Friday, October 30, 2020

His Hands and Feet

I was fortunate to be able to take a few days away from work this week to visit some of my relatives in North Carolina this week.   Caroline is my wife, and her brother has some serious health problems that have put him in and out of the hospital.  He is currently living on his own, but some basic life tasks are difficult.  It was great to be able to spend time with him and address some of the things that have been slowing him down.  But the best part of my visit was getting to see Caroline in action.  She is one of the most nurturing people I have ever known and is amazing at finding a balance between providing for her brother and loving him with strength and grace.  I got to see Jesus working through her this week, so I feel like I know Him a little better now.

Friday, October 23, 2020



If you are an NFL fan, and especially if you are a Colts fan, you know about DeForest Buckner, or "Defo".  Buckner was traded offseason this year to the Colts from the 49er's in exchange for a first round draft pick.  (Buckner 49er's highlights here.)  While he was initially disappointed with the trade, he tweeted yesterday, "Coming here, they went beyond my expectations. This is where I'm supposed to be." In addition to the excitement of being the NFL's highest paid defensive lineman, and a win over the Bengals on Sunday, Buckner had something else to celebrate.  He committed his life to Christ and was baptized.    Defo gives a lot of credit for his decision to follow Christ to the 49er's chaplain, Earl Smith.   Earl has his own great story.   After being shot 6 times in a drug raid in 1975, Earl committed his life to Christ and to a 25 year prison ministry that led him to the opportunity to be the chaplain for the 49er's and the Golden State Warriors. I love to see God working in His people, and with so many celebrities/athletes seemingly having no interest in God, I love it when He finds a way to break through to one of them.  Praise God.

Friday, October 16, 2020



Josh grew up in a small town in North Georgia.  He was relatively athletic, but was more into tennis and wakeboarding than team sports.  His dad, William, also grew up in North Georgia.  William had a job working at one of the carpet manufacturers, but his real passion was fishing, and he developed a knack for making his own lures.  His friends that he fished with saw his fishing success and hoped that the lures might have something to do with it.  William started making lures for his friends in his garage, and after several years, was selling them on eBay.  The lures became very popular, and a friend of Williams approached him about turning William's hobby into a business.  With money from the friend, and William's lures and reputation, the "lure" business grew into a successful company selling several lines of products for the outdoorsman.


At first Josh wasn't that interested in his dad's business - except for the fact that his company's success did allow the family to own an above average wakeboard boat.  Josh took full advantage hosting his high school buddies for hours of fun at the lake.  


But as Josh begun considering colleges, he recognized that his dad's company might offer him a place to land when he graduated.  He elected to go to a technical school to study process improvement and advanced manufacturing techniques.  He had seen how time intensive it was for his dad to make his lures and knew that the cost to produce them could be less with a better process.  He studied hard and made good grades.  On the weekends, when his dad was out fishing with friends, he would spend hours in his dad's workshop exploring what materials his dad had used to make the lures and pouring over pencil sketches of lures stored in one of the drawers in his shop. 

In one of his final classes in college, Josh had to redesign a manufacturing process for an existing product.  Without direct help from his dad, Josh used everything he had learned from his dad's shop and in college to redesign the manufacturing process for a new fishing lure.  Josh hoped that his commitment to the project would help secure a place for him in his dad's business.

After graduating college with honors, Josh got with his dad to present the new lure manufacturing process.  His dad listened intently and was pleased with his son's work.  Then Josh asked his dad if he could be the Director of Manufacturing for the lure side of the business, promising to reduce production costs by 20% within the first year.  William looked at his son, but didn't respond.  A growing feeling of rejection started welling up in Josh's stomach. It was so strong that he thought he was going to puke.  He didn't know whether to bust out crying or scream in rage.  "All of that work.  All of that time.  Wasted.  All for nothing.", he thought.  Finally after what seemed like hours to Josh, but was probably only a few seconds, his dad said, "Josh, I love you so much.  I will help you find a good entry level position in the right company - whether it's my company or another company."  Josh couldn't believe it.  "How could you do this to me, your own son, after all I have done?"  His dad replied carefully, "I just wanted you to come fishing with me."


(Disclaimer:  While this parable is mine, the idea was completely inspired by J. I. Packer's Knowing God.)

Friday, October 9, 2020

Broken Vessels

I have a good friend whose son committed suicide several years ago.  I posted then about the helplessness I felt and the unimaginable pain and loss of his family.  That pain is complicated by the feeling of wondering if there was anything we could have done to prevent it.  I have a good friend whose nephew is struggling now.  He doesn't know God and has mentioned killing himself on multiple occasions.  We don't know if this is a plea for attention or something he is actually considering.  He has lost respect for his family, and his friends support his "I am only living for me attitude".   What do we do?  We have a chance to do something.  We can love him and pray for him.  We can also pray that someone in his life that he respects, or someone from his past who knows God, can show him that there is a lot to live for when we recognize that we are children of God.  I found this song about the hope that God can make out of his broken vessels.  Please join me in praying for Justin.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Polemical debate

 I learned a new word today - polemic.  A polemic is a strongly written or verbal attack on someone and comes from the Greek word, polemikos.  Apparently, polemical debate has been going on for multiple millennia and continues vividly today.  Jesus was frequently the subject of polemics, but he almost always chose a different response in his debates.   His most famous debate was with the most powerful opponent the world has ever known, Satan himself.   The story told in Matthew 4, 1-11 first tells of the devil tempting Jesus to perform a miracle turning stones to bread, as Jesus had been fasting for 40 days.  Jesus responded, "Man should not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the Word of God".  Satan then tempted Jesus to save himself after jumping from a cliff.  Jesus responded, "It is written, 'do not put the Lord your God to the Test'".  Then Satan offered Jesus the whole world if Jesus would bow down and worship him and Jesus responded, "Away from me Satan for it is written, 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.'"  In the face of polemics, I pray that I might have more of what Jesus has, so that I can respond like he would.