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LEPERS

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Just as the flame of life was flickering out for my dear mother, decades ago, and her spirit was being released from her dying body, I wonder what she began to see and learn about life as she met Jesus face to face for the first time? There is sometimes a huge difference between the heart of Jesus and his priorities and my own heart and my priorities. Sometimes the gap seems to be rather wide. Jesus bridged an enormous social, religious and legal chasm when he reached out and touched the leper to heal him. He casually stretched his hand out over thousands of years of fear, rejection and taboo and not only made the leper completely clean, he also permanently identified himself with all lepers by socially and even legally, making himself unclean. He instructed me, by his example, to reach out and touch lepers. All kinds of lepers. “Ummmm… yes Lord” He did this same thing when he washed Judas’ feet at the last supper. I must wash Judas’ feet as well. “Well, OK Lord” The ro

LEAPIN' LIZARDS!

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       “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Lisa and I live in Northern Florida and, no surprise, there are lots of lizards who live here too.  Some people don’t care much for reptiles of any variety, but I particularly enjoy the small lizards that live in my neighborhood. Besides being entertaining, they are also quite useful, spending their days out in the garden eating gnats, mosquitoes and other tiny flying pests. There are at least half a dozen of them who have taken up permanent residence in our little screened-in patio. Gnat-hunting is very fruitful out there and they are hilarious to watch. This morning I was sitting at my desk and I heard a soft rustling sound. Lo and behold, one of my little scaly yardmates had found his way into the house and had taken up residence here in my little corner of the living room on my desk. Mercy.  It took a huge amount of effort on my part to chase the little bugger down, pick him up and then deposit h

USEFULNESS

One of the most rewarding things in life is being useful. I’ve been pondering this subject a great deal for the past few years, so I thought I would share some of my current convictions and conclusions. My first business was back in 1970, when I was 18 years old. I grew up in San Diego and there was a building boom going on at the time, so my best friend Bert and I acquired a small, wooden toolbox, a set of interlocking metal stencils and a few cans of spray paint and we went door to door in the newly built neighborhoods and offered to paint the address number on the curb for $3. We did a better job than most because, before painting, we would actually clean off the face of the curb with a wire brush and then, for an extra fifty cents, we would sprinkle some nice reflective glitter in the wet paint to make the address number more visible at night. It was an easy and very lucrative enterprise and we usually only needed to work a few days a week in order to make ends meet. The rest of th

PEARLS AND PIGS

  Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.  Matthew 7:6 That’s a complicated passage for some people! I’m almost sorry for beginning a blog post like that, but maybe not to tell you the truth . Maybe it’s too uncomfortable for too many people to start off this way though, so how about I begin all over again? I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.   John 13:34 That passage can also be uncomfortable. Bummer! My question is this; how can you love the way Jesus loved while withholding your pearls at the same time? Tricky? I don’t believe so. I’m feeling whimsically figurative today, so you’re going to need to be patient with me for a paragraph or so. I promise I’ll bring it all together in the end.

TRUST

Trust is such a big issue. Without trust, how can I actually receive anything? How can I open my heart to any good thing that comes my way if I can’t trust? When I was a teen and in my early twenties, I had a terrible time trusting people. I was very sarcastic, defensive and deflective. I didn’t let anyone see my real feelings. That is a long story that has a lot to do with my broken family, but the result was loneliness and isolation. It also led to a number of really bad choices; foolish choices that could have been avoided if I’d just let someone in. If I’d only just trusted, someone. Most of you know that I regularly record music. I also hire people from all over to play on my recordings with me. Here is how that process works. I record the “bones” of a song, probably just one or two guitar parts and the primary vocal part, and then I usually hire a bass player to play bass on the song first. I send what I have to that person and let them do whatever they think is appropriate and t

LOVE OR FEAR

    This piece, although focused on the leadership of corporate churches, is totally applicable to almost any business, large or small. ~~~~~           Fear; embraced, paralyzes love, but           Love; flourishing, eradicates fear            Perfected fear forces out love, but           "Perfect love casts out all fear." Fearful leaders will surround themselves with people less qualified than they are and will strive to make themselves irreplaceable, regardless of the cost to the church.      Loving leaders will surround themselves with people who are smarter, brighter and more qualified than they are despite the possibility of being replaced. They assume they are replaceable and are not afraid of the personal cost.      Fearful leaders need to be in charge and usually are not.      Fear makes them weak.      Loving leaders need to love and are unquestionably in charge.      Love makes them strong.      Fearful leaders gain their identity from their posi

MARY

       I describe this next piece as ‘historical fiction’. I imagine John the disciple in his old age, probably writing a letter to a friend, ruminating about his life.      Yeah, I knew Mary.      I never was very comfortable around her. In fact, almost everything about her made me feel uncomfortable. Her clothes, her voice, her attitude. The way she would stare. She looked right through you. She would sit and study Jesus for hours, even when he wasn’t talking. She had too much money for a single woman and spent it like a kid sometimes. That bottle of perfume for example. It must have cost a year’s wages and she bought it on a whim. She had no qualms showing it to people either. I could smell that stuff across the room even with the bottle sealed shut. Then, a year later she just breaks the bottle and dumps it out all over Jesus head. Let me tell you one thing, I couldn’t figure out Jesus’ response for the longest time. There she is sobbing like a baby at his feet, and then she