed the additional growth. When you go through the fire, you come out smelling a little like smoke. Now, my deepest and most meaningful relationships are with other fire walkers.

As much as possible, embrace the hard times. Imagine the other side and the lives that can possibly be touched by your story. And above all remember that peace is not the absence of turbulence, but the presence of Jesus Christ.

April 06, 2005

Nate having fun with his brothers

Can I Get a Light?

Elijah was the originator of the head to head competition. It was a dual…a modern day Coke or Pepsi taste test. Let the people decide which God/god is true. In the red corner stood Elijah alone as the last prophet of God. In the blue corner stood 450 prophets of baal and 400 prophets of the goddess asherah. (It was a little crowded in their corner.)

Elijah suggested each side build altars, sacrifice bulls and let the true God/god light the sacrifice.

They built their altars. Each side laid their bulls on the altar for sacrifice. The prophets of Baal began calling on him to set the bull ablaze. Time went by. Nothing…no fire. Yet another god of this world promising much, but delivering nothing. Thousands of years later, nothing has changed.

Elijah was talking trash. “Baal must be sleeping, going potty, traveling on business, or maybe just hard of hearing.” I love it…talking trash in the name of the Lord. I didn’t know this was allowed.

Then Elijah steps up and pours a truckload of water on his bull…just to put any doubt of the greatness of God to rest. He calls on God to light the sacrifice and fire falls from Heaven and consumes the drenched bull. Everyone falls face down and gets it…they finally get it.

This makes me think of my situation right now. I view each statistic of danger as another bucket of water. “One out of three ruptures end up in death.” Pour it on my sacrifice. “There is a significant risk of stroke with this procedure.” Bring it. “Only 2 neurosurgeons in the United States would attempt this type of procedure.” Pour away…oops, you missed a spot. “I’ve only seen 3 aneurysm’s this large in 15 years.” Douse it; fill the trenches I have dug around my altar.

My God is still able to bring the fire from Heaven and consume it all. How do you like your steak prepared? Steaks for everyone! Prime rib for you, sir…filet for you, maam.

My God is not baal. My God is Author of Life. He alone holds my statistics in His hand. For the God who flung the stars into the heavens, breathed life into man, painted the spots on each ladybug, an aneurysm ain’t nothing.

As buckets of water get poured on your altar, remember the faithfulness of God.

April 05, 2005

Healing Grace

I woke up this morning to fresh snow. There is nothing more beautiful than fresh powder. It was everywhere. Nothing could escape it. It covered the trees, the roads, the mountains. You could not hide from it. White as far as my eye could see. It was beautiful! It was graceful. It was full of grace. As hard as God’s grace is to understand, I got it this morning.

God’s grace is pure. It’s everywhere. You can’t escape it. There is no hiding from it. It covers you, so that all you see is white. White. Pure. It’s endless. As soon as you think that you have run out of it…that somehow you’ve used up your limit offered by God, the snow falls again, reminding you of your humanness and nothingness without it.

You know, the amazing thing about snow is that even junk gets covered up. Old beat up barns become a postcard. Old tires in a field look like glazed doughnuts. Yesterday, I passed a car parked beside the road that looked as though it had been condemned to die. I’m not positive how it even got there. It had those obnoxious orange stickers all over from the police, warning of future trouble. I’m pretty sure it had been abandoned, and rightfully so. The owner appeared to have given “last rights,” then left it to die.

Then from the Heavens came the graceful snow. Today, I passed that same clunker. What a difference a day makes. It could have easily been a Ferrari under that blanket of snow. It didn’t look beat up today. It didn’t appear to face condemnation. It looked redeemed. If I hadn’t seen it the day before, I would not have been able to recognize its’ nothingness. Its’ worthlessness. Its’ abandonment.

Here’s the hook…we’re that junker condemned to die. We had all of those stickers on our bodies warning of impending trouble. We appeared like we had no owner. Then grace showed up. Talk about redemption! It’s only by the endless grace of the Lord that we are redeemed. Thank God today for purity. Purity that comes from a gift. A gift that can’t be earned, only accepted.

Today, don’t see yourself as who you “should be”, but rather, see yourself as the Lord Himself sees you…PURE, WHITE, REDEEMED, FORGIVEN, and yes, a FERRARI.

Buckle up and enjoy the ride.

April 04, 2005

Finding His Porch

I agree with Francis of Assisi. “Preach the gospel wherever you go, and if necessary use words.” However, I also believe that we should find ways to work the greatness of God into casual conversation. I heard my brother-in-law do it the other day. We walked into a Starbuck’s and he said to the lady, “Boy, what an incredible day God made.” You could tell it had been a while since someone greeted her in that way. She may have needed more from us that day than a venti double shot espresso breve latte grande…light. Ridiculous amounts of names for one drink.

Don’t deny someone who doesn’t know the love of Christ the opportunity to discover the love awaiting them. It’s special. As followers of Christ, we hold something precious, and as such our charge is to get it out of our hearts and into their lives. Unlike the Go-Go’s, our lips aren’t sealed. We have the opportunity to bring life, true life to someone.

I’m not suggesting as followers of Christ, we all load up in the Joy Bus going door to door handing out tracts to the upcoming V.B.S. Lord, help us. I admit that I have done a poor job of setting an example worthy of the calling. My eyes have been opened to see my inconsistencies. I’m embarrassed to say that after 12 years in medical sales, many people I came in contact with had no idea I was a follower of Christ. I was saying that I was coming to work as Dr. James Dobson’s assistant, and boy did the floodgates open. People I had worked with for over a decade were coming out of the closet…so was I.

I suppose I have just crossed over into a completely different realm of reality of my Abba.

Your identity must be in your Maker, your Creator. Many reading this right now have chased happiness your entire life. But, because everyone has a God-shaped hole inside of us that can not be filled with money, drugs, sex, alcohol or self-importance, you will always chase your proverbial tail. The world cannot offer you happiness. You’ve tried that route again…and again…and again. You’re going to end up bruising that head of yours if you keep beating it against the wall.

Stop searching. The Lord is pacing the porch of Heaven looking for you. You are His child and you will never find happiness without Him. Never. The battle waging within your guts, is not going to be won without the King of Peace. He alone can calm the storm within you.

My prayer is that you don’t have to develop an aneurysm in order to feel true intimacy. It can’t be missed. Our lives here on this tiny blue planet are short. Live life to its fullest.

Well, there it is. I’m officially coming out of the closet. I’m a Christ follower. I couldn’t be more proud to associate my life with a man who came to this earth, only to die for my imperfection. Come home. The Lord has a fatted calf, or in modern day terms, a Del Frisco’s Bone-In Rib eye waiting for you.

How do you find His porch? Start walking…He’ll lead you from there.

Suzi, Gabe, Luke and Nate

The Garden of the GOD

April 03, 2005

The Altar will Alter

Isaac thought they were going to spend some quality time together. A trip with Dad. It was he and his father hiking up to the top of Mount Moriah. Isaac goes over the checklist. “Charcoal…check, wood…check, lighter fluid…check, knife…check…offering…dad, where’s the offering?” Abe tells him that the Lord will provide. That’s good enough for Isaac, as he continues excitingly packing his backpack.

So, there’s Abraham hiking up Mount Moriah with his son Isaac. His long awaited son, Isaac. Up they climb…all the way to the top. The view must have been fantastic. Isaac loved the quality time he was spending with his elderly father. As they arrived, Isaac again asks about the animal for the offering. Like all great literature, here’s where the plot thickens…Isaac was the offering.

He was Abraham’s hope. He was his joy. He was his long-awaited promise fulfilled from the Lord. The Lord told Abraham to lay his own son on the altar for sacrifice. The Bible does not tell us the internal struggle he must have been feeling…the tears hidden from his son, or if seen, the tears blamed on allergies. We were told that he was faithful.

So, he binds up his son and lays him on the altar. What did that conversation sound like? He was only seconds away from slaying his son and setting him ablaze, watching Isaac, his hope, his joy and his promise fulfilled go up in flames as a sacrifice to the Lord. Internalize what was going on here. Take it off of your gold-lined pages and bring yourself to that mountaintop. Believing the Lord is sovereign; Abe raises his knife…Isaac winces and closes his eyes.

You probably know how the story ends, but in case you haven’t seen the movie, an angel appears and stops Abe and provides a ram for sacrifice instead.

After hearing this story with fresh circumstances, my wife Suzi was beside herself. It took her awhile to explain her tears. She said, “Bart, you are my Isaac. You are my hope, my joy. Bart, you are my promise from the Lord. I see that I have to lay you on the altar.”

Are you kidding me? What amazing insight from the Holy Spirit. I cried. She’s right. Her faith is beautiful and straight from the Lord. I love her deeply.

So, as I stand at this crossroad in my life, I willfully crawl up on the altar…believing that my life is the Lord’s anyway. Your life and mine…it’s only by the grace of God that we take our next breath.

Each day we make a decision. We climb up or off of the altar. Up on the altar shows dependence and trust in our Father. Off of the altar is a sign of your ability to make it on your own…without the help of your Creator.

As you crawl out of bed tomorrow, crawl up on the altar. It’s a great place to be. Your perspective will change. Live today as though it were your last…and by the grace of God there will be a tomorrow.

April 01, 2005

Just Like My Daddy

I could feel the little eyes watching me. I slowly glanced up to catch Gabe, my six year old peering around the corner. He was trying to be incognito, so I didn’t blow his cover. It must have been 15 minutes later when he came in the room with a radiant smile on his face. I noticed that he looked vaguely like me…sort of.

I was wearing black running shorts. He was wearing black running pants that were rolled up so many times it looked like the circulation was being cut off to his lower extremities. My shirt was yellow; his shirt was “yellowish” turned inside-out, in order to hide the Spongebob logo. He had pulled out tennis shoes that are not usually worn, in an effort to match mine. He had even worked on his hair to look like me as well, although he didn’t pull out 40% of his follicles, but I appreciated his effort.

I was moved. I was flattered. I was honored. He tried. He wasn’t perfect in his attempt to look like his dad, but it meant the world to me that he tried. He loves me.

I suppose I could have humiliated him and made him feel stupid. “Gabe, you look ridiculous. Don’t you know the difference in between shorts and pants? That shirt is not even close to the same color. If you can’t look exactly like me, you shouldn’t even try.” Talk about crushing a child’s spirit.

Instead, I got down on my knees and hugged him and smiled. We looked at the similarities in our appearances, and praised him for his creativity. I then gave him the o.k. to roll his pants down, saving him from impending amputation.

God looks down at us and smiles. He gets on His knees and hugs us and smiles…even giggles. I believe He delights in pointing out our similarities. He likes encouraging us in what we’re doing right. The Lord is not in the business of crushing His children’s spirits.
I believe the He delights in his children…even when we don’t get it completely right. He realized that we wouldn’t always get it right.

Enter Jesus…The Great Equalizer. This is the picture of grace…He loves us anyway. It’s God’s grace that takes care of the off-yellow shirt, or the differences in the length of our pants. What an amazing plan our Father has for us!

Today, I enter my closet with the intention of looking as much like my Father as I can. I will do my best today to clothe myself with Christ, knowing that His grace will take care of me when I don’t get it right.

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