Archive for May, 2004

Away to Abilene

Posted: May 27, 2004 in Everything

This next week, May 31-June 4, I will be in Abilene for a class. I doubt I will be able to post anything, but I’m sure I’ll have lots to say when I return.

While I’m gone, you can look back over your favorite post here and direct your friends and neighbors to the site.

Magical Morning

Posted: May 25, 2004 in Everything

Don’t you hate mornings? I do! I have never understood those people who jolt out of bed and bound around the house before 6:00 am each morning. Are they crazy? Do they not have good dreams? My wife works with a woman who wakes up every day around 4:00 am. She practices her piano–which I’m sure her husband loves,–eats breakfast, reads the daily paper and gets to the office before 6:00. Why? Surely there must be some mental dysfunction going on there. But, I guess some folks are just morning people.

I am not one of those people! I am a night person. In my view the world is backward. We should sleep in the day and be up at night. I understand why our inner clocks work the way they do, but I’m not a farmer or a rancher. I don’t need the daylight to get things done. The earliest anyone needs to get up is 10:00 am. Anything that needs to be done before that can wait. Right?

Well, that’s how I used to feel.

Now our daughter, Malia, wakes up every morning between 7:30 and 8:00. From the living room we can hear her begin to stir. Turning, stretching, yawning and sighing are signs that her new day is about to begin. My first instinct is to race in to get her, but to do that would mean missing the magic. When she first stirs, she’s not quite fully awake. The patient man is rewarded if he can wait for those few minutes when she is fully awake but she hasn’t realized she is alone. If you go in her room then, you will see the glory of the sun in her eyes. Standing there, I watch her roll over when she senses the presence of someone in the room, her eyes blink as she recognizes a familiar and loving face and then a smile only given to angels inches across her face. It is magic!

Right then, a overwhelming feeling of joy and love floods from the heavens into my heart. My only responds is to pick her up, kiss her and tell her how much she is loved. It’s a feeling so far beyond words, that one feels silly even trying to describe it. No matter how difficult it was to put her to sleep the night before, or how much she fused the previous day, nor how many diapers there were to change, the love greatly outweighs the pains (if those things can even be called pains).

There is something mysterious and magical about the morning, something glorious. Each day is a new beginning, a fresh start to revive our lives. Malia has taught me that mornings are God’s perfect painting of renewal and blessedness.

Standing over her this morning, these words came to mind:“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Inspiration

Posted: May 20, 2004 in Everything

I was glad to see American Idol reject, William Hung’s new music video. It’s a cover of Ricky Martin’s mega-dance hit, “She Bangs.” I remember watching the audition show of American Idol this season. In particular, I remember seeing William. Let’s all face it. He can’t sing! But that’s okay, he’s a engineering student at Stanford University. I’m sure he’ll be fine in the long run.

Right now, young William has new CD entiled, “Inspiration” and apparently it’s selling. My hope is that Willie knows that the world does not think he’s the second coming of Luther Vandross, but rather a new type of circus sideshow. If he does know–great. I hope he makes a killing singing at Six Flags Magic Mountain, and at AAA baseball games. If he doesn’t know, someone close to him should tell him. Because not to would just be mean.

William dances a lot too. He can’t dance either.

But the thing about William’ singing and dancing that is great is that he looks like he’s having so much fun. Wouldn’t you love that? Just to cut loose, let go and have fun and forget, or learn to appreciate, that other people are watching. William is living his dream of singing in front of thousands, though no one thinks he can sing. He’s going on tour. He’s doing interviews. He’s making videos.

Only singers do that! Oh, yeah, and William Hung. William wasn’t designed for singing, but he certainly has the desire, and he’s living the dream–if only for his 15 Minutes.

Do you ever wondered what life would look like, if just for 15 minutes, you could chase your dreams? If you could sing in front of the crowd or make up your own dance. Wouldn’t that be great? Wouldn’t you be free?

I wonder what dreams the rest of us would pursue if we could follow William’s “Inspiration.”

Never Safe!

Posted: May 19, 2004 in Everything

“Who is Aslan?” asked Susan.

“Aslan?” said Mr. Beaver, “Why don’t you know? He’s the King…It is he, not you, that will save Mr. Tumnus….”

“Is he a man!” said Mr. Beaver sternly.

“Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion–the lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh!” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he–quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will, dearie, and make no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mrs. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tell you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

“I’m longing to see him,” said Peter, “even if I do feel frightened when it comes to the point.”

EPIC

Posted: May 18, 2004 in Everything

I’m beginning the process of redecorating my office. It’s nothing major. I just want the space to reflect more of my personality and my heart. I have always loved stories. Especially the great stories, the epic stories. In each one I find something profound about the human spirit and more importantly I discover God more deeply.

When I speak, here at my home church and around the country, I use movies a lot–they are our best vehicles for stories. Some people like it and some people don’t. Oftentimes the movies I use are rated “R” which suggest to some people that they should not be used in a Christian setting. I always suspect that the people who object were some of the first people in line when some of these movies came out. Can you imagine how little money a movie would make if no Christians saw it? Plus, they always seem to know exactly what happens in the movies I reference.

So I am redecorating my office with posters of the epic movies I love. Not only do I love them, but each of them tells, or rather re-tells, a part of God’s story with humanity.

Here are the first five posters to go up and how I see them re-telling God’s awesome adventure with His people.

1. Braveheart. One man dies so that others may go free. Sound familiar? It’s also a great story about recovering your heart and fighting for freedom. Check out this line from the poster: “Every man dies, but not every man really lives

2. Gladiator. Simply put: A general becomes a slave who becomes a gladiator, and defies a kingdom. Have you ever heard of anyone else that descended in order to defy evil and set people free? In the background the poster reads: “A Hero Will Rise.”

3. Saving Private Ryan. This one is easy. Who leaves the ninety-nine to rescue the one? Under the title on the poster it reads: “The Mission is a Man.”

4. The Last Samurai. Someone once said, “I come not to bring peace, but a sword.” Samurai fought for their people (sheep) to their own detriment, prepared to die to protect them.

5. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Kings. This movie is chock full of spiritual significance, but you don’t have to be Plato to understand these five words: “The Return of the King!”

These stories always remind me that God is telling a story and that I have a place in it. A place to be valiant, fearless and dangerous–for good!

Just last Sunday I returned from Buena Vista, CO and the Wild at Heart Boot Camp with John Eldredge. It was an awesome weekend! With the still frosted mountains of the Colorado Rockies as the backdrop, almost anything would be incredible.

Once again, God revealed Himself to me through his glorious creation. Rows of pine trees strecthed endlessly over the terrain, snow-capped mountains laid siege to us at Frontier Ranch–which has to be the nicest camp site I have ever seen, and cloudless blue skies smiled down on our gathering. If you have never been to this part of the country, you should get them there as soon as you can! I have always said that Colorado was my heart’s true home. Oh, how true that is!

Each visit to Colorado reminds me that my life is only partially what it was meant for. Rochelle and I honeymooned in Colorado, all my favorite writers live in Colorado, and a dormant part of my heart comes alive when my feet touch the cool earth of Colorado soil. God speaks to me there!

How I would love to simple move to Colorado, minister and write. I might even sacrifice golf to do that. No earthly pleasure compares to sensing the presence of God.

What were the words I heard God speak? Well, it was something like the words of Beauchene, “You are never a great man when you have more mind than heart.”

A Few Days

Posted: May 5, 2004 in Everything

I’m headed to Buena Vista, Colorado for the next few days. I going to John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart Boot Camp. I’m not sure what to expect, but I’m sure it will be great.

I will write again after I return. God Bless!