Friday, August 31, 2007

Top Ten Ways to Know You Are a Buckeye Nut

In honor of the start of the Ohio State Football Season I thought I would share my first Top Ten Blog. Here it is. Feel free to add your own.

TOP TEN ways to Know You Are a Buckeye Nut...

10 You had to boycott going to Florida for vacation this year.

9 Your cell phone rings Fight the Team Across the Field.

8 You claim that the Horseshoe" is the 8th wonder of the world.

7 You think it was a conspiracy that Woody Hayes got fired for hitting an opposing team's player during the 1978 Gator Bowl.

6 You know exactly how many days there are between now and the day we play the "team up north". (77)

5 Of the 100 things to do before you die, your number one thing is to dot the "i" in Script Ohio.

4 You shedule your daughter's fall wedding around the Ohio State football schedule.

3 You think that Franklin County Cooper Stadium is named after John Cooper, the former OSU football coach. (You mean it isn't?!)

2 Your Chirstmas card is a picture of you and the family with Brutus Buckeye.

And the number one way to know that you are a Buckeye Nut . . .You named your twins Scarlet and Gray.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Guarding Your Joy

What’s your favorite ice cream? For me it’s Graeter’s Chocolate Chip Coconut. We buy the pints so we don’t pig out on it and also because it’s so expensive, nevertheless in a house full of boys I have to guard it with my life if I want to have more than one helping. Well there is something much more valuable than ice cream that I have to guard and that’s my joy. This morning I was listening to a message that reminded me of five things we can do to guard our joy. It was based on Hebrews 12:1-3.
  • First is surround yourself with people who bring joy. ie., "therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, . . ." (v.1a)
  • Second, stay on task, ie., "let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." (v.1c)
  • Third, strip down to the essentials. ie., "let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us. . ." (v.1b)
  • Fourth, stay focused on Jesus, ie., "let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scoring it's shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (v.2)
  • Fifth, stick with it. "Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (v.3)

Which one do you need to do? For me I need to do more of the first one, I need to surround myself with people who bring joy. Life can get pretty serious. I need people who will laugh with me and yes even at me sometimes, so I can guard my joy in the journey.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Living in the Now

Well, today is the first day of school. What I remember about school is watching the clock and wanting it to be 3:30 p.m. We went to school a lot longer back then! That’s probably why we are so much smarter than kids today J Anyway if I’m not careful I do the same thing today. I get started with something and I just want it to be over. I’m watching tv, reading a book, watching a soccer game, or even in a conversation and rather than living in the moment, I’m thinking about what’s next. I even did that on vacation this year. Rather than stop and smell the roses, or in this case the seaweed (that's what's surrounding me in this picture), I found myself wondering and worrying about the things facing me at home.

Don’t tell me you don’t do that, because I bet you do. Truth is, we only have the moment. I love that about Abraham. Look at what he said in response to God’s call to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied.” Genesis 22:1 Look at that again. He said, “Here I am” or in other words he was saying to God, “I am here in the present listening to whatever you want me to do at this moment.” The moment is all we have. Don’t let the successes of the past or the fear of the future keep you from living in the now!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What Kind of Church Are You Looking For?

I got a haircut yesterday. I got it cut pretty short. Carol likes it so I guess that's all that matters. Anyway I decided to "survey" my barber. I said, "if you were going to go to church, what kind of church would you go to? " He said, "that's a tough question. I haven't been to church for a long time." He said he used to go to church, but stopped going because they were always asking for money.

I told him I asked somebody else that same question the other day. Interestingly enough, he had a similar church experience. He said he was looking for a church where the leadership could be trusted. His wife said she wanted a church that was interested in doing things for people in the community. She also said she wanted a church where the "talk" was rooted in Scripture, but was helpful for her every day life. I know you're not my barber but if I could survey you, what would you say? What kind of church are you looking for?

Monday, August 20, 2007


Have you ever taken a trip where you had to get somewhere on time? You're doing great and think you might even get there early, then all of the sudden you hit a detour. You’re not from the area but you think that you can find a short cut. You take it, but it turns out to be just the opposite. Now you’ll never get there on time.

Well that’s the way it was for us last Friday when we decided to take a road trip to Tiffin, Ohio to watch our son play in a soccer game against Tiffin University. We started from Columbus in plenty of time, or at least we thought, until we reached our first detour in Plain City. I thought we could find our own way “around” the detour, but my way proved even longer. Then there was an accident on Rt 42 and everyone was turning around, so I turned around too, but the route I took only led to another detour! We finally made it to Delaware, but before running in road construction that slowed us down again. We did get to the game and in plenty of time to see our son play. What we learned on that day was that life is not only "like a box of chocolates", it's a lot like a road trip full of detours.

Six weeks ago we started a road trip of sorts. I resigned from a job without knowing where I was going next. (I’ve already told my kids not to do this, but it’s what we felt “called” to do.) Nevertheless we’re not much further now than where we were six weeks ago, partly because there have been so many detours or distractions. Sometimes I think it’s my fault we’re not making any progress. Other times I think the detours or distractions are there by appointment. I am reminded of what I read recently in Deuteronomy 8:2, “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.” Detours then are tests, tests that God brings along our way to humble us and to reveal what is in our heart.

That’s what I think the detours on our road trip last week were about. They were a test, a test to humble us and to see what's in our heart. I wonder if we "passed"? More importantly I wonder if I'm passing the bigger test of handling the detours of life?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ruthless Trust

This weekend we traveled from Columbus to Charlotte to see our second born son and his wife. They live in a section of the city called Belmont. It's not an area I would choose to live in, but it is potentially an “up and coming” neighborhood. Currently it is an area with a very low percentage of owner occupied housing (26%) and high crime, but it is also an area targeted for revitalization. In the meantime you have to park your car off the street at night and behind the safety of a six foot privacy fence. You also have to have an alarm system which they have along with two Labrador Retrievers. Still upon leaving their house in the “city” and traveling home to our house in the "burbs” my
wife asked if I was afraid for them. The answer I'm afraid is "yes". But then I'm a parent and being a parent you'll supposed to worry. Nevertheless I am excited for them. I'm excited because they are doing in so many ways is what I'm afraid to do. Not that I am ready into move to an area like their's but that I want to live a life of courage like theirs.

Too many of us I'm afraid, are paralyzed from doing something that even borders on risk. Yet I have come to realize, everything is risky. Even staying home can be hazardous to your health. You can stay home in bed-but that may make you one of the half-million Americans who require emergency room treatment each year for injuries sustained while falling out of bed. You can cover your windows-but that may make you
one of the ten people a year who accidentally hang themselves on the cords of venetian blinds. Again everything is risky.

For me God is calling me to "get out of the boat". That's not just risky but ruthless. Ruthless Trust is the title of a book by Brennan Manning. It's a book my wife and I read to each other on the way down to Charlotte this weekend and again on our way back. In it the author admits that, "the biggest obstacle on his journey of trust has been, an oppressive sense of insecurity, inadequacy and inferiority and low self-esteem.” I have to admit I feel at times I feel the same way, paralyzed by a sense of insecurity, inadequacy, inferiority and low self-esteem. I am tempted to stay in the boat or worse sink while
trying to walk on water. What I need as Manning says, "is a fresh conversion, a fresh conversion from mistrust to trust- a conversion that must be renewed daily" and is rooted in the unfaltering love of God and the irreversible forgiveness of Jesus Christ. After all my son is now the new Neighborhood Crime Watch captain!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Are We There Yet?!

My kids are older now, so I don't hear that as much as I used to. In fact we usually let them drive their own car on vacation so we don't hear it at all, but when they were younger we heard it all the time. We used to do all kinds of things just to keep them entertained. We didn't have a drop down DVD player or even ipods but we did have a cassette player. One thing we used to do was play a tape series called Adventures in Odyssey. It was a very engaging radio series produced by Focus on the Family. It featured a guy named "Wit" who had a ice cream shop in the mythical town of Odyssey. Besides teaching some great family values it entertained the kids almost endlessly. The two youngest are now in college and they still listen to them. (Don't tell them I told you so!)

Anyway each episode was about 30 minutes so what we would do is when they asked the question, "are we there yet?" we would tell them how long it was in terms of how many more stories we had to listen to. So if it was an hour we would say, "just two more stories" or if it was an hour and a half we would say, "just three more stories" etc. . . Here's my point. In life there are two kinds of people. Those who enjoy the journey and those who just want to get there. I tend to fall on the side of enjoying the journey. Maybe it's because I can't speed without feeling guilty but no matter what I try to find joy in the journey. (I do get impatient when gas station stops take more than time than it would have taken ust to stop somewhere and eat because everyone has to go to the bathroom and get a hand full of snacks!)

What I have learned or am learning again is that most of life is spent on the road and not at our destination. I mean we spent five or six days working so we can enjoy one or two days off. We spend fifty weeks at work so we can enjoy two weeks of vacation. Or worse, we spent 35 or 40 years working so we can enjoy 5 to 15 years in retirement! Something is not right. If we wait to find joy until the weekend, vacation or retirement, we are not going to have much fun at all. The majority of our life will be spend enduring and not enjoying.

I think the same thing is true in our spiritual lives. Jesus said, I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10b NIV) Joy for the Christ follower is not meant for us to experience only in heaven, but while we are still here on earth. Satan, our enemy wants to rob us of our joy, don't let him do it. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy." (John 10:10a NIV)