Thursday, August 25, 2011


As I was working today a familiar verse, Psalm 91:1, came to mind.  It says, "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty".  I have read this verse many times, of course, but today my spirit was drawn to two words that I had not thought much about before, "dwells" and "shadow".  What does it mean to "dwell" in the shelter of the Most High?  The dictionary definition is, "to live or stay as a permanent resident".  What better place to reside than in the God's shelter, and thereby rest in His shadow.  In this place of shelter and rest I find my peace.  Though the world around me is in turmoil I can have peace when I am in His shelter.

Monday, May 2, 2011


The news of the day (Osama bin Laden's assassination) and the reaction to it sit upon me like an anchor.  I am grieved by the glee displayed not only by unbelievers, but also brothers and sisters in the faith.  It has caused me to think, "How must the Father feel about this?"  Of course, His heart must broken that one of His beloved sons has passed onto eternity without (presumably) receiving the gift of Jesus blood.

"He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."  2 Peter 3:9b

If we have hate in our hearts how are we any different than Osama?  According to Scripture we have committed murder too.

Jesus said,  "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you"  Luke 6:27

"Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord."  Romans 12:19

Brothers and sisters, our kingdom is not of this world!  Osama bin Laden was just as much a beautiful creation of God as you or I.  We have NO right to determine that someone else's life should end.  Did this murder prove anything other than that we were out for vengeance?  Who do you think won in this?  Of course, the only one who won was the enemy of our souls.  He must be absolutely giddy that not only was he able to claim a soul for himself, but supposed followers of Jesus are reveling in this outcome.

I do not swear allegiance to any earthly kingdom, but rather I am looking for heavenly kingdom.  Don't say that I am ungrateful for the "freedoms" that I enjoy in this country.  I am, but I would rather trade it all for a country filled with believers who are passionate for the kingdom of God, who are willing to suffer to the point of death for the name of Jesus.

A sinner saved by grace

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Light & Salt ??

Two months ago I returned to a work environment that I had not been a part of for 6 years.  I re-entered the world of a metal fabrication shop.  This job change was brought on by necessity and is not expected to last much longer, but during my time there I have had time to reflect on what it means to be salt and light in a lost and dying world.

I knew before returning to the shop that it would be a bit of a shock to me because it had been so long since I had listened to the steady diet of profanity, vulgarity, and general roughness that goes on in that sort of workplace.  However, as I have worked alongside these men who are lost and hurting I have become deeply ashamed of the witness that so many "Christians" that have come in contact with these men.  I have heard countless times, "if that is what it means to be a Christian, no thanks!", or some other variation of this statement.  Also, the word "hypocrite" has been used many times to describe believers who do not act in a Christ-like manner.

I have observed that much of this poor view of Christians is brought about by mistreatment at the hands of so-called believers.  How sad that the lost cannot say, "Wow, he treated me with compassion!  I see that Jesus has made a difference in my life."

This time has caused me to evaluate how I act and realize that I am being watched closely to see if I am just another "hypocrite".  Do I treat the "slow guy" in the shop with compassion?  Do I try to help him instead of joining in with the others in tearing him down?  Do I make sure that I always speak with openness and honesty?  Admittedly, I do not always hit the mark, but thankfully there is grace anew each day.

Pray for me that I might be salt and light, and that I might act with Christ's love.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Today marks the 6th anniversary of Alaina's birth and Saturday will be 6 years since her passage to the Father's arms.  I have been surprised in the 9 months since we have returned to the States from Nicaragua that there is still a lot of pain in my heart from our loss.  I guess that I thought I had "dealt with all of that", but I believe that I had suppressed the pain to enable me to move on with the activities of life.

In any case, here we are remembering once again what was and what might have been.  I find myself thinking of what it would be like to have a 6 year old girl in our family.  I think of how painful it was to let her go.  And I think of the bittersweetness of knowing that she is in everlasting joy with Abba Father.  I suppose I am even a bit envious that she is there and I am still here struggling through life.

I know that this experience was for a purpose and I appreciate that I can now share in the pain that others around me are experiencing, but...

I miss you little blondie and can't wait to see you in heaven!

Te quiero mucho mi chelita linda!  Se que estas en la presencia de nuestro Papa y espero estar contigo pronto!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ugly materialism

One of my big struggles during this time of "re-entry" into the reality of America today is to not be super-critical of the rampant materialism that surrounds us.

Entering this Christmas season has taken it to new levels.

I feel nauseous when I see everyone clambering to buy more stuff that don't need, bigger televisions, newer cars, new toys, more clothes, etc. The overwhelming advertising of more things is disgusting, and of course, we "must have" all of these things for our happiness.

Contrast this rush to spend money that most of us can't afford to spend on things that we do not need, with the condition of many of our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world, and, perhaps, even here in our country.

Millions of people go hungry in the world each day while we indulge ourselves. Small groups of believers meet in the elements or rickety structures while we spend millions of dollars to make Taj Mahal-like structures so that we can "worship" in comfort. We insist that we need ridiculously large houses while many in the world would be happy to have a roof over their heads that would keep them dry.

One would expect this type of behavior from the unbeliever. After all, if I am not a follower of Christ what motivation do I have to care for my fellowman. I would expect to be as selfish as possible and spend all that I have on my own desires.

Sadly all this behavior that I have described is just as common among believers as non-believers. How is it possible that we live in luxury while many people in the world don't even have access to basic necessities?

Recently I began reading Ron Sider's "The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience", which speaks of this subject with great clarity. He states that if the church would take tithing seriously there would statistically be enough extra money available to "solve" world hunger. Obviously an oversimplification, but the point being that we are so self-indulgent that we can't even give a full tithe.

However, as I pondered this more I realized that there is another problem with this logic. The assumption of Sider is that if we gave the tithe to the church it would be used to help our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. Unfortunately I think that it is far more likely that we would simply surround ourselves with more opulent church buildings and other things that we convince ourselves we must have.

The early church should challenge us today in how we act toward each other. Acts 4:34-35 says, "There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need."

That, my friends is love for others, self-sacrificial love, putting the well-being of the needy ahead of my own comfort and security.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Once again a long time has passed since I last wrote. A lot has happened in that time, and as always God continues to teach me things about myself. Some of them have not been easy or pleasant, but I know that He is always working to mold me into a useful vessel.

When we returned to the US from Nicaragua in July our plan was to spend 2 months here and go back to our home in Nicaragua. However, during the 2 month time period we were slowly convinced that we needed more time here to work on some unresolved issues. We also realized that we needed some time to rest.

One morning, as I was going about my work and wrestling with the decision to stay here longer than what we had planned, God made it very clear to me that to return to Nicaragua right away would be a foolish and selfish decision. We obviously needed time to rest, process, heal, seek restoration in relationships, etc. To place "ministry" above those needs would be detrimental to my families well-being and would not be God honoring.

Now this sounds like an easy decision, right? Well, for me it was not. I HATE to disappoint people! All of our friends in Nica are waiting for us to return. Our family and friends here are expecting us to go and follow this dream. How can we not go when we said that we would? God said, "Eat some humble pie and admit to everyone that you are not ready to go just yet". Ouch! I don't want to admit to anyone that my life is not perfect and that we don't have it all together. I don't want anyone to think that we are not going to follow through with what we said we would do. I don't want to change the plan.

This has been a hard, but freeing lesson for me. I have realized how often in the past I would continue on a course of action, to my or my families detriment, simply because it was expected of me and I didn't want anyone to say or think anything. That is a terrible place to live and I don't want to live there any longer.

Yes, it is hard to say that we are having to put our plans on hold for a year to seek some healing in our lives. But at the same time I know in my heart that it is the right thing and I am freed by walking in humility.

We will return to our beloved Nicaragua when we are ready. I hope that it is soon because I miss it so, but in the meantime I will wait patiently.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Jump off a cliff...

It has been a long time since I have written any kind of reflection and, frankly, I went through a sort of dry spell for a while where I felt like God was not saying much. Recently however the lid has been blown off of all of that and God is asking me to take some steps that feel like stepping off of a cliff.

Coming from my North American cultural upbringing I have it ingrained in me to never attempt something without first having a good idea of the outcome, especially when it comes to our finances. Living here in Nicaragua I have been constantly challenged to see the Nicas trusting God with their finances because they do not have the savings accounts, investments, etc. Their faith, when it comes to trusting God to provide for their physical needs, is in a whole different league from my own faith.

Why might it be that they trust God so much more to provide for their needs? Probably because they do not have all of the "safety nets" that we always have behind us in North America. We are always encouraged to "save for the rainy day" and buy insurance for every possible eventuality that we can imagine. When we have all of these things in place what do really need God for anyway? I always have my own means to resolve any problem that might present itself.

I have become fully convinced that until I take a leap of faith in regards to my finances, and stop relying "on my own understanding", I will NEVER grow in my faith. If I really believe that God will take care of me then I need to live that way and stop trying to set it up so that there is no room for him to work.

I know that God is calling us, as Abraham, to step out into the unknown. Admittedly, the "play it safe" side of me wants to resist this idea, but I am learning to give my fears to God and am excited to see what God has in store for us.

So if in the near future you hear that we are doing something that seems sort of crazy be sure that we have "jumped off the cliff" and are growing in our faith as we see God provide for us. It is an exciting prospect to give EVERY ASPECT of our lives over to our Loving Father.