Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Computer Crash

Have you had this problem? My computer is acting up, sometimes, sort of and then crash, zero. It seems to be forgetting things it should be remembering and then it seems to remember everything perfectly. Sometimes it hangs up and does nothing, it just sits there and then for no apparent reason it acts somewhat normal again. I swear it is defying me and then try s to make up by complete cooperation for a while. I have tried to put the best programs available to me in it, but some how junk sneaks in that I was not looking for. I get it cleaned up and alls good for a while and out of nowhere, there it is messing up again. I constantly work on it, I run new programs in hopes of keeping it working right, but so far it sooner or later my computer dumps everything and locks up. It is so frustrating. I consulted a renowned expert on it this morning and he gave me some pretty good maintained advice for my personal computer.

The secret of true obedience—let me say at once what I believe it to be—is the clear and close personal relationship to God. All our attempts after full obedience will be failures until we get access to His abiding fellowship. It is God’s holy presence, consciously abiding with us, that keeps us from disobeying Him.
Defective obedience is always the result of a defective life. To rouse and spur on that defective life by arguments and motives has its use, but their chief blessing must be that they make us feel the need of a different life, a life so entirely under the power of God that obedience will be its natural outcome. The defective life, the life of broken and irregular fellowship with God, must be healed, and make way for a full and healthy life; then full obedience will become possible. The secret of a true obedience is the return to close and continual fellowship with God.

My laptop is acting up too but Tom is in England for a couple weeks so I guess I’ll have to wait for him to get back to get it fixed. With Andrew Murray's assistance I think I can work on my personal computer myself.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Dad in Coast Guard uniform with Sisters Elsie and Ruth in front of Whitsitt Ave house, early WWII. Navy would not accept him becasue he was son of a German immagrant.

Deanna and I were married on Dec 20, 1969. I was in my senior year of College. Viet Nam was raging and my draft number was 53. (birthdate determined your draft number, 1-365, 19 year olds first). I won that lottery draw in December 1970, a few days before our 1st Anniversary. This was at the height of the war. I was to report for induction on January 2. I got the news at the start of Christmas break from Seminary. I was not anti war and draft dodging was out of the question, it was just really inconvenient to leave at that point in my life. Combat was not an issue. As the sole surviving son of a 100% disabled American Vet. I could request a non combat post and they would have to give it to me. (a saving Private Ryan sort of thing). I called the seminary office and explained the situation. They were not sure what could be done over the holidays, but they would try. If they could not secure a temporary student deferment, I was heading into the army and with my degree, likely officers training options. Jobs being so scarce, it was not the worst thing in the world. Cancer or any fatal disease or accident would clearly be worse. This took a definite second place on my worst list. It was NO WHERE on my best list. I opted not to tell anyone over the holidays until I knew what was going to happen for sure. That was risky. I might be telling my new bride good bye for two years with a very short notice. I opted to wait until after Christmas, about 10 days away. Christmas came and went and no word. I began to try to figure out how I was going to tell Dee but could not think of how to open the conversation. Not telling her when the draft letter came a couple weeks earlier seemed like such a good idea at the time. The pitfalls of that plan were becoming more apparent with each passing hour. I was pretty much resolved that I would be heading into the Army when I was uninvited to the party. The seminary office somehow secured a temporary student deferment for me. I don’t recall if they ever defined temporary, but I never called to ask. The war and draft ended without another word from them. As I said, I was not Anti war. I understood then and understand now why we fought there. It is NOT what the revisionist tell you it was, but that’s a different story. Many of my friends volunteered to go and went. Some were wounded, some died, none came back the same. A lot of the trouble with the soldiers in that very unpopular was so many young men were drafted to go. They didn’t really want to be there in the first place. Today, NO ONE is drafted and the attitude of our soldiers is far superior. They volunteered for whatever their individual reasons were. I for one am proud of them. I was proud of those Viet Nam soldiers too. I’m just glad I was not one of them. This all comes to mind as I was thinking about how we introduce people to Christ. Sometimes it seems like we are trying to draft them more than we are inviting them to Join up. I wonder if there is not a substantial number of people in the Christian ranks that were really drafted. They heard a good sales pitch that included forgiveness and excluded hell, all for song and a prayer. Little, if anything was said of a lifestyle relationship or fellowship with God. That would help explain the poor performance of the average Christian soldier. I wonder what we could do about this? the shack study guide, the shack discussion guide

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Have you ever watched a movie featuring Zombies? I’ve never watched a Zombie flick that I can think of except for maybe Pirates of the Caribbean, but they were not the traditional Zombies. I started a few times but they bore me. I have never really seen the fascination some have for them, but that’s probably just me. Of course, I never thought getting flu like symptoms, memory loss and a splitting head ache was a very good idea either so I have never been drunk. To each his own I guess. I suppose there is a lot to be said for being a Zombie. Evidently they seldom if ever change clothes or bath or do any personal grooming. Think of the time and money that alone would save. They don’t seem to have much ambition or direction other than making Zombies out of everyone else. I have no idea why. (Does that make them evangelists?) They don’t seem to be having all that much fun so why join them? They do not require food or water, they never get sick or die…well I don’t actually know how that die part works for an undead or living dead person. Sometimes you can get rid of them, sometimes you don’t. I am sure there is some kind of Zombie code some where that would explain all this, but I don’t care enough to google it anyway. (why doesn’t my spell checker recognize google?) Those make believe Zombies don’t scare me or entertain me either so I just don’t bother to watch, besides, I have a pretty good view of some real Zombies that are much more interesting and morbidly entertaining. Of course they don’t call themselves Zombies, they just do a pretty good Zombie impersonation. They really are DEAD but try to act alive. Paul pointed them out in Galatians 2:20. He said “I have been crucified with Christ, yet I live” NO, Paul was not a Zombie because he said he was DIFFERENT in his NEW LIFE. The Zombies I watch are people who, like Paul, say “I have been crucified with Christ yet I live, and then go on living like a dead man. They keep doing what they were doing before and expect different results. (Isn’t that the working definition of crazy?) Like I said, morbidly entertaining. If they really are born again they shouldn’t they be acting like who and what they truly are, a redeemed, indwelt child of God? Zombie living is actually contrary to the new life and nature God has established in a true believer. To disobey is to be a zombie Christian. It is acting out of the dead past instead of the true living present. Since I do not like watching Zombie movies, I shouldn’t want to act like one either! Teh sahck study guide, the shack discussion guide.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Parking Lot Vultures

When I was a kid growing up on the High Desert in California I was facinated by the vulture migration. Early fall would see a winding black ribbon high in the sky from horizon to horizon, north to south. The ribbon of Turkey Vultures would take a week to pass by our area. At sunset the vultures would drop in altitude, do a couple 360's above the only trees in our area down at the Mojave River and settle into the naked brances for the evening. Vultures are not early risers. In the morning you could see them, wings extended, warming up sunshine. They would resume their migration mid morning. I assume their flight plan followed the river becasue of the water and roosting trees. Not all migrated, I don't know why. Some just stayed in our area and could often be seen circling on the updrafts looking for some morsel provided by a motorist. They make really lousy pets too. I caught one once but it smelled so bad I turned it loose the next day. I was reminded of this today at the Doctors office parking lot. I pulled in and dropped Deanna off at the door and was heading for the parking tower when a car pulled out from a space right in front of me. Naturally I jumped into the space, locked up and started heading for the office. A woman rolled in from behind me and complained that she had been waiting for that space to open up. She was sort of upset. WHERE she was waiting was a mystery to me. She was no where around when the space opened up. I was the only car there. She was circling the lot and had gone past the space and was doubling back to get it when it opened in front of me. I started to get irritate...take that back...I got irritated and did the worst thing I could think of. I looked straight at her and said "if it's that important to you, I will move" She protested but I got back in my car while she drove around the lot again and this time scored on her spot. I have never understood the mentality of the parking lot Vultures. I understand the medical reasons, but that is why they have handicap plates and spots. I learned years ago it is far easier and more healthy to just park and walk. Usually I am in the store long before they are parked. Personally, were I in charge of Wal-mart, post progressive "calories burned" signs on the light posts. The farther out you park, the more calories you burn. I might even put in a few signs close to the building that explained if your sitting here waiting for a parking spot you are pollutting the air. Park it and walk! I'll bet the next time you think of circling the lot looking for a space you will wonder if you are a parking lot vulture. Go ahead and circle. No one is watching, no one really cares, their inside shopping. Note to Beck: It is ok. You are not a vulture, you have a reason to park close, you have premission to circle as many times as you want looking for the perfect spot, ...as long as I am not in the car. :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Into all the World?

I wish you could meet Tahn. (that is not how it is spelled but is how it sounds) His roots are Vietnamese and he lives in Oregon and I count him as a friend. He is an incredible fisherman who takes time of work every time I go to Oregon to go fishing with me. How would a Arizona preacher hook up with an avid fisherman from Oregon? That's a simple but interesting story. It began with some counsel from a older preachers kid that saw my loneliness of life in ministry. He advised me to find another preacher I could really relate to and talk with, a :peer" he called it. How does one do that? I had already been ostracized by my denominations leaders for asking questions no one wanted to answer or admit there was even a problem. (I warned them we would collapse as a denomination if we did not address the issues immediately. They didn't address and they did collapse. I had already left). Finding a peer that could relate to me seemed impossible. I'm thinking I am not a typical preacher, but how would I know? Daniel came home from college one day talking of a professor that offered him a free homework pass in exchange for a guided dove hunt. This man was fluent in Greek, Hebrew, had studied abroad and was, according to the accrediting boards, a teacher's teacher. I encouraged Dan to take him up on it. They did go hunting together and began a friendship. When duck season rolled around Dan asked if I would take this professor hunting with us. At the time I did not realize he was 15 years my junior but I agreed. When I first saw him he was in a plaid wool shirt and full chest waders and a floppy camo hat. Now this guy I could relate to. We soon became fast friends. All to soon, the Lord relocated my friend, Dr. Stanley to a wonderful church in Oregon. I went with him when he candidated and knew these people would flourish under his leadership. In Oregon I met Lon, a church member. Lon is a christian man's man. When Steve moved to Oregon Lon and I drove one of the Uhaul trucks. By the time we reached Oregon we were on the path of life long friendship. I began to fly to Oregon once a year to visit and fish. Lon came down to Arizona every January on business and we all keep in touch weekly by phone. Than was a co-worker of Lon. On my first fishing trip to Oregon Lon introduced me to Than. He has been a part of every trip since. Between Than and Lon, they can teach anyone to fish. On my last trip Than took 3 days off work to go with Lon and I to Washington Chum salmon fishing. It was a shorter than usual trip because I knew the guys couldn't take off that much time to take me fishing...but they did. Tahn would have taken the week off if I could have stayed. Than has become a friend. I wish you could go fishing with us, you'd like him too. This all came to mind while pondering the Great Commission,"Go ye into all the world and make disciple.". Did Jesus mean to build buildings, raise money and send professionals out to preach to the pagans or does he want all of us to love those he puts us into contact with?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

No way, your not going to bring home another mutt and I don't care if it is a registered Lab from hunting stock. I do NOT want another dog. I said it and I really meant it....sort of .... He was already here, he was cute in a puppy way so he stayed...for just a while...You have to understand that Deanna has NEVER allowed dogs in the house, and I have had a few really good ones. (the one exception was Missy and Barkley, two mini poodles Doni had just before she and Jim got married) They left with her. Michelle and Dusty were not officially engaged yet but they insisted it would be goin gto their house, yea, like newly weds could afford a house with a yard! Well, Gunner stayed and was always found in the house when Dusty and or Michelle was there. Funny thing, Deanna let Gunner stay in the house, originally becasue it was important to Michelle and later he was STILL in the house when the kids were not around. She never insisted on moving him out. He turned out to be a great hunting dog, calm but really eager. He is an even better house dog. Totally obedient by nature. He wants to please and will do whatever he understands you want him to do. I don't ever remeber getting after him for anything in the house. No rough housing, just lay on the tile or at your feet companion dog. He finally ended up sleeping in the house every night and when I was gone I think Dee actually liked it. Unfortuantely for us, Michell and Dusty DID get a really nice house with a dog yard so Gunner did go to live with them. I do miss him, but I guess this is better. (ok that is sour grapes but my other choice is to try to steal him) He was close to becoming a premanent feature in the house. I had him inside far more than he wanted to be inside! Why did Dee let gunner in? I like the way Andrew Murray puts it: Obedience is essential. At the very root of the relation of a creature to his God, and of God admitting the creature to His fellowship, lies the thought of obedience. I really wish I was a lot more like Gunner

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Moving Day

My newest daughter Michelle (Dustin's wife) on move in day to their first home together.

Most aspects of being my age I would rather do without, but there is finally one advantage I have found in growing older. For the past 40 years when moving day came, I was always invited. Typically I was the biggest one around and more importantly I had a truck and at least 1 trailer, still do. It did not take long to learn that when you are putting furniture into a new home, never, I repeat never put it where is should go. No matter where you put the couch, the new bride / woman of the house will want to see what it looks like on the other wall. Then you get to move it there and back! You can easily cut down 1/3 of the moving if you put it on the wrong wall first so you won’t have to move it back! I have no objection to the woman of the house placing furniture anywhere she wants to nor do I object to her right to change her mind, after all it is here house. The real danger of this kind of thinking is when it is transferred into the spiritual realm of life. We really DON’T have the right to decide or really offer an opinion of where the furniture of life goes. The first sign that there is a problem is when we are faced with some sort of decision and try as we might, cannot discover the will of the Lord for that decision. Andrew Murray recommends this:

There is a general will of God for all His children, which we can, in some measure, learn out of the Bible. But there is a special individual application of these commands—God’s will concerning each of us personally, which only the Holy Spirit can teach. And He will not teach it, except to those who have taken the vow of obedience.

Here’s the Papa pondering version of Murray: Unless we have taken the vow of obedience, we cannot know God’s will (path) in our lives. God offers direction, not selection. We really only want advice, we want the final choice, the right to choose. How often in scripture did God ever offer a choice as opposed to reveal the next step on the path? If there is no intention to walk His way, there is no real reason to light up the path.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Best Way to Create a Paranoid Schizophrenic

Dad's typical attire during my teenage and young adult years. He would be in the hospital or on bed rest for months at a time. The kids are my kids, Daniel, Darin and David visiting dad at the Vetrans Hospital in Redlands, California

I need to ramble a little here to set the backdrop for the point:
I was very fortunate as a child. I lived. It is not that I was really a wild child but the potential and opportunity was there. My father was a product of his time and culture and believed whole heartedly in not sparing the rod. He had a rule for everything and a corresponding punishment that was intended to be a sufficient deterrent. As far as he knew, it worked. Don’t ask, I will not tell, never have, never will. Maybe there’s nothing to tell, but I am not the point of the story anyway. My dad was set on a course of ruling with an iron fist while claiming to love me…which he did. I wonder how my life would have been different had he not become an invalid when I was 11. His rule by power came to an abrupt end. It would have literally killed him to physically try to control me in any physical sense. Here’s where dads 136 IQ came into play. He switched his parenting model. Threats were useless anyway. He set standards that were for my best interest and gave me tons of freedom. The one thing I really rebelled at in my heart was out of his control…his illness…and FATHER took care of that on one miraculous Saturday Morning. I will tell you about that some time. His one control as I grew older was the car. He provided it and a gas card. The rule was simple, drive stupid, speed, get drunk etc and you lose the car..Period. I never doubted that his resolve on the subject was equal to his generosity. I never violated his conditions. Fortunately speed was NOT on the list IF it was restricted to being alone on the back country roads where we often hit triple digits together in the car. I did crash his Olds into a tree once and tore the underside of it out in a washed out road another time, but neither time was I at fault. Even before dad knew it was not my fault, he demonstrated in his initial attitude that cars were replaceable, I was not. What makes that even sweeter is my dad really loved his cars, but he loved me more. No contest, totally different category more. Where most teens and young men struggle in relationships with their father, our relationship grew. My dad was my best friend and most loyal supporter and friend. I’m sitting here wondering if part of God’s purpose for my dad’s health problems was to start him down the pathway of relationship and grace. I’m thinking it must have been because that is where he ended up. That sets a new record for me in insights. My previous record was 35 years between asking God why and getting an answer. God gave me a peace for my father’s condition when I was 14, but until a few moments ago I never really saw much of the depth of the plan. I can REJOICE from my heart in what God does, proving Romans 8:28 is true…again. September, 1961 to April 2009, just a few months short of 48 years! My point in the beginning was to tell you how to raise a paranoid schizophrenic. Read this excerpt from "Loving Our Kid's on Purpose" By Danny Silk

In order to train our children in love, our behavior as parents must reduce fear, not increase fear. When happens when you go toe-to-toe with one of your kids? What happens when one of your kids does not want to obey? What do you do when your child lies in your face? What is your response when your child gives you something ugly like disrespect? .As much as love casts out the fear, fear will cast out love. Love and fear are enemies. They are completely different sources. Love is from God, and His enemy produces fear. We need some methods, tools and skills to respond to your child's sin in such a way that we create love, not fear.”

The point: Had my father remained healthy and allowed to continue on uninterrupted in his child rearing philosophy he would have fallen into a terrible trap. While telling me he loved me he would have tried to put the fear of God into me more than the Love for God in me. There is no way that story could have had a happy ending. Maybe I would not have been a paranoid schizo but it sure sounds like a good recipe to make one. Under Father’s plan, my father started us both down the pathway to knowing how much God Loves us and today that feels like it must be a whole bunch. I hope you don’t have to wait 48 years to see how one of your greatest sources of pain was REALLY the path to God’s richest blessing, but if you are waiting, just believe and trust while you wait. Or you could go with the Paranoid Schizo recipe believing you should fear the God who Loves you. The shack study guide, the shack discussion guide

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pet rocks

If Charles Darwin had been a reader of Blase Pascal he may have come to a different conclusion watching subtle changes in wildlife. In Darwin's thinking life evolved. Consider the beautiful rock formations above in Moab Utah.. Man and rocks evidently have a common ancestor before the slime (of unknown origin) got zapped by lightening (of unknown origin) or whatever the current explanation of the big Bang is. Do you think those rocks have any self awareness, fears or joys. The absurdity of that was commercialized at Christmas in a boxed pet rock that came with complete instructions for the care of your new pet. The instruction I liked the best was teaching the rock to roll over. It simply said, don't be ridiculous, pet rocks don't do that. Rocks don't actually do a lot of things and they are pretty easy to care for. Blase noted 300 years before Darwin:

...there being nothing so inconceivable as to say that matter knows itself. It is impossible to imagine how it should know itself. So, if we are simply material, we can know nothing at all; and if we are composed of mind and matter, we cannot know perfectly things which are simple, whether spiritual or corporeal.

The quote is a lot longer but basically Blase would find Darwin's logic simply illogical. I sure wish Chuck had paid more attention in class or at least had seen a pet rock. the shack study guide, discussion guide for the shack

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Shack CH.10

You can see the complete Shack discussion Guide questions by opening the Guide to the right>


140 Why did Mack change his description of the water from “pretty damn cold to pretty darn cold?” Was the water getting warmer?
Why would Jesus enjoy Mack’s discomfort?
A Both the correction/confession and watching the growing awareness of relationship, friendship and forgiveness in Mack
How does Jesus react when you do things like this?
Tell of a time when you hesitated at what Jesus told you to do?
Would you do the same thing again?
Was Mack wrong to ask for clarification before he stepped off the dock?
A Nowhere in scripture do we ever find God rebuking anyone who is struggling to follow. The choice is always left to the individual, clarification is always given. Some follow immediately without reservation like the disciples, some hesitate like Moses and Gideon, Jesus asked for clarification in the Garden before the cross . Some walk away disappointed like the rich young ruler who did not want to sell his stuff.
How do you clarify what Jesus is asking you to do?
141 How does imagination make man like God?
A The ability to envision what does not exist was passed on from the creator to the created. Evolution has no real answer for this phenomena.
Where do you spend most of your time living, the past, present or future? Explain.
142 What commands your sense of the future? How accurate is it likely to be?
Remember your past projections of the future. Were they accurate? Is life today what you thought it would be 5 years ago? Share the difference with us.
What does Jesus say was Mack’s basis for thinking of the future?
A Fear; seldom is God in the picture with us fulfilling the promises.
What is your biggest fear right now?
What are you failing to believe?
How can you tell How much God loves you?
143 To you, what is “utterly ridiculous and impossible” right now?
Where do you need Jesus to walk with you right now?
If you started there now, would you be alone?
Do you need to know how to get all the way there?
What do you need to know to start?
144 How is the earth like a child right now?
A Directionless, wandering without plan or purpose. More like and orphan or unloved foster child that is used for gain rather than loved.
145 What would happen if God took absolute control of the earth right now? How would that impact Romans 11:25?
A RO 11:25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in” God is waiting for the rest of his children to come to him before he retakes control. Do you think the last gentile is alive today? What happens when the last one comes to God?
What has God demanded of you personally?
What does Love not do? Why?
A Force it’s will on you. If it did, it would be authority and power, not relationship. God could easily force obedience, but that would not gain relationship. Andrew Murray’s classic 1898 work The School of Obedience explains that TRUE obedience to God can only come from a rich and deep relationship with the Father. Man cannot OBEY his way into the relationship. He must believe his way into the relationship. Obedience is the byproduct of the relationship. The book is well worth the read. You can find it at
www.ccel.org. This is the Calvin College Christian Classic public domain web site.
What marks a genuine relationship? Are your closest relationships like that? How are they different?
A Submission to the other person.
What is submission all about?
A Love and respect inside of relationship.
How can God be in submission to his creation?
A He does not force, he offers.
146 What does this mean and imply?: “we want you to join with us in our circle of relationship. I don’t want slaves to my will; I want brothers and sisters who will share life with me”?
A Distinguishes relationship Christ is offering from religion. It is personal, not just factual. It incorporates the entire person, body, soul and spirit. I participate in the purposes of God on earth in real time. The Christian life becomes a life of gentle submission to the love of the father in faith and trust. It is innocent, childlike, confident.
Is this what Jesus really wants?
A Yes. It is what he says he wants and it satisfies my heart and mind more fully than the religious answers.
If this” circle of relationship” is salvation, how is it different from what you have thought? How is it the same?
A We don’t typically think of our close relationships as rules and regulations and expectations. Close relationships are living and loving in the context of the moment. Submission as we typically think of it is not a problem because there is unity, oneness, agreement, commitment to purpose, shared goals, trust, respect, shared energy, faith, hope and love.
How could Jesus be “Mack’s life”?
A when a person trusts Christ’s work on the Cross to save him, it is not just from sin but from the independent self that started the problems in the first place. Papa’s miracle of the new birth makes alive a once dead spirit. Jesus literally indwells the believer and makes it possible for us to experience life together as he designed it. We walk in relationship, fellowship and confidence to the degree we truly trust what we know to be true: God love me and can only do what is in my best interests. All situations are filtered through that fact.
How is submission natural?
A See above. It is natural for the new me to act like and be submissive to Christ. It is who I truly and eternally am.
How did the world break? What was lost?
A The world broke in the garden when man choose independence over relationship. Innocence was lost, the spirit that responded to God died. It can only be reborn by the power of the resurrected Christ.
147 Have you ever tried to be God for someone else? How did it work out for you?
How do people try to be God for others?
A See the Prerogatives for God on notes for page 158.
What is the hard part for a woman in returning to God?
A Women tend to look to man to meet their needs.
Why is that hard? Is it hard for you? Why or why not?
What is the hard part for a man in returning to God? Is it hard for you? Why or Why Not?
A men tend to look to themselves for security and power.
What do women turn to instead of God? What are they looking for? Will they find it?
A Women look to other relationships outside of God. Husband, friend, child, etc
What do men turn to instead of God? How well is it working?
A Men seek work to replace relationship.
148 How is filling roles the opposite of relationship?
A roles as defined by institutions and society are based on external ideals that could not possibly be universal. Roles are performance based, checklist balanced. A person could fulfill all the duties of any assigned role and still not live in relationship.
Does our body of believers pursue roles or relationships?
How do we pursue roles? The results?
How do or could we pursue relationships?
Would some stuff not get done if our body of believers emphasized pursuing relationships over roles? What impact would it ultimately have?
What would be the impact of a “circle of friendship” with God and others based fellowship?
Would sin abound in such a fellowship? Why or why not?
Why was man created first?
A to establish a circle of relationship.
What destroyed “the relationship your heart longed for”?
A Independence
How could you start fixing that right now?
A return
149 How is power the opposite of relationship?
A When power is the order of the day subservience is the order of the day. It brings duty, law, rules, regulations, hierarchy, competition, conquest, conflict and the like. Relationship brings mutual submission in love to one another based on common goals and desires. EPH 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. It is only truly possible in Christ.
Seriously now, doesn’t someone have to be in charge?
What is the only way anyone can submit?
A They must be reborn in Christ.
Is WWJD a bad idea?
A It would only be a poor imitation of the real thing. Jesus wants to LITERALLY live his life through us, draw us into relation with the father and Holy Spirit, make us one with his purpose and plan and see it work out through us.
Is Jesus’ life inside you literal or figurative?
If it is literal, how do we get it? What happens?
MEMORIZE THIS: I came to give you life, real life, my life. We will come and live our life inside you, so that you begin to see with our eyes, hear with our ears, and touch with our hands, and think like we do.
Is this our purpose in being? How would it change life if we lived believing this is true? (IT IS!)
How would this view of living change your thinking of John 14:12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Who would really be motivating the asking and doing the doing?
Would that mean you would be living in relationship and doing the things God does? YES IT DOES!
Is this essentially what we will be doing for eternity in heaven? Participating with God as his children in the glories of his creations. Who would not want to do that?
A Consider this: God created us to love us and live life in, with and through us. When we look at the stars and worship, God is there in us responding to and being glorified in it. In a certain sense The infinite God experiences life through his children who have invited Him in. Oswald Chambers, in My Utmost for His Highest said that according to Phil 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose,) the basic will of a believer is GOD’s Will. That means I can do what I want when Christ is indwelling me. If take a day to go fishing, God is going fishing! We live life together in His power and at his direction and I honestly think that sometimes God is happy to go fishing or whatever with me. He loves to be with me and IF I am cognizant of the reality of his presence, it is going to effect everything about the experience for his glory and my good. Why just do whatever it is you are doing alone. Recognize Jesus is there, talk to him about it all, worship, laugh, listen, enjoy, really LIVE! So do whatever you truly want! Jesus wants to do it to. I know, I’m a heretic, people might get it wrong and sin! Know this: Jesus is going to be there anyway, he will NEVER Leave us or forsake us. SO LIVE FREE! Is this helping or just frustrating you? Why?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

OK this will date me some but I love Mash, (the series). Great actors, one and all. Alan Alda carried the bulk of the weight for the series, but all the characters were lovable in their own way. The final episode was the epitome of what all series ending shows should be. Perfect and true to character, it summed up the series perfectly satisfying the avid fans.

In one episode the good hearted, snobby acting Bostonian surgeon Major Charles Winchester has performed brilliantly (in his humble opinion) on a hand injury to a young soldier. In explaining his surgical brilliance in post opt. to the soldier, he consoles that although the wound was quite serious, he has managed to restore it to near normal function, with only a small loss of dexterity. To Major Winchester the news was great but the patient shows pure pain like he had lost his hand, no gratitude for the glowing report. Confused, Charles probes until the patient confides that before the war he was a concert pianist and now that career is over. Winchester’s well documented love for this kind of music drove him to find new meaning for the destroyed career of the soldier. Part of Winchesters solution was music written for the left hand only. He could still play, teach or conduct. In presenting the music and alternatives to the soldier, he explained his own perspective: The gift for music is not in the hands but in the heart. Winchester confessed that although he personally could play the notes, he would never know the joy of making the music the way the soldier did because he did not possess the gift. Althought her had the gifted hands and heart of a surgeon eh would never be a musician. I was reminded of this twice today. First when I looked at my daughter Doni’s blog pictures of her daughter Tori. The pictures were taken around my home, but the beauty of her pictures far surpasses what is actually there. She has a gift very few others possess. Take a look for yourself at her Pillow post. (it is a dress style) I was reminded again when I read this from Andrew Murray:

“Head-knowledge only gives human thoughts without power. God by His Spirit gives a living knowledge that enters the love of the heart, and works effectually.”

I will never possess the gift of a musician or an artist but I can still have an even greater gift for life and love as I open my heart to all that God has for me. I can live loved and in fellowship and from that be a gift to others.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I never knew

I was walking by the kitchen counter and could not help but noticing this recipe in my grandfathers unmistakable handwriting. I asked Dee about and she said she had several more. We used to live near them in San Gabriel when we were first married and spent some quality time there, especially after grandpa got sick for a while. What caused me to stop is I never knew my grandfather to cook anything. Dee thinks he did and she has HIS recipes to prove it. My father NEVER cooked anything while I was growing up that I know of. When my mom passed away he could not even boil water....his words, not mine. I would have questioned if he knew where the pans were. Out of absolute necessity and against his own objections he did start to learn, but he was NEVER happy about it. I cooked a lot when I was growing up. My sister was off to college and Mom was flat on her back with disk problems and dad had his heart condition so I cooked, Actually I broiled steaks 5 nights a week. Seriously. It's easy. Pop in some spuds to bake, open a can of veggies, quarter a head of lettuce (forget shredding it, takes to long) pour on some dressing and your done. My first Job was a chef's assistant at Roy Rogers Apple Valley Inn. I prepared the whole pigs Hawaiian style, every kind of appetizer, (forget caviar, it tastes like bait smells) reduced hanging sides of beef to hamburger, made blue cheese dressing 10 gal at a time, cooked stuff for the Sunday brunch buffet, and irritated the fry cook to death washing his pans. I could hold and crack 4 eggs at a time separating the egg and shell (most of the time) without leaving shell pieces in the eggs. I attended two summer school sessions in college picking up enough credits to skip my junior year and graduate in 3 years. The cafeteria was closed and I did not have the coin for eating out (McD's burgers had climbed to 19 cents each and my budget only allowed for 15 cents a meal. Did you know you can survive with a coffee pot and an electric pop corn Popper? I would buy a 10 cent box of craft mac and cheese and divide it in half. Boil it in free water from the laundry room sink, mix the dry powder cheese into the wet cooked mac (milk was a luxury) brew a pot of coffee with non dairy power creamer and dinner is served for under 7 cents. Occasionally I would get some corn from one of the guys who had practiced biblical gleaning in the corn field across the street or go pick huge avocados and naval oranges from the abandoned orchard a few blocks away. A real treat was fried bluegill from the Puddingstone reservoir where I did a little late night fishing. Ya, I can cook...if I have to but praise the Lord, I don't. After two summers of mac and corn and 5 semesters of cafeteria food I married Deanna. She is a great cook. (ok there was a learning curve in the beginning). There is a definite difference between fired plantain and fired bananas even though they look the same. Eggplant and okra have NO edible qualities as far as I can detect. When I have the flu, there is no need to bake a cherry pie with a lace crust, it has no curative powers, aesthetic yes. As I look at my boys and cooking, Daniel can cook and does occasionally. David loves to cook for everyone and is really good, especially with game meats. Dusty is more like me, a survival chef and Darin is my dad, reincarnate....except I am sure he has no idea of where a pan is. I guess no matter what cooking ability my 6 grandsons display, they can find the precedent set somewhere on the family tree.

Monday, April 13, 2009

life is a team sport

Victor Valley Jackrabbits, 1966

I loved playing football in school. I was a year younger than most of my class mates and correspondingly smaller. The love affair began when I was a 7th grader. We were scrimmaging against the eighth graders and my assignment was to block the biggest kid in school, Bill Smiley. Fortunately Bill was one of those gentle giants. He was easily a foot taller and 100 lbs heaver. NO WAY was I ever going to block him, I was not even a speed bump on his freeway to the quarterback. With pity and the best of intentions, Coach Lampkin called me aside and broke it to me. I would NEVER be big enough or strong enough to block the Bill Smilies of life but there was a way to beat them. He then imparted a bit of wisdom that carried me through to All League honors and the best blocking percentage in high school. On the next play, I followed the coach’s advice exactly as I understood it. Perspective now makes all the difference: From my perspective it was perfect, from Bill’s it was really bad. Did I mention I always liked Bill, he really was one of the few good guys! Unfortunately and unforeseen, Bill hit the ground and broke his collarbone. I am sorry about that. It was an accident. But it was David slaying Goliath. (Bill recovered quickly with no ill effects) I however discovered a way to control the biggest opponents. It never failed me in the next 5 years of competitive football. It worked so well I was offered a spot as center on a good College team. NO WAY. I had grown by then but still way to small for that level of play. My plan would NEVER have worked in college. They would have killed me and since I did not want to die, I accepted the Tennis scholarship instead. (And no songgirl, I am NOT going to tell you what I did. Your son IS THE GIANT, he doesn’t need the help and your number 3 would definitely do it to your number one and two if he knew how…so you don’t want that information out:) I tell this story because one of the purposes of this blog is to recapture life for my grandchildren. The other purpose is to pass on a little insight from my pilgrimage. Here it is. Some sports are team sports and some are solo sports. I happened to love the polar opposites of Football, where from the opening play it is all about dominance, to tennis where every game of every set starts out Love/Love. (How that got started I have no idea. It is just a polite way to say ZERO). While sports do have a place for team effort and individual effort, our life in Christ is strictly TEAM. We were created to live in literal and living fellowship with God. We were not created to live or act independently. We were designed to live in cooperation with the spirit, not conflict or competition. Self living of any description is harmful and hurtful to us. We must always consider the rest of the team in all our actions and reactions. We are on Team Jesus, he calls all the plays. Victory only comes when we play as a team. That is the true context of all the Biblical passages that speak to us of self denial, cross bearing, and yoke wearing. It is what it means to be part of the team, never alone, never abandoned. Teh sahck study guide Shack discussion guide

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is Risen

The following is an unedited copy and paste from my prayer journal this beautiful Easter morning. I have been meditating on the true meaning of Biblical Obedience for several weeks. This is my offering so far.

Mankind's view of obedience focuses on the act of obedience. God’s view focuses on the relationship. Technically a person could successfully complete the action but still not move the relationship forward or on the other hand the action may not be successfully completed but the relationship is still moved forward. God cannot separate love and obedience, man tries to. I could do something to perfection with a really bad attitude and accomplish nothing of true value to the relationship. Or I could get full credit for a complete failure because of the effort and intentions of the heart. It all really comes down to the heart more than the act when obeying God. HE does not NEED us to do anything for him that he could not accomplish an infinite number of ways. Obedience is all about opportunities for US to be loved and be a part of who He is, our true destiny. If that is my true motive he will grant me the balances of success and failures to bring our oneness. Jesus’ act of obedience on the cross drew Jesus and the father infinitely closer in a oneness they had never experienced before. There was a communal wrath at sin suffered from both perspectives of the father and the son, united in the spirit. IN all the things they had done since the hypothetical first creation (if there was no beginning there may not be firsts as we understand them) Jesus suffered in his obedience in ways we cannot comprehend but there was an equal sense of purpose and oneness in that suffering and separation. For God it was a unique experience. In our expression we would say that in that suffering obedience, the persons of the trinity Bonded in a new way. We would express it as a new closeness, oneness. Since Jesus is eternal, that bond is as fresh today as it was 2000 years ago. This is what God is looking for in our obedience and even suffering. A chance to bond in a way we could never know any other way.

Check out my cousin Ray's blog today. Just click the link to the right.

Dating or in Love?

The convergence of the Milk and Missouri Rivers reminds me of the difference between dating and being in love. In dating there is a lot of dress up and performance. It is imitation life, idealized, not actualized. Actions and attitudes are planned to impress, to make the best possible appearance in the hope of gaining acceptance. It is acting center stage in the spotlight, a theater production complete with props, scripts and directors. There is a lot of dress up, make believe, fantasy, pretending, role playing, getting into character, theatrics. It is trying to make yourself fit into the assumed preconceived image the other has of you. There are schedules to keep, specific places and people to see and to avoid. Dates are planned with a starting and stopping point. The curtain goes up and comes down at the same door where livable life resumes. Dating is fun, but it is not real life.

Being in love is more wysiwyg. It is spontaneous, unrehearsed, unscripted, unplanned, unpromoted, unprompted. Attitudes arise from the incubator of the soul and give birth to actions that touch the heart of the loved one and meld two souls into one. Thoughts of obedience, performance, rules, do’s and don’t are moving towards non-existence, merely a ripple from the past. Love is two streams merging into one river. The further down the river you travel, the harder it is to tell which stream you were until there is no remembrance or resemblance of the individual streams, just the river.. There is a oneness that denies and defies separation. Life is lifted to a new plain, with a new purpose and a new power in the union to do the unimaginable. There is an ever growing sense of wholeness, completion, peace, fulfillment, purpose. As the love grows, the relationship grows to contain it, plus leave a little room for more growth.
This all comes to mind as I consider Christs commands to OBEY. What He is really asking me to do is to fall completely in love with Him. He wants to live in, with and through me. To often I act like we are just dating. As I become ONE in love with Him, he changes me as surly as the Missouri changes the Milk river. By the time the Missouri enters the Mighty Mississippi, there is no visible trace of the Milk left. I want that to be truer and truer of me as I travel towards my final destination. The shack discussion guide

Friday, April 10, 2009

A differnt kind of Easter story

The ramp built by Jewish Slaves

Something important is missing in Christian society today. Likely a lot of things. On the whole it has lost it’s will to survive unchanged by the world. We are blending more than believing. I was watching some Easter clips from some specials at some large churches. Incredible stuff, but then I can see some pretty good effects down at AMC or Harkins. Don’t misunderstand, I DO applauded their work. It is as good as anything you will find in Hollywood with a infinitely better message. What is missing is not in the monumental efforts of the churches across America, it is missing in the heart of believers. A part of it must be our lack of TOTAL commitment to the cause. We are taking obedience lightly to our self inflicted peril. We need the kind of commitment every Jewish soldier is encouraged to have. As you likely know, all Israeli’s must enlist for a 2 year stint in the military, male and female. After training the graduation exercise takes place on Masada. If your unfamiliar with the history, here is the basic story from a review of the 1981 classic movie of Masada.

Wits and weapons clash in this 1981 epic chronicling a rebellion by Jewish Zealots against Roman rule. After Jerusalem falls to the Romans in 70 A.D., nearly a thousand Jewish rebels led by Eleazar ben Jair (Peter Strauss) withdraw to a mountaintop fortress 30 miles southeast of Jerusalem. There, fed by defiance and an unlimited supply of cistern water, they make their stand against Roman rule, now and then conducting surprise raids against Roman positions down below. Whenever the Romans retaliate, Eleazar goes them one better. He and his men burn grain supplies, poison wells and generally make life miserable for the Roman 10th Legion, encamped in the baking desert surrounding the fortress. Frustrated, the Roman general Cornelius Flavius Silva (Peter O'Toole) brings in a brilliant siege master, Rubrius Gallus (
Anthony Quayle), to devise a way to breach the mountaintop stronghold. When Gallus begins construction of an earthen ramp up the mountainside, rebels rain down arrows on the Roman workers. Flavius then uses Jews from nearby villages to build the ramp. Meanwhile, Flavius makes several attempts to persuade the rebel Jews to surrender, promising they will live in peace and prosperity under Roman rule. But the Jews are adamant; they want only one thing: freedom, or, at the very least, limited freedom under a Roman-appointed Jewish governor. But after Roman Emperor Vespasian vetoes peace plans, the ramp continues to rise. When it is finished, the Romans pull a massive battering ram on wheels--another of Gallus's stratagems--up the ramp, and the stage is set for the final battle deciding the fate of the Jews.
The review misses the fact that the ramp was built by captured Jewish slaves. Those in the stronghold refused to kill their countrymen to protect themselves. The night before the inevitable final siege, the rebels all died in a mass suicide rather than face whatever kind of death the merciless Romans had in mind for them. Two women lived to tell the story.
Today the Vow of “never again” is pledged by every Israeli soldier on that mountain top. They know that anything less than 100% commitment will mean certain death.
As believers we have our own Masada, it is called Calvary. Our pledge is to the death too, the death of SELF found in total obedience. Jesus set the example for us to follow. In sharing the essence of the Easter Story for us Paul reveals what believers today are missing:

PHP 2:5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

PHP 2:6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,

PHP 2:7 but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.

PHP 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death--
even death on a cross!

PHP 2:9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,

PHP 2:10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

PHP 2:11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

PHP 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.the shack study, the shack discussion guide

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Three Sisters?

Years ago my favorite dive spot was a bay south of Ensenada, Mexico called Tres Hermanas (Three Sisters). From my Southern California home it was only a half day drive. I would take a group of college guys from the church down for a few days of diving, male bonding and fellowship. The male bonding took the form of a night launching thousands of bottle rockets (with rapport) at each other. The burns were within acceptable limits. So many wonderful stories here: Gil’s truck catching on fire, me being trapped under water..I was seconds from death…really. The bonding worked. One of those guys is still with me 35 years later, My brother in law Dave and we still do everything together. One regular event was a night dive. Have you ever swum in the open ocean at night with only a flashlight? It is like walking through a graveyard…alone…at midnight…on October 31…and you hear weird noises…that kind of feeling. (Watching Jaws is not recommended prior to a night dive, but that is a different story from a solo night dive in Half Moon Bay). Nothing really big or eventful ever happened on those trips. (the near death experience may be considered an execption) I did try to catch a lobster that was so big I could not close my had across his back. He was at least 18” long and 8” across his back. Did you know lobsters can laugh? I didn’t either. Anyway, there is no comparison between diving in daylight and diving by flashlight. I was oddly reminded of those days when I read something from Isaiah 50. It is the biblical answer of a Chinese proverb - 'Don't curse the darkness - light a candle.' Adlai Stevenson used it praising Eleanor Roosevelt in an address to the United Nations General Assembly in 1962 - 'She would rather light candles than curse the darkness, and her glow has warmed the world. President KENNEDY used a variation in his 1960 acceptance speech. It sounds so profound, don’t curse the darkness, light a candle. I did read one blog from a self designated grump that challenged the whole idea. He preferred to curse the darkness. I suspect his problems began with trying to find a match and a candle in the dark. (Why does the electricity only go out on a hot, humid, moonless night after the battery shelf life has expired?) Isaiah takes a different approach to the darkness problem:

ISA 50:10 Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.

For Isaiah, darkness is no big deal. He just trusts in the Lord who can see all things clearly. I understand that. Often in my light night travels between my college dorm and Deanna’s house 100 miles away I would encounter pea thick fog on in the foothills. Visibility was sometimes only a few feet. I had a second floor dorm room and knew the fog was typically a ground fog. 18 wheelers could see just fine. My practice was to jump in behind a big rig and let him show me the way. Worked like a charm, but often I had no idea where I was. I drove seeing ONLY the tail light of the big rig. Isaiah goes on to say:

ISA 50:11 But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment.

The warning is pretty clear. Do things with the light you alone can provide and ignore everything outside that little circle of light. That is kind of like what you have to do when you dive in the open ocean at night. You pretend there is NOTHING outside your 8’ circle of light that could hurt you. Of course it is a lie you tell yourself. The fact is everything imaginable that can do harm is somewhere outside that circle of light….and some of it is big enough to eat you. Chances are there is nothing very close, but it is just a guess. Right now I know some people who are committed…but struggling…to walk in the dark with only the light of God’s Word to guide them through very difficult times. They are being mocked and abused by people who have put their whole confidence in the light of their own imagination. They think they see all things clearly, but in reality they have no idea what is outside their very dimly lit world. Some day their light will go out completely. According to Isaiah, if that happens literally before it happens metaphorically….read v 11 again for yourself. To you who are driving in the darkness following only the tail light of God, stay close to His bumper. He see’s all perfectly clear from his vantage point on high. You will get home safe, and there is a really good chance you will show others how to do it too.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Who's watching now?

I just watched a Sprint video that gave the statistics of who is using their phones for what. The said that the most popular text sent during meetings contains the word diaper. Do you realize what that means? Some computer is reading EVERY text message out there. I wonder what else they are up to. Will the computer that reads this please email me and tell me what you think of my blog?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Can you tell the difference between a toad and a frog?

Although I've never bought an album or downloaded a song, I do consider myself a Carrie Underwood fan. I absolutely loved Jesus take the wheel when it first came out. I listened to a parody of it yesterday, the red-neck version "Cletus take the reel". It is the touching story of two buddies fishing from a boat, one falls and asks his buddy Cletus to take the reel so his bass won't get away. OK it may be a guy thing but it was funny and actually a reasonable request given the circumstances. In one of Carrie's new song she tells of closing her eyes and kissing the frog, referring to Tony Romo or some date that was not what she hoped. I'm probably wrong about that because I didn't listen real close because it got me to thinking about how many people in relationships kiss the frog hoping for a prince. Actually, I have seen it work. Some couples do bring out the best in the other, the prince/princess if you will. The problem comes when the kisser cannot tell the difference between a frog and a toad. They look similar but are totally. Frogs like ponds and wet environments. Toads, like the Sonoran desert toad that live around my house, (top picture) don't really like the water all that well. They spend most of their lives underground, coming out only briefly when the humidity is high and shallow ponds are around. I doubt they can swim all that well. No matter how many stars you wish on, how many prayers you pray, how many times you kiss the toad, it will remain a toad because that is all that it will ever be. I really don't know what Carrie was singing about but I sure have kissed my share of toads! Anytime I think my plan or idea is better than the one God may have for me is just kissing a toad! Any kind of self serving disobedience is just kissing a toad. But when God brings what looks like a frog in my life and I actually kiss it, I always end up with a princess. They really are not that hard to tell apart. Here is a few obvious helps. They look different, talk differ rent, act different and are found in totally different places. It's the same with toads and frogs or my way and God's way. the shack discussion guide, study guide for the shack, shack discussion topics

When God Seem Silent

Twenty five years ago, about the time this picture was taken, I began to write a book, mostly for me. The title was going to be When The Heavens are Brass, a poetic description of how we often feel when our prayers are unanswered and God appears to be silent. I was the early 80’s and God was giving me some pretty specific life directions when my world fell absolutely apart. Memory now is fuzzy but it began with the death of my Grandfather, then my grandmother, then a 6 week bout with cancer took my mother. On the way to see her when we got the news she had weeks to live, the engine on my 2 year old car blew up leaving us stranded 2 hours short of our destination in the middle of the night miles outside of 29 Palms. It took 4 months to get it fixed and it was my only car. But I still had 5 kids to get back and forth to California 4 more times in the back of a borrowed Chevy Nova, but that is a story in itself. I entered a business relationship with a friend where fire, flood, theft and his declining health led to its demise and a monstrous debt to repay. Then my partner died. We had 5 small children to provide for and a debt 5 times my annual salary. Believing God had given me my life’s instructions, turned down an opportunity for a pastorate about 2 hours from my (and Deanna’s) parents houses. That church was much larger, had it’s own oil well, really, and offered to build me my own house on 5 acres plus the salary to pay for it. The pressure for me was great and to be honest I did not handle it all that well. Sure, I put on the preacher face when in public but I was so critically wounded in spirit. I felt (Thank you Father for your grace and forgivness for this) abandoned and betrayed by God. All the praying, tears, fighting, anger and every other thing I tried seemed to move God one bit. I was crushed beyond recognition and could tell NO ONE. Of course Deanna knew and my kids felt it but never knew what it was. The one prayer I was aware of that God profoundly answered was for my children. I was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, totally broken in spirit but I begged God to protect my children from my decisions and their consequences. The business failure and not going to the bigger church pretty much guaranteed we would be poor. Fortunately we lived in a title one area so free school lunches for the kids was a blessing. God provided everything for the children all those years…in abundance. In their memory today we were RICH back then. Everything that was important to them was available from designer cloths to Disneyland trips. I didn’t pay for any of it. I couldn’t. Thank you again Jesus. There was a ton of other lesser pains and pressures at the time but you get the drift of things, probably been there yourself. So why didn’t God answer me. Was He as totally disinterested as I felt he was? I don’t have all the answers to that today, but I do have some. Although I prayed, begged, and definitely yelled loud enough for a god of stone to hear, the one thing I did not do early on was LISTEN. I spent all my time in the arguments I had with God…ok I called them prayers but if you would have observed me from a distance you would have thought it was an argument…telling Him HOW, When and Why He had to fix my problems. It was a long time before I finally ran out of physical and emotional energy to keep the argument going and could listen. What I know now is that God was not silent, I was just not taking time to listen. The other thing I did not do was surrender my will up front to be obedient to whatever God wanted from me, thereby MISSING what He was definitely doing the whole time. Sure my plan was to be obedient, but I wanted time to consider the options, tweak it with my keen insights, you know, just in case God missed something. I fooled myself into believing true obedience contained any opt out clause. I think I may have developed the original Hedge Fund. Thank God I lost my battle and learned. Sort of. I had a bigger do over some years later, but that one was more like Jacob wrestling with God. It was quite literally life and death. Sorry, I don’t have the freedom to put that story in print. Call me, I will tell you of God’s amazing delivering power. My wife says it is one of the truest miracles she has ever witnessed. It was over when He broke me with His incomprehensible infinite love. Today I am back there again…well not really back there, same song third verse EXCEPT this time I am taking time to listen AND negotiations with God is NOT an option. I have already agreed to cooperate in whatever He is doing because I have total confidence (ok probably more like almost total) in His Love and plans for me and he promises they are GOOD. Doni just emailed the chorus of a new son Unredeemed, from Annie Smiths blog. Click the link to listen to it. It will only be available for 3 days!: I love it:

Where grace is
Soon to be so amazing
They may unfulfilled
They may unrestored
But when anything that's shattered
Is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see
It will not be


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Living the Dream, avoiding the Nightmare

Doni with the camper on a 1972 Datsen (Nissan) Pick Up. 1975
Doni on the Honda 350 scrambler (camper in back ground)

We lived just to the left of the white area.

Thirty-five years ago I got my first motorcycle. It was a Honda 350 Scrambler. It was designed for off road driving, but lighted and licensed for street riding. In it’s day it was incredible. Dee and I lived on the outskirts of town (one block long) on a high spot in the middle of a dry lake. It was about 5 miles by road to the church where I ministered or 4 miles cross country. Of course, being cost conscious and gas in the high 60’s (cents) I had to save where I could so I would often take the most direct route across the dry lake. Did you know there is no posted speed limit on a dry lake? I discovered the short cut quite by accident, literally. I was riding home from church and was going to fast to negotiate the corner with the sand on the road. I hesitated for a second which caused me to hit a 2 foot dirt embankment. Being a scrambler instead of a street bike, the bike did what it was designed to do and literally jumped the embankment, landed in the dry lake and kept on going. When my heart climbed back down into my chest where it belonged I realized the near accident was actually the bike telling me it did not like to ride on pavement, preferring the sand and trails. That embankment became my usual launching pad to a great ride home. Things were going pretty well with the scrambler as I was learning to become one with the bike and know and trust it’s capabilities. One day I was out doing some pastoral visiting…I really was…in an area that was filled with rolling hills and no traffic. I opened up the throttle going down one half mile long hill, hit around 85 at the bottom and rocketed up the shorter slope. There was a little hiccup at the top of the slope and in a flash the scrambler and I were probably 8-10 feet in the air. As we passed the crest of the hill and a small flat top I could see from my birds I view that the road swept sharply left in the area I would soon be landing. I made a quick mental check during the final approach and calculated that at my speed and altitude I would immediately upon landing have to lay the bike to the left or launch again into the vastness of space off the side of a mountain. To tense up or hesitate now meant certain serious injury and destruction of the bike…at a minimum. As the bike softly settled back onto the pavement I put it into a hard left. The tires grabbed and we shot straight down the middle of the paved road. When we caught up with my heart a couple miles down the road, I swore I would never do anything so stupid again. And I didn’t. For a week. But the rush, the ride overruled my short lived wisdom and I soon found myself going back down the same road at the same speed seeing the same bird’s eye view of the canyon below. I stuck the landing one more time in perfection, this time my heart staying with me for the whole ride, only racing a little faster for a second. This was really fun. Stupid but really fun. My father (a heart patient) bought a Honda 350 street bike... to cut down on gas expenses he said. Really, he bought it to ride with me, which we did. All my teen years he had been flat in his back in bed and now, post heart surgery, he had a little more endurance to do some things with me instead of just watching me or listening to my football games on the radio. The announcer always started the play call with “big Don Zimmermann is over the football”. Ridiculous! I was 165 lbs playing with and against guys over 100 lbs heavier! Anyway Dad and I road the valley together several times just to be together. We didn’t even pretend we had a reason to go, we just went because for the first time in our lives we could. That all came to an abrupt end when dad froze at slow speed, hit a small dirt embankment and flew over the handlebars, breaking his collar bone. He had a street bike, not a scrambler. It definitely did not like going off the pavement. In the hospital he vowed to get right back on the bike, but pain and wise counsel convinced him he was too old to learn to be one with the bike. He never rode again. Statistics warn that if you ride a bike you are going to fall or get hit. I had beaten the statistics so far and continued to ride. Dee and I did not have much money and had a growing family. We wanted to buy a camper for our truck but the only way to do that was to sell the bike. I was debating…until my brother in law Dave dropped my bike on a sand covered corner near the church. Dave was a far better rider than I and I knew then it was only a matter of time before I wrecked. I sold the bike to help pay for the next dream we realized: a camper. Good decision. From time to time I would borrow a sports bike and always feel the urge to get another birds eye view. It took 30 years to get past that. When I did get apst it, I got my dream bike. Never did try to get up with the birds, just enjoyed the wind rushing through my hair. Ok it is the hair on my arms but that still counts, and besides I always wore a helmet! By God’s grace I am one of the few to ride and never put a bike down I lived my dream and avoided the nightmare. Thank you Father for your blessings to me.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Bike

I had been off of bikes for near 30 years when Daniel and his b-i-l Josh rolled this classic into my driveway. It was in the process of being restored but missing parts to the carbs. It was not long before I had Jim, Doni's husband, looking everywhere for the parts. It took over a year but he finally got the parts. I put the parts together with a pro shop and after a few adjustments it ran like a dream. It was a great bike to get reacquainted with riding on, more like riding a bicycle. I got comfortable on it quickly and enjoyed riding. Jim started looking for a bike for himself and found my dream bike, the red Honda. I took it on a quick test drive and knew if Jim didn't buy it I would have to. He didn't, I did and it was great. And when I sold it today I got the same thing for it that I originally paid. Not a bad deal really. A free ride for 3 years. (I know, insurance etc, but it was worth it.) I don't know if I will ever get another bike...but I kept my helmet and leathers just in case. Father always has a few surprises.

Loss in the family?

It was time to say farewell to a friend this AM. Seems like I have been doing a lot of that of late. Today my treasured bike rode off without me. I say friend because we had some great times together and I did accomplished a life long dream of riding through the Mountains and backroads where I grew up. My dad and I used to ride there together, but never on a bike like this one. It was all I thought it would be and more. We were a perfect fit. And I kept my promise too. I never pushed it to the critical edge flirtering with whatever it is you flirt with when your doing something really stupid. The fellow who road it away had been dreaming of owning one for 15 years, so I know they will be happy together. If you think a motorcycle cannot be happy you have never ridden one down Yarnell hill. People come from hundreds of miles around to ride that nine mile decent from the pine to the desert flats in a oneness with their bike that is never felt on the broad strait roads of city life. But Definitely the motorcycle is smiling because in those curves the bike and rider become one. Together they do something that neither could accomplish by themselves. In the oneness each has a sense of satisfaction in fulfilling their individual purpose....to be ONE. If that sounds to romanticized to be true, consider this. The gap between me and the motorcycle is not nearly so great as the gulf between me and God. We are the created, He is the creator. He is God. We are not. Yet HE invites me to become one with Him...infinite as the gap is...and when I do, in those twists and turns of life, I smile knowing in the center of my being that for this I was created. I may never own another bike but I can still know a oneness that thrills me to the core of my being. I'd reccomend that ride to everyone!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Without a doubt the American Dream has been the greatest social accomplishment by any society in the history of man. NO empire or civilization has come close to realizing the potential or prosperity of this great social experiment based on Christian morals and principles. Don’t bother to argue with me about this. I am really irritated that the ignorant masses who never read anything but listen to the revisionist historians and blindly follow their agenda of doom. I sympathize President Jefferson’s lament that the blood of patriots and tyrants must be mixed to keep the democracy going…but I KNOW something the masses do not know. It HAS to be this way. This is exactly what I have expected all of my life. It is exactly what Jesus said would be happening. I know some of you are arguing in your head that preachers have been saying this for the past 100 years and the end is not yet. But have you read what they read and wrote at the time? They were PROJECTING what was soon to happen…and they got it exactly right. The difference is NOW it has already happened. Israel is a nation and has been for a generation+. Everything including the initial red heifer for sacrifice is ready for the temple and some is at the foot of the temple Mount. A potential type of mark of the beast is now being done on animals, complete with tracking systems. You can put it on your child if you want. A one world banking system of Revelation order has been in place for years and the G20 conference going on right now is talking of using a different standard than the US Dollar. Not surprising, Russia and China are making a case for it. (According to John's Revelation, they are the two big players in the end). There is a lot more but that is enough for me. I KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING. No, I don’t like it but yes, I guess I really do. My problem is what to do with KNOWING. Like Nickolas Cage in KNOWING I want to pull everyone off the train, but they don’t want to get off. You can see the clip at WingClips.com.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

No you don't!

Doni and me in 1974

I was young and was sure I knew exactly what I wanted. I walked into an industrial tire repair shop in Monrovia California and boldly declared to the grungy man in charge that I wanted to purchase the biggest tube he had available. He sized me up for what I really was and responded, NO you don't!, I felt challenged, and repeaded with full confidence, YES, I do. He simply answered No you don't. A little frusterated and way to arrogant I reiterated with an air of underserved confidence, Yes I do...You don't know what I what it for. He just said, OK, It will cost you $3000, it stands 9 ft. tall and weighs 500 pounds. I wish I could have seen the look on my face, it must have been a deflated red glow. In my best to recover I confessed, your right, I don't. What do I want? He pulled the tire pictured above from a barrel and blew it up for me. It was perfect, and only $30. What fun we had on what was dubbed the USS Fat Albert. We never went to the beach or lake without it. a dozen teens could stand on it without tipping it. Am I ever glad I finally asked the one with the real knowledge what it was that would meet my needs. That grungy old guy really knew his stuff. Sometimes I still forget and try to tell God what it is I want instead of doing the really wise thing and ask Him what it is he has for me. I should know better by now. I'm glad I have this picture to remind me. The shack discussion guide, The shack study guide.