Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Think about it...

The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.
- Paul Fix

Monday, December 3, 2007

Dark humor...

Execution by lethal injection = terminal case of poison IV.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

With thanksgiving...

I made an interesting discovery last week. When I think of things I’m thankful for, I think of the things of earth first. Relationships. Things I own. Comforts I enjoy. Here and now stuff.

It’s only upon further reflection that I get to the things of heaven. That struck me as odd – almost wrong. I know that we should be thankful for the physical blessings God gives us. It would most definitely be wrong to be ungrateful for food and shelter and sunshine and rain. But are those the most important things, the things I should think of first when counting blessings?

I’m not sure what to think. I have more questions than I have answers. And the questions I have are a bit unsettling. Try these on for size.

Does my tendency to rejoice first in the material say something about the quality of my relationship with God?

Would I thank God less if I had fewer worldly possessions?

Am I so earthly-minded that I’m of no heavenly good?

I don’t have any answers. I know that God’s grace is sufficient for me. I know I have salvation and that I can’t earn God’s mercy by right thinking or right acting or right talking. Salvation is by faith in Jesus. That’s true for me. It’s true for you. Everyone who believes is saved.

So I’m not talking about salvation here, I’m just wondering out loud if I’m a little off-kilter. Going with the flow is so easy. Thinking like the world thinks. Forgetting God.

I don’t want to drift. I can’t conform to the world and be joy-filled. Only in seeking God’s good, perfect and pleasing will can I find peace.

Thinking about this thankfulness issue this week, my mind turned to Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

“Do not be anxious about anything.” How many of you are obeying that command? Are you dealing with fears and worries properly? Are you remembering to take them to God and ask for his help in resisting the devil’s schemes?

Peter tells you to do just what Paul is saying here. Hear God speaking to you. “Cast all your anxiety on [God], because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7, NIV)

Peter and Paul are together on this. God gave them both the same message.

Why? So that every believer would not be anxious. So that every believer would go to God with their fears. When we are fearful, God wants us to pray. We’re to pray about whatever is troubling us.

Notice that Paul says, “…in everything…present your requests to God.” And do it “with thanksgiving.”

Thanksgiving is, if we get it right, God-focused. It remembers God’s goodness in the past. It trusts God’s goodness now. It trusts even when it looks like God’s walked away, even when fear threatens to undo us. Remember, this thanksgiving is accompanying prayers offered from an otherwise anxious heart.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

What difficulty are you facing right now? Don’t worry about it. Take it to God. Make your requests known to him. Give thanks to him.

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email, send a blank email to webmessage-subscribe@associate.com. Past messages are available at www.associate.com/groups/webmessage.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Are you ready?

Watch video...

This video (hope you watched it) brings back a lot of memories for me. It reminds me of end-times films I watched as a kid. I can still see the flickering images on the church’s rickety three-legged Da-Lite screen. I can hear the whirring and clacking of the run down Eiki projector. My heart still races when I bring to mind the story of a condemned Christian holding onto his faith as he stepped up to the guillotine.

I wondered then, I wonder now, could I be so brave? My emotions get all mixed up when I chew on this dilemma for any length of time. Fear. Passion. Sorrow. Joy.

I know in my head that God would give the strength I’d need to face a martyr’s end. My heart just lags a bit behind, reluctant to embrace the thought of my demise.

Violent death. Painful torture. Cruelty.

Would I fair as well as I want to when faced with these now seemingly awful fates?

I prayed about that this week, talked with my Father in heaven. Almost immediately, my eyes just closed, Jesus’ words came to mind.

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” (Luke 12:4-5, NIV)

Those words brought me back to reality. What’s best is not what’s here. What’s best is what’s to come. And so I chose again to follow the one who “after the killing of the body” – to state it more positively” – has the power to” deliver me safe into heaven. That’s who I’ll fear. That’s who I’ll follow – to the death if need be.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Elsewhere on the web...

I will be writing for Barclay Press’ online, ‘A Daily Journal’, again this month. Every weekday for two weeks, beginning Monday, October 1st, and running through Friday, October 12th, you can see what God is teaching me daily by visiting www.barclaypress.com and clicking on ‘A Daily Journal’ on the ‘Conversation CafĂ©’ dropdown menu.

It's Monday...

Some days the best thing about my job is that the chair spins.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A question to ponder...

Why is the Atheist's main target always Jesus of Nazareth, and never Buddha, Confucius, or Mohammed? Why is the aspiring athlete's target always the true champion and never the also-rans? - Anonymous

Monday, September 10, 2007

Another record?

A woman meant to call a record store, but dialed the wrong number and got a private home instead.

"Do you have 'Eyes of Blue' and 'A Love Supreme?'" she asked.

"Well, no," answered the surprised homeowner. "But I have a wife and eleven children."

"Is that a record?" she inquired, puzzled in her turn.

"I don't think so," replied the man, "but it's as close as I want to get."

- From Wit & Wisdom (click
to subscribe)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

A new record...

20.0mph! I rode 10.07 miles in 30 minutes and 12 seconds yesterday. That's the fastest I've ever ridden out and back. The only time I've had a faster average was the time or two that I had someone drop me off 20 or so miles from home so I could ride the whole way with the wind at my back...and those times weren't much faster than this one. I wasn't sure I'd ever break 19.8mph, but I did it. I'm so proud of myself. Ok...enough bragging. I will now return to my normal, humble self.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A very expensive cold...

After ten days on antibiotics, an allergy shot, chest x-rays, ten days on asthma medicine, a pulmonary function test and a visit with a pulmonologist (he’s a specialist, you know?), I find out I have a cold. I’ve been coughing for five plus weeks and that was the diagnosis I received. Argh! I have an appointment to see the pulmonologist again in six weeks if the cough doesn’t go away. He said he doesn’t worry about coughs until they go beyond three months. I felt rather stupid having gone to all this trouble for a cold, but, as I told him, I’ve never coughed like this before. His response? “You’ve never been this old before.” Argh! Argh! So there you have it. Nothing earth-shaking or terrible. Just a summer cold. I'm still coughing.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Jalapeno Song

The Jalapeno Song
(Made up while riding my bike this morning.)

Jalapeno, Hey! There’s a gringo.
Give it to him. See what he does.

Will he get real red and sweat?
Will he take another yet?

Another yet?
Not my bet.

Red and sweat?
He’ll get real wet.

Senor Gringo, here’s jalapeno.
Take a bite now. It is really good.

(Sung to the tune of “Alouette”)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

On losing and winning...

This week has been all about losing and winning.

Let's get the painful part over first. I lost to my brother in chess. He killed my queen way too early and I was playing defense forever. The play was enjoyable though, especially the online messenging feature. I loved taunting him when he couldn't figure out how to do me in more quickly. I've invited him to play again. Oh, and I have the cough that won't go away. Antibiotics haven't worked. An allergy shot didn't slow it down. Chest x-ray time! Yippee!

Now for the winning. I won a long sought after goal on my bike. I hit a max speed over 40mph on Monday and I rode over 150 miles by week's end. My average speed jumped up a notch on Wednesday too - from 16.8 to 16.9. The 19mph days last week didn't hurt. And then there was my awesome prayer time on Wednesday. Going through Neil Anderson's 'Steps to Freedom in Christ' was a real lift. I was blessed by God with new insights into his love for me.

And there you have it. Can't wait to see what this week brings.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Here are the winners of the Tour de France...Cadel Evans on the left was second. Alberto Contador of Discovery was first and his teammate, Levi Leipheimer, was third. Go Discovery!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Contador in yellow...

I should be excited...I am really. Contador, my man from Discovery is in yellow in the Tour. He took the leader's jersey when Rasmussen's team fired him after catching the Dane in a lie. He'd maintained all along that he was in Mexico when the anti-doping forces were looking for him to test his blood and other bodily fluids. Turns out he was in Italy. Naughty Chicken! (His nickname.) So Alberto donned the yellow duds last night and will ride in them today. Go Conti! (Please don't be another druggie.)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Happy birthday to me...

What a nice birthday gift. Alberto Contador (in 'Best Young Rider' white), a 24-year-old rider for Discovery Channel, won today's stage of the Tour de France and moved into second place just behind Michael Rasmussen (in yellow). Woohoo! And the icing on the (birthday) cake was Levi Leipheimer's move up to fourth place. He's Contador's American teammate. If only they could've pulled George Hincapie, Discovery's faithful "old" New Yorker, along with them. I'd love for him to win something. He deserves it after serving Lance Armstrong for so many years. I guess he got a stage victory last year. That's going to have to do I guess. His hopes are fading this year. He's in 37th place, 40 minutes behind the man in yellow. (Follow the Tour!)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Another one bites the dust...

My brother Patrick who lives in Russia finally bit the dust. He started a blog. Ha! He resisted for a long time, but he has succumbed.

Visit him at neifertfamily.blogspot.com.

Post a comment making fun of his blog. LOL!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Recovery...here's why!

Yesterday I wrote about my recovery ride. Here's why I take it easy the day after a hard effort...

This morning, I pushed my riding up another notch. I knocked out 21.64 miles at 19.7mph. I was at 19.8mph until the last quarter mile or so. I just couldn't hold on to that tenth against a stiffening south wind.

Still, this ride was my third best non-wind-assisted ride ever. I rode 23.37 miles at 19.7 in April 2006 and I sprinted to a 19.8mph average over 10.68 miles in August of the same year.

Today was fun...in a painful sort of way. If only I could get a group of guys to ride with me at that pace. Argh!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hard to please...

Got this email from a friend recently...

Soon after my wife and I met, she mentioned how she really wished that she could afford a riding lawnmower. She was a single gal that worked all day and was often tired in the evening when she got home from work. So, being the handy sort of guy that I was, I made her a riding lawnmower. I guess I thought she would squeal with delight and give me a big hug. To this day I have never been able to understand why women are so hard to please.

I love it!

See what God can do...

I went to visit Marjorie in her new home in Wellington this week. She seemed as happy as could be in her cheerily decorated, two-room apartment. That didn’t surprise me. Marjorie’s not much of a complainer. She always makes the best of life.

Somehow our conversation turned to what she was doing. She talked about all the free time she had – free time to pray. She’s keeping busy on the church's behalf.

Marjorie’s down-the-hall neighbor, Jane, has told me dozens of times that she does the same. Jane prays for all the folks in Argonia every night. She prays throughout the day as God brings friends to mind.

God’s church is blessed with an abundance of men and women dedicated to the spiritual protection and blessing of their brothers and sisters in Christ. Many of them pray every morning for those they know who are in need. They count it a privilege to take their friends’ troubles to the throne of God in heaven. God is pleased to listen to and answer their petitions.

Prayer matters. A prayer-weak church is a plain weak church. No church can survive long without the consistent and persistent prayers of its members.

Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7, NIV)

He’s calling his followers to action. Ask. Seek. Knock. Those are all active verbs. Prayer is not doing nothing! It is not thinking wishfully out loud. It is not playing “I hope so” with the Almighty. Prayer is actively pursuing the God who loves us for the things we and others need. It’s vigorous. Intense.

After Jesus said, “Ask…seek…knock,” he went on to say: “For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:8, NIV)

There’s a promise here. Don’t miss it. God will answer the prayers of his people. He’s given his word. Ask…receive. Seek…find. Knock…doors open.

The only time I know of in the Bible when God says, “You can’t have what you’ve asked for,” is when you’re asking selfishly.

“You do not have, because you do not ask God,” James writes. “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:2-3, NIV)

“Which of you,” Jesus asked, “if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11, NIV)

God is good. He wants to bless his children. He wants to answer their prayers.

I want you to think of a situation you’re facing right now. Anything. A delightful thing. A disastrous thing. God wants you to pray about that thing – whatever came to your mind first. He wants to hear from you. He wants to act on your behalf. He wants to help. Take your circumstances to God. Do it now. Don’t rush things. Lay it all out before the Lover of your soul. See what God can do.

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email, send a blank email to webmessage-subscribe@associate.com. Past messages are available at www.associate.com/groups/webmessage.


Yesterday I soloed 20.18 miles on my Giant Sedona at 18.6mph. It was hard work. I was ready to quit at times. It wore me out. My legs were buzzed.

So this morning I rode recovery - same miles, 20.12, but a much more reasonable 16.3mph pace. I rode the entire time seated in a lower gear...didn't stand up on hills. My legs will be happier tomorrow, more willing to endure torture again, because I rested today.

There's a life lesson here. When you're working your tail off, busy as all get out, you need time to recover. Rest is not sin, friend. Take a break some time this week. Nap. Enjoy a hobby. Walk. Chat with a neighbor. Pray. Laugh. Visit the library.

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email, send a blank email to webmessage-subscribe@associate.com. Past messages are available at www.associate.com/groups/webmessage.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Two days to go...

On Friday morning, July 14, a rather intense competition will take place in Clearwater, Kansas...the final swim meet of the Ark Valley Swim League. Argonia's team will be there along with four other teams - Clearwater (Argonia's chief rival due to sheer numbers), Conway Springs, Belle Plaine and Mulvane. Fifty or so kids from 67004-land will swim their hearts out for individual glory and for team pride. Will they pull off the upset and finally beat Clearwater in home water? Only time will tell.

At the Mulvane meet on June 30 they pulled off a 55-point victory, 391 to 346, against Clearwater with far fewer swimmers in the pool. A few years ago that was the stuff of dreams.

I watched the Argonia kids in the pool today. Practice was hard. They worked! Yesterday's times were the best of the year. They're peaking at the right time.

Can't wait to see what Saturday brings.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Overkill: A Haiku

Stupid bug buzzing.
Poorly aimed deathblow breaks glass.
Bug taunts crying man.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Monday, July 9, 2007

Horseshoes, hand grenades and...

Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades...or so the old saying says. I beg to differ. Close counts in biking too. I have had close encounters with all sorts of critters. This week on vacation I added several new animals to my nearly missed list. They're marked with an asterisk below. These recent meetings inspired me to post the following list.

Animals I Have Nearly Hit:
  • Beetle
  • Box Turtle*
  • Canadian Goose*
  • Caterpillar
  • Chipmunk*
  • Deer
  • Dog (Duh!)
  • Duck*
  • Possum
  • Rabbit
  • Skunk
  • Snake*
  • Snapping Turtle* (very large)
  • Squirrel

Most of these have run (or slithered) out in front of me along U.S. Highway 160, but a few have stepped into harm's way on back roads and bike trails.

Animal lovers, please note! I DID NOT HIT ANY OF THESE CREATURES! Don't write to me and tell me how cruel I am. Please.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Reformed blog...

My brother set up a blog not too long ago...lots of discussion of Reformed theology and the decisions of the Christian Reformed Church.


Friday, June 29, 2007

Protect them Father...

Jesus prays in John 17 for his disciples. “Protect them,” is his plea to the Father. Protect them from what? From persecution? No. He knows trouble will come from without. The world will hate his followers. That’s a given. The world hated him!

Instead of praying for physical safety, Jesus prays for spiritual shelter. “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” (v. 15) “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name – the name you gave me – so that they may be one as we are one.” (v. 11)

The implication is clear here isn’t it? The evil one is going to attack the church. His attacks are going to be aimed at disrupting unity.

Are you with me? The enemy of your soul and mine is out to destroy the peace of every congregation, the spirit of harmony that exists in every church. The devil would like nothing more than for you and your fellow believers to start bickering over trivial things. Satan would love to see you and your sisters grabbing and grasping for control of do-nothing committees. Groups that do nothing because they’re always at each other’s throats. Groups that cannot do anything for the kingdom of God because they’re focused on their own little fiefdoms. Lucifer would laugh out loud if you and I started squabbling over the proper songs for worship. Some churches fight about music you know?


Can you imagine? I suppose this is a slightly more important issue than, say, which way the toilet paper should roll, but…It grieves God’s heart when his children argue over such matters.

Unity in the church matters. It matters for this simple reason: unity demonstrates God’s power and brings glory to him. When God is honored in the church through loving fellowship, people are convinced that Jesus has something to offer. Peace and unity despite differing opinions is simply amazing to a watching world.

“I pray…for those who will believe in me through their message,” Jesus prayed, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (v. 20-23)

Unity is vital to the spread of God’s kingdom. No unity. No new believers.

“The church is full of hypocrites! They say one thing and do another. They bicker over stupid stuff. Why would I want to join?”

In Galatians 5:15 Paul warns, “If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” (NIV)

You’ve been warned. I’ve been warned.

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18, NIV)

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email and join the "webmessage" discussion group, send a blank email to webmessage-subscribe@associate.com. Past messages (there are well over 100) are available at www.associate.com/groups/webmessage.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Love beyond reason...

"God, who needs nothing, loving into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them. God did not make us because He was bored, lonely, or had run out of things to do. He created us to be the objects of His love! Sometimes our actions make us unlovely, but we are never unloved. And because God loves us - we have value. And nobody can take that value away. God's love revealed at Calvary fastens itself onto flawed creatures like us, and for reasons none of us can ever quite figure out, makes us precious and valued beyond calculation. This is love beyond reason. And this is the love with which God loves us."

- CS Lewis

Saturday, June 23, 2007

13 points...

Today's Ark Valley Swim League meet results...

Argonia - 351
Clearwater - 338
Conway Springs - 57
Mulvane - 53
Belle Plaine - 43

WE WON BY 13 POINTS!! I was so proud of our swimmers. They are the hardest working, most disciplined bunch of kids. They always do what is asked of them in practice with little or no complaining. They give their best in every race - win, place or finish.

Go Argonia! League meet is yours for the taking this year. See you Monday morning at 7:00 sharp!

Friday, June 22, 2007

On a mission...

Three teams - twenty-three high school students and nineteen accompanying adults - from our Friends churches in the midwest will be crossing the globe to minister to youth and adults in far away places over the next few weeks.

You can follow their travels via the blogosphere...

These links will open in a new window. The Alaska team is pictured above.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I checked my junk mail filter this morning. 612 emails were there for me to sort through. 612! That's ridiculous!

Listen up, all you purveyors of spam!
  • I do not want a car loan from you. I've never heard of your company.
  • I do not want to meet singles in my area. I'm happily married, thank you very much.
  • I do not want ringtones, polyphonic or otherwise, for my nonexistent cell phone.
  • I do not want pills from any pharmacy any where. If I need medication, my doctor can call the scrip in.
  • I do not want my share of the millions Barrister Whats-His-Name left for me. He doesn't even know me.
  • I do not want a larger "piano" or "pen" or anything that starts with the letter "P" for crying out loud.
  • I do not want any more of your emails! Quit sending them.

There...I feel better now. It won't do any good, but I got to vent.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Metro gnomes...

Ah, those mythical minatures that live in the underground, haunting Grand Central and Victoria Station - the Metro Gnomes. These little bearded dwarfish fellows ride the subways of the world. They can be counted them on to rescue stranded tourists and free animals trapped in the tube. Their upbeat ways make them a hit with kids and adults alike. Ask them to sing a song or play a flute to cheer you up and they'll never miss a beat.

Long live the Metro Gnomes! Tap, tap, tap, tap.

Friday, June 15, 2007

1000 miles...FINALLY!

You don't know how long I've waited for this day to arrive, the day I finally logged my 1000th mile for the year. This year's riding has been horrendous. The weather and a crazy schedule have kept me off my bike more days than usual. No sense getting hit by lightning.

So here I am almost half way through the year with way less than a third of the miles I need to meet my goal. Argh! You'll notice, too, how far behind previous years' mileage I am. Double argh!

There is hope, however. My brother-in-law is coming in a few weeks and we're planning a century ride. That will give me another 100 miles and it will motivate me to train harder.

It's time to reel in the goal.

Until we meet, Ruth...

Ruth Graham, who surrendered dreams of missionary work in Tibet to marry a suitor who became the world’s most renowned evangelist, died Thursday. She was 87.

“Ruth was my life partner, and we were called by God as a team,” Billy Graham said in a statement. “No one else could have borne the load that she carried. She was a vital and integral part of our ministry, and my work through the years would have been impossible without her encouragement and support.

“I am so grateful to the Lord that He gave me Ruth, and especially for these last few years we’ve had in the mountains together. We’ve rekindled the romance of our youth, and my love for her continued to grow deeper every day. I will miss her terribly and look forward even more to the day I can join her in Heaven.” Read more...

I'll be seeing you someday, Ruth. Can't wait to meet you and worship Jesus together with you for a few hundred millenia. God bless you, Billy, as you grieve. We have hope! Hang on to it!

A little "veggie world" name dropping...

Guess who emailed me today? I'll give you nine chances and the first eight don't count. Phil Vischer, creator of VeggieTales and head of Jellyfish Labs, you say? You're absolutely right. I sent a link to last week's Walk with God... post to his office and it actually made it to his desk...or is that desktop? Can you believe it?

So you're wondering what he wrote. Here's the entire text...

Thanks, Mike! Love the blog!


Isn't that cool?! I think I'll go eat a popcorn ball!

Thursday, June 14, 2007



Vocabularian at play!
Proceed with caution.

I am really gruntled today...as opposed to dis-gruntled.
  • I'm a gruntled coach. I'm excited about the EIGHT good, coachable swimmers our swim team picked up today.
  • I'm a gruntled pastor. I love my people and talking with them lifts my spirits. They're awesome encouragers.
  • I'm a gruntled dad. My kids are crazy fun! Parties and games this week have been a blast.
  • I'm a gruntled husband. My wife is beautiful, smart, organized. What more could a guy ask for?
  • I'm a gruntled friend. Several key relationships are growing. I'm sharing more deeply and learning to trust.
  • I'm a gruntled artist. I'm having the time of my life capturing my hometown on "film" for my photoblog.

The world needs more gruntled people. So put on a smile, check your attitude at the door and look for the good things in life.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Proverbs 12:16

A fool shows his annoyance at once,
but a prudent man overlooks an insult.

I'm such a fool some days.


I discovered photoblogs this week. Here are two of my favorites so far.


Great life photos in the first. Gorgeous art on the second.

I love lizards...

My friend Thane works for an ad agency. Their website is hilarious...sort of. Their motto is: "We hate sheep!" Their explanation: "The people of [SHS*] hate sheep because they remind us of marketing that follows instead of leads. Communication that blends in."

Anyway, I got an email from buddy Thane with this disclaimer...

"We hate sheep. We also detest needless disclaimers. Our attorneys, however, inform us that the following mouse type is essential for protecting our bacon. And we love bacon. So make yourself comfortable, and let's get this over with. This email and any attachments may contain confidential and privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately by return email, delete this email and destroy any copies. Any dissemination or use of this information by a person other than the intended recipient is unauthorized and may be illegal."

That got me to thinking randomly. Hmm. What kind of disclaimer do I need for my email and blog messages? Here's what I came up with...

"I love lizards. I also enjoy a needless disclaimer or two per day. They make me smile. My attorney - I don't really have one - has informed me that the following small print is necessary to save my "lizard" skin, so here goes. This email (or blog post) and any attachments (or comments) may contain crazy and entirely random information. If you are not able to deal with nuttiness, please do not read what I have written. You may notify the sender (that's me) by return email that you think I'm absolutely insane. I don't care. I love lizards. You may delete this email and destroy any copies if you want...or you may disseminate it freely. You don't have to be authorized to do so. I doubt it's illegal."

(The art work is mine. The original scan of the rubber lizard that sits on my desk at work is at the top. The other two are digital "remixes" of the same images. I use them as desktop wallpaper all the time.)

*I left out the name of the company in case they don't like people quoting them. SHS would be an accurate abbreviation of their name.

Monday, June 11, 2007

On oxen and ditches...

Jesus spoke about the ox in the ditch on the Sabbath. But if your ox gets in the ditch every Sabbath, you should either get rid of the ox or fill up the ditch.

Guest Blogger, Billy (the Graham guy)

Thought this was pretty good! See you in church Sunday!

Weird beard...

I ran across this on MSNBC's photoblog today. It's from the International German Beard Growing Championships in Schoemberg, Germany. Crazy!

No chain...

Legend has it that when George Hincapie was having an especially good day during the Tour de France, he'd look at buddy Lance and, with a smile, say, "No chain!" Huh? What he meant - I read about these things - is that he felt so strong it was like there was no chain, no resistance. He was ready to push the other teams to their limit.

If I had a buddy, I would've turned to him today and said, "No chain!" I felt ridiculously strong today. I knew it was going to be a good day from the moment I left the driveway at 5:40 this morning. My legs responded when I asked them to sprint up to speed and they kept giving all ride long. I rode just over 15 miles at 18.9mph. (Remember this is with a heavy bike, almost a mountain bike.) My average heart rate was a low 156bpm. It was a blast. Too bad I didn't have anyone to share it with.

"P.J., my friend, where are you? I've got no chain!"

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Where's Mikey?

We're cleaning house. I mean REALLY cleaning house. Taking things off shelves. Getting rid of things that we'll never use. We have quite a pile in the corner of our basement ready for a garage sale..."some day." While we were cleaning the "blue room," my wife handed me a stack of pictures. My junior high and high school camp pictures! I found myself, my brother, two of my cousins and a few friends in this one from 1981. See if you can find me...and if you know any of the others, find them too. Good luck. (I'd recommend clicking on the picture so it's a bit larger.)

Friday, June 8, 2007

Walk with God...

Noah built the ark. He and his family entered the boat. God shut the door. "It rained and poured for forty day-sies, day-sies." The entire population of the earth, save those on board the ark, was wiped out by the world-wide flood that resulted. Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth and their wives alone were saved along with hundreds of animals, two of each kind.

When the water receded and the ship rested on Ararat, Noah stepped out on dry ground and worshiped God. And God honored Noah with a promise. He made a vow to his friend that he wouldn’t wipe out the earth by flood again. He put a rainbow in the sky to remind him for all time of his promise. He said he’d see it and show mercy.

That's the familiar part of the story, the part every kids picture book tells.

But there's more to the story. Noah life wasn't all ship-building. He lived for a little over 500 years before God stopped by and made him a shipwright. He spent 80 or 90 years building his gopher-wood life boat and then sailed the "high" seas in it for only just over a year. He exited the ark and lived 350 more years, dying at the ripe old age of 950. The popular part of Noah's biography covers a relatively short period of his life, about one ninth, maybe a tenth, of his years on earth.

Do you know what Noah did during the 500 plus years that he lived before God commanded him to build the ark? No songs have been written about this part of his life. No storybooks tell the tale, but the Bible does tell us what he did with his first five centuries. Any guesses? The answer is this: Noah walked with God. That's it.

Genesis 6:9 , "Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God." (NIV)

500 plus years of life condensed to one sentence.

Noah walked with God. Do you understand what that means?

During the summer, my wife and I often take walks in the evening. We follow the same route most nights, looping around the north half of town. Occasionally we do a down-and-back to the River Park . While we're walking, we talk. We catch up on what's new with each other. We work through problems. We share feelings. We plan days to come. It's a very pleasant and profitable time.

Walking with God is very much like that I think. It's living life in constant communication with the lover of our souls. That's who he is, you know? God loves us. He sent his Son, Jesus, to die for us so we could have a relationship with him. And so he loves it when we walk with him - catching up on what's new, working through problems, sharing feelings, planning days to come.

Let me quote just a little bit of Phil Vischer's post-VeggieTales story from his book, Me, Myself, & Bob.

These are the words he uses to describe his life after weeks of struggling with God, wondering why his Father had let Big Idea go under. They reflect the change that came over Phil after hours of reading God's word and praying, after Phil finally died to himself and his dreams and yielded to God.

"…I heard myself say to my wife one night, 'I don't want to write anything.' I was ready to be done, if that's what God wanted. To just rest in him and let everything else fall away. At long last, after a lifetime of striving, God was enough. Not God and impact or God and ministry. Just God.

"And then, a few weeks later, something interesting happened. I was lying in bed, pondering a spiritual truth that God has impressed upon me. Hmm, I thought, I should write that down and save it for a speaking opportunity. But then suddenly the lesson sprang to life in my head, not as a sermon, but as a story about two pigs in business suits who, though they live right next door, don't know each other's names. Within an hour the whole story was clear in my head. I walked to my office the next day and, a few hours later, had the finished text for a picture book based on a story so simple, yet capturing such a deep spiritual truth that the first time I read it to my wife, she cried. And I thought, 'Oh…is this how it’s going to work now?'" (p. 246)

Noah walked with God. Phil is learning to do the same. Are you ready to give up your striving and join them? God is enough. Stop running ahead. Walk.

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email and join the "webmessage" discussion group, send a blank email to webmessage-subscribe@associate.com. Past messages (there are well over 100) are available at www.associate.com/groups/webmessage.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Super robot to the rescue...

Just felt like drawing a robot. Don't ask me why.

Used to do this all the time when I was in junior and senior high. Drawing with a mouse is much more difficult than pen and ink.

Maybe I'll draw something and scan it later...Maybe not!

Hmmm...I wonder if I could find any of my old drawings.


I ran across this crazy KookyChow site while poking through the "Big Idea Alumni" page on Phil Vischer's (founder and creator of VeggieTales) blog the other day. It's certainly interesting.

I'll warn you...if you have a weak stomach, don't go here. Some of the "regrettable edibles" that Brian Ballinger posts on his site sound and look a bit...hmmmmmmmmm...odd. All are from his collection of strange canned delights.

"Yummmmmmmmmmmmy! Pass the pickled pig lips please!"

(If you're still hungry after this site, click on over to LuncheonLoaf.com.)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Fair fights...

Another installation for the Indiana Yearly Meeting newsletter...

Good Morning!

Three weeks after her wedding day, Joanna called her minister in hysterics. "Pastor," she cried, "John and I had our first fight together! It was awful. What am I going to do?" "Calm down, Joanna," her pastor answered, leaning back in his chair and shaking his head. "This isn't nearly as bad as you think. Every marriage has to have its first fight. It's natural." "I know, I know," Joanna said impatiently. "But what am I going to do with the body?"

I’ve never had a fight of this magnitude with my wife, but learning to fight well is something upon which we are continually working. “Fighting” – or processing conflict – is something that doesn’t come naturally for me. For a long time I felt that a healthy marriage implied the lack of conflict. I now believe that I was wrong. I’ve come to believe that healthy marriages should have their share of conflict that is processed in a helpful manner – “fair fights!” In fact I’ve been known to follow my wife through the house insisting that I care enough about her to resolve an issue that is causing concern in our relationship.

Has your church learned the fine art of having “fair fights?” In fair fights we seek to win an understanding, not an argument. In fair fights we attack the problem not a person. Fair fights are characterized by open communication in appropriate settings, not telephone campaigns full of innuendos and suspicion. Quakers should be good at resolving conflicts, not burying them. Friends, let’s learn to fight the good fight!

Guest Blogger, Doug

Friday, June 1, 2007

They're back...

Years ago my brother introduced me to the craziest game... Chicken Invaders. Soon afterwards, I found CI2 and CI2 Christmas Edition.

Today I discovered the third installment of the game...Revenge of the Yolk! (It has a Christmas version too.) Scary! Cluck, cluck, cluck.

Unfortunately, the folks (or is that yolks?) at Interaction Studios have figured us cheap guys out. The demo is not "everlasting" as in the past. You get to play for 60 minutes and then you have to pay. Boo hoo!

Of course, you can still download and play the demos of CI1 and CI2 (both versions) for free and play for hours...hmmm!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Resurrection crab...

Herbie the resurrection crab!Herbie the hermit crab came home with my youngest daughter the other day. Her name was drawn in the last day of school pet giveaway. She was so proud of him. She had to show him to me as soon as I walked in the door. (Actually, I'm not sure he's a him...if you know what I mean.) She showed me everything about his cage - the purple sand, the water dish, the extra shells. It was fun to see her excitement. (Only slightly less exciting was spending $23 on new sand and other "crabby" paraphernalia that night while on a date with my wife.)

A few days after his arrival in our home, his home freshly cleaned, Herbie molted. His exoskeleton looked rather macabre laying in front of his shell. Weird stuff, this molting. Kind of cool in a gross sort of way.

So out came the new "how to take care of a crab" book. What do you do with a molting crab? Leave it alone. We left Herbie alone. He didn't move for quite awhile...days! Finally, I decided it was time to check his pulse. (Actually, I just picked him up and poked him.) He didn't flinch. Since he'd been in the same place and looked rather dried up, I pronounced him dead.

The wailing began immediately. Herbie's proud owner was grief stricken. Her older sister wrapped her arms around her. (I'm proud.) They cried together like sisters should at their dad's funeral. Finally, they headed off for bed.

Just minutes later I looked in the cage. Herbie had moved. The silly thing was alive! I shouted out the good news. The once bereft girl could hardly contain herself. "Herbie is alive!" she screamed after confirming the fact for herself.

Resurrection crabs should show up at everyone's house.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Rain, rain go away...

Every day when I turn on my computer, my pesky, little WeatherBug chirps at me. FLOOD WARNING! it shouts as I bring up the floating full application. FLOOD WARNING for Sumner County. I flip over to the radar and this is what I see...

Okay...I did add the bold red Argonia to this radar image!

Every day it's the same. (Or so it seems.) I'm tired of it. I can't ride my bike! Aaaaaaaaaaargh! I can't mow my grass! Okay, well, maybe this rain isn't so bad.

A prairie reclamation project...

This is my lawn...really!
"Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam..."
A hundred years or more ago,
The wind across the plains would blow,
And all the grass so green and tall,
Would to the herds of buff'lo call.
"Where the deer and the antelope play..."
Today the grass is cut so short,
You never hear a buff'lo snort,
A cat may flit from here to there,
But never a buff'lo's derriere.
"Where seldom is heard, a discouraging word..."
I think, No more! This should not be!
We must reclaim the vast prairie!
So that's why I let my lawn go,
"Here buff'lo, buff'lo, buff'lo!"
"And the skies are not cloudy all day."

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Mad Pam

Mad Pam to the Max!Mad Max step aside. Mad Pam is on the loose. Actually, madpam is the name of my sister Pam's new blog. She's in Russia with her eldest daughter, Mad (nickname), visiting my bro and sis-in-law, Patrick and Christy.

If you'd like to keep up on their exploits, check out their madpam blog.

(Hopefully they'll actually have something posted by the time you click on the link.)

Sleestaks outlawed...

I watched way too much TV as a child. I was a junkie. The amount of time I spent in front of the tube would make a normal person jittery, easily distracted, forgetful…

What was I saying?

Oh yeah, I was a TV addict. I watched whatever was on.

Shows I wanted to watch – Adam 12, The Partridge Family, Emergency, CHIPs, The Muppet Show, Charlie’s Angels, Hee Haw, Hawaii 5-0, The Wonderful World of Disney, Bonanza, The Waltons, The Six-Million Dollar Man, The Rockford Files, The Bionic Woman, Sanford and Son, The Super Friends.

Shows I cared nothing for – Lawrence Welk. “Good night, sleep tight and pleasant dreams to you. Here’s a wish and a prayer that every dream comes true. And now until we meet again…Adios, au revior, auf weidersehen.....Good Night!”

Scary, huh?

You want to know something funny? What I remember most clearly from my childhood is not all the good, fun shows I could view. What I remember best is the show my parents wouldn’t let me watch. To this day my blood boils when I think of what I missed because of my overprotective parents. Oh, the injustice! Oh, the tyranny! I never got to watch “The Land of the Lost” on Saturday mornings! Well…at least not an entire episode. There were the furtive glances with the volume turned way down. Never could quite figure out what was going on. Were the Sleestaks good guys or bad guys? Could they talk? Never mind. I don’t need to know.

We all tend to want what we cannot have – what’s denied us, that which is considered taboo. And we tend to be angry at those who set the limits we push against. But what if the people in charge have our best interest in mind? I know my parents did.

Perhaps the God-created rules you and I don’t like are made for our good.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A tale of two pitchers...

There were once two young men who entered a certain small town horseshoe pitching contest. They slapped down their $20 entry fee - $10 a piece - at the beginning of the day and started flinging U-shaped projectiles at little metal posts. They won their first match, then their second. The ringers kept coming and, late in the afternoon, the duo found themselves in the championship.

Their rivals in the final round were, to put it delicately, a bit tipsy. So what did these two young men do? They decided they needed a bathroom break. "We'll be back," they told their inebriated foes. As they walked away, their opponents said one to the other, "Let's get some more whiskey." The two young men just smiled. Things were going just as they planned.

Twenty minutes later, back from their "bathroom" break, the two temperate throwers beat their besotted opposers. They chuckled to themselves a short time later as they walked away with their winnings - $60 a piece.

The moral of the story: a little self-control yields a healthy return on investment. (True story. Picture above of one of the storied "wise men" during a not-so-storied match last year.)

My hometown...

One of Wichita's TV stations recently did a couple of spots on Argonia. Thought some of you might like to see why I think my hometown is the best...


Friday, May 18, 2007

Make little dents...

Ron’s driving his pickup now. His truck was buried under three layers of carport roof in Greensburg, Kansas, until this past Wednesday. (You can kind of see the bumper under this earlier-in-the-week picture if you click on it and view the enlarged image.)

Wednesday’s when Jonathan, Jason and I came for a visit. It took the three of us - Ron and Tyler, the son of a friend of a friend, were working on another project - a little over an hour to slowly clear away the tornado-tossed rubble that once was a decent vehicle shelter. Nail-infested wood and torn-up shingles went west. Broken bricks and one 2'x3' chunk of concrete south and east. Twisted tin north. The piles were as impressive as they were dangerous.

When the last brick was thrown aside and the driveway swept clean, Ron inspected the freshly uncovered treasure. The major damage was to the bed. The cab was in remarkably good shape. A few scratches and a dent or two was all. A lot of dust. Ron was pleased. He fished around for his keys, hopped in the cab and...the engine roared to life. Slipping the wounded wagon into gear, Ron backed away from the mess that was once his home.

Later that day the truck limped all the way to Kingman, Kansas, without a hitch...or a license plate. (Shhhh! Don’t tell!) The air conditioner blew a little dust out when Ron first turned it on, but, all things considered, that’s a minor thing. Ron has a truck to drive.

Upon reflection, it seems like such a little thing to me...clearing away one pile of lumber from one man’s pickup. The city around was still a jumbled mass of pick-up-sticks writ large. No one but Ron will notice this single missing vehicle. But...Ron’s driving his pickup now.

My friends and I made a little dent in Greensburg. Others are doing the same. Together we’re making a difference.

Make little dents wherever you are.

Name dropping again...

I was corrected today. I have actually ridden with a collegiate national champion. Mark Smelser, my friend, got the gold last year. He was the reigning nation champ in the crit. Silly me! (He's still a lot better rider than me.)

His mom gave me the following report on this year's nationals...

No repeat gold medal, but [Mark] was pleased with his places. They were both [the road and crit] tough races. Very hot both days, in the upper 90s, and the detours on the road race were killers. Some of the roads around Perry Lake are under 10 feet of water; in fact the water is still rising because they can't let it out, too much downstream flooding already. We've had more rain this week, so as long as the gates are closed the water will stay up. Campgrounds and marinas are under water . . .not good for Memorial Day weekend coming up.

Anyway, since this wasn't an Iron Man competition and no amphibious bikes showed up, they had to reroute the [road race] over some gravel road sections. It was awful . . . Shimano and other support teams ran out of spare tires and wheels. And since the Mens D1 race was the last race of the day, they had the fewest spares going in. A lot of the field dropped and didn't finish.

But Mark was in a break neck sprint with the front pack. The leader was way out in front, no question. But the rest of them all crossed in a blur. We had no idea what his place actually was until we saw it posted . . ."same time . . . same time . . . same time"

And Sunday was so exciting. Another hot day and Mark ran out of water, but kept at it. He stayed in the peloton for half the race and then broke away with some others and stayed well out in front of the main pack for the rest of the race. He was in the lead several times . . . so much fun to watch! He had a bunch of friends there, and both our families were there, many of them had never watched a high speed bike race. They were amazed!

Anyway, he stayed with the lead pack of about 10 riders and was actually in front going into the last lap, but they jumped him and he didn't have enough left to get back in front. I thought it looked like he was 4th or 5th, but they were all so close, by the time they sorted it out he was 10th. But he was happy with that. He said what kept him going the last few laps was all the cheering . . . he left it all out there.

Had several interviews on Saturday, and again after the race on Sunday. He had more TV cameras around him that the winner did!

The guy that beat him for the omnium last year repeated as Omnium champ this year. He didn't win either race outright, but had enough points and preems that he won by about 25 points. He only beat Mark by 2 points last year!

But you wanna hear a sad story? While he was on the podium getting his gold medal some slime ball stoke his bike, right there on the street in front of all those teams.

Somebody went shopping for an expensive bike and found one. So while he went home with a gold medal, he didnt't go home with the bike that helped him win it. I couldn't believe it.

Anyway, we had a National Champion for a year . . .somebody else gets it this year. You should have heard the announcer . . . it was great . . . when Mark first squirted up to the front and came screaming down Mass Street he was yelling "and here come our own home grown National Champion . . . and that's why he's an champion . . ." and on. It was great. . . . they even pronounced his name right this year!!!

Fun stuff! I'm still cheering for you Mark!

Friday, May 11, 2007

A little "cycling world" name dropping...

If all works out the way it's supposed to over the next couple of days, I may be able to brag that I once rode with the 2007 collegiate nationals road cycling champ.

Mark Smelser placed second in 2006 nationals - taking fifth in the road race and first in the crit - riding for Kansas State Univsersity. (The picture's of him after last year's crit win.) That put him just two (2) points behind some guy from the University of Virginia. Don't remember his name.

After winning the overall at the North Central Conference Championships this year, it would seem that Mark has a good shot at winning the overall national title (the Omnium). We'll see. He'll be riding in the road race tomorrow and the crit on Sunday.

If you want to read an article from today's Lawrence (KS) World Journal about Mark's attempt to win this year, check it out at...


Oh, about that ride "with" Mark. It was at Camp Quaker Haven. I was new to biking and Mark was part of a group that went out early one morning to ride the trails down by the river. I rode behind Mark and watched him climb up a hill I had to walk. He jumped little bumps I struggled over. Yikes!

Go Mark!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A card-carrying leader?

Ran across this in Indiana Yearly Meeting's most recent newsletter...

An arrogant Department of Agriculture (DOA) representative stopped at a farm telling the old farmer, "I need to inspect your farm." The old farmer said, "You better not go in that field." The Agricultural representative said in a wise tone, "I have the authority of the U.S. Government with me. See this card? I am allowed to go wherever I wish on agricultural land." So the old farmer went about his farm chores.Later, the farmer heard loud screams. He saw the DOA rep running for the fence, and close behind was the farmer's prize bull. The bull was madder than a nest full of hornets and was gaining at every step. The old farmer called out: "Show him your card!"

I smile at this story, and then I hurt, because this too often describes how we do things in the church. I call it the Barney Fife leadership style. Somewhere we received a badge, or a card, or an appointment to some position in the church, and mistakenly believe that we have more authority than we really do.

Jesus, on the other hand, didn’t carry a card. He had no earthly credentials, yet the crowds were amazed by the authority out of which He lived and taught. If you are reading this you may be in a leadership role in the church. When members of your church look to you do they see a card-waving DOA rep, or do they see Jesus?

Guest Blogger, Doug

My "buddy" Phil...

Phil Vischer is one of my favorite people in the world. I’ve never met him, but I’ve watched every VeggieTales episode he produced. His quirky humor makes me laugh out loud. I love his parodies of Star Trek, Rocky, Batman and Spiderman. They take me back to my childhood.

A few weeks back, while looking to find his new book, “Me, Myself and Bob,” on the internet, I stumbled on two sites. The first was
www.philvischer.com. This is basically Phil’s blog. I learned all sorts of cool stuff about what he’s up to now. The second was www.jellyfishland.com, the site for Phil’s new media company, Jellyfish Studios. (There are some really, really funny puppet sketch videos on the site.) He'd linked to this site on his blog...and when I got there visa versa.

On the Jellyfish site's "About Us" section, I read Phil’s brief account of his "failure" at Big Idea – the company had to file for bankruptcy a few years ago – and the birth of his new company. There I was reminded of an important truth. God’s in charge and only what we do with his direction will work.

Let me quote Phil here. You can read the whole story on
www.jellyfishland.com later if you want. This is just the conclusion.

Through the experience, Phil realized some interesting things. First, our relationships with God are much more important than our work for God. God doesn’t want us to be “busy,” he wants us to be available. He doesn’t want us to focus on “impact,” he wants us to focus on obedience. If we’re walking with Him, we’ll know when He has something specific for us to do. We don’t need to make stuff up. If we’re so wrapped up in the work we’re doing for God that we can’t even make eye contact with the person bagging our groceries, something in our lives is way out of whack.

Second, to be a Christian is to give Christ “lordship” of our lives. That’s what it means. He’s Lord, we’re not. And if we’ve given Christ lordship of our lives, where we are in 20 years is, frankly, none of our business. Where we are in 5 years is none of our business. What is our business, is what God has told us to do today, and whether or not we’re doing it. That’s it.

Phil’s “big idea” died under the weight of Phil’s own ambition. Even though it was ambition to do “good,” it still amounted to a failure to allow God to lead him on a daily basis. A failure to follow. To submit.

So now Phil is starting again, and he wanted the name for his new company to remind him every day of the lessons he’s learned. So he picked “Jellyfish.” Why? Because jellyfish can’t choose their own course. They can’t locomote. They can go up a little, they can go down a little. But overall, they’re completely dependent on the current to carry them wherever they’re supposed to be. For a jellyfish to make a 20-year plan would be ridiculous. An act of ultimate hubris. And so it is with us. Rather than crafting their little plans and laboring to force things to go “their way,” Phil and his new cohorts at Jellyfish are committed to seeking and following God’s direction, each and every day – committed to staying in the “current” of God’s will, and letting Him carry them where they need to be. No long range plans, unless they come directly from God.

It sounds a bit weird. Practically “un-American.” How do you run a company without long range planning? To be honest, we’re not exactly sure. But that’s the Jellyfish experiment.

Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” I believe it. Phil reminded me to live it. Thanks, Phil (a.k.a. Pirate Pete).

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Ted Dekker's 700 Club interview

One of my favorite authors, novelist Ted Dekker, was interviewed on CBN's "The 700 Club" yesterday. I happened to see it when I was at the hospital visiting a woman from our church. I didn't watch it then, but made a mental note to check it out on the web. Watched it this morning.

Here's the link...


Click on the "Watch Now" button. I think you'll enjoy what you see and hear. If you don't, c'est la vie! (Loosely translated that's French for "Oh, well!")

Only days to go...

With today’s early dismissal, my family's end-of-the-school-year mantra has changed. For weeks, it’s been, “Only 34 and a half days to go” or “Only 22 and a half days to go” or “Only 13 and a half days to go.” Now it’s just “11 days to go.” The half day is gone.

Everyone’s getting excited. My kids are thrilled because fun in the sun is just around the corner. They love to swim. The pool is a block away. My wife is ecstatic because when these eleven days are over she’ll become the new Kindergarten teacher, a dream come true. She’s going to be great! And less stressed...maybe. And me? I’m looking forward to coaching Argonia’s swim team and visiting my brother in Iowa over Independence Day. I haven’t been to his place for years.

Anticipating the good things ahead reminds me today - as it often does - that there is a day coming that will be better than any day I’ve ever lived. That day, the day I die or the day Jesus returns for his bride, will be incredible beyond description. Can’t wait! Okay, I can, but I’m eager for that day. No kicking and screaming from me when it comes...I hope.

This world is not my home. I’m just a passin’ through.

“He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’ Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email and join the "webmessage" discussion group, send a blank email to webmessage-subscribe@associate.com. Past messages (there are well over 100) are available at www.associate.com/groups/webmessage.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

How's my neighbor?

More on Tom and Dee, Ron and Brandon, Marjorie and Steve. Some of them aren't mentioned by name in this post from Geoff Robinson's Geoffwards words blog, but they're there. Geoff's words are powerful. Take them to heart.



Dee. Tom. Ron. Kaye. Jeff. Marjorie. Steve. Ed. Connie. Roger. Tim. Brandon. Brady. Jayne. Deloris.

These are the names of real people, suffering real loss. Some I know. Some I don’t. These are the names of people mentioned in phone calls and emails I received yesterday, people brought up in conversations I’ve had today. These are the names of people who lost their homes, their belongings, their church buildings, their businesses to tornadoes this weekend. Most are from Greensburg, Kansas. A few are from Macksville, Kansas. Tim, the last I heard, was in critical condition in a hospital somewhere. The rest were, at last report, okay…physically.

I wonder how they’re doing mentally, emotionally. And how are they spiritually? I can’t answer these questions. I haven’t talked with a single one of these folks. I’ve only talked with or heard from their families, their friends. Still, my heart goes out to them. I feel something I can’t explain. Deep sorrow. I don’t know how else to describe what I’m experiencing. Maybe it’s God’s heart breaking for these folks and the rest of their devastated communities. Can’t be sure. All I know is that this anguish pushes me to pray for Dee and Tom and Ron and Kaye and Jeff and Marjorie and Steve and Ed and Connie and Roger and Tim and Brandon and Brady and Jayne and Deloris.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

On another site...

This week and next, I'll be writing daily for another site. I probably won't post everything here. Doesn't make sense, at least not to me, to duplicate my posts. I may change my mind later, but for now, if you want to read my daily meanderings, go to www.barclaypress.com and on the 'Conversation Cafe' drop down menu, click on 'A Daily Journal.' From April 30th to May 11th - weekdays only - that will give you access to my thoughts. Enough said.

Well, one more thing. I wrote an article several years ago on this site. It was interesting to read it again while snooping around tonight.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Craziness I'd love to join...

I met three great guys today. Jim, Larry and Charles (he's the RV driver) were a pleasure to talk to. Polite. Quick with a smile. These three are part of a four-biker team (John and Ed, the other two cyclists, were on their bikes when I poked my head into their RV) crossing the US from California to Maine to raise money for various charities. They've been averaging somewhere around 60 miles each day. They hope to be done with their trek and safely back home before Father's Day. Today they stopped in Argonia on their way to Winfield where they plan to spend the night. They visited the River Park and stopped in at the city building.

Sound crazy to you? I'd love to join them in their insanity. (Sigh!) Maybe some day I'll get to do something similar. For now, I'll have to settle for watching their progress at 4oldguys.com. Safe and flat-free travel guys!