Showing posts from February, 2016

Get Somewhere

Are you groping for a blessing,
 Never getting there?
 Listen to a word in season,
 Get somewhere!

 Are you struggling for salvation
 By your anxious prayer?
 Stop your struggling, simply trust and --
 Get somewhere!

 Does the answer seem to linger
 To your earnest prayer?
 Turn your praying into praise and --
 Get somewhere!

 You will never know His fullness
 Till you boldly dare
 To commit your all to Him and --
 Get somewhere!

--  From Streams in the Desert

Everybody Has Baggage

The other day while in the Minneapolis airport, it dawned on me that every individual in the great throng of people around me had one thing in common; they all carried baggage.

It was true for all of them:  young and old, rich and poor, every race and class.  Some bags were extra heavy and awkward to carry.  Some were lightweight suitcases with wheels.  Some were backpacks.  But everybody had a bag.
And I thought, "That's the way it is in all of life.  Everybody you meet has baggage."
Some folks appear to be like Mary Poppins:  practically perfect in every way.  However, it just means their baggage isn't so obvious.  It's still there.   If you think you don't have baggage, ask your family or co-workers.  They will set you straight.
The problem is that our problem is not just our problem.  It directly impacts all the people around us -- whether we realize it or not.  "If we do not transform our pain," said Richard Rohr, "we will transmit it.&quo…

The Wise Old Owl

A wise old owl sat in an oak;
 The more he saw the less he spoke;
 The less he spoke the more he heard;
 Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?  -- Anonymous

Wish Bones, Jaw Bones, Back Bones

Have you ever noticed that when a job is to be done, people fall into three different groups? The first group stands on the sideline and gawks. The second group holds lengthy discussions about how the task should be done. The third group just does it.

I've heard it said that people are like bones. The "wish bones" sit around and hope things will get better. The "jaw bones" gripe about how rotten things are and wonder why somebody doesn't do something. The "back bones" roll up their sleeves, and go to work. Why just sit there when you can make the situation better? I'm sure you've seen 'em all - at work, at school, at church, at home. Every organization has its share of "jaw bones", "wish bones", and "back bones". Which type are you? 

Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, "Whatever you find to do - do it with all your might!" In other words, be a "back bone!" Be a person who gets things done! All this r…

Barnebirkie Memories

It's  Barnebirkie day! The Barnebirkie is Hayward's cross country ski race for children, which always occurs a day or two before our town's great, world class event, The American Birkebeiner.

Though my children are all grown now, I think I'll saunter down to Main Street this afternoon and ring a cowbell -- for the kids and also for their parents.

Heartwarming memories flood my mind this morning as I reflect on what it felt like to help my kids become Nordic champions for a day.

For nearly two decades, on race day, I'd feed my kids spaghetti, bundle them up, strap on the racing bibs, and bring them to the Barnebirkie starting line.

At the kickoff festivities, a sea of eager little faces anticipated the daunting wilderness trek before them -- a whole kilometer or two -- all the way through the golf course, by the armory, past the school and down Main Street, amid a cheering throng of spectators ringing cowbells.

Yes, for twenty years, I accompanied at least one of m…

Cowbells for Hermann

In honor of the 43rd Birkie today, I am re-posting this delightful story from my first book, Filled Up, Poured Out:

Hayward is home of the American Birkebeiner, North America’s largest cross country ski race. 10,500 skiers come from almost every state and many nations to compete in this world-class event. Spectators line snow-covered Main Street, ringing cowbells and cheering weary skiers across the finish line.

For two decades, I've been a Birkie cowbell ringer.

A day or two before the Birkebeiner, I always pine a little, wishing I had pulled the skis from the rafters and joined the throng of brave souls testing the limits of their endurance. But, as Birkie day arrives, I find myself content to ring cowbells. After all, if everybody skied the Birkie, there wouldn't be anybody left to cheer.

Normally, we ring in the elite skiers who finish first. Usually the winner is some Olympic European who hardly broke a sweat. I’m always impressed.

The best part of the race, though, is …

Discovering the Meanings of Love

Whenever Valentines Day comes around, I think about the day Cathy said "I do" back in ’82.  She was a beautiful bride, bold and confident. When it was my turn to say the vows, I blubbered and squeaked like Mickey Mouse – but she knew what I meant anyway.

 It’s hard to imagine that so many years have zoomed by. It seems like just yesterday that I was courting her – dating her – writing little valentines with x’s and o’s at the end, and saying goofy little things like “yours, ‘til the ocean wears rubber pants to keep it’s bottom dry.”

We’ve done a lot of living since then. We’ve had our share of joys. We’ve had our share of tears. We’ve had our share of heartaches through the years – but as our love has matured, it has grown stronger and sweeter over time.

A while back, Cathy made an astute observation: “You can’t really love somebody until you’ve been through something with them. Before that point, you’re just acquaintances.” You know, she is right on the money with that one.


Prayer Empowerings

 We kneel how weak, we rise how full of power!  Why, therefore, should we do ourselves this wrong,  Or others -- that we are not always strong;  That we are ever overborne with care;  That we should ever weak or heartless be,  Anxious or troubled, when with us is prayer,  And joy, and strength, and courage, are with Thee?  -- Richard Chenevix Trench
 (Note:  I discovered in the back of an old book I inherited from my father's library:  How to Pray by Reuben Archer Torrey (1916).  The poem had been handwritten by the previous owner, Belle McMillan, a mighty prayer warrior and holy woman.)

Order of Service Hayward Wesleyan Noon Ash Wednesday Service

Dr. Tom Correll drafted the following liturgy for our Noon Ash Wednesday service.  We also have an evening service geared more to youth.

Welcome and Prayer

Hymn: Faith of Our Fathers (279)

The Liturgy of Lent

The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.

We invite you, therefore, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Ch…

Rest in Peace

I have learned the secret of being content. . . . I can do all this through Christ. (Phil. 4:12-13)

 A frazzled mother continually complained about her stress level. "I just need some peace and quiet!" she groaned. So, for Mother's Day, her daughter Jessica went to the florist shop and returned proudly carrying the perfect gift for her mother. The arrangement included a pink bow inscribed, "Rest in Peace."

 Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola, in their groundbreaking book Jesus Manifesto, said, "Knowing Christ as your rest' and allowing Him to live His life through you is one of the most freeing things you can know as a Christian" They continue, "Resting in Christ doesn't mean being passive. It means allowing the Lord to do the heaving lifting."

 My favorite Bible verse, Philippians 4:13, sums up what Paul called the "secret of being content": "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." The secret to contentme…