Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I am passionate person. I have always been a passionate person. When I was a younger man that passion came out with unbridled intensity coming out into the open like those "pop-up" commercials and messages that come almost annoying to your television when you are watching USA, TNT or TBS on the cable. At age 59, that passion is not so uncontrolled that you never experience a lighter or more casual moment with me. But if you open the door on a subject on which I am passionate you will be surprised, perhaps overwhelmed by what flows out.

Baseball, especially Tigers baseball, creates one of those flood gates. I am not fanatical like some fans of the Steelers or Eagles persuasion seem to be; but I care greatly about the game and in particular, how Jim Leyland's boys play the game.

The Church is something I am deeply passionate about. I am especially passionate about the church being the Body of Christ and behaving like the body of Christ. I stopped playing church as a child. I stopped "going to church" when I realize that the Body of Christ is not a religious activity or social association. It is a supernatural organism charged with the purpose of continuing the work of Jesus Christ. People who went to reduce it to something other than this biblical vision of the church sometimes find me letting flow the floodgates of passion. I can be more than a little intense - and overwhelming to those who do not share this same passion.

Reconciling people to God through Christ is the third area. I firmly believe that I have a mission from God and that is to help people rec0ncile to God, to end their broken relationship with Him and to return to His original design where only He is God and live under His authority according to His values working His purpose. Without that reconciled relationship we will be eternally separated from Him and without that relationship this life will be without its wholeness and fullness. In terms of the church, I believe that is the prevailing purpose of the Body of Christ not to be denied or neglected.

People with a passion should not apologize for having it
especially if it is passion given to you by God. We should not try living apart from that passion. We should pursue it, well, with a passion. Sometimes we need to filter a bit so as not to overwhelm people who do not yet share it, and who might claim that passion for themselves without counting its cost.

Too many people live lives of quiet desperation or comfortable passivity. They will never truly influence their world nor change it. If God has given you a passion you should pursue it because God does not make mistakes.

Know your passion.
Know the source of your passion.
Emrace your passion.
Proclaim your passion.
Pursue your passion.
God will work in and through you to change your world.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Walt Mueller in his insightful blog learning my lines ... draws our attention to a powerful new book by John R.W. Stott called The Radical Disciple: Some Neglected Aspects of our Calling. He identifies eight aspects, one of which is incredibly surprising - death. Below is an excerpt from Mueller's blog

"Christianity offers life - eternal life, life to the full. But it makes it plain that the road to life is death. . . Life through death is one of the profoundest paradoxes in both the Christian faith and the Christian life."

Stott then goes on to describe six areas in which this is true.

There's death in our salvation. Christ died in our place so that we might have life.

There's death in discipleship. As Christ's followers, we are called to take up our cross and die to ourselves.

There's death in mission. "People receive life through the Gospel, and those who preach the Gospel faithfully suffer for it."

There's death in persecution. The history of the church is filled with accounts of physical persecution being the avenue to life.

There's death in martyrdom. Perhaps you are familiar with the story of Romanian pastor Josef Ton, who told in one of his sermons how the authorities threatened to kill him because of his faith. Ton responded, "Sir, your supreme weapon is killing. My supreme weapon is dying."

Finally, there's death in mortality. For the Christian - John Stott included - the best is yet to come.

These are the realities we must contemplate and communicate. They bring great joy, great hope, and great assurance. They prepare us for what is to come.

From Steve: You can read the rest of this article at MUELLER

Saturday, June 26, 2010


What do these two pictures have in common? One is obviously a victory scene of goalie Tim Howard after the US qualified for the Knockout Round Thursday by defeating Algeria in World Cup play. The other is a picture of the farmland outside the small central Illinois city of Decatur IL where I spent three days attending of our denomination's General Conference. South Africa, the site of the World Cup, is where Tim Howard was obviously passing those same days.

What the two have in common is that for the entire three days these two places were connected by an international media system as the people of Decatur (and people from around the world attending the same conference I did) lived not only on the hot, stormy plains of Illinois but in the massive urban centers of South Africa, as we were connected (perhaps cemented) by a common focus - the incredible drama of the World Cup. Wherever I went in Decatur, people were watching their TV, or their cell phones, or their computers to catch the latest scores and even live action of these games. As much as some Americans find soccer boring, and as much as I prefer baseball and college football, these games provided as much sports drama and human drama as I have experienced with any athletic competition. And when you realize people of all socio-economic classes and political systems are drawn to this sport at its highest level, you know the Super Bowl is just so much excuse to sell over-priced and over-the edge advertising. Even with the US now eliminated, I
suspect I am going to watch the rest of the World Cup. It has made a new fan for soccer.


Before there was powerpoint and DVDs and interactive on-line Bible lessons; there was flannelgraph. It has pretty much gone the way of the dinosaur, but a friend of mine Justin Meier, sent this little video. Flannelgraph can still be fun.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Meant to post this last Sunday for Father's Day. It still is worth posting.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I belong to a Facebook Group called United Against Westboro Baptist Church. Westboro is a Topeka KS congregation led by Pastor Fred Phelps that has made a dubious reputation by picketing at the funerals of fallen soldiers to pronounce God's judgment against the military for the presence of homosexuals in their ranks. They have made infamous the protest sign "God Hates Fags" and at the same time made Christians look like ugly, hateful people because the population in general thinks one aberrant group of people are indicative a group of people who have made "love thy neighbor" their motto for 2000 years.

I personally believe, as do many Christians whose values are rooted in Christ and the Bible, that the homosexual lifestyle is contrary to our Creator's design and like all other things that God sees as inconsistent with His holiness - it is a sin. But then drunkenness, child abuse, injustice, human slavery are also contrary to God's will for us. They, too, are sin.

But the Bible is very clear. While God hates sin and its utter destructiveness of His world and its people, God does not hate the sinners themselves. We are all (for we are all sinners) people who God loved unconditionally and for whom Christ died that we might once again have a relationship with a holy God. I believe God has a special judgment reserved for those who choose hate as a lifestyle and who victimize any of His children by their hatred.

I also, however, would disagree with this little sign. God does not love one of us more than another. He loves all of us equally. God hates the hatred expressed by bigots. He hates the hurt inflicted on bigotry's victims. But he loves the victim and victimizer both--because both are persons whose sin has separated them from God. Both are people for whom Christ has died.

Monday, June 21, 2010


"I write for the joy of it."

Much of my life as a pastor and mentor involves writing. I have written poetry and song lyrics-denominational doctrinal statements and letters to the powerful. Countless academic papers and a doctoral thesis that went to over 400 pages in length. Scripts for musicals and comedy/drama teams. I cannot tell you how many sermons I have written in over 39 years of ministry nor how many funeral meditations. I have written devotionals for well over eight years and countless magazine articles on Christian living (including a column on Christian parenting). I penned the definitive history of my denomination's work in central and eastern Europe, and our denomination's youth ministry.
I have written textbooks on evangelism, transformational leadership, mentoring, and more. I currently write blog posts for a denominational evangelism blog. I also write posts for 11 blogs of which I am the author. There are at least two unfinished manuscripts on Christian discipleship and two mystery novels on the hard drive of my computer. That doesn't count Facebook postings, responses to blogs, personal notes of encouragement. I have journaled almost every day of the last 37 years of my life and those volumes now occupy at least two file cabinets (not drawers, cabinets.)

Needless to say, I wrote a whole lot.

I write because I observe my world, savor ideas, reflect on almost everything.

I write because God often gives me inspiration. (Sometimes I wish He had equipped me to be a better writer, not just a prolific one.)

I write because the world has a story that God is writing and I believe I am called to pen some of it chapters.

I write because it is my calling.

And when you follow your calling from God, you have great joy.

I wrote for the joy of it at all.


It's the first Monday of the summer and still almost 80 at eight o'clock. It reached somewhere in the mid 90's today and the humidity was high, as well. My house has no air conditioning. The condenser has died and we will wait two weeks until they can put in the new A/C (if I can drum up the $3000 bucks in the meantime). If this isn't bad enough, there is no A/C in my office at the church. My administrative assistant and I both have ancient wall units. Hers is dead and mine died last night as it attempted to cool both rooms. The small fan we had basically moved sweaty air. The fans at home are doing a little better, but it's pretty awkward lugging them from room to room.

To be honest I prefer cold weather to hot. I can always put on more clothes and crawl under a blanket. I can only strip so far in the heat before I invite the attention of the authorities and the condemnation of my church's elders.

I've used the heat as a sermon illustration. "Where some of you are going is a lot hotter than it is here." I tried laying hands on the offending refrigeration equipment, saying in "Beeeeyahhh heeeaaalled" in my best Oral Roberts imitation. Oral has nothing to worry about. (Oopss, I forgot. He's gone home to be with the Lord. I guess he really has nothing to worry about.)

Tomorrow Dianne and I board a large, luxury bus for a 14-15 hour drive to a place perhaps hotter than Landisville - Decatur IL. As much as I hate traveling that far by bus, I am looking forward to all those hours of unrelenting A/C. Unless, of course .... NO! I won't even think about it!

I could soothe my suffering by thinking of people less fortunate than I. I could, but when you're hotter than you know what, you rarely feel magnanimous.

So pray for my soul. And pray for the A/C. We both need it!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


A field to be leased in Haiti and a new irrigation canal in the Valley Artibonite near Borel.


Last week I spent four days here at Borel with the advance team from Mt. Olive College. We drafted a proposal for a partnership for working together to advance agricultural here in the Artibonite valley and even in the mountains beyond. I shared the first phase of that vision that we hope to start as early as September this year. In 2011 we would like to take lease options on some of the farm fields that lie to the back of our compound. One exceptional piece of land has a new irrigation canal going through the middle of it and one irrigation ditch borders one of the boundaries and a third irrigation ditch crosses at another point. Land like this can grow 3 crops a year. A typical rotation is rice, then corn and rice again, other crops that may be grown by some of the farmers are sweet potatoes and beans. The farmers know that it takes fertilizer and nutrients to grow exceptional crops but for lack of money most can't afford to use them. The field work is mostly still by hand labor with hoes and picks their are a few large rototillers being used and a few small tractors with tillers or disc plows. The farmers usually start at dawn which is around 5:00 this time of year and work till 5-6:00 pm when it starts to get dark.

The goal of us leasing farm land is to promote new techniques, crops and practices. Having land out along side other farmers with our crops in view we hope will demonstrate and convince others to try what we are doing. We will be hiring farmers to help work our fields which will also give employment to some in this area. They will also be a voice or good advertisement for promoting what works as we experiment. The crops we produce will be offered at wholesale to area vendors to sell in many of the area markets in the valley. It is hoped that at some point we can organize a small cooperative among our neighbors and make our equipment available to them. We would make the equipment available with our operator to work in their fields for a small fee to cover wages, fuel and maintenance costs. To make it possible for them to change to better agricultural practices we will being offering small micro finance loans.

Life Matters writes: Steve Mossburg directs Project Help, a mission outreach of the Churches of God, General Conference. He posted this four weeks ago to update us on what is happening in the interior of Haiti following the earthquake.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


By the time you read this post I will be at Doubling Gap Center awaiting the arrival of the first kids for Youth Camp at Camp Yolijwa. Once again I am working as a Male Head Counselor, this year joined by a friend and Winebrenner Seminary student Logan Ames. In previous years Logan, a member of our Caring Community Church near Hummelstown has worked for me as a counselor and I have always appreciated his integrity and dedication to Christ. Lately I have been following his adventures in preparation for ministry on Facebook, along with an occasional on-line chat. In addition to his giftedness, I believe we will be a good match. Both of us are deeply concerned about kids' lives being transformed. Both of us tend to run a tight, but fair, ship so that no kid's selfishness ruins the experience for others. Plus he's a high energy night person - I'm talking late night. I'm a high energy morning person - I'm talking early morning. The kids will never have a chance.

This is my fourth year on the staff Youth Camp staff (I am generally the oldest by about 10 years). It is the third year I have functioned as Head Counselor. Although each year I come back a little more tired and more fully aware that I am nowhere near a young man in body, I look forward to this week. I thoroughly enjoying meeting and learning about these 10th. 11th and 12th graders. They are a window on our culture that keeps me on the cutting edge of ministry. Many of them are part of a "pocket of lostness" that reignites my passion for evangelism. All of them have great potential, even those who have been badly abused by the world in which they must live, if they can just connect enough to Jesus Christ to let him transform them into a new creation.

I would greatly appreciated your prayers. If I get time and access to a computer, I will blog a bit on our two church "in house blogs" --- WE ARE THE CHURCH OF GOD OF LANDISVILLE or HOLY SPIRIT INCUBATOR


Do you remember these guys? Roy Halladay took big bucks and moved south to join them and I am sure he is wondering what happened to them? Earlier this season he pitched a no-hitter and the other night he pitched a great game against the Marlins (except for a sacrifice fly and one pitch that got away), he held the Marlins to just two runs. Two more than his compatriots plated that night.

One of the most powerful batting orders in the major leagues is nearing dormancy. Pitchers like Halladay and Jamie Moyer are pitching some of the best games of the season and collecting losses. Tonight as I watched my Tigers on computer (who seem to be flirting with a little plate impotence, as well), the Phillies are now down to the Boston Red Sox 12-1 in the bottom of the fourth! Except to kick over a club house television (actually I am exaggerating, he only ordered it turned off), Charlie Manuel seems to bereft of motivational or line-up solutions.

Is it too early to be worried? Depends on how hot the Braves remain, or how much more the Marlins' pitching improves.
Anyone have any managerial advice for Mr. Manuel?

Friday, June 11, 2010


Last year the Washington Nationals had the number one pick in the Major League Baseball's draft. They chose a college pitching phenom named Stephen Strasburg, a picture who already is showing awesome pitching skills and baseball savvy. Amidst much hype and hoopla, Strasburg who started the season in the lower minor leagues made his first major league start, two nights against the Pittsburgh Pirates:

The San Francisco Chronicle, commenting on critics of the hype that surrounded Starsburg's debut wrote"

"Over-hyped? Are you kidding? Stephen Strasburg went beyond the hype — and anyone's reasonable expectations — by striking out 14 batters in his electric major league debut.

With a standing-room-only crowd cheering every pitch, the Washington Nationals phenom put on a dazzling display of power pitching Tuesday night in a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. His heaters reached 100 mph, and batters found his nasty curveballs nearly impossible to hit."

Read more:

This seems to be the summer of the rookie. My own beloved Tigers have a starting center fielder, Austin Jackson; and an outfield/DH Brennan Boesch who are with batting averages exceeding 320 are among the top 15 hitters in the American League. (We aren't missing Curtis Granderson one iota.) These three rookies have infused a lot of hope in their respective baseball cities and have injected an element of hope that maybe the World Series is in reach. Strasburg has actually achieved Messiah status in Washington DC. (Some people were hoping Mr. Obama had a lock on that job.)

Not all rookies are more than a flash in the pan; but sometimes they turn into great players. All of us are rookies at something at some time in our life. Thank goodness for the people who gave us a chance, encouraged us even with a little hype, and cheered out first efforts.

Do you know any rookies who need your encouragement?


Found this video through the Missional Outreach Network. Loved it. A little too true for comfort.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


This is one of my favorite videos. It is a perfect lesson in how NOT to do evangelism.


"People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated." - D.A. Carson

Grace once again brings us into relationship with the Living God. Grace enables the transformation that God desires for us in His great love for us. But that is not the end of the work of grace. Carlson says it very well. Our old human nature still pulls at our being and attempts to dictate our doing. Grace deliver us from sin's power and penalty over us but it does not at first remove us from sin's presence. Unless we make an intentional effort to move closer to God and walk in step with Him, we will easily step away from the values and behaviors that reinforce God's grace within us.

The siren call of canceled sin is to say "you need make no effort to walk where Jesus wants you to walk." Or, "You don't really need to hunger and thirst after righteousness." And before we know it, we drifting away from grace's opportunities and blessings.

That's what grace continues to be at work - reminding us, drawing us close, changing us. Grace knows that the journey to our salvation is not the end of our journey. We are now assured our salvation for eternity, but without the continuing work of grace we will be not God's Holy person serving His holy purposes. You don't grow in grace by doing nothing. And grace is always pushing and prodding and empowering us to grow in Christ.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I thought I was finished blogging about Tiger pitcher Armando Galaragga and umpire Jim Joyce, until I read Walt Mueller's post on his blog learning my lines. Mueller is the Director of the Center for Parent and Youth Understanding in nearby Elizabethtown. He wrote yesterday:

In the many interviews I've heard with Jim Joyce over the course of the last several days, I am blown away by the redemptive power of grace. I've read books by and about umpires. I've watched interviews with umpires. None of them want their careers to be defined by that one glaring blown call. Jim Joyce's career will most likely be remembered because of a "safe" call on what should have been the 27th consecutive out. But it will also be remembered for someting great and amazing - the grace that turned the whole thing around. In several of Joyce's intervies he's mentioned how what was the lowest of low moments quickly turned to the highest of highs. . . . all because of grace.

The story not only provides great talking points and examples of the highest standards of sportsmanship, but it serves to remind us of what once was along with the great expectation of what some day will be again. The story of the blown call has become one of "shalom". . . that universal flourishing of all that God originally made that has since come undone. Still, we catch glimpses of the Garden through stuff like this. "Oh what a foretaste of glory divine" we might be able to sing about this moment.

In a world where sport all too often becomes a magnifier of our human depravity, something else took place last Wednesday night. And it was good! Wouldn't it be great if all of our play was marked by that kind of stuff?

Read Mueller's entire post by clicking the link above.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


It's Sunday afternoon and I am enjoying some Sabbath time reflecting on my world, my friends, my life as I have experienced it this past week. I have a deep appreciation of the Navajos and have come to love the "Rez' and its people as I have worked with the Tsaile Community Church for more than 1o years now. Joined a Facebook Page this week called Lukachukai, a town near Tsaile where many of my friends live. It is a place of rugged beauty, troubling poverty, a wonderful people who are living the incarnate love of Christ in the midst of their culture - living to bring strength and hope. (Lukachukai is above right.)

Two newer friends of mine Brook and Sara Sarver celebrated four years of marriage this week. Graduates of Huntington (IN) University, they have dedicated the next ten years of their lives to bring Christ's love and influence to the nation of Thailand - another place of rugged beauty and troubling poverty, racked by a horrendous sex trade. And yet Brook and Sara see great potential and hope in the Thai people and have invested themselves in making that a place where God is at work in transformational ways. (Brook and Sara, below right.)

My two year old plus grandson Jake has learned to call his Grandpa (although mostly his Grandma). We sent him his first Veggie Tales video and once he got a grasp on tomatoes that talk (rabbits and doggies talk, but not veggies) he has been introduced to a whole new world of Christian values. (Jake is below left). BURN our awesome student ministry conducted a Car Wash and Yard Sale (one on Saturday and the other on Memorial Day itself) to raise money to help part of them attend Creation 2010. (I bought Jake more great toys at the Yard Sale). These kids worked together, many working so others (not themselves could go) and presented a wonderful image of youthful Christianity to our community - and raised almost $2000. They are awesome kids. (car wash, lower center).

And then if you read my blogs regularly you'll know that story of Armando Galaragga and umpire Jim Joyce. A perfect game and a blown call -- and a testimony to the power of grace and good will. No wonder it's America's Game! Lots more to follow. Posting on John Wooden, a towering sports figure who has gone home to be with the Lord.

It's been quite a week!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


(CNN) -- He was known as the Wizard of Westwood, the architect of a dynasty at UCLA that will never be equaled. But John Wooden leaves behind a legacy much larger than victories on a basketball court.

Wooden died Friday of natural causes at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. He was 99. His 100th birthday would have been October 14.

Steve: Just wanted to post this so we can all say a prayer for his family and a prayer of thanksgiving to God for his influence. A blog post will soon follow.

Friday, June 4, 2010


One of my life mentors was a man named Larry White. "Larry" as he was known to so many kids across our nation was the National Youth Director for the Churches of God. Ultimately he became the beloved pastor of the College First Church of God in Findlay, Ohio (where he became known as Dr. White to thousands of people in that academic community, but remaining "Larry" to those who had known in his youth ministry days). I was one of dozens of young leaders Larry invested significant time in to shape up into pastors and leaders of the Church.

The most important thing he ever said to me was actually a confession, "I am an unrepentant grace junkie!" Larry thrived on grace, preached on grace, practiced grace. Nothing else could ever generate as much as passion within him as the knowledge of and proclamation of the grace of God rooted in the unconditional love of God.

Grace - God's unmerited favor.

Grace is a countercultural value in our performance-driven, passionately judgmental culture. We are so passionate about our personal preference and desires that whenever anyone robs of us of that to which we believe we are entitled, that we are quick to condemn and to vilify the "thief."
Forgiveness is a reluctant attribute in our lives because we believe some should always pay for their mistakes (especially those impacting me) - unless, of course, it is my mistakes.

That's perhaps what is so compelling about Armando Galaragga's response to umpire Jim Joyce's call robbing him of his perfect game, no-hitter. Galaragga has chosen to be magnanimous and forgiving. He has extended grace to Jim Joyce. Joyce is deeply troubled by what his mistake has cost the young Tiger pitcher, but he is able to move forward despite the harassment because the man who he hurt the most has responded with grace.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Watching Armando Galaragga today operating with humility and grace made many of us say, "He has a lot class." He will probably be remembered more because of how he handled an obvious injustice instead of 88 pitches with no hits. Jay Mariotti has a great analysis of this on his blog.

The Governor of Michigan declared it a no-hitter. The Governor of Baseball (Commissioner Bud Selig) first says no, then equivocates implying he's sending it to a committee. The Tigers give he a Corvette. But a whole lot of us give Armando Galaragga respect. In a world of pampered celebrities, prima donna athletes, and flip-flopping politicians, Armando is a fresh breeze of decency and integrity. He's still human. He's going to have days we aren't as admiring - but today you must say, "he has a lot of class."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Last night Armando Galarraga pitched a perfect game. He faced 27 batters and got 27 of them out. No walks, no hits, no errors, no runs. The magical accomplishment called a perfect game. One step above a no-hitter because there are no blips or blemishes. Galarraga became the first Detroit Tiger in history to do so.

But .....

But umpire Jim Joyce called the 27th batter safe as he ran to first place on a ground ball. First baseman Miguel Cabrera deftly fielded Cleveland Indians' Jason Donald's ground ball and tossed it to Galarraga who was covering first. Andrew had his foot on the bag and the ball arrived at first while the runner was yet two steps away.

But Jim Joyce quickly, perhaps too quickly, and inexplicably called the runner safe. Galarraga's smile of triumph turned to a smirk of disbelief. Jim Leyland was livid and stormed the field. Cabrera was even more irate and risked ejection by continuing to openly badger the umpire even as the next batter came to the plate. The Tiger fans booed loudly and with great justification.

Galarraga, to his credit, shrugged it off and methodically went about getting the next batter to ground out to third baseman Brandon Inge. His fellow Tigers then proceeded to celebrate quietly and deliberately, expressing appreciation for their younger pitcher's masterpiece.

Armando Galarraga is a class act.

It goes down as a one-hit shut out, just 88 pitches in 9 innings.

It's time to give baseball managers a red challenge flag.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


The first day of June and the unofficial first day of summer. As I awakened this morning I was greeted with the birds singing quietly and the gentle breeze coming through my open window carrying the refreshing aroma that accompanies the aftermath of a rainstorm. The temperature was a pleasant 69 degrees. I had slept fairly well (something not always true for me these days) and so I was feeling rested.

In one sense nothing has changed since the previous Tuesday which had been categorized as a spring morning. I will soon leave for Silver Springs Restaurant to share in the Early Men's Bible Study that I lead each Tuesday, and then I will go on to work. Since yesterday was a holiday, my in-box at the office will be a little bit deeper than usual. I have a premarital counseling appointment which is unusual for a Tuesday since this is also my sermon and study day when I generally isolate myself until mid-afternoon. Atypically I have no meetings this evening.

In another sense, today will be different. Perhaps it goes back to the sanctioned semi-responsibility and spontaneity that was summer for so many of us when we were children. We may still have had chores and an occasional ball practice to attend, but we didn't have to get up at a certain time and the dress code was merely wear clothes. But today I will feel a certain release of the intensity that so often describes adult life in America in these times. I will try to be more open to interruptions and more willing to be spontaneous, counting on "it's summer" to relieve my schedule dominated compulsiveness. I will linger in the church's prayer garden to enjoy its beauty and speak comfortably with my Lord. I will sit on my porch with a good book more often rather than cocoon inside in front of the television. I will see more of my neighbors and hopefully make an attempt to converse with them.

A change of seasons, especially the first day of summer, affords us an opportunity to refocus and recalibrate. The first day of summer allows us to introduce some new dimensions into our lives.
And as these new dimensions change us for the better, perhaps they will make the arrival of fall a more welcomed time and a time of eager expectation.

Are you open to your summer being used by God as a season of refreshing? "To everything there is a season," the Bible reminds us. Summer should not resemble winter or else your life has become to complicated and too inflexible. May the first days of summer allow you to take inventory of your truest priorities and get into a new rhythm of life.

And let God, the Author of Life, help you do your "vacation" planning.