Grape Scissors

There are 100 pairs of grape scissors at the bottom of the ocean.

I had to look it up.  I found this video on YouTube about grape scissors and Stephen Fry:

So what are they doing at the bottom of the ocean?

104 years and 6 days ago the Titanic sank.  Among its inventory was 7000 heads of lettuce, 1500 champagne glasses, and 100 pair of grape scissors.

I wonder how many pair were used during the above water part of the journey of the Titanic.  Hmm…

They are safe and secure at the bottom of the ocean.  Why weren’t they saved?

In the midst of fatal tragedy, no husband looked at his wife and said, “Quick, before you get on this life raft, run to the kitchen and get some grape scissors.  Save as many as you can!”

They are pretty cool to have if you like grapes, but grape scissors will not save your life in iceberg infested waters.  That is why they are at the bottom of the ocean instead of in a life raft.

There is a lot of stuff in my life – really cool, historic, shiny stuff.  I like to have cool stuff.   I think there are some grape scissors in my soul.

That stuff cannot save my life.  It is nice to have, but I am not going to grab it when the ship starts sinking.  

That makes me wonder: If I am not going to use it, and eventually I’m just going to let it sink, why do I bother with that stuff at all?

Maybe I will stop getting grape scissors for my soul and start investing in a raft.

John 11:25 “Jesus said, ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life.  The one that believes in Me will live, even though they die.”

Come by and talk to me sometime – I can show you how to invest in the Resurrection.

No A1

They have this great cafeteria at our resort hotel.  All kinds of great food.  The kids were getting pizza and chicken fingers and Mac and cheese,  I needed a hamburger.  

No – a bacon cheese burger with fries.  Carnivores rejoice!

I sat down with my family and immediately recognized the need for auxiliary stuff.  We needed napkins and forks and ketchup…  So I made a trip to the center island. 

Ketchup is fine for fries, but I needed something even bolder.  I prefer A1 Steak Sauce to make a great burger into an awesome adventure for the senses.  It will wake you up.  They had ranch, mustard, blue cheese…  No A1.  No bold.  No awesome adventure.

How do you look at God?

Is God the cafeteria?  A little something for everyone.  He can satisfy your immediate need so you are not hungry.  He can take care of the here and now.  Always there with what most people want.  

I’m just going to go ahead and leave this word here for you to think about:  BORING.

Or is God the A1?  Bold.  Adventurous.  Different.  Unpopular.  Delicious.

Joshua told the people of God, “Choose ye this day whom you will serve…”  Who will you choose today?

Be careful if you are choosing something that everyone else chooses – it might not be the bold for which you are looking.  And believe me, God is bold.  He will change your face and wake you up, but you CANNOT FIND HIM AT EVERY CAFETERIA.

Safety First, Or Ninth… Or Last

  I would have loved to ski with her but she asked so sweetly…  “Please can I ski down by myself, please?”  The second please was placed strategically.

Robbin and I agreed:  You can ski down the mountain, but we will be right there watching you.  And you must wait for us at this spot.  And not too fast.  And don’t take any candy from strangers.  And don’t vote without doing research.  And stay away from red meteors.  And test the water with your feet before diving in.  Be safe!

She was not safe.

Please do not misunderstand.  She was watched, guarded, prayed for, hoped for…
She skied down without falling, breaking, crying, or losing anything…
She had fun – but she was not safe.

Safe would have been to take her home, put her to bed, and lock all the doors.  Instead, she skied.

We traded safe for adventure and growth.

We want to keep our kids safe.  We want to be safe.  There is nothing wrong with either.  But sometimes we have to ask ourselves what we want more:  LIFE, or safe?

God places two people in the Garden of Eden that He knows are going to disobey.  Life or safe?
Jesus eats the Last Supper with Judas, even shares His cup (Matthew 26:23). Life or safe?
Saul the murderous zealot turned Paul the apostle sings in prison (Acts 16:25). Life or safe?

Jesus will protect you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. His eyes watch over the earth so He may strongly support those whose hearts are completely His (2 Chronicles 16:9).

But it will not be safe.

Jesus, grow me up. Get me out of bed and unlock the doors. One day or ten thousand more, I want life!

John 14:6-7

Rejecting Quiet Time

I put both boys down for some quiet time today.  Daniel seemed to embrace it.  He took one final sip of water, grabbed his blanket, and hid his head in the recesses of slumber.  I watched him long enough to know that he was tired and his eyes were closed.
Five minutes later…

If you work with children, or humans, you know how life-altering five minutes can be.

Five minutes later I hear the door to his room.  It opens.  It closes.  I think I survived!

Nope.  He is rejecting quiet time.  Daniel is sitting outside of his room.  He is talking to himself.  Now he is yelling for me.  Now he is pushing a toy tractor around the room.

Life moves pretty fast around the mindscape of a 20 month old.  

Oh I know why he does it.  There is so much to do – so much to see – so much to distract.

I get distracted as well.  Maybe we all do?  

Here is an election.  Here is a tsunami.  Here is a church service.  Here is a toy tractor in the hands of a son that should be sleeping.

Are you rejecting quiet time too?  It is so easy even a two-year-old can do it.

What are the benefits to putting down the distraction and being silent?  Just for a little bit.  Try five minutes.  Try stopping.  Try listening.  Try meditating.  (And try helping me convince my Daniel.) (Try helping God convince me.)

Thomas Merton said, “If you love truth, be a lover of silence.”

Proverbs 17:28 “Even a fool, when he keeps silent is considered wise…”  

Today, Jesus, help me not reject quiet time.  Help me hear You.


Peanut Butter on the Ceiling

Every day when I got home I would watch a show called “321 Contact”.
Often, 321 Contact would feature a story about the amazing Spider-Man.
Spidey could shoot webs from his hands and do flips on command and…

Climb up walls and on ceilings.

Guess who wanted to be Spider-Man.

The problem:  Spider-Man was bitten by a radio active spider.  I would have to come up with a different catalyst.  I chose the stickiest substance I knew – peanut butter – and put it all over my fingers.  Then I tried to crawl across the ceiling.  In retrospect, I probably should have tried creamy peanut butter instead of crunchy, but the adventure was TOTALLY WORTH IT!

A smattering of peanut butter on the ceiling is the proof of the power of hope.

Hope fuels faith.

Today, my desire to emulate Spider-Man has diminished, but my HOPE has GROWN.

I hope to look like Jesus.

This hope does not require peanut butter.  It requires a heart.  It requires a mind.  It requires a life.

I used the whole jar of peanut butter to accomplish my goal of being like Spidey.
I will use my whole life to look like Christ.

Let me invite you to hear the story of a Hero.  His name is Jesus and He has changed my life.  I will never look just like Him, and I will always try to look just like Him.

A smattering of my old life is proof of the power of His transformation.  And that transformation is TOTALLY WORTH IT!

Want to try something better than walking across your ceiling?  Come meet this Jesus.


Technically he is skiing.  He has skis on his feet.  He is on the snow.  He is dressed like a skier.  He is moving downhill at a speed greater than walking.  Technically…

Technically he is skiing, but we are just experiencing the foreshadow of a skier.  Someday, Daniel will strap on his own boots and skis.  He will ride the chair lift on his own and find a patch of white gold far away from the magic carpet training facility.  He will fly down the mountain with speed and a smile.  Mom and dad will be in the background praying for safety – knowing that we cannot supply it anymore.  He will be unencumberred until he reaches the beginning of the mountain and then, he will begin again.

Technically he is skiing.  Someday though, he will be skiing!

I hope.  I hope Daniel does not settle for technically.  I hope he explores the limits and boundaries of being on the mountain.  I hope he refuses to be guarded at every turn.  I hope he wants to do this for himself.  I hope he sees how much I like skiing and falls more in love with it than I.

All of us live, technically.  But not all of us live.  

We look like we have life.  We breathe, we smile, we speak.  We walk around with people we love and hope for the best.  We are living.  Technically… 

We feel, however, in our hearts an absence.  Something is holding us from full life.

To those that are hurting with this emptiness, I have experienced one truth:

Life with Jesus Christ as your Lord is living to the fullest.  John 10:10

You may not believe me.  I didn’t believe it the first time I heard it either.  So watch me.  Watch closely.  Ask questions.  Today might be the day that you strap on your skis and experience life.  I hope you do.


Jesus, do not let us settle for technically.  Amen.

Smiling in the Storm

A family came up to me at the reception and the 4 year old asked, “How come you and Ben’s mom and dad were smiling during the funeral?”

Ben passed away a month ago.  He would be married and 33 this year.  All of our questions lead to one heartbreaking question:  why?

Mitch and Lynne did not dwell on that question.  They have a confidence, a boldness.  They KNOW one thing as they think of their son:  There is more in Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:1  ”For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

God is not done with you after yesterday.  

Did you make mistakes yesterday?  God is not done.   Did you excel at everything?  God is not done.  Did you hope, lose hope, fear, love, fly or fall? 

God has another present under the tree for you; another egg hidden in the yard.  It is better than all the others.  It is Jesus.

Jesus has no tombstone, no grave, but He does have a house…for you.

And that is why we smile in the storm.

Ben, see you later!

A Good Substitute

The sky is clear tonight.  No clouds.  Stars shining passionately as if someone threw a handful of diamonds on a search light.

And the moon…  So bright I can walk around the house without worrying about the myriad of Legos looking to bite the arch of my foot.  The moon has embraced our house all week with warm light.  It has been our guide for glasses of water and kid’s coughs.  We can see better.  We can see OK because of the moon.

Then the dawn.

In this mountain town, clear sky, reflecting snow, and thin air, the sun burst forth with a power indescribable.  It causes temporary blindness in all visitors from the south.  The sun clings to our eyes with relentless burn.  Tears fall when the sun wakes.

The moon is a stone.  The sun is a flame.

Sometimes we get so accustomed to the substitute that we forget about the power of the real thing.

Does this happen in your world too?

People hurting, friends dying, dreams almost coming true, 80%,  “mostly what I wanted”, a decent relationship – It is what it is.  Better get used to it.

Mediocrity is a substitute god.  We worship the stone and think it is the flame.

Then the Dawn.

Revelation 2:4 warns the church, “You have forgotten your first love.”

I am pulled constantly – you too – because we do not belong here.  We love the substitute and have forgotten that there is something better than this life.  But I have good news:  

The Son is about to shine.

There is something better than this.  Do not forget.  Do not close your eyes.  And do not get too attached to the pale moonlight.

Jesus, rescue us from this good substitute.  Amen.

Happy Birthday, Princess


The date I was born changed my life forever.

I met my wife at a camp about five years before we saw each other again.  After our first meeting, we would talk with each other about once a year.  We would catch up and remember with each other.  We would talk about dreams and renew our friendship on that one day every year.  

Once a year.  Today.  Her birthday.  My birthday.  Our birthday.

Then she married me.  (For those of you wondering, no, we did not get married on our birthday.  Though I would have loved that because, how easy would it have been to remember my anniversary???)

Today we have been married for 9 years, 8 months, and 15 days.  Just a drop in the bucket compared to the 92 years (or so) that I plan on being married to her.

I don’t think I am very “easy” to be in love with.  I am stubborn and self-centered.  I like to be alone.  I could watch Star Wars 24 hours a day.  (There’s more, but I will let you fill in the blanks.)

BUT…  She continues to love me.  She treats me like Jesus treats me.  She likes talking to me.  She listens to me even when I can feel myself talking too much and she never complains, “This is all about you.”  She hurts when I hurt and she smiles when I smile.  She tickles me so she can hear me laugh.  She loves me.

She is more than I deserve.

We have grown more in love and there is one very important reason.  Today, we do not rely on our birthday to bring us close to each other.  Today, we rely on God.  That is why Robbin loves me the way she does.  His love for her builds her love for me.  Ask me about it sometime.  Ask her.

She loves me because of who God is.

I am amazed and you will be too.  Turn your love over to God and see what happens.

Every Time

We cannot pass a parking meter in this town without Joshua begging us…  “Daddy, can I check for money?”

Weirdest thing is this:  most of the time he finds a coin.  

I realize that is probably an exaggeration.  It feels like it should be an exaggeration.  How is it possible that he keeps finding this money?  He told me and his mom tonight that he found a dime and we both responded, “Of course you did.”  I am more surprised when he does not find something.

So he keeps looking in those meters.  And because he keeps looking, he keeps finding.

My son might be a millionaire by the time he is 30 on found money alone.

This is how it feels to follow Jesus.

When I pursue God, I find God.  When I look for the power of Jesus, I find it.  I am actually surprised if I talk to God and do not hear from Him.  He is that faithful – nope, He is much more faithful than that.

Jeremiah, the prophet, wrote God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

It feels like an exaggeration doesn’t it?  Every time?  

Yep.  Every time.

Maybe today is the day you seek God with all your heart.  I promise you will find Him.  I have that much confidence in God’s Word.  Need help?  Give me a call and we will find Him together.