Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Lessons from the Kennel

I have a three-year-old Yorkie who answers to the name Kramer and looks something like a feather duster. He is a five pound powerhouse of barking and charging but when he finally surrounds his helpless prey, he only licks and sniffs. Sometimes I call him a stupid little dust bunny, to his face, but I always use a nice tone so he just licks me as if I have bestowed some great honor upon him. The thing about my little mutt is that he knows me so well. He anticipates my every move and is always careful not to get in my way. As soon as he sees me sit somewhere he races to me so he can cuddle up in my lap, staking his claim as the favorite in the house. And he expects only good things from me. He sits expectantly upon returning from his dirty deed in the yard knowing that a treat awaits his obedience and, on the occasions that I must chastise him, he rolls over on his back and faces me, taking it like a man.
Would to God that I could consistently relate to my Lord in the way that my little fuzzball relates to me. Psalm 32:8 says "I will give you knowledge, teaching you the way to go; my eye will be your guide." If I keep my gaze locked in on His face, His eyes, I will know all that I need to know. If, like Kramer, I would expect only good from my Master, and sit before Him, waiting with confidence for the rewards that will come from Him, well, surely that is the essence of the "peace that passes all understanding." I know we were given dominion over the animals, but sometimes I could swear that my dog is wiser than I!


Monday, January 28, 2008

Who's Knocking?

I have had some strange things happen to me but this is high on my list of "you have got to be kidding me". Three days ago I was in my living room when I heard an unusual knock at my front door. It was pretty light and very rapid and it sent my little Yorkie into his usual fits of barking when someone comes over. I wasn't expecting anyone so my oldest son went to the door and peered through the glass. He saw no one but again we heard the knocking. He threw the door open and saw this crazy little squirrel run from our porch out across the yard. Jacob was convinced that the squirrel was knocking on our door but I just thought he was messing with my head since that is one of his favorite pastimes. So then yesterday afternoon I heard the same odd knocking at my door and this time I went to answer it. Sure enough, as I opened the front door, a squirrel with his hands full drops his acorns and takes off across my front yard. Now, I have to say, the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses have come calling and left me some pretty strange literature, but never has a squirrel beat on my door with an acorn and then run.
So why and I writing about this? Can't say for sure. Victor Borge once said that "laughter is the shortest distance between two people", so perhaps you and I are alot closer if we can both laugh at the nuts that have shown up at my front door!


Friday, January 25, 2008

The Elevation of Others

"Any ministry that lives to itself and builds for itself will die by itself. The father in ministry is not threatened by the rise of the son's ministry above his own. Instead, he rejoices that he had a part in the development of something greater than he could have ever dreamed possible." Dr. Mark Hamby wrote this in one of his books on discipleship and I was given such a beautiful picture of this principle of selflessness this past weekend. I was at FDM's annual Breakaway retreat with some of the most amazing people on the planet. I am privileged to work with a group of leaders who understand the Kingdom principle of "esteeming others as more important than themselves" as outlined in Philippians 2. Often times, when you put together a team of strong, capable leaders, you see the jockeying for position born of the sinful pride that so often lurks below the surface of humanity. We want to be seen for what we can do and to be esteemed publicly.
One particular example was evident with our worship band. Simple Fool was there to lead worship and, as always, I was moved by the touch of God on these minstrels. Three of the band members are brothers and I watched them throughout the weekend as they led God's children into the sweetest of worship. They are all gifted musicians who can play any and every instrument (a gifting that God did not see fit to bestow on me!). They all switched around and played different instruments, two of the brothers taking turns leading, and filling the gap where necessary. One brother injured his shoulder during the football game (boys will always be boys) and when he returned from the hospital, got up on stage and resumed his duty. Seamless, unobtrusive movements in leadership. These guys were just doing what they were created to do and gave no thought to who should be playing what, and who should be out front in leadership. Just sons and daughters doing as the Lord would have them with no thought of themselves.

The elevation of others is, as Philippians 2:5 says, the very attitude of Jesus. God help us all to live lives that are Jesus-focused and others-oriented. Give us hearts that do backflips when recognition and honor go to the one beside us while we remain in the shadows.


Thursday, January 24, 2008


Have you ever had a dream, a dream you were so consumed by, and yet it seemed more elusive than winning an Oscar? I dream big dreams because I figure, why not? You really only get one chance so you might as well make it count. Henry Ford once said "You can't build a legacy on what you are going to do." Pretty profound in it's simplicity. So, I asked God if this could be the year that I run headlong into my big dream. I want to leave a mark like Oswald Chambers left a mark. I am different today because of the things he wrote....not just inspired or enlightened...different. Will God use you to make generations after you different, more like Him? Lord, let this be the year!