A Season’s Demise

There are many seasons in life. They exist for a time. Some are extremely hard, challenging, not at all pleasant to traverse. Some are so amazingly joyous, you wish they could never end.

And still they pass.

Today, we witnessed the end of a season. A season full of hope and excitement and great joy and heart-warming pride. A season, as mentioned above, that we hoped would endure forever.

But alas, in heart-breaking fashion…

The Bills lost.

See ya in the fall, boys!

Trust Me

“Just trust me!”

A phrase that is usually first met with MORE skepticism than was first present in the trustee. When you hear the phrase, “Just trust me”, it usually makes you wonder if you should. We are, by nature, not trusting.

It certainly feels like we have a tighter grasp on what is best for us than anyone else could. How could we trust the advice of someone else when it goes against what we would do? Why would we allow our power of choice-making to fall into the hands of anyone else?

Because we trust them.

Sometimes, other people know things we don’t. Especially the more seasoned among us. It is not universally true of everyone who has more time under their belt, but in general, the more experience in life, the more wisdom. And sometimes, the wisdom from another does not fit snugly with the choice we are about to make, or would like to make.

Whether in the form of a warning, or an admonition, or any sort of advice given, we tend to be skeptical of words of wisdom from people other than ourselves.

Is that natural? Is that normal? In a way. We should be skeptical of Joe Blow on the street who offers his two cents. No matter how wise it may sound, there is no reason for you to believe him. We should be skeptical of Joe Preacher on the TV who offers us his advice. No matter how sweet it may sound, there is no relationship to back it up.

Therein lies the key.

Trust comes only from relationship. The closer the relationship, the tighter the bond, the deeper and freer the trust. I can not think of a relationship where I implicitly trust, no questions asked, and that is an indication that everyone in my life has somehow “lost” my trust along the way. OR, that I still think that I am all-knowing.

All of us are fallible, so the first part is certainly true, however I do believe that a majority of the blame for my mistrust of others falls on my shoulders. I do not trust others because I still think I know best.

In the garden of Eden, Eve sinned, and Adam sinned, not because they were evil people, but at the root, they sinned because they did not trust God. They were egged on by the snake… but ultimately, they ate the fruit God asked them not to because they did not trust him. He didn’t really mean not to… It couldn’t really be that bad… Maybe he’s just trying to keep us down! I won’t die…

But they did. And we did. And we will.

All because they could not trust him. And we continue that heritage every day. Every sin is rooted in our level of trust of our Father. Whether it is a big bold breakage of one of the heralded Ten Commandments, or something undetectable to the rest of the world, our level of trust determines our behavior.

The cool thing is, as damning as that sounds, the ultimate culpability is not on us. The blame was placed squarely, and voluntarily, on Jesus’ shoulders.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that we might become his righteousness.

We have the opportunity to become, to be the righteousness of God. That is not something we can attain, but rather something given to us. And in 1 Peter, we’re told that, “As we know Jesus better, his divine power has given us everything we need for living a godly life.” HIS divine power. Sinlessness is not something we can attain, but something he has given to us.

That is not an unknowable thing. I believe that sin is directly related to our level of trust in him. That means the more I trust my Father, the less I will sin. So do I just decide to trust? No. That’s not what trust is. Trust is developed over time, through relationship. As we know Jesus better… Perhaps that is what Peter was talking about? Perhaps all of life hinges on this? On knowing Jesus?

John 17:3 – And this is the way to have eternal life: to know you the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

Jesus seemed to think that was pretty important. Relationship is the key. The more we know him, the more we trust him, the less we sin, the more we trust him, the more we know him, etc, etc, etc.

Repentance from sin is definitely our choice. But thankfully, the responsibility to clean up our act does not ultimately rest on us. God is the one who makes us clean. Righteousness comes from him. All we need to do is get to know him better, and the righteousness that is visible to others (and to us) will follow in direct proportion to our trust. Perhaps even greater proportion!

Life is better when we live it with our Father, our Creator, our friend. There is no better way. Everything else falls short.

Trust me.


There is a bunch of talk in the NT about dying to yourself, or being crucified with Christ, or losing your life to gain it, or dying to the world… all very cryptic, esoteric phrases that can seem too mystical to have any real value.

We drove all day today, and listened to a bunch of MP3s on the iPod from Wayne Jacobsen. He was emphasizing this idea in a few of the sessions we listened to, and he said this:

“When you have nothing left to gain, nothing left to lose and nothing left to prove… now you’re really ready to be a vessel for God in the world.”

I think this is one of the most essential truths to life. It is woven throughout all of my songs. I mention it in most every thing I say from any stage I speak from. I teach my kids about it. I write about it. I actually hope to gather all of my random thought about this one thing into a book.

Now listen closely, because I’m going to state it clearly and concisely right here. A truth so profound, an abundance of books have not scratched the surface of its depth. So lend an ear… listen up…

It’s not about you.

That’s it. It’s not about you. When we can get to the point, as Wayne said, where we have nothing to gain, nothing to lose and nothing to prove… life is simple. Life is FUN! Life is right. Our life is not about our appearance, or our pride, or our agenda, or anything about us at all really. Then we can know the abundant life God has planned for us.

Freedom abounds when we can really grasp this truth. It comes from trust as mentioned in an earlier blog. It comes from relationship. It comes from a complete focus on others, and God… NOT on you.

I realized when he said that how much my life is still about me. And how I don’t want it to be. So, look out! I am going to work on focusing on Jesus even more, and when I do, I bet YOU will come into focus even more.


Every once in a while I look back on where I have come in life, and mindset along the way. Whenever I am here, in the now, I pretty much think I have stuff figured out. I like to. I want to. And I am pretty good at having an overall grasp on life.

But the older I get, or perhaps just the wiser, I really am seeing that the more I think I know, the less I actually know.

Sometimes I can’t believe how “arrogant” I have been in the past. It was not an in-your-face kind of arrogant. At least not in my heart. But it was an arrogance of perceived knowledge. I am just feeling today like I don’t really know anything, and I feel better about that than I do about the grasp on truth that I used to try hard to have.

I don’t need to know everything. I don’t need to understand. I don’t need to eliminate as many unknowns as possible. I don’t need to see in black and white.

Why? Aren’t those all good things?

Yes, they are. But they all fall seriously short. They all rely on me. And I know that I fall short. When I actually know that I know very little if anything about life, that leaves a lot more room for the Truth to exist in my life. For the Truth to permeate my life. In grace and truth.

I will never have all the answers. I never really thought that. But I am now enjoying quite a bit more simplistic view of truth. There is one Truth. He is Jesus. I want to follow him. Not a rigid creed, but a living person. Jesus.

1 Cor 8:1 says, “We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.”

Less may just be better. Simpler. More.

New From Apple!

Was visiting the Apple site tonight when I found the following AMAZING new things from Apple!!! Wow!!!

It used to be that the iPod was “too expensive” because you could get an MP3 player for $150 or so. NOW, ipod makes an MP3 player that is the size of a little USB jump drive, that holds 4x as many songs for only $99!!!! WHAT!??! πŸ™‚ This little thing looks AMAZING! There are two sizes (drives) – 512 MB and 1 GB. Wow.

Click above to learn more!

And perhaps even better than that…

One of the biggest knocks on Apple has always been, SURE, they’re better… but I just can’t afford it. The PC machines win because of their bottom line. But they get there by building cheap pieces of junk! NOW, Apple has come up with an AMAZING 6.5 X 6.5 X 2 inch computer that weighs 2.9 pounds and out-performs MOST mid-high end PCs! πŸ™‚ (I can’t really back that one up, but check out the stats, you’ll see what I mean…) Look below at the new MacMini

WOW! AND, they start at $499!!!!!! FOUR HUNDRED NINETY-NINE DOLLARS. Whoa. Nice. More photos below. Click the photos to learn more at the apple site.

For more on the amazing stuff Apple is doing lately, you can watch a Quicktime presentation from a recent conference. Click here.

(Can you tell I am a fan of Apple computers? πŸ™‚

The Noise We Make

(editor’s note: In light of the previous post, this post may seem somewhat insincere… but that dichotomy is perhaps part of the following “noise”…)

I love Chris Tomlin’s music! It’s great! We have been doing How Great Is Our God for a while now, and a friend recommended his song Unfailing Love, so I am sure we’ll do that one sometime soon. I even e-mailed him today to tell him how much we like (and use) his stuff! Great worship music!

He has a song called The Noise We Make. An album named after the song. And he means the noise of our voices lifted in adoration of our Father.

But a different noise just came to my mind.

For a little while now, perhaps since Christmas, perhaps longer, I have been a bit troubled by the “noise” in my life. Especially in my house.

Some of it is the noise of our messy-ness, caused by too much stuff, played with by too many tiny kids in too many small rooms. πŸ™‚ You can’t really help that.

Some of it is the noise of all of our toys. We have 9 computers in this house. Three are always on, and two more are on for good portions of the day with little boys playing fun educational games in front of them. That’s a lot of computers. Sometimes, that’s a lot of noise.

Some of the noise comes from the half dozen or so “noise makers” in our house. Our main stereo with the iPod, or the portable speakers that can be anywhere in the house. My main computer can be playing iTunes all of the time, while streaming the entire music library to the other wireless computers in the house that can be simultaneously playing entirely different music. That can be a lot of noise.

Some of it comes from the many vintage video game systems I have collected over the past several years. TI-99/4a, the computer from my childhood, over 20 years old. (Closer to 25!) With a collection of some 50 games, and books to program more into it. Add the Nintendo NES system (a CLASSIC game system!!) with 2 dozen more games and a Sega Genesis with a dozen more…. and you have more noise than you can ever actually make…

(I think that made sense…) πŸ™‚

Add on top of that phones on every floor, digital cable TV with a DVR to record and play anything any time you want (you can record TWO things AT ONCE all WHILE WATCHING something else already recorded!?!?!?), a possible 5 TVs with 5 DVD players (including our computers). Add to that about 100 board games and/or card games…

We can make a lot of noise.

And it’s fun! It’s great! I love ALL of that stuff!

But tonight, after all the noise was quiet… I was talking with God, and really wanted to hear from him, and all I could think of was all of the noise we make. All of the stuff that (probably) drowns him out every day.

Relationships only grow through shared life. You can’t expect a friendship to grow stronger if you never hang out. You can’t expect a spouse to grow closer, or invite you in closer, without devoting time and attention to them, and just being interested in them. You won’t win your children’s hearts, you won’t have the influence you want in their lives, if you don’t learn to turn off the noise and singularly focus on them.

We can not hear God over all the noise we make. We can sometimes see bits of him in it. Perhaps gain some knowledge of his past dealings with men, or his Truth revealed to them. But I think we miss him, and likewise, he misses us.

My heart is longing for my Father right now. And I think that’s good. I miss him. I love all the things we have been blessed with. We really do enjoy them together as a family. But ultimately, they are just stuff.

YES, even my apple computers!

(I can’t believe I just said that!!) πŸ™‚

I think it’s getting noisy in here, and it might just be time for the noise to take a break. I want to hear my Father speak to me. I want to know his voice. I want to let my wife and my kids know how special they are through my undivided attention to them. I want to love my friends by just being available.

And I really, truly hope that I am not just making a lot of noise.


I was thinking this morning about death. Not sure why. Actually, I think I was thinking about the future for some reason… when I would be in my 50s, 60s, even 70s. And all of the interesting parts of life that might inhabit that season of life.

And then I just realized… there’s no guarantee of that. There’s no guarantee that I will be around here then, or Jen, or any of us, for that matter. Who knows when death will settle on me or the people I most love?

That might be a sour way to start the day… but it wasn’t for me. It just reminded me that life is today. The Kingdom of God is near. Life can be experienced to the fullest when we are not hindered by our past, or concerned for our future… but when we just live now to its fullest. As a chosen child of God. Today.

We watched an episode of Quantum Leap last night with an old Indian guy who just wanted to get back to the reservation to die. His grand-daughter had him in a nursing home to prolong his life, and he just wanted to die in freedom, instead of preserve this life.

I thought that was pretty cool. When this life is all we have, we hang on to it with all our strength… because it’s all we have. But when we have the promise of more, as we do in Jesus… we can not only have hope for “life everlasting” but we can really live life today!

Day to day brings joys and challenges, and even devastating heartaches. But the hope of tomorrow gives life today. Death has no hold on us. No power.

So live it up! πŸ™‚

Let Them Go

While talking with a friend tonight, I think I realized anew a trait of humanity that does not really mirror our Father. It is not on the surface a bad thing, quite the opposite. But I always wonder when our ways are very clearly not His… perhaps we should take a look at our “ways”?

We really want to fix stuff. When things go wrong in our lives, or the lives of our brothers and sisters or others who are close to us, we want to do anything we can to help. And why not? Love your neighbor as yourself, right? Don’t we try and do everything we can to fix our lives when something goes wrong?

Perhaps there is the first mistake.

Life is so much about trust, and most often our first response to adversity is not to stop and listen to what God would have us do, but to roll up our sleeves and tackle this issue head on. Sometimes the blow is too devastating for an immediate response, so then we just reel back and lose any sense of forward direction. Again, not trusting our Father to be with us, and take us foward – to go with us there.

When someone we know is in trouble, even by their own choice, the response is quite similar. We want to take matters into our own hands and help them get back on the right track. Offer advice, help straighten out bad thinking, admonish them… and all with an urgency brought about by the discomfort we have with suffering.

I am not saying that I am immune from this. I know I do this very thing. It is hard to watch someone whom I love be beaten down by life, or worse yet, by their own persitently bad choices.

But God does. God allows us so much more room than any of us give to each other. The Father let his wild son have his full inheritance, knowing full well that his son would get hurt. His son, whom he later runs to meet, who receives the largest welcome-home party imaginable…

And he let him go.

That is crazy love. That is so crazy, I think I get it, and it STILL doesn’t make sense. It is so hard to let someone suffer. To not step in and fix stuff. But God does not always fix stuff. Sometimes the greater good, the greater freedom and joy can come from the lower depths of our bad choices.

The ultimate freedom was in the son returning to his father after he had finally hit the bottom. That can not have been easy for the Father. He loved his son. But the greatest good is not always in the immediate fix. Sometimes loving someone really means letting them fail.

So, do we allow our brothers and sisters to wallow in sin? To completely destroy their lives? No. If a brother is in sin… restore him gently. We ought to encourage each other to live in the light, since we are new creations – the old has gone the new has come. But once we encourage, once we admonish, once we have lovingly confronted someone in a behavior or mindset that will hurt them or others… we must allow them to choose. We can not make their choices for them, even if we try. God does not miss anyone’s poor choices. He knows all things. Nor does he want for anyone to suffer eternal condemnation due to poor choices. Nor, does he always step in and fix stuff.

The greatest love allows the greatest freedom. True freedom produces the greatest love.

As hard as it may be, sometimes we just have to let them go.

All Four

What a bummer! My Bills are out of the playoff picture (AGAIN) so I was trying (even though I don’t really care) to find another team to root for…

The first weekend, I thought I would root for Seattle, since we have friends there, like the city, and they were a long shot. I like long shots.

The shot was too long…

Was also rooting for San Diego and Green Bay. SD is a cool story… well… WAS a cool story. And, how can you not like B. Favre?

BUT… no dice. 3 out of 4 teams I was rooting for lost last weekend. Crazy.

OK, no worries. I can jump on another band wagon! πŸ™‚ This weekend I was thinking it would be so cool if St. Louis went into Atlanta… an 8-8 team beating Michael Vick at home… could be fun… and those Steelers are so totally over-rated, an early loss to, yes, even the J-E-T-S, Jets! Jets! Jets! … would be fun. And I really do not like Philly at all, team/coach attitude, just not fun to root for, so I root heavily against. πŸ™‚ Besides, I used to be a big Minnesota fan in high school, so it was easy to root for them! πŸ™‚

But most of all… I will NEVER root for New England. They ooze arrogance and smugness that just makes you want them to lose. (Well, me anyway) Plus, they are division rivals who seem to have quite the upperhand on our Bills of late… so… it’s ALWAYS fun to see them lose!


1-7 so far this playoffs. Indy beat Denver. That’s the only one I got right. πŸ™‚

So this weekend? Who do I like? (so you can go but down a “sure thing” in Vegas?) πŸ™‚

I am quite against my better judgment rooting for/picking:

Pittsburgh over New England (PLEASE!!!)


Atlanta over Philly (again… PLEASE!!!)

And for the Super Bowl, I would love to see Atlanta finally win one! They are the only team left I can actually root for instead of against. So… here’s hopin’…

(You should probably go place your bets now…) πŸ™‚

Justice and Hippies

I have heard in recent days on various news programs many people saying, “I just want to see justice served. I just want justice.” In fact, just today I heard a radio clip of a clearly emotional woman who spoke of a priest charged with some kind of sexual abuse… in 1980… and she said, “I just want to see justice happen.”

Wow. 25 years later. They are trying this guy, and he may receive some sort of punishment for his crime. Which, technically is justice. I think.

People say all the time they just want justice. They do not!

“The one among you who has never done any wrong thing may throw the first stone at her.”

Justice is a nice idea, but if we were actually held to true justice… we would all be dead. Executed for our crimes. Not the big noticeable ones like sexually molesting young children or murder, or theft, or … you name it. But anything that goes against loving God with our entire being and loving everyone else as – or even more than – ourselves.

All of us are in the same boat. Flawed. Messed up. Guilty. We need to stop thinking justice is when someone gets locked in jail for a crime allegedly committed 25 years ago and concentrate on living freely in God’s love and loving everyone around us. Perhaps then there will be “justice”.

I kinda sound like a hippie…