Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!


My prayer and hope for you in 2008 is that the Holy Spirit will convince you—more than ever—that Jesus has done everything for you, has given everything to you, and, because He's now in you, will do everything for you.

Christ in you, the hope of glory! In 2008, and always.

To that end I also labor with Him. I'm a fortunate man.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Calvin & Hobbs

My thanks to the friends who sent these timely comics. I enjoy them. (If you are unable to see them properly, just click on the picture and it will open in a new, larger window.)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

On The Way Home

Strange things happen when Santa's all done and headin' home.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Day After

It's a beautiful day after Christmas, here in the Rocky Mountains. We received about a half inch of snow on Christmas day, giving us an official White Christmas. I took the above picture of ice crystals on our friend's windshield this morning when it was 9 degrees Fahrenheit. Chilly!

And it just so happened that my wife and I took our girls and a friend to see Irving Berlin's, "White Christmas," on Monday, Christmas Eve! A coincidence? We don't think so. . .It has been great. Going to see the musical and then having snow on Christmas was wonderful.

Anyway, we'll be seriously playing together for the next few days, and "exercising" via our new Wii. It's a work out! And, of course, we didn't get it because of the games and fun--no. We got it because of the exercise we'll get playing it. We think of it as an investment. Right?

Right.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Dazzled at Christmas!

May you know the stunning measure of God's grace to you in Christ, the power of His love, and the delight of His life this Christmas.

Now and every day, what is it that teaches and enables us?

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good." (Titus 2:11-14)

Our hope for you is that you remain dazzled by His grace! What is it that we work for? Both to keep ourselves in the knowledge of His love and grace (dazzled), and to assist you toward the same—dazzled.

Dazzled works!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve Scurry


It's Christmas Eve, and around my house, we're scurrying.

No, there's no last minute shopping--we've been done for a few days now. But we're sort of hiding from each other so we can wrap presents, make cards (a tradition around here), and assess our readiness for tomorrow.

Every now and then we kind of bump into each other--"Mom?! Where's the tape?"--or--"Someone has to vacuum the living room!"--or--"We have to be ready to go at 12:45!" My daughters don't know it, but we're heading to Denver today to see a performance of Irving Berlin's "White Christmas." Sarah and I are really excited to take them. Two years ago we saw The Rockettes' Christmas, and it was fantastic.

So, a-scurrying we will go. . .all the way through Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Fake!

It's the weekend--you know what that means. Time to goof around a bit. My thanks to those who send me these funny comics.

I hope you're enjoying the run-up to Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Why Fruitcake?

I'm posting some Christmas funnies because I like 'em. If they're twisted, so much the better. I know, I know--they've got nothing to do with my blog's stated theme, but they are funny. Can that be enough?

And about this one, I don't actually want to be honest, but, well, I must. My wife likes fruitcake. A tragedy. I weep.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Really Glad Dad

My daughter just did one of those things that make me a glad dad—really glad.

While I was sitting at my desk, she opened the study door and walked calmly over to me. She wasn’t overly animated or particularly dramatic as she can often be when life requires her to burst into my study. “Daddy, guess what?! You won’t believe this, but. . .” Not this time.

She simply looked at me and said softly, “You know why I like reading my Bible, Daddy? I feel really good when I do. I just feel great. Hmmmmmm.” She stared off into space for a bit, and then titled her head thoughtfully, blinked a few times and left.

Marvelous.

We don’t require Bible reading from our girls. Pardon me if that shocks you, but we talk about God and what the Bible says all the time. All the time. The Bible and God are totally relevant in our days. But Sarah and I count upon the Holy Spirit’s conforming of our daughters—He promises to do it. And on this morning I saw it. He is giving His daughter the appetite that pleases her and Him most.

Romans 8:29 says, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Sometimes Sarah and I have a front row seat on His predestined conforming work with our daughters. They’re finding His work and life within them is the best of this world, and that will induce them to want to be transformed (a cousin of conformed) by the renewing of their minds (Rom 12:2). Reading the Bible will be a delight and not a chore.

And I’m a really glad dad.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Salt & Leeches


Have you ever seen The African Queen? Starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, it’s a film classic, one I’ve seen lots of times if you count seeing it in bits and pieces.

A part I’ll never forget—probably because it’s so gross—is when Charlie (Bogart) pulls the boat through acrid swamp water, clogged with muck and reeds and algae and bugs and crocodiles. The worst part of it? Leeches. I hate ‘em. Because Charlie and Rose (Hepburn) are riveted upon their destination, the slimy, blood sucking critters latch on to him without his knowing. When Charlie climbs back into the boat for a break, there they are, in all their awful sycophant glory. Horrors. I hate leeches.

Ever ready, Rose applies salt to the bloodsuckers, which don’t take kindly to it at all, and regretfully drop off. (Side note: the film could have been better if, like snails, the leeches had gone all bubbly from the salt. Opportunity missed? I think so.) Rose and Charlie knew that if they were to proceed toward their goal of freedom, they had to momentarily break their focus and deal with the life-sapping leeches.

Yesterday I noticed there were some leeches hanging on me.

Simply, what was leading me through my day was not Jesus, but a crude, almost unrecognizable form of legalism. This time of year produces a bumper crop of standards and behaviors by which to measure oneself—and I was. I wasn’t entirely into Christmas joy and all that, so my family couldn’t be, either. I hadn’t done enough to secure Emma’s gerbil, Despereaux, so he was killed. I wasn’t properly shepherding my girls, reading to them and praying with them. I wasn’t encouraging my wife enough. I hadn’t written or called or emailed enough people, and God knows how tragic that is(!). Sheesh.

Do you see it? In each case there was a perfect “A” I could get on the report card of my day, and in the fleshly estimation of that perceived goal, I fell short. I didn’t bother to check with God. After all, wasn’t it true?! I mean, look at the evidence! So why check?

Leeches. I had ‘em all over me.

So last night, almost in a ritualistic way, I climbed out of the routine boat of my day, and said a few fairly meaningless words to God. “Hey, Lord. How’s your day? Ready for Christmas?” or something like that. And perhaps because I didn’t come to Him carrying my deserved condemnation, but my weary carcass only, He began to lift and free me of worldly estimations. For the 905,000 time I remembered—God is my life and peace and freedom and rest and joy and love. I do not live well by what I do (which is not to say it’s unimportant), but by who I know. When what I’m doing is influenced and fed by that (life by the Spirit), it’s all good.

Damn the leeches.

You and I have been made free in Christ—stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. . .you, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh;. . .(Gal 5:1, 13) The “yoke of slavery” or the indulgence of the flesh threatening the Galatians wasn’t drunkenness or cheating or lust, it was life by measurements, life by standards on the way to getting the “A” on life’s report card. Trouble was, they already had it! But Satan had induced them to believe that life by checklist was better than life by knowing and trusting Christ—God for us and God with us and God in us. As long as they believed they weren’t yet free, weren’t yet good enough, hadn’t yet done enough, or hadn’t received absolutely everything from God for entirely nothing, living was a mucky, leech filled swamp.

If that’s where you are, get some salt—you’ve got leeches.

Do almost anything toward God, with Him in mind (cook a meal, sing a song, read a verse, tie your shoe), and see what He does for you—the inside you. He is “the way, the truth, and the life,” and He loves being that for you, since He made you a perfect place for Himself.

Take a moment and stop pulling so hard. You are His boat—He’ll do the pulling. And He’ll mix salt with your leeches.

Christmas Twists

Yes, I like twisted humor. Well, okay—I have twisted humor. When a funny offers a twisted take on a tradition or on some sort of notable classic, I think it’s particularly clever. And I enjoy inflicting it upon you, blog reader.

Like this—

Santa HO-HO'S and NO-NO'S


I enjoyed this and thought you would, too. It's by Peter Chianca, and you can go to his blog here. It's a good one.

To: Mall Santas
From: Management

Welcome aboard in your new role as one of "Santa's Helpers." Please review the following guidelines carefully, so that the mall and its patrons can have a happy, healthy and non-litigious holiday season.

1.) As you've no doubt heard, "Ho Ho Ho" is no longer considered an acceptable holiday greeting, having been deemed potentially offensive to women and gardeners. The substitute "Ha Ha Ha" has also been banned, as it is possibly damaging to a child's self-esteem. Also, Santas overheard saying "Merry Christmas" will be summarily removed from the premises. Instead, we recommend you listen attentively to the children, nod, and affect a blank stare devoid of any emotion, particularly fear. They can sense fear.

2.) Please keep in mind that not all children believe in Santa Claus or celebrate Christmas. However, please make no attempt to determine this based on physical cues, such as yarmulkes or "Proud Jehovah's Witness" T-shirts, as this would be considered profiling. If you have any questions, please consult the mall's attorney, who will be standing behind the fake snowman.

3.) Plump Santas are no longer considered "jolly." Instead, they serve as a bleak reminder of our nation's struggle with obesity and are a poor role model to our increasingly overweight and inactive children. Please make every effort to appear slim and fit, and to encourage children to leave you celery and soy products rather than cookies and hot chocolate on Christmas Eve.

4.) Please do not promise children that Santa will bring them anything in particular, as promising a gift that the parents cannot afford or do not approve of could result in a lengthy and expensive lawsuit. Be pleasant but non-committal. If the child is persistent, try to distract him with one of the celery sticks we now give out in lieu of candy canes; if that doesn't work, send him behind the snowman to speak to the attorney.

5.) It has been deemed inappropriate, and a serious legal risk, to have children sitting on a strange bearded man's lap. This year the children will sit on a stool, separated from you by a sheet of soundproof Plexiglas. This also serves the purpose of keeping you from being able to hear their gift requests (see No. 4).

6.) The concept of elves has been determined to be offensive to a host of protected groups, including little people, pointy-eared people and people with high squeaky voices. However, so as to give you the support you need, we are looking at several possible replacements. Right now we're leaning toward attorneys.

We're sure that if you follow these simple guidelines you will succeed in making the children's visits with Santa as unremarkable and non-offensive as possible. Welcome aboard the team here at the mall, and have a merry ... a happy ... Oh, whatever.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Shopping All Done?

This video came to me from a friend who shall go nameless—he may need protection. It's entitled, "Menopausal Women." I like it. . .a lot, in a sort of twisted way.

During this peak-season of happy consumerism, I think it's all about what shopping can do to us. What do you think?

Happy shopping!

video

Ah, Yes

If brevity is the essence of whit, this ought to do it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

YWAM Memorial

The memorial for the two YWAMers murdered late last week was everything you would want it to be. It was deep, it was shallow, it was funny, it was sad--we laughed and we cried. A lot.

Phillip's father and sister spoke, as well as a couple of friends and his pastor. All essentially painted a picture of the Phillip I knew. He was zealous about life, and whatever he jumped into, he went in all the way--over his head. He did and tried things because he wanted to see if he could do them. If he thought he could, he went after it, no matter what.

I was deeply moved by Tiffany Johnson's family and friends, who spoke of a young woman that loved widely and freely, and who lived fully. I wish I had known her. I was jealous that I hadn't.

One other marvel. Tiffany's family (there must have been fifteen people on the stage) revealed that they were that afternoon meeting with the father and mother of the murderer. They were going to tell Mr. and Mrs. Murray that they were not responsible for their son's actions, and that the Johnson family in no way held them accountable. Further, Tiffany's family had forgiven their son for his heinous act.

Dear God, what love. Clearly, the Johnson family knows God--what He's like and how He works and how He loves in us and through us.

These are wonderful, marvelous people, and that was obvious at the memorial. As difficult as it was, I loved the day.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Despereaux Is Gone

Emma was magnificent. I told her I had something difficult to tell her, and that I wanted her to trust me about it.

She teared up, got a little perturbed with Despereaux ("He always tries to get out--bet he wishes he hadn't now. . ."), and we prayed together. "Jesus, we know you care about everything. So we ask that if it would be great with you, would you heal Despereaux? And if it would be better for him to go on, would you make it easy for him?"

She was great and settled with that.

She then looked at him (I had prepared her) and talked with him--"Ohhhh, Despereaux, I'm sorry you got out. . ." She also talked with Chester ("Don't lie on him, Chester! He's not well. Get off Despereaux!"), and did the best she could to get it all secure. I took her to school.

Chuckling to myself, I called the Vet. She said I could bring him in and that they would comfort him and/or put him out of his misery, but I opted out. It's not that he's just a gerbil; after all, he's Emma's gerbil. It's that I thought he had as good a chance here as he did there.

And Despereaux just now died.

So, we'll have more time together after Emma gets home from school. This isn't easy, but it's a kind of good. Emma and I were together in Despereaux's rescue, and we'll be together in this, too. I won't tell her what to feel or what to say, but we'll talk. I'm sure we'll navigate fault and blame, and, hopefully, remain in the knowledge that God is correct about this life--it often doesn't work. So we've got to know Him and help each other through the hurt.

We'll do that.

Emma's Despereaux

Well, it seems Emma's going to have to go through some trauma after all, and I'll be with her in it. Despereaux got out again, only this time our dog met him and did what you'd suppose a dog would do.

I have yet to tell Emma, who is sleeping late today before school. I am about to go and wake her and tell her. The Spirit has been telling me to simply be with her in this, so that's what I'll do, humbly and meekly. My hope is that we'll know God together in this.

I'll post back and share how it goes.

Ugh.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Memorial

Well, I'm off to the memorial for the YWAM people killed by Matthew Murray early Sunday morning. I expect it to be a somber, yet terrific morning with God's people acknowledging the sovereignty and grace of God.

I'll post later to tell you about it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's OK To Pick A Nose

For some it's OK to pick your nose, don't you think? Not for me, not for you. . .but for some.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pleasing Judge Daddy

I caught my daughter trying too hard to please me. I didn’t like it.

One day last week I noticed that most every approach she made to me included a desire for something other than to please me. She had come to doubt that I was pleased with her simply because she was actually pleasing to me. So she began the ugly attempt to earn it.

She cleaned up her breakfast stuff (plates, containers, glass, etc.) and announced loudly, “Well, that’s done.” She told me she was mad at one of her classmates that doesn’t believe in Jesus, but who instead believes in the elephant God. “He’s such an idiot! I mean, c’mon—the elephant god?! That’s ridiculous. Right, dad?” She offered to get me a glass of water and to bring the morning paper to me. And she chattered incessantly about topics and viewpoints she thought I’d like. It was like she was creating evidence and at the same time verbally building a really strong case that she was, in fact, pleasing. “Here’s the evidence before you, Judge Daddy, and here’s why it’s proof that I am pleasing.”

What really got my attention was that I began to grow weary of being with her. I thought, “Good thing school starts in a half hour.”

Now, I absolutely love my daughter—I know it, and so does virtually anyone and everyone around the two of us. Ask them, they’ll tell you. It’s obvious. But what I didn’t like was what was happening to my girl because she wasn’t sure, having been listening to the mind of the flesh, or to the whisperings of the enemy. Her approach and involvement with me was no longer because she just had to be with me, you know, really wanted to be with me because it meant fun and goodness and delight and laughter and unity. She came to me to prove something—“See, daddy? I’m good. I’m faithful. You like me, right?"—as if I didn’t agree with her.

I know there are lots of people who would say, “Well, Ralph, you haven’t been spending enough time with her, you haven’t had enough quality time with her, you need to brush-up on your daddy skills.” But I didn’t care about any of that, neither did I sense the Holy Spirit saying it to me. (I think we too often out-think the Spirit, instead of just wanting to know what He’s saying and doing.) I wanted to be with my girl, so I spent what seemed like all day with her on my lap. We watched movies and silly kids shows, ate breakfast and lunch together, talked about her friends and not-so-much friends, and more.

And you know what happened? She figured it out. Now she seeks me out when we’re home together (she was just in my lap five minutes ago) because she likes being with me, and she knows I like being with her.

Moral of the story? I think we sometimes get used to approaching God while wondering the same thing—“See, Daddy? I’m good. I’m faithful. You like me, right?” If we don’t hear or sense anything bad from God, we move off, settling for half satisfaction. I want to suggest that you forego the effort to prove to God that you’re good or lovable or faithful—“See, Daddy?”—and that, instead, you ask God what He thinks of you. He’s really good at loving us without our having done anything to deserve it. Remember? Didn’t He love you like crazy before you had done anything good anyway? I’ll bet the same thing goes for now, too. You've got nothing to prove, nothing to earn.

Believing that we need to prove ourselves to God sets us up for a lifetime of fear and distance from Him. We may come to believe that He only likes us after we’ve done something heroic or Biblical, but not until, not unless. And that’s nuts.

So, how about approaching God as though He loves you at least as much as He did before you were His, before He made you holy and blameless, as well as the home in which He now dwells.

Have a go at it, and see what Daddy does. I bet you'll be pleased.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

All Grown Up


This is Philip Crouse, a man I knew who was murdered early this morning, Saturday, Dec. 8. While I didn't know him well, I spent some three days with him and fifteen or so other leaders at the YWAM Arvada base last spring while teaching my series, "Putting Amazing Back Into Grace." I knew him to be a funny, zealous, and quirky kind of guy, who also had a deep interest in language and the grace of God.

Back in April he shared with me that he was headed to Kazakhstan, whenever God brought that about. And I am told that in the last six months or so, he was really growing up in Christ.

Think how grown up he is now.

And Now, More

There has now been a shooting at a church about an hour and a half south of the YWAM base, at New Life Church near Colorado Springs. I know people there, too, one of whom was on security detail this morning. He left the lot not five minutes before the shooting, and has now turned around and gone back into the pursuit and investigation. (His name is Gene--pray for him?)

Whew.

Have to wonder if they're related more than on the spiritual side of things. . .which is THE side of things.

What will come of this? Hmm. . .

Oh, No.

This is tough.

I received a call at about 1:00 a.m. this morning from a dear friend and staff member at the YWAM base in nearby Arvada, CO. She told me that four staff members had just been shot by an intruder. Looking out her window from across the street, she described a surreal scene of police and dogs combing the neighborhood, which had just received five inches of snow.

In phone calls since, I learned that a young man I knew had been murdered, as well as a young lady. The two who were wounded, while critical, are in stable condition.

Would you pray about all this?

The effects will be as far reaching as you can imagine. Because I have a close and longtime relationship with a number of people at the base (including two great friends and members of our home church), I may be visiting with them in the days ahead.

One of them emailed me this morning and included this note:

I can't help but remember that in worship on Friday we were called to step out for prayer to declare if we were prepared to do what it took for the Kingdom - even to death!! Who would have thought that a young white American missionary, in America itself, would be killed on the mission field for being in charge of hospitality.....a day later?!!!

Wow. Our battle is a spiritual one, and this brings it home, even to my doorstep.

I'll post back when I know more.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

When Dog-Lovers Go Too Far

Since I posted a cartoon a couple of weekends ago that poked fun at cats and those who love them, I thought it fair to post a video that provides oft-demanded balance. We must be balanced, mustn't we?

Well, no.

However, here's one for the cat-lovers. . .(Secretly, I think the dogs in this video are really cats in disguise--don't you?)

Have a great weekend--it's snowing where I live.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Our In-House Jail Break


I’m sitting in my study when from upstairs comes a terrible scream. A real ripper. Only Emma and I are in the house, so I’m out of my chair with all the adrenalin needed to blast a rocket off the earth. I don’t even remember running up the stairs to my screaming Emma.

As I rushed to her bedroom door, she yelled, “Despereaux is out of his cage and loose in my room! Daddy!” And I thought, “Ah, ha. One of her gerbils has broken out.” You should know that my family is one of those rare groups which thinks mixing animals that like to eat meat with those that would rather remain off the menu is a great idea. We’ve already been through one catastrophe—our dog killed Ellen’s prized parakeet when it fluttered within reach of her mouth—so I knew that event was playing on my daughter’s inner movie screen. Why wouldn’t it be? (Click here to read that story.) Closing her bedroom door behind me, I stuffed a towel into the gap between carpet and door in order to block Despero’s exit.

For the next six hours (well, it was only about ten minutes, but it seemed a lot more), we prayed together and all the while lured Emma’s gerbil with soothing words, outstretched hands, sunflower seeds and promised rest from his traumatic day.

Looking back, it was strangely fun. While muttering our hopes to Jesus—“Oh, Lord, will you rescue Despereaux? Will you guide him into our hands? Would you be a part of this?”—we watched that cute little rodent scurry about the room, dart in and out of our hands, pluck food from our fingers and run under the bed—universal safety, I think. As God would have it, Emma finally secured Despereaux herself, and placed him back in his cage, which she then fortified and secured like a bank vault.

Ten minutes later, Emma was at school with a terrifying story to tell her classmates. Me? I just now ran upstairs to make sure that little rat is still in jail.

I’m lately aware that faith is so practical, and that God is determined to exercise it with us. To Him it’s normal. To Him it’s how we live, only sometimes we’re not so normal. I’m thankful today that He is working in everything for us—even with little gerbil breath, Despereaux—and that my daughters are living well and becoming normal with their faith. We talked to God together during that harrowing experience, and because we were sowing to the Spirit thereby, we reaped in the moment God’s life and production of peace, patience, gentleness and self-control—and a little joy. Emma giggled even before we’d captured her little escapee.

Emma and I will chat about Despereaux’s jail break this afternoon, and I’ll ask her what she felt during the gerbil hunt and capture. I’ll ask if she felt some of the fruit of the Holy Spirit as we talked and wished our desires to God. I know she did because my little girl knows God, and she knows where He lives—in her. So, I want to help her understand and comprehend what it feels like to be a vessel in her day, with God moving about within her. What a thrill that is.

Even during a jail break.

We’re better off than we think.

Ralph

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Breaking Good Fleshly Habits

“But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” (Rom 7:6 NIV)

It should be evident that those of us under the influence of the flesh may look particularly bad, or we may look particularly good. And that’s a more difficult thing to see and a more difficult thing from which to turn. But it’s just as fleshly, just as foreign, and just as dangerous. I might appear to be the most faithful church attender in the world, but I might be doing it because I fear God will bless me only if I do, and not at all if I don’t. So, I go…under the influence. I don’t mean to imply that regular church attendance is a bad thing; it isn’t! It’s just that under the influence of the flesh, it becomes the thing. Going to church gets the greater influence—not knowing God. The evidence might include condemning thoughts and feelings toward those who fail to attend as regularly or I might frequently and strongly encourage others to attend as the solution to their lack of blessing, or, perhaps, I take a leadership position on the “Let’s-get-the-church-to-church-on-time-every-Sunday” committee. I’m active, but I’m nevertheless fleshly.

Under the influence, I’m not free to ask and trace out the godly and good reasons for going to church, sowing to the Spirit who might lead me here or there, finding His gifts in me to do this or that, and helping me to live by faith. Instead, I’m captive to what looks right and to what ought to be, and that’s where the flesh is found.

Fleshly activity is not you, but something which influences and drives you—it will become much more evident having read this chapter. Should we now run off and point out each other’s flesh types? Be very careful because the flesh may be motivating you to do that and not the Spirit. It’s not hard to imagine the fun you could have with this new knowledge. That could become as fleshly a lure as anything else—resist the nibble by pausing to offer yourself to the Holy Spirit.

“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” (Gal 5:25-26 NIV)

The flesh is not you, but it would like to provide a way for you to look. If you follow its tin lure of promised control, it will behave through you. You know how that will look and feel, and you want to be done with it. Now that you know better, now that you believe life “by the Spirit” is both possible and desirable, chances are good you’ll refuse the bait and go for the Spirit.

(Excerpted from my book, "Better Off Than You Think--God's Astounding Opinion of You"; chapter 7, Hitting My Pause Button.)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Stolen Copper Clappers

I hadn't seen this for a couple of years, but I was sure glad when someone sent it to me recently. I loved Johnny Carson's attempts to keep a straight face, and this is one of my favorites.

It's an oldie and a goodie. I think you'll like it.

video

Whew.

I just returned from an unexpected spiritual adventure--my prayer life was exercised.

One of my daughters and I, along with two of her friends, were traveling to a rocket launching site about an hour and a half away when the driving conditions suddenly became terrible. We were in a caravan going to a school sponsored event, and the road turned to ice. No one could stop--it was like driving on an ice skating rink. Fortunately for me, all six cars ahead of me in the caravan took the same amount of time to finally come to a stop on the side of the road. What should have taken twenty to thirty feet, took about fifty yards.

With The Beatles, "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" rocking the car, I quietly said, "Lord, Jesus--I need you. I need you to stop my car. . .I need you to help me. . ." My daughter figured out that we were in trouble, and joined me in prayer. With the music off, the girls in the back seat clued-in, too. We slid and slid and slid, always in a straight line. Finally, we stopped.

We decided to cut the field trip short and turn around, but on the way back we found that one of the last cars in our caravan had slid across the road and rolled over. Fortunately, everyone was fine--amazing. (The back and other side of the car pictured at left were destroyed.) All the way back we crept along at about 5-15 mph, and saw about ten more accidents, four of which were horrible.

Loaded with people, sliding on ice in a car is a terrible feeling and predicament.

My daughter, Ellen, and I will not soon forget today. And we'll not soon forget our shared prayers to Jesus in a really difficult time. In the end, I think today will serve us well, not only because we were rescued, but because we were together in such focused prayer.

How Do They Do This?!

Well, it's the weekend, and that means I get a bit loose around here, posting all kinds of things that stretch the credibility of this blog's stated purpose. Hope you're okay with that--I am.

I've seen quick-change artists before, but nothing even close to this. When I first received it from a friend, I only began watching it because he always sends good things to me.

I was really glad I did. You will be, too.

video