Monday, April 28, 2008

Some Time Outdoors

I took Andrew on his first turkey hunt this past weekend. Actually, his first hunt of any sort. While I ran my son ragged chasing silly birds that should be much dumber than us, I prayed that he would see God's hand in His creation. There's something about sitting in the spring woods while the sun rises that makes everything else in my life seem trivial. As well it should.

In twenty years, I may or may not still be in the trailer hitch business, but my son will still be smiling at the memory of a distant gobble and the hot pursuit to follow. Maybe he'll be shushing his own son as they listen intently at an impossible number of birds waking up the forest.

Why do we worry so much about the little inconveniences life throws at us?

I watch people practically yelling at the gas pump as prices go up and up. But, really, is this going to impact their lives all that greatly? If the whole world economy came crashing down today, what can I do about it? I'll tell you. I'll open my bible every morning, read the Good News and rejoice that I have been given life at all, and that I've been given new life through Jesus Christ.

The beauty of being born again, while I'm still here on Earth, is that all the details of life are put into perspective. Business, bills, sickness--all are like leaves floating in the current of a river. The leaves are either there or not, but the current still carries me toward the everlasting life I have in Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Marriage and Darwin

I had a busy weekend, as is often the case of a 21st century dad. This was different, though. Kelly and I went to the Love & Respect marriage conference in Lansing. It was a fantastic conference. The speaker is the author of the book by the same title, Emerson Eggerich and his wife Sarah. The basic premis is: As much as women need unconditional love, men need unconditional respect. It's biblical based, which means Oprah and her audience would boo the writer off the stage. Imagine, giving men respect. The guys get their share of learning, too. It's one of those things I wish I'd known twenty years ago. As much as I love my wife, I came back with a whole new understanding of her and even deeper love.

This is our second major marriage conference in the last ten years, along with a dozen or so books. I'm often amazed at men (and women, for that matter) who will spend hours of their free time learning how to improve their business, teaching their kids a sport, or working out in the gym, but not spend a minute working on their marriage. What in the world could be more important?

Okay, I won't preach (today). After the conference we went to see Expelled. Cool flick. Ben Stein attacks the issue of institutional Darwinism with his usual wit. What I found most interesting, as many a believer can understand, is that the arguments of some of the most intelligent men in America sounded pretty darn lame to me. I always think of the bible verse that says "I will confound the wise." That pretty much sums it up. In order for faith to make sense, you have to have it first! I'm offended by the whole notion that Christians are just fools clinging to a false hope because we just isn't smart enough to get all that there science stuff.

Please. I'm not a bitter, small-town American and I'm not stupid (though I have my moments). Don't look down your ivy-league snoot and brush me off because my interpretation of life and creation don't match yours. The idea that, if our 6lb. brain can't prove the existence of the God of the universe, then He must not exist, is the height of arrogance.

Okay, that's enough for today. I could go on for pages.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Me in Real Life

When I first accepted Jesus as Lord, I knew my life would be changed and would have to change even more. That has been a struggle to say the least. Jesus spoke of "little foxes" ruining the vinyard. After 10 years, I understand this verse. The big foxes aren't an issue. Greed, pornography, malice, slander...all of those were easily dispatched at the moment of my salvation. Even the litte foxes were kept at bay for a while. But, as my brothers and sisters out there can attest, they creep in eventually. Even the big ones pop up from time to time and I end up on my knees, praying for the Lord to take 'em out, like some cosmic game of Whack a Mole (remember that?).

I had started this blog today with the intention of talking about my daughter, who is bursting into her teenage years with a vengance. She, unlike me, has been raised as a Christian and embraces her faith. However, the little foxes give her (or me) no rest either. I'd like to believe that I can drop her into the world and that she'll maintain a proper bearing, resisting all forms of temptation, but that's just not the case. She is easily drawn into the same self-centered behavior typical of teenagers, often even mean-spirited.

It upsets me, but it's also a reminder that this Christian walk is not something to be undertaken with a passive attitude. Like marriage, it takes work, hard work. Yes, we're saved by faith, but living the life Christ wants for us takes effort on our part. Like a marriage, my wife may stick with me because she made a promise, but our happiness takes effort from both sides.

So, while I'm chasing the little foxes around my vinyard with a broomstick, I have to keep one eye on my children's vinyards as well, pointing out the little foxes to them as well. No easy task, this parenting thing.

Friday, April 04, 2008


I'm reading a book now that makes referrence to a Zig Ziglar book, in which Zig defines for us why most people are not happy in their pursuits. There's more to it, but essentially, few of us pursue what it is we are most passionate about.

I'll take it a step further and suggest that we don't even have to get paid to pursue what it is we are most passionate about, as is often the case with budding writers. The mere act of doing what we love will make the "unpleasant" tasks of our day pallatable, even enjoyable.

This is especially true for those of us who love our Lord Jesus Christ. Our passion to serve Him in every aspect of our lives makes anything unpleasant seem almost trivial. I mean really, in the light of spending eternity in the presence of His glory, does much that happens on Earth really matter at all? I've made the statement before and I'll do it again: I'd rather live in a cardboard box knowing Jesus is my savior than in a mansion with all the wealth I can imagine.

Once I start to let go of that passion, the daily search for His truth, I get overwhelmed by the worries of the world and my own sinful nature. But the moment I take up my cross and dive head first into the depths of His word, the weight of the cross suddenly feels like air compared to the weight of the world.

Let His passion be your passion. Why worry?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Those little worries

Today my wife will go to the doctor. Nothing serious, but my mind starts working overtime at these moments. Mind you, I'm the eternal optimist. Nothing ever goes wrong in my world. And if things do go wrong, I figure they were meant to be and something better always comes out of it.

Drives Kelly nuts.

But I'm driving along yesterday with the rain tapping my windshield and something forgetable playing on the radio, and all the possible outcomes of her doctor visit play in my mind. I see me sitting at work when she calls with the report I've always dreaded the most. I'd try to stifle the tears as I tell the guys I have to go.

My little scenario ends tragically, of course. And I'm actually starting to lose it as I drive. And it's just my imagination!

I used to think that it would be easier to lose a spouse the older you get. Now, I'm not so sure. She becomes such a part of me that it would be like getting half my limbs amputated to lose her. But there I go again, it's just a routine check-up.

I never used to be like this. But, by the time you get to forty, you see a lot. You know that life isn't always fair. You've watched people your age die or get stricken with some horrible disease. And you wonder when it will be your turn.

Jesus tells us not to worry. And I suppose I follow that order most of the time. But nothing is more fearful, I think, than being alone. It's hard not to worry about it.

Enough of that. I'll pray that everything will be fine. And I know everything will be fine, because we have a Savior who will heal our sufferings one day and wipe every tear from our eyes. I may have to live through some trials before that day, but I'm probably tougher than I give myself credit for.