Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Woke up on top of the world

I woke up today on the eighteenth floor, looking over the bay and city of Tampa. We are at my father in law's condo in sunny Florida. Had a good trip down. I ate at least five Cadbury Eggs (so much for my diet). :)

Today will be filled with swimming at the pool and going to a Lightning game tonight.

Anyways - just wanted to say hello and tell you where we are at...

Love and rockets,

Friday, February 24, 2006


Well, there has been some talk around this joint about soil.

Neil Cole's book entitled, "The Organic Church" has a discussion dealing with the parable of the soils found in Luke 8. The book makes the case to primarily invest in good soil. In other words - invest your life, energy, focus, and God's message in the lives of people who are hungry for these things. Often the good soil are those who truly need God and a friend. People going through crisis, people who are in need, people who are abused, poor, struggling, and broken are often good soil.

Jesus speaks of four types of soil (disciples) that receive the Word of God:
1. Path - seed falls on it and it is trampled and eaten by birds.
2. Rock - seed falls, produces some life, but whithers because it has no moisture.
3. Thorns - seed falls, produces some life, but choked by the plants among it.
4. Good soil - seed falls, produces abundant life - a hundred times more than was sown.

Then Jesus says, "He who has ears to hear (obey), let him hear (obey).

Jesus seems to be touching on a similar theme that the Jewish Sages also taught on...

In Abot 5:12 it speaks of four types of disciples:
1. Quick to grasp, quick to forget - he loses what he gains.
2. Slow to grasp, slow to forget - what he loses he gains.
3. Quick to grasp, slow to forget - a sage
4. slow to grasp, quick to forget - a bad lot indeed.

Or another way to look at four types of disciples would be through images:
1. A funnel - take in and quick to forget
2. A smonge - soaks up everything without discrimination
3. A sifter - takes in and retains the good and discards the unimportant
4. A strainer - lets out the good and keeps the things that don't matter (miss the bigger picture)

In the parable of the soils Jesus is talking about disciples and calling for commitment and obeying and living the Word of God. The reality is, that, not everyone is open to making this kind of commitment, even though they may believe and nod along.

Am I good soil? Am I a sage? Am I sifter?
I am challenged to give priority to encourage and disciple those who are good soil, sages and sifters.
But, I often chase people down who seem to be avoiding or uninterested... So I do more and more for them. So this is a challenge for me.

I guess it comes down whether or not we as disciples are humble, broken and recognizing that apart from Christ we can do nothing. (John 15:5)

I have soiled myself. :)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Weigh in.

Well, as you may or may not remember, I have been trying to lose weight.
We started a contest among Watermarkers to see who can slim down the most in eight weeks.
This is my last week to lose before our final weigh in to see who has won.

I have lost twenty pounds.

I do want to lose another twenty before August so I can walk around town with my shirt off. Ouch - sorry - I won't put my community through that! :)

I am going on vacation soon to Tampa, Florida to visit Vicki's dad. Should be fun. We're driving, which means, I'm driving. I am a control freak when it comes to these kinds of trips. I like to be locked into the front seat, given a drink, have a bag of snacks handy, a few music and teaching CD's at my fingertips, and the cruise control ready to rock. I think I like the drive as much as sitting at the pool. Okay, that may be a bit of a stretch, but I love seeing the country side, experiencing new places and smelling new smells. (Please avoid a comment on that Big Dog) :)

I think my trip will kill the diet, but for now... protein shake and bake baby!

Monday, February 13, 2006

does my life match my blogging?

Good quote from Rabbi Haninah b. Dosa says, "Anyone whose deeds are more than his wisdom-his wisdom will endure." "And anyone whose wisdom is more than his deeds-his wisdom will not endure." - Abot 3:9 II C.D.

This continues on the theme of my past blog and many that come before it. When we put our little words down on these comments, pages and web sites we are adding to a discussion that hopefully is leading to wisdom. I know that writing things down helps me think about things. I really enjoy the quote above, because it is action oriented without taking away from the world of ideas. Wisdom, is, I think, more than just ideas anyways. Wisdom is a way of walking, living, deciding and going.

Do I desire wisdom to follow me - to stick to me - to leave a legacy? This quote exhorts me to live out the wisdom and way I am talking... then - there will be lasting fruit.

James says it nice too... "Faith without works is dead."

Quick heads up: I am not claiming to be putting out wisdom. :) But, when I think I have a thought or nugget - I guess I need to realize more and more that, by throwing it out into the web world that, it will only go as far as it is a reality in my life.

Faithfulness in little things is where I think much of this begins.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Just when you think you have it bad...

Last night, following the outstanding "Daddy and Daughter Dance" with my beautiful daughter, Vicki and I watched "Frontline" on PBS. They had a feature on the sex trade in former Soviet states going into Turkey. It was difficult to take in. Pure evil was on display in the form of modern day slavery and total degradation of women.

When I watched this I wanted to help. Then I thought of Aids in Africa and other parts of the world. Then I thought of hunger, homelessness, genocide, terrorism, and all the senseless acts of violence. It seems as if the weight of pain and hurt and needs are pulling the world down... dragging it to its knees...

Where to start? What is my slice? I suppose the important thing in this is to do something...anything...and not to allow the size to intimidate me.

I give a nod to the one who stands in opposition to evil in the world:

"He came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written,

"God's Spirit is on me;

he's chosen me to preach the Message of good news to

the poor,

Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and

recovery of sight to the blind,

To set the burdened and battered free,

to announce, "This is God's year to act!"

He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, "You've just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place."

Luke 4 (Message)

Living on a prayer,

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Ants are marching.

A few years ago I began telling my daughter a story about a little ant named, "Boogie." This story has become a favorite to tell on car rides and bed times. The story has expanded to include friends and family like: "Snot," "Fart," and "Loogie." I may go into the basic premise sometime...

My daughter and I made a book over our Sabbath this week. She dictated the words and I wrote them down. She then illustrated the book. The book was about "Boogie" and his two friends, "Snot" and "Fart." It described their first day of school, finding and consuming a huge piece of cheese, and having a play date.

Anyways, my daughter decided to take this book to school and wanted it read to the whole class. I instructed her to have the teacher change the names so my daughter wouldn't be accused of bringing potty humor into the first grade classroom. She told me that she would tell the teacher to change the names and my wife double checked with the teacher on this. But on the day, a sub was teaching, and he read the story without changing the names. I guess the boys couldn't stop laughing at hearing the words, "Boogie," "Fart," and "Snot." My daughter enjoyed every moment of her junior high humor and the kids went home telling their parents about the pastor's kid who writes stories about bodily fluids and discharges. :) She is quite the little creative kiddo.

So on behalf of "Fart," "Boogie," and "Snot" have a good day!