Nearing the Finish Line

coffee.jpegMike, the pastor of the Redding City Vineyard Church, and proprietor of Yaks Coffee Shop gave me a pound of their new coffee blend yesterday. They roast their own beans now, and he gave me a “beta version” to test.

Delicious.  The only other better coffee in town, I think, is our own Neighborhood Church blend.  Dark, smooth, comforting.  I can think of no better way to start my Wednesday than by drinking coffee, having devotions and blogging.

And almost finishing my Inner Mess book. Amazing. Yesterday was a milestone: I printed out all 230 pages and stuck them in a notebook. It’s so cool to see it, heft it, feel it, and read it on paper. My kids asked, “Daddy, is that your book?” I said yes and explained some of the process. My son asked, “Is one of your jobs an awfor?”

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Writers Who Blog

books.jpgI can’t prove it, but I’ve been told that almost 50% of Americans dream of writing a book. I believe it and I’m one of them.

God has opened some doors for me to write, and I’m excited. I’m also excited to be represented by a fantastic agent, Janet Kobobel Grant, of Books and Such Literary Agency. Janet and her team represent some of America’s best writers, so I’m in waaay over my head. You can check out some of their blogs below… Continue reading

My Wife’s All-Purpose Gasp

gasp.jpeg“Oh look!” she shouted.

My heart skipped a dozen beats, my eyes bulged from their sockets, my mental status leapt to high alert, and my right foot reflexively slammed on the brakes at what was certainly an impending fatal crash. A surge of adrenaline coursing through my veins, I shouted, “What? What?”

“Look at how pretty Josie’s picture is!”

This scenario has been repeated too many times to number. On the road. At home. At church. My delightful wife’s vocal apparatus produces one, and only one, all-purpose gasp. The same gasp that appreciates the beauty of a baby also announces the detonation of a nuclear warhead. Continue reading

New Blogging Friends

slackerjack1-ans3.jpgI used to THINK that blogging was only for people who have waaaayy too much time on their hands.

Now I KNOW it. What are you doing here? Get back to work, slacker! Go do something productive. Sleep even. Actually, lest you accuse me of sloughing off on work time, I’ve been at this since 4:30 this morning, and nobody owns that time but me. And occasionally my kids or wife. And regularly God. Oh, and my dog, Jesse, whined to go out a few times… so he owns that time slot a little. But not my day job. I slack off in other ways there. (Can they hear me snoring through my office door?)

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Say Ahhhhh….

piercedopenmouth.jpgBefore I get started, a big thank you to Donny Pauling who wrote a post about the message I preached last weekend.  Check it out, click here:  Donny’s Ramblings.  The message was about Christian liberty and is called Totally Unstuck:  Free In Christ. 

If God has already blessed me to the max (Eph 1:3), then why don’t I feel it?  Every follower of Jesus should be crystal clear about how to EXPERIENCE your riches in Christ.  Or, as I mentioned in the earlier blog, God says, “I am the LORD your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Psalms 81:10, NKJV.

God tells us to say ahhh, and so many times, pucker our lips.  Why? My hunch is because most of the time we expect him to give us bad-tasting medicine.  We have a defective view of God;  we misread his Fatherly heart.

But let’s suppose we’re on board with his love and grace;  how do we experience his grace? Continue reading

Updated Playlist

record2.jpgBaby Boomer Blues

It was fun being a baby boomer until now. I’m starting to feel my age. Some of the artists of the 60’s are revising their hits with new lyrics to accommodate aging Baby Boomers. They include:

Herman’s Hermits: Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Walker.
Ringo Starr: I Get By With a Little Help From Depends.
Helen Reddy: I Am Woman, Hear Me Snore.
bee_gees.jpgThe Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Hip.
Bobby Darin: Splish, Splash, I Was Havin’ a Flash.
Roberta Flack: The First Time Ever I Forgot Your Face.
Shang-ri-la’s: Leaker of the Pack
The Troggs: Mild Thing
Johnny Nash: I Can’t See Clearly Now.
Paul Simon: Fifty Ways to Lose Your Liver.
The Commodores: Once, Twice, Three Times to the Bathroom.
The Drifters: Save the Last Polygrip for Me
Neil Sedaka: Waking Up is Hard to Do

Leo Sayer:
You Make Me Feel Like Napping.
The Temptations: Papa’s Got a Kidney Stone.woodstock.jpg
Abba: Denture Queen.
Tony Orlando: Knock 3 Times On The Ceiling If You Hear Me Fall.
Leslie Gore: It’s My Procedure, and I’ll Cry If I Want To.
The Angels: My Boyfriend’s Back is About to Be Adjusted
The Supremes: You Can’t Hurry Pee
Willie Nelson: On the Commode Again

[Thanks to Dick and Dee Atkinson for most of this list.] 

What is the Gospel?

This is a longer post than normal. It comes from my passion for the gospel of grace. I wish to write more, but I’ll restrain myself. I hope this clarifies where I stand…

calvary3cross.jpgWhen one of my best friends received Jesus, he signaled that moment by jumping in the air and turn 360 degrees before landing. We were running, around a Chicago park, in chill, damp weather, at night. He had resisted, debated, denied, and argued against the gospel for months. But finally the time came when his heart was opened, and softened toward Christ. And he believed on Jesus as his only hope, and by believing, he received Jesus and all that he brings (John 1:12). He didn’t pray a prayer. He jumped and spun around. Physically. Spiritually too. He came down a new man with a new life. This goes to show you that it’s not a formula, and we do not teach it as such–everybody is different in their response of faith. Continue reading

HeavenQuake… (on LOIS PETERSON)

There was a high magnitude quake in the evangelistic spiritual realm over Chicago today. At its epicenter was the passing away of one of the finest evangelists I have ever known.

I first heard the name of Lois Peterson disdainfully–almost as if the speaker was spitting. She was not popular among the old guard at my church.

  • “I can’t believe that she lets people smoke at her Bible study.”
  • “A woman shouldn’t teach men.”
  • “She’s not under anybody’s authority.”
  • “She doesn’t believe in the old sin nature.”
  • “Her ear rings are too big.”
  • “She said ‘damn’.”

Others despised her for these reasons. The rest of us loved her for them.

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Once again, the creative minds at ThinkGeek have come up with a brilliant product. You may remember them for the Annoy-a-tron, which I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. Now, they’ve outdone themselves.

The clocky is an alarm clock. But not just any alarm clock. It’s a robotic alarm clock.aquaclocky2.jpg

It’s an alarm clock with wheels. And it’s built to withstand a 3-foot drop from a night stand…

Why would you want that? you ask. Oh, watch this video, and you’ll be hooked.

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Why Grace isn’t Leniency

I get the impression that when most followers of Jesus hear the word “grace” what comes to mind for them is more akin to “leniency.” This makes me sad and mad. kidsnosepick.jpg

A lenient father lets his kid get away with murder, while smiling and nodding and affirming, “Boys will be boys.” When his boy does wrong, a lenient father looks the other way. Or cleans up the mess himself. Or relaxes his standards so that his son’s wrongs aren’t really wrongs at all. In no case does a lenient father get in his child’s face, confront him with his wrongdoing, and demand a change of life. From the standpoint of leniency, “it’s all good.”

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