Making Plans

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You may have heard it said, “Man makes plans and God laughs.” First of all, in my home, the woman makes the plans and no one laughs…

But I digress.


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It’s All Who You Know

Our house is a typical split level.  It’s a design neither my wife nor I were too excited about.  I mean, we more or less live in a large box, but the price was right and the location was perfect.  We took the bait, bought it and moved in. We have lived in our current home now for ­­nearly eight months. By this time it is feeling like home.  We know its ins and outs.  We know its strengths and weaknesses.  It is a good home.  It keeps the rain out, it stands up in the wind, it has central air and a water softener.  There is one problem: the entry way.  It is just terrible trying to get our four kids into the house especially if we are returning from the grocery store. There is just no room. 

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The Master’s Card

During this summer season of travel and vacations, our credit cards get well used. Hotels, entrances, restaurants and, of course, hefty gas bills. We’re all after those things that money can’t buy: rest, relaxation, family, exciting experiences, shopping, getting away from it all, getting to where we always wanted to go, doing new things, spending time and attention with those whom we love and care about. The commercial comes to mind “There are some things money can’t buy; for everything else there’s MasterCard.” We’re after those things that another commercial, after tallying up the cost of various expenses, labels as “priceless.”

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Looking For a Job?

Think back a few years…remember when people would ask you what you wanted to be when you grew up?  Maybe people are still asking… Those were the days of endless possibilities.  Imagination reigned supreme and the worries of reality were nowhere to be found.  My generation was raised to believe that we could be anything we wanted to be and that a college degree was prerequisite to success.  Of course few of us stopped to think through what success might really entail. 

I wanted to be a mailman.  I know, I know, goals and all that… But, hey, it’s what my dad did.  He got to drive a cool vehicle and get paid for it!  What could be better?  Over the years, somehow my dad procured a broken down old mail truck that sat in our yard.  It may not have proven to be very useful, but as a playground for a young kid and his sister, it was amazing.  We had many car chases, races and shoot outs with bank robbers in that old truck.

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You Are Gifted

You are gifted!

That’s right! You have special giftings that God has placed within you. 

Ephesians 4:7 “But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”

The Bible calls these “the gifts of the Spirit.” They are abilities, talents, passions, propensities, that the Holy Spirit works (gifts) into you, and that the Holy Spirit, in turn, works out through you. Jesus said that He gives the Holy Spirit into each person who follows Him. Our United Methodist heritage urges followers of Jesus to live out their faith in their daily life, or, as John Wesley put it, in “holiness of heart and life.” It is through your spiritual giftings that God uses you in your normal, daily life as God’s witness and impact and make a difference in others.

1 Corinthians 12:7 “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

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Tending the Garden

Summertime in Minnesota can seem like a fleeting memory.  It is a window that might very well slam shut before you can get your fingers clear.  Summer is a crazy time.  We still have the normal list of tasks to accomplish except now we also have kids to worry about and by this time they are getting bored.  Oh, and then there is that garden to worry about.  When is the last time it was weeded?  Should we add some fertilizer? What kind?  What did we even plant in there anyway?garden

At our house, thankfully, we are not dependant upon our garden for food.  But, thanks to my wife, our garden is doing fairly well.  A healthy garden, however, means more work.  More upkeep, more pruning, more worries.  The stakes are higher, the investment is greater.  There is more to lose.

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Tattoos

My wife and I are kind of enthralled by tattoos, or at least the idea of them. Tattoos can be a very impressive art form. Typically a tattoo represents a deeper meaning and reflects something that is important to the one who wears the ink. I will never get a tattoo. I am too scared. Not of needles or the pain of application, but because of permanence. I am afraid that I will get tired of displaying the same image for the rest of my life. I suspect that is why so many people get multiple tattoos…we all need variety.  Plus I am a cheapskate, so the amount I’m willing to pay will probably land me and my clear skin with the new guy who shakes when he’s nervous.

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Security in Hesed

“Remember, O Lord, your great mercy and loving-kindness, for they are from of old.” -Psalm 25:5

I’m at Bible camp this week. You should go. It is a way for me to reconnect with how I really want to live. It helps me get set back on track. I know you don’t need Bible camp to do that, but in reality, we just don’t unless we schedule something like this. Usually we just tell ourselves we don’t have to go to camp (or some other retreat or way of spiritual reawakening), that we can do it in far easier and less expensive (time-wise, that is) ways, and that we will do something else instead…and then, we don’t. Am I wrong? It’s true for me. So, I schedule myself Bible camp on purpose. It’s surprising all the great reasons that come up for me not to actually go. But now that I’m here, I’m so thankful I came.

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Fatherhood: An End of Life Issue

Father’s Day is a square on the calendar.

On this particular square a dad can expect to receive a card (probably homemade), a tie (maybe homemade), or tools (to make stuff around the home).  But at the very worst a dad will be handed a craft made in Sunday school that has been so rushed the paint is still wet (and all over your new Dockers).

Consider this a Church Children’s Director confession:

Last week I waded through dozens of websites trying to find a meaningful activity/memento for the kids in our church to give to their dads on Father’s Day.  All roads led to Pinterest where there were many terrible ideas, but I did finally come across one that approached the heart of parenting.  It consisted of a dad-sized footprint with a second footprint of the child overlaid.  Attached was a sappy sort of poem that complemented the important picture displayed on the page.  I didn’t love that part of it, so I made one of my own.  Here is my shot at the art form of kid’s craft poetry:

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Inflatable Jesus?

Kids love balloons, and let’s be honest, when you were a pip-squeak, you loved them too. 

Remember the fun of having mom or dad blow up a bunch of balloons on a rainy day and spending hours trying to keep them off the floor.  Maybe each color had a point value or maybe you’d just use your feet for a round.  However you played, your little sister was always cheating somehow and there was ever-present that bratty kid who was dead set on popping all the amusement out of life.

As great InflatableJesusas home-spun balloon fun was, nothing could beat helium.  Helium was amazing!  (I mean, it still is…) Here we had an object in our hand that, as children, we could not comprehend.  It floated in mystery beyond our control and yet, we were able to grasp the sting and hold on tight.  This out of control thing was ours, it belonged to us, yet we knew that one careless moment would leave us wishing we had not scratched that itch or swatted that bug or reached for that piece of candy.  How many of us had a grown-up tie the balloon to our wrist?  We wanted assurance that our special possession wouldn’t go anywhere.

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