Changing vision, a hot summer, & other musings…

Last summer, I went to the eye-doctor & found out while my ‘distance’ prescription for contacts/glasses had not changed, soon I was going to need ‘a change’ for my up close seeing. I didn’t really pay attention to what she said, because she said, “SOON” I would need it, not “NOW” you need it. So I went happily on my way… until last September. I was reading (translation: attempting to read) something & found out that my arms had gotten much shorter. Or that my contacts (& glasses too, dangit,) were no longer adequate in less than perfect light to read. Anything. Especially fine print (anything less than, say, 10 pt font.) I panicked & went into the eye doctor w/o an appointment, content to sit & wait through the day until I could see her & she could tell me WHAT was wrong with my eyes…

After sitting down with her & explaining what was going on, she reminded me, “Remember when I told you that SOON you would need a change for your close up seeing? Well it seems that SOON has become NOW.” Great, I thought, & asked what that meant… It meant… progressive lenses. I had no idea what those were. So she explained:

BIFOCALS. I needed bifocals.

It’s not like I was in denial about the fact that I am aging – my mirror tells me all the time that I am not the spring chicken I once was. (BTW: where the HECK did the term spring chicken come from? Who decided it meant a young(ish) person? I don’t get it. But I digress.) But BIFOCALS? I was not ready for them – so I asked, “Is there anything I can do to avoid having to get bifocals now?” The doctor assured me that I could probably buy a pair of 1.5-2.0x magnification ‘cheater’ glasses to wear with my contacts, for reading, & I’d probably be fine. But, for my ‘glasses only’ days, I would need to purchase a pair of bifocals. “Ok,” I thought, “one day I will. But that day is NOT today.” So I walked around the corner, bought my cheater glasses, & went about my business.

Everything was fine until May 1. That is the day my allergies returned… the day my eyes & sinuses & throat rebelled against the constant inflow of pollen into them… & I’ve spent parts of every day since then coughing, sneezing, wheezing, & rubbing ‘gunk’ from my eyes.

And it became really irritating to wear my contacts.

No trouble, really. I could do this. I’ll just wear my glasses. Which worked great. Until I needed to read something. And then I was out of luck.

In my job (& at home) reading is kind of a thing for me… so, when no one but my long suffering Bean was around, I would ‘double stack’ my glasses so I could read. You know, put my regular glasses on first. And then put my cheater glasses on over them. And then I could read fine. But its not like I could go out & about double-stacking my glasses all the time.

Things came to a head a couple of weeks ago. Hanging out with the kids for Fathers’ Day – went to an escape room (check it out HERE. A really good time.) An escape room, for the uninitiated, is a room where you are locked in with clues on how to escape. And you have 1 hour. It was a blast.

Except I couldn’t read the clues. Because the print was too small. Pasty caught me putting the paper the clues were on down on the counter & stepping back to try & catch what was typed on the paper in such an impossibly miniscule font. And he asked, “Uh, dad? You ok?”

And then I knew. The gig was up. I needed to get bifocals.

Years ago in therapy (it was more like conversations where your counselor challenges you to think about & do things that seem so counter-intuitive to the Way Things Have Always Been,) when Chuck, my counselor/mentor/friend said in an aside, “You know, Americans don’t know HOW to grow old. They spend their lives trying to get to an age, then spend the rest of their lives trying to stay at that age.” (Reminds me of something C.S. Lewis wrote about in “The Last Battle” – Book 7 of the Chronicles of Narnia.) At the time, I just nodded my head & filed away the fact somewhere in the filing cabinet that is my brain. And when Pasty asked me “Uh, dad? You ok?” I was taken back to that conversation… to Chuck’s wise words, & I heard God say something like, “You’re getting old. It happens. And it’s time to EMBRACE it.”

Finally got a doctor’s appointment to get my sentence, err.. my new prescription. My distance vision is holding strong, (“YES!”) but my up close vision definitely requires a change to progressive lenses (so nice & euphemistic to call them progressive lenses instead of bifocals. It is supposed to soften the blow for those fighting the losing battle against time.) Went through the whole ordering process, & they should be ready for use. Wish me luck.

In this process, I have heard God quite a bit talking to me through Scripture, little whispers, & life experiences… the idea of my vision changing is no longer something that I am trying to fight or (vainly) hang on to. It’s an idea that I’m trying to grab hold of, full force. Because as my physical vision fails, & the doctor is helping to correct it, & help me see the world (& to READ, which is oh so important to everyday life,) God is also at work in me, changing & transforming my vision so that I can see the next steps for what’s coming in our lives, & for church, & for ministry. And when He does something, He does it well. So I’m believing in that & contending for that, & trusting that my see-ers (spiritual eyes) are being refined as well. Thank you, Jesus, for never wasting a change to teach, to reveal, & to encourage.

Dang it, it’s hot. I remember less than 1 month ago we had SNOWAnd now we’re on a streak of 95F+ for the foreseeable future. Summer.

Don’t be afraid…

Over the last several weeks, the phrases “Fear not” & “Don’t be afraid,” have really jumped out at me during my Bible reading. Most of the time, God is speaking them as a command to a person/people to whom He has promised a blessing, redemption, &/or a assurance of His favor.

God says it to Abraham in the context of His promise to give him not only a son, but as many descendants as there are stars in the sky (Genesis 15:1). He says it to Jacob when He tells him to go to Egypt so God can make Israel a great nation (Genesis 46:3). God says it to the nation of Israel when they were under attack from Egyptians who were trying to re-enslave them (Exodus 14:13). He says it to Joshua when He challenges him to be strong & courageous as he leads the nation of Israel to the Promised Land (Joshua 11:6).  In the New Testament, Jesus tells the parents of a 12 year old girl that had just died, “Don’t be afraid. Just believe.” (Mark 5:35-43). I could go on, because this command about not fearing is EVERYWHERE in Scripture.

Why do you think that is?

My take is this: Upon hearing of God’s promises, His goodness, His blessings, & His care for us, our first inclination is to look around at our circumstances, our challenges, our own resources (or lack thereof.) & the enemies we’re facing… & when we just can’t see it in, we fall into fear.

Abraham was 100, but God promised him He would give him a son. Don’t be afraid.

Jacob & his family were only 80 people in total, & God was sending them to live in the most powerful nation on earth… & that in this place He would grow Israel into a mighty nation. Don’t be afraid.

The people of Israel stood defenseless, the Red Sea on one side, a fierce army of Egyptians on the other. God promised to fight for them. Don’t be afraid. God tasked Joshua & the Israelites with claiming the Promised Land, the land of 10 foot tall (& bigger) giants… saying He would be their fortress & deliverer. Don’t be afraid.

The little girl’s parents had just watched their child die. Jesus promised they would see her alive again. Don’t be afraid.

What I’m dwelling on is this: when God gives me a promise, my response will be to receive it, by faith. It’s not to look around at how IMPOSSIBLE it would be for God’s promise to come about. It’s not to revisit how inadequate I am in my own strength. It’s not to quiver in fear at what could be my impending doom. It is to believe. To declare in faith, “Yes, I’ll take it.” To resist the temptation to fear & to doubt God at His word.

Fear not. Don’t be afraid. The LORD God is with you!

Through the Gospels – Matthew 3

SOAP – Through the Gospels
Matthew 3

Matthew 3:1,2;5-8 – In those days, John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand…” Then Jerusalem & all Judea & all the region about the region were going out to him, & they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees & Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance…”

Repentance is a heart-level, life-transforming response; it is a change of heart & mind that leads to a change of direction & action. John called people to REPENT because the kingdom of heaven was at hand, & that fact changed everything. People from all over, convicted of their sin & challenged in their heart, submitted themselves to the declarative & symbolic act of water baptism as a sign of a changed heart & life – it was a visible sign of their desire to be prepared for the advent of the kingdom of God.

But repentance wasn’t (& isn’t) just about the act of being baptized; true repentance will bear fruit, will show evidence of that changed heart, mind, & life – the proof of repentance is seen in the days, weeks, & months that follow, as the new life springs up & reveals itself.

John’s challenge to the religious leaders of his day, (& to us reading this 2000+ years later) is to persevere in repentance, & not merely go through the outward motions of a religious experience. To be fundamentally shifted from my road to Christ’s. To live life, make decisions, establish priorities, & invest oneself in a manner that is congruent with a life of repentance; to not grow weary at doing good, but to persevere through difficulty & opposition so we may see the work of the Holy Spirit, righteousness & life, established in us. (Galatians 6:7-10).

LORD – make me sensitive to Your Spirit – that I would be quick to repent, to turn, to change my mind to align with Yours. Make my heart simple & soft. And may the seeds of repentance & faith grow in my heart & mind, translated to action & a life that makes You famous.

a little encouragement to stand, & other musings…

I really appreciate the “little” reminders of God’s faithful protection and grace in my life. It’s not that I need to hear something every morning to keep me going, or come across The Perfect Verses Of Encouragement in my scripture reading to stay on track. In fact, it seems that most of my life has been “…a long obedience in the same direction.” However, some of my most difficult life situations were able to be navigated because of a well-timed encouragement from the LORD in prayer; or a note written by a friend who’d been praying for me & was prompted to pass something on.

One specific time, Dick Mills, a well-known and very prophetic Bible teacher, picked theBean & I out of a church service and quoted 2Samuel 23:11,12 – He said, “You’re going to go through hard, hard things. But you’ll remain standing, & will come out smelling like a rose!”

Sure enough, over the next months, we endured some of our most challenging times in our ministry and personal life… and many times, revisited and rehearsed the word we’d received, holding tight to God’s promises to bring us out the other side. He did, and I’m still thankful for those timely words.

In reading through Acts 23, I think that the Apostle Paul appreciated the encouragements he received from the LORD. He’d been stoned at Lystra. Survived a riot at Ephesus. Navigated mobs at Thessalonica and Berea. Been threatened with violence and death countless times. And that’s not even considering the death mobs in Jerusalem. So when the LORD stood by him one night and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome,” it had to be a point of celebration, and a boost to his faith. Not because he was a fearful man, but because God was reminding him, “Don’t look at your circumstances. Don’t listen to the threats and plots against your life. I am your protector, and you still have a mission.”

So the next day, when he was informed there were 40 killers lying in wait to murder him, he didn’t worry what might happen next, for God was WITH him, and with absolute surety, Paul knew that He would never leave him or forsake him. No matter what.

And God even cared enough to encourage Paul, a little reminder of His goodness.

This is our God.

feed the hungry bird, & other musings on a Friday…

I’m amazed at how God can use the most mundane of life activities to bring people together. The Apostle Paul left Athens and headed to the booming metropolis (and wide-open mission field,) of Corinth. Left with the question of how he would support his gospel spreading and church planting campaign, Paul fell back on the trade he knew, tent making. And it just so happened that two members of the local ‘tent-making guild’ were Aquila and Priscilla, a couple of refugees from Rome that had fled to Corinth at the order of Emperor Claudius because they were… Christians. And, just like that, Paul had a team.

Paul’s followed his pattern of testifying to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ, His promised Anointed One. Here at Corinth, the message was soundly rejected, complete with threats of violence against Paul by the Jews. With the non-Jewish Corinthian audience, however, the response is drastically different. They believed. In large numbers, people in a city famous for sexual immorality and wild living flocked to the gospel of grace and the message of justification by faith.

Even though the Jews continued to threaten Paul, he knew that unlike Philippi, Berea, and Thessalonica, he was to stick around Corinth for a while. The LORD Himself confirmed this, saying something to the effect of “Keep it up. You won’t be hurt. I’ve got lots of people here, and you’ve got lots to preach, teach, and train.”

I often think about how the Apostle Paul wrestled through the dichotomy of the two responses to the gospel at Corinth, where one group soundly rejected and strongly opposed the Good News, and the other joyfully embraced and applied it. I think that this contradiction was at the forefront of his mind as he wrote letters back to Corinth:

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God… Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1Cor 1:18, 22-25 ESV

One way I like to think about this is that my role in sharing the gospel and investing in discipleship is “looking for the hungry bird.” What I mean is this: when the mama bird comes back to her nest after a morning of worm digging and bug grubbing, the baby bird that gets to eat is the hungry one, the one with the open beak! In the same way, I want to be looking for the “hungry birds,” those people that eagerly hear and respond to the Good News. This doesn’t mean ignoring others, but rather is a picture of looking for where God is actively at work, and then intentionally partnering with the work He’s already done in preparing the ‘soil’ of their hearts.

I pray that we would have eyes to see the hungry birds in our lives today.

Day 11 & 12 – Deutschland Fall 2010 – Ottersweier & other fun things to say…

Day 11 –
After a great evening of being wined & dined by the Kern family, I slept great. Woke up to coffee & a small German breakfast with lightly sweet bread & homemade quitten geili mit amaretto (aka: quince berry jelly, with amaretto.) Oh so tasty. I ate waaaaay more than I normally would on a Sunday morning just because it was So. Good.

Julia took me to the church in Otterweier – it is the only “free” (non-Catholic/Lutheran) church in the village, & the building itself faces a mammon twin-spired Catholic church. The Arche Ottersweier (Julia’s church) has been in existence for 8 years, & has grown to about 50 people, a testimony to the goodness of God, prayer, & the faithfulness of pastor Roland. It is almost impossible to explain the missionary task that they face – attempting to live out a living, vibrant, loving, gospel-declaring faith in a manner & context that makes no sense in comparison to the traditional way of how things are… it’s not uncommon for church goers in the state churches (& Catholic) to not ever have heard, let alone understood, the news that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was resurrected from the dead, & now sits at the right hand of God the Father. People haven’t heard that salvation is necessary, let alone available to all who would believe, repent from sin, & turn to God through Christ. Roland (& others) are attempting to live out simple, faithful lives, aiming for reaching the next generation with a clear picture of Christ. It’s a life-long vision, which stands in stark contrast to the ‘microwave faith’ culture of a desire for immediate gratification that the Western church can often epitomize.

Julia did a great job translating me – we hung out with the church after the service, & I had the privilege of talking & praying with several people that really just wanted to pray for boldness – that they would live as witnesses for Christ, & not grow weary. It humbles me to think about it.

Headed back to the Kern house for food – & Goodness! there was food. Julia’s grandparents came over – he was quite the character & from the time he arrived until he went home 6 hours later, he didn’t cease to give me a good-natured hard time, going into painstaking detail about why Germany is better than America. Good times. Took a brief nap after dessert, then the whole family went for a walk in the nearby vineyards, (some of which had provided the wine we had last night. Cool stuff.) The vineyards are laid out on hills in ways that defy gravity, & left me wondering HOW the vinzer (vintner) would go about harvesting & caring for the grapes. We walked for about 90 minutes at a leisurely pace; the highlights were 3 generations of family humor, an amazing sunset (the top picture in this post,) & Heiko, the boyfriend of Linda, Julia’s older sister; he wore his Nevada t-shirt proudly, a relic from his visit to the states in 9/2008.

In the evening, I was invited out to dinner by Roland & his regional overseer, Jochen (who I last saw at the Foursquare Convention in Atlanta in May, where we had lunch.) They took me to a local restaurant called, “Blume” – which means flower – & we all got Amerikan Rumpsteak & Paulaner, the world’s best hefeweizen. And it was great, & came with a huge plate of french fries.

We ate to our heart’s content; I was really encouraged talking with the two of them about their strategy for the region – they live in an area made up of small villages – so, they’re attempting to plant smaller, relationship-based churches that share resources. Each one has a pastor, & each church is ‘autonomous’ – but they all intentionally choose to work together, to cover each other with a layer of relationship & accountability that insures no one (& no church) is isolated or solo. Great ideas that left me with all sorts of ideas & inspiration.

Made it back to the Kern’s in time for some late night hanging out & prayer; giving thanks to God for the budding relationship & friendship between us, celebrating the commonality we share with other people who follow Christ. Truly precious.

Day 12 –
Today was a travel day, meaning Julia & I had to head to the train station by 9 so we could make our way north, me to Mainz, Julia to Frankfurt; she’s flying to Norway Tuesday to visit her sister & her family. After a goodbye at the train station, Julia & I navigated our way through the maze & haze that is the DB (German train system.) Our 2nd train connection was randomly canceled, so we were escorted to another train, a high speed one that normally you have to pay big $ to ride on. However, we were assured that because our train was canceled, we’d have no trouble. Right. :)

We made it to the first “ticket checkpoint,” about 10 minutes into the train ride & took a tongue-lashing & dressing down from an uptight DB agent. Fortunately, we were rescued by a supervisor, but not until we had heard how wrong we were to be on such a fast train without having paid the extra money for the extra speed. Good times.

Said a tearful goodbye to our dear Julia, made my way to my meeting point with Jan, the pastor of enChristo church & National leader of Foursquare Deutschland. Normally we do pizza together, but he spared me the anguish of yet Another trip to Italy by taking me to a favorite Chinese place he frequents.

We had deep talks about the state of Foursquare in the US, as well as what is happening in Germany. Good stuff. Both of us were plagued with sneezing & coughing fits, so lots of hot tea was consumed, along with our duck in plum sauce, surrounded by vegetables. Yes really. Can you hear that? It’s me! I’m growing.

Caught the train back to Frankfurt, & walked the last couple blocks to Eddy & Laura’s in the hardest rain I’ve ever experienced in Germany. I was absolutely soaked by the time I arrived. Changed out of my wet things & into my Reed hoodie & sweats, & warm, dry socks. Ahh. Comfort. Hot tea helped too.

Just packing tonight, then heading out with Levent & Ines as soon as I post this. We’re going to grab some Turkish food & celebrate their pregnancy. Ines is about 7 months along if my counting of weeks is accurate.

I absolutely cannot wait to come home & see my family. Hug myBean. Be with my church family at Hillside. Celebrate a good trip with lots of answered prayers. Sleep in my own bed.

Booyah! And thank you. I am grateful, & filled with thanks tonight.

Blessings to you.

Thoughts from Jeremiah… pondering living waters vs. broken cisterns, perseverance, & other musings…

FWIW – this is the SOAP from yesterday… & a reading/journaling plan if you don’t have one..

S – Jeremiah 2:11-13 Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But My people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, & hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

4:3,4 For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah & Jerusalem: Break up your fallow ground, & sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah & inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, & burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.

O – The word pictures God uses are rich in imagery & in depicting the futility of the pursuit of idols made of stone & wood – & God calls upon the heavenly host to be a witness to the unthinkable – that the people of His hand would exchange their glory, God, for something lifeless… the fountain of living waters, the source of life, a spring that never runs dry; reminds me of Jesus’ cry in John 4 & John 7 – that those who come to Him He will cause to have rivers of living water out of their hearts/heart of their being – & Israel/Judah have exchanged this never-ending supply of life giving water for a hand-made cistern, & a leaky, faulty one at that. And they’re content with it – & will die because of it, because the very thing they need, living water, they have rejected & have chosen instead their own ways & provisions.

The challenge that the LORD gives to Israel/Judah is to set themselves apart to Him – to plow the uncultivated, unplanted ground – a picture of neglect, laziness, & a call to diligence, & return to purpose. And to NOT sow among the thorns, but on the good ground. Not among the pointless & counterproductive – to not waste their seeds. To not have just an outward circumcision, but one of the heart; an inner set-apartness. Or the consequence will be fire & the wrath of God.

A – both Scriptures challenge me – the 1st to not exchange the provision of God, dependence on Him & His life giving Spirit for a ‘provision’ of my own making – self-sufficiency, & a denial of my very desperate need for Him.

The 2nd is a challenge to stay focused, to stay on task – to not forget or neglect the common or repetitive work – the preparing of the field, the planting of the seed in the RIGHT places – to not just go through the motions, but to mind the details, because what’s planted will grow – with interest.

P – LORD – I ask You to fill me with Your living waters – I’m dependent on You, & acknowledge my need for You & Your Spirit. I repent for self-sufficiency, for functioning on my own competency, for relying on my reserves, my strength, my abilities w/o bringing myself to You for Your direction, life, supply, shaping. Forgive me LORD.

And make me strong – someone that perseveres, endures, is faithful. Who stays on the little things, takes care of details, loves You in word & in action. Weave my fabric strong LORD.

Isaiah 50:7-9 ESV
But the LORD God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, & I know that I shall not be put to shame. He who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who is my adversary? Let him come near to me. Behold, the LORD God helps me; who will declare me guilty? Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.

Habakkuk & some thoughts on ‘How Longs’ & ‘Whys’

Habakkuk 1:1-4

The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw – O LORD how long shall I cry for help, & You will not hear? Or cry to You “violence’ & You will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity & why do You look idly at wrong? Destruction & violence are before me; strife & contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, & justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous, so justice goes forth perverted.

It’s the ‘How Longs” that get me. They stand out as a disappointed cry, laments even, bordering on indignant anger. Habakkuk sees injustice, wrong, violence, wickedness all around him, & he’s been crying out to the LORD for help with no visible or audible response.

The WHY’s also get me; why do You idly look at wrong? As though Habakkuk incredulous at what he is seeing… wondering how the LORD God he knows could NOT be acting on behalf of him & his people Israel considering what’s happening to & with them.

Part of the how & why this is at the forefront of my thoughts likely is the book I’m sloooowly reading through, Disappointment with God. Lately, I feel especially sensitized to the laments, sighs, suffering & disappointments in the world around me.

Its kinda like when you get a new car, say a white Ford Explorer. Then, it seems that everywhere you go, you see these white Explorers all over the place & wonder how you never saw them before.

I recognize in my own heart quiet echoes of these ‘How Longs’ & ‘Whys…’ & I wonder if the reason that I don’t stop coming back to God with prayer & expectancy, & I don’t blame Him for my issues & problems, &/or the tragedies around me is because of what I had to learn through my own ‘dark times of the soul,’ like when my brother Johnny had cancer & ultimately died.

In his last day, I vividly remember visiting Johnny downstairs at my parents – seeing the very obviously approaching death in his declining body. It was overwhelming, so I went upstairs & ran outside into what I think was early evening…

Remember standing facing the Alpers’ house & the familiar West Carson horizon… & looking to the twilight sky – praying, crying, asking, pleading in desperation for God to heal my brother, to take away this cancer, to restore his health that he would live.

It was a surreal experience that I think, I know changed me… I still remember the sense I got at that moment of God’s Presence. It may have been just my impression, but I also sensed a sadness greater than me. I wondered if it was Him, & He was sad. I thought so. And while I wanted more than anything that God would heal Johnny, I also felt comforted, & at peace.

The circumstance hadn’t changed. Johnny died. But God stood with me, & I knew it. He was WITH me, & I was aware.

Made me thinks that the nearness of God isn’t always tangible, but it is a fact. He will never leave me or forsake me.

And then Habakkuk gets an answer – the LORD will respond. Is responding. Has responded.

There will be vengeance; there will be chastisement. Intervention. There will be a revelation of His Presence so strong that ‘the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD just like the waters cover the sea’

And Habakkuk praises – gives thanks – asks for mercy.

LORD, I pray for mercy… & I thank You for never abandoning me, for Your Presence, & for Your nearness. Work in me the things You want to see be true of me – thank You for Your patience with me & my questions, for not getting angry at the How Longs or the Why’s. That You love me through it by standing with me. Help my unbelief, fill me with faith.


Yesterday, there was an 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile. A short while after the quake, theBean & I received notice that, as a result of the quake, tsunamis were expected to be hitting various areas of the South Pacific, including Hawaii. Where our 13 year-old theWeez is on vacation with some of her best friends… There were several concerned phone calls we & she received, foretelling doom & gloom. And here we are, in Sparks, Nevada, unable to get through on the phone, let alone do anything to protect our girl.

Being several thousand miles away has its benefits. We prayed. Reminded ourselves that we dedicated Weez to the LORD when she was a baby. That He is our fortress. Our Rock. Our protector. And waited. Watching CNN, wondering what would happen.

Turns out, nothing did. Got a few calls through to theWeez. Talked. Prayed together. Laughed about her times in the sun. She made the Mendive volleyball team.


Got a call from Pasty at 8:30 this a.m. Words a dad never wants to hear. “There’s been an accident.”

Heart in throat. Cell cutting out. Expedition totaled. Ice. T-boned by another car. Mt. Rose Highway. And nothing.

Thinking back to yesterday. Breathe. Breathe. Call cell. Nothing. Text. Waiting. Praying. Reflecting on my Rock. Fortress. Protector.

Call cell. Brief connection. We’re ok. Some headaches. Paramedics are here. Cutting out again. Breathe. Breathe. Pray. Peace.

Text from iDoey. Everyone is mostly ok. Some pains. A couple in the car going to get checked out at the hospital, just in case. Cutting out again. Breathe. Breathe. Wait.

Times like this remind me that this is where my faith has opportunity to grow. To be put into practice. Times that are easy, where everything alls as it should be aren’t stretching. Times where there’s unknown. Temptation to fear. Worry. Panic. Confronted with faith. And the choice to believe that the LORD is in control, in the middle of my unknown.

Breathe. Breathe. Peace.

Everyone checked out ok – bumps & bruises. Soreness & a headache or two. The car is a mess, but its only a car.

God is good. And we’re thankful.