Meandering Towards God

I am a pretty typical American leader.  I believe that people should not have meetings unless there are reasons for the meetings.  I believe that an agenda should be created and followed.  I believe that goals should be set, monitored and met.  I create a worship order and try to stick with it every Sunday.  I was taught that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Except often we miss God in the formal structures and straight lines.  Today at a prayer breakfast, we were given a message about Moses.  In Chapter 3 of Exodus, we read:  Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.  There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.  So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”  The part that was brought up this morning (and I never caught before) was the last sentence.  When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look…bible_moses_bush

Moses could have kept going, but he not only noticed but took the time to go back and see this amazing burning bush.  How often do we just keep on going, trying to keep up our to-do lists, goals and agendas?  How often do we miss out on God’s great works because we are too busy being productive, goal-oriented people?

While hearing this, I immediately thought of my daughter.  One day she asked if we could go to the park to play.  And so to the park we went.  Now in my orderly mind this is simple.  Leave house, go down the street, make a right turn, follow that street to the end then make a left turn, follow that street to the park.  Enter park, play, have fun, go home.  Simple, isn’t it?  But to my five year old daughter, getting there is half the fun.  She stops and looks at flowers.  She stops and looks at rocks and stones.  She marvels at God’s creation.  She wants to stop at the neighbor’s wishing well and sit on the neighbor’s bench.  She sees something in the clouds.  She hears something that she likes.  She experiences God’s world in a way that we “big people” keep forgetting.  And so, after cajoling her to get moving, I stop.  And I look.  And I listen.  And I see God’s handiwork all around me, especially in the wonder and love of my daughter.

And so all of you hard working, goal oriented, task achieving type “a” personalities like me, take a lesson from my daughter.  Stop and look at a rock.  Then take a lesson from God’s word.  If you see something wondrous, go to it.  Who knows, maybe God will speak with you.

May God bless you abundantly,




The New Normal

Those words echo in my head while watching news about the shooting at the Naval Yard in Washington DC.  A law enforcement expert was interviewed and essentially said that these type shootings are a part of the “new normal”.

My heart goes out to those who were hurt and to their loved ones.  My heart breaks every time one of these incidents happens – and they seem to be happening more frequently. People get angry and upset and the “new normal” says to shoot.

Of course the national debate over new gun laws will occur – with the same predictable results.  Advocates of new laws will make their impassioned pleas while those against new laws will make their rebuttals.  But in the end, people have been hurt and killed.  Families will live without loved ones.  Lives will be irreparably harmed.  And we scratch our heads and say “what is going on in this world?”

We live in a world of amorality.  Nothing matters anymore.  Rules only count if we like them, we can live any way we want without concern for others and nobody is allowed to declare a specific truth.  This is the “new normal”.  And it is wrong.  God is the ultimate truth and he has spoken with some basic rules for us.

Mark 12:28-31

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.

Love does not mean “anything goes”.  Love does not mean “who cares how you live your life as long as it doesn’t affect me.”  Love is about serving one another and caring for one another.  In these difficult days of the “new normal”, let us not forget what our Lord teaches us.  Let us instead live out our lives everyday with love guiding us.  And if someone is showing signs of anger, or their lives are going out of control, step in with love.  Maybe you are called to change the “new normal.”

May God bless us and keep us.

We Remember

Do you remember?

Where were you 12 years ago today?  I was working in industrial sales, covering the office when I got a call “something is going on in New   York.”  I turned on the television to see the images that we all remember so well.  The unthinkable happened – a huge, well choreographed attack on the United States.  I, with most of the nation, was stunned as I watched the news.  As our service technicians called in, I told them to finish up and go home.

Later that afternoon the church called saying there would be a prayer service.  And so we all gathered together, confused, scared and angry.  And we took all of that to the Lord.  The following Sunday nearly every church in America was packed with worshippers, for when there is no where else to turn, we turn to God.

Today, 12 years later, we remember.  We remember the horrific images of the twin towers falling.  We remember the smoke blackened faces of the emergency workers as they valiantly strived to save lives.  We remember the sadness on the face of those seeking their loved ones in the buildings.  We remember the heroes of flight 93 as they sacrificed their lives stopping one of the planes.  We remember the American flag being lifted up, for no country, no group, or no person can keep this nation down.  And we remember to pray.  We remember to give God thanks for the blessings of this nation.

 “While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer. ”

God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.