on Waiting…

This Sunday marks the start of the season of Advent 2015.

The predominant theme of Advent is WAITING in expectation.
It’s a timeless theme.

(Before mobile phones, if a bus broke down you had to find a pay phone and wait your turn to call for rescue. These folks don’t seem too upset by it.)


Waiting makes up a big portion of our lives, doesn’t it?

Whether it’s waiting in line or in traffic or waiting for an occasion or certain situation–we do a lot of waiting.

For me, a focus on waiting pulls me out of the present moment to a moment that exists in theory. It involves hope or anxiety. Or both.

The prisoners I minister to have a life centered on waiting for their freedom. They routinely tell me that keeping busy is the best way to conquer the burden and stress of waiting.


But a closer interaction with the experience of waiting can unearth and reveal deeper spiritual longings that can both call us into a richer walk of faith and engender the growth needed to more fully surrender to God.


If we just stay busy we can miss the gifts that come only through waiting.

Because waiting is such a huge part of the human experience, it’s no wonder that Christianity has long interacted with this theme as a entry point into bigger spiritual conversations and concepts. It is through this struggle we gain growth and maturity in our walk of faith.

Patience is rarely, if ever, attained by any other means than practice.

Waiting is that practice.

Waiting on the Lord is a vibrant theme in Scriptures too, right?

Most of the stories in the Bible include the aspect of waiting. Abraham and Sarah (and many others) wait for offspring, David waits on the Lord for deliverance, the prophets wait for God’s promises to be fulfilled, Paul and the other apostles do a lot of waiting in prison, and in the season of Advent we acutely encounter Mary’s waiting for the Savior, Jesus. She is the vehicle God has chosen to birth the Prince of Peace. It’s a nine month process–on the heels of thousands of years of waiting for the Messiah.

This delivery involves a lot of anticipation and waiting.

And so too does most anything else of worth. These many stories echo our own pain and struggle.

I appreciate Mary’s expression of gratitude during her wait (a.k.a. The Magnificat-see the video below to hear “Mary’s Song” sung my John Michael Talbot). We can use her example to help us along.

Gratitude produces joy that makes waiting easier.

Waiting aptly exposes our traits of impatience, also. It works to refine us.

Henri Nouwen once wrote, “Impatient people are always expecting the real thing to happen somewhere else and therefore want to go elsewhere. ”

Rev Adele Ahlberg Calhoun recently wrote,

Waiting is how God gets at the idols of our heart. Waiting addresses the things we think we need besides God to be content: money, comfort, expedience, success or control.


It’s a powerful lesson we find in Advent. Meditate on the longings of your heart and cultivate the seeds of advent there. Expectantly wait for God to fulfill his promises with a heart of trust and gratitude.

Introducing Funny Fridays!

personalityMy humor posts tend to rank among the highest on the blog, but I’ve been lax about including humor regularly.

No more.

In the next few months I’ll add a bit of humor to your Fridays!

If you have the time, drop by and see what’s going on, or add a link with something that amused you recently.

Today’s feature wasn’t originally meant to be funny at all.

This video is part of an extended series of educational videos from Mississippi State University in the early 1950s. Parts of them of still useful today, but only if you can get over the heavy-hand teaching method and the very antiquated feel. I can, but only barely.


The goals should still be taught today: good manners, consideration of others, and socially pleasant behavior. It’s crazy though because it’s so far removed from our own time and ways of interacting that it seems like satire, (that’s why it’s a Funny Friday feature.)

• But seriously, it made me stop to consider how I might be more polite. (Gosh, Beaver, maybe good manners are important!)

• Most of these actors would have turned into anti-establishment, long-haired, sexually uninhibited hippies about a decade later. (So much for a cutting edge education delivery method with expected outcomes. HA!)



• The angle seems poorly positioned at the beginning as “a way to get what you what” instead of how to be mature or enjoyable to be around.

• It has nothing about texting etiquette. Major oversight! ;)

• Is it about practicing pretenses and inauthenticity? A bit. BLECKkk! 



Try to not be cynical when you watch this. It’s easy sometimes to disparage things from other eras. We live in a cynical time! if you can manage it, try to appreciate this as a “time-capsule” of another time and a culture removed from ours today (for better and for worse).

The next post will go live on Sunday. It starts a series I’m really interested in and, golly, I hope to see you soon! That would be swell!

Hey! One more thing! Try the new subscription app to get an update when posts go live.


The “Praying for Enemies” Misconception

waterhouseRemember the Sermon on the Mount?

It’s the 4 chapters ( Click to read Matthew Chapters 4-7 ) where Jesus lays out this upside down, counter-intuitive foundation for the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. He shows how God’s ways don’t look like our ways. It’s a recapitulation of the law of Moses that was warped by God’s people over time and needed to be righted.

Disciples of Christ try to get this passage into their DNA and live it out. While many claim to be Christians few really follow or even grasp the framework Jesus lays out for the Kingdom. Maybe it’s too challenging.

In Matthew 5 Jesus covers the very unpopular idea of not hating our enemies.

• We like to side with people we agree with.

• We like to make sure people know where we stand and what we oppose.

• We love our own

(Much like today, the prevailing thought at the time was that your kin, tribe, or people group are your neighbors and you should love them. Everyone else? They could be treated like enemies. Jesus stresses that our enemies are our neighbors too and later he uses the parable of the Good Samaritan to make his point about what love and following God really looks like.)

But, back to hating our enemies…

(quote blocks cover Mathew 5:43-48)


“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbori and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.


Loving our enemies means blessing them. Blessing our enemies means we enrich their lives.

But, what about the prayer part?

There’s a common misunderstanding that this verse implies that we should pray for blessing for our enemies, or pray that good things happen to our enemies, or perhaps the most common…we should pray that they will change.

(That’s one I’ve done quite a bit!)

Jesus’ point is different.

He’s not suggesting that we pray for circumstances to change or for our enemy to change, but that’s just what we do, isn’t it?

No. The point is that our enemies and the persecution works to change us into children of God, when we do as Jesus would do.

What praying “for them” means is that we are praying for them to be our teachers. We are praying for us. The trying experience shows us the potential to take on the nature of God. A nature that is so radically different than ours.

God’s ways are the ways of love.

• What does that mean?

It becomes more obvious as Jesus continues the thought and tells us something about God and his character. 

How good is God? Thoroughly. Or we could say “perfectly good”.

In fact, he is so unsparingly generous in his goodness that…

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Huh? That seems odd. He does good to bad people. . .

We think of justice as righting wrongs usually by giving someone a form of evil or payback for their evil, and rewarding good with more good. We like liking those who like us and we like punishing or casting out those we don’t like.

For instance, in two minutes on Facebook and you’ll see demarcation lines drawn. Outsiders and insiders. Good and bad. Idiots and smart.

We assume that praying for them (to change) is the godly option …

(because we are actually tempted to do something really nasty and let them have it…but, gosh, we are holding our selves back, you know, because of trying to be godly and such).

The godly thing to do is to think and act through the framework of love as our heavenly Father would.

This has nothing to do with feeling warm fuzzies or giving out hugs. It’s about fundamental fairness, as God defines it.

It’s about a shift is perspective.

Jesus tackles that next:

If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?


So what should we do instead? Jesus says…

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Don’t trip over the perfection part.

The point of the statement is to show how God is thoroughly good and also quite different in his ways than you and me. Be like God.

Being like the good Father from heaven is the true aim. This portion of Matthew 5 isn’t truly centered on what to do about our enemies. Weird, right?

It’s about transforming our thinking and our ways into Kingdom ways.

(That’s what all of the Sermon on the Mount to geared toward.)

The more good and loving we are, (even to those who are unlike us, or who hate and mistreat us), the more we are like children of God and children of his kingdom (dominion).

The contention Jesus makes is that God doesn’t play favorites.

Most people don’t like this part and don’t truly go along with it. We do gymnastics to find some useable loopholes or other verses to avoid the this part, because we define ourself by who our favorites are.

Why doesn’t God play favorites?

Because he really loves us. It is the very nature of God, as defined and modeled by Jesus.

Evil is redeemed through generosity, forgiveness, and love.

Sounds crazy, of course, but we see this happen all the time.

• Remember the story of Officer Jeremy Henwood who bought a child a happy meal just a few minutes before he was violently gunned down in a random attack (and his good deed was caught on video)?


• Or the woman from Rwanda who’s only son was violently murdered. She not only visited the young man who killed him and visited him in prison, but later adopted him and became his mother when he had no place to go.

This stories make us want to be better people through just hearing the story!

• Think of Jesus dying for his enemies.

• Think about how true forgiveness makes things new.

Because we let the person off?


It’s because we have transformed.

We stopped letting the offense trap and define us.

The next time you think about “praying for your enemies” remember:

• You are praying for you.

• You are praying for your mindset to change about what is happening.

• You are practicing being a child of God.


Don’t miss the next post in a day or so. Try the free Feedburner email delivery service (right sidebar signup form.)

“Survey says!” (7 second Survey results of 2014)

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Did you take the survey? Thank you!

A few weeks ago I created this The 7 Second Survey to see who was reading this blog and what you like best.


Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 1.49.59 PMFINDING #1

I was going to post much more heavily on the thing that brings in the $ in my “day job” this year. I was hoping to get more work and inspire other creators and writers like me.

That’s right, Marketing Communications tips and tactics. But, it appears my reader base is mostly the original one from my first blogging efforts in 2007. Overwhelmingly so.

That’s probably good news, and honestly, it surprised me.

So, I will not discard the topics and theme that started it all!

Once per week, at the very least, I will hit on a spiritual topic. It may be anything from a Christian spiritual practice, to theology, to Christian living, or personal and spiritual transformation and improvement. If that’s how you found me, and that’s why you visit, I’m glad I know better now!

Also, I will be a bit more aware of including my brand of humor, which as you may know, I have determined as “damp”. (i.e. Almost dry humor)

(Please note that unlike many “Christian author” websites, I will very rarely step into the fray of controversy so commonly seen on religious blogs. I just don’t have the stomach for it anymore…for a while now, really. I find it 95% shallow and disheartening. If you like that stuff, you have plenty of options, though, and I hope you find what you like for that.)


Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 1.50.09 PM


Another thing I learned is that I don’t have too many folks who come by to read more than once per week, even though I post 2-3 times per week. Now, I’m wondering if I’m writing too much. Maybe. Or maybe you should come back more often!

I’m guessing that there are two possible solutions, or three, to cope with that:

1. I can encourage you, my dear readers, to list the blogs you read through the super handy free reader service called Feedly which houses posts you haven’t read yet. It works like a catalogue of awesomeness. No more bookmarks and time-killing web surfing. You just paste in the websites you like, and boom, they’re all in one place. The best part, no more relying on your memory to visit a few times a week. What a relief! (Can you tell I use it?)

2. I can encourage you to get email delivery through free Feedburner service (top right sidebar)…for no more silly and random blog searches and relying on your memory.

3. Don’t sweat it.

(I’m doing all three.)


The third question was open ended…”fill in the blank style”. About half of the respondents left something to answer the question:

“What would you improve at the website?”

The funniest one (or whatever) was…

“Use spellchecker.”

As if I don’t.

…Yes. This site is full of mistakes. Typos. Proofreading issues. Editing errors. Etc. I try to hunt them down. I find plenty too late and some not at all.

If you see a problem that bothers you or you’d like to help me out, please use the contact button and let me know. I do like the help. :)

Also, I’m flawed and weak human–awash in imperfections. I’m more creative than I am a good speller or editor of my own work. If I ever have the money, I may hire someone for that. But, I’m doing #3 on this. (The “Don’t sweat it” option.)

In truth, I use this site as a sandbox. I build stuff. I sculpt the messy sand of words. I don’t worry too much. I would be creating posts even if no one came to read them. I cannot help it. At all.

It’s like this:

Sometimes you’ll find a few lincoln logs from the cat of imperfection here in my sandbox, as it were,


but hopefully more often you’ll find that what you’re reading is still worth it despite the shortcomings.

Thank you for reading and journeying with me through these years. I appreciate it immensely.

More great things are brewing!

The next post is here. It’s about the day I turn 42. The photo will give you a chuckle!



On Mindsets: Achievement vs. Contentment?

couplesmileI’m mulling over some things.

I’m beginning to wonder if those of us with a large degree of ambition, or drive, or even longing have a distinct disadvantage…

Are the skills and traits helpful for achievement also a tripwire discharging unabated discontentment?

Achievement, of course, is not negative. Nor is the desire to achieve, in itself…but I wonder about the byproducts. I wonder about the trappings or downsides.

Is the “content person” someone who tends to be less ambitious and is therefore more satisfied at a core level?

Or, could the experience of a more lasting satisfaction also be reached through a pruning process of maturation and holding the two in a difficult, but possible, creative tension?

How do you see it? I’m throwing it out their and hoping for extra insight.

I’ve been thinking about perspective and mindset. The next post will followup with a look into a framework for mitigating or ameliorating the issue. I created a visual to serve as a guide for the next post. You won’t want to miss it.

It, like me, is a work-in-process, not a final solution.

What about you?

Want to weigh in?

• Given that discontentment isn’t necessarily negative: Are you more content or discontent, in general?

• Do you sense that it’s connected with your ability or desire to achieve? (Why or why not?)

Visit soon. It’ll be a treat!

(Get the next post sent straight to your inbox by email delivery through feedburner. Place your name in the field in the right sidebar.)

Thanks for visiting, today! See you soon.