Monday, October 31, 2011


Landisville late Saturday morning (photo by L. Kilgore)
As I begin writing this post for Monday publication, it is Saturday morning and I am sitting in the breakfast area at the Hampton Inn in Hanover PA. I was scheduled to teach a Bridgebuilders Seminar at a church in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland. My wife and I had stopped here for the night to enjoy a night away and to reduce this morning's trip. The Seminar has been cancelled because of a winter storm warning that is already a reality at my final destination. The Weather Channel is trumpeting an epic winter storm for October in the Northeast.  I, for one, am not happy. (My wife who has gone back to be to sleep later on this Saturday is happy.)  Enough epic weather, already!  Where I live in central Pennsylvania, we have been hit by two hurricanes, one earthquake, and a century-level flood since August.  This is the second major training event I was scheduled to teach that have directly collided with the weather.   It's enough to make me start blogging about global warming.  I am hoping the snow goes away quickly.  I still have work to do to prepared my house and yard for winter.  Snow in October is just too soon.  Enough!

Side Note:  I don't usually do weather or sports teams in my prayers.  If I did and God chose to answer my prayer, it would be 70 degrees and sunny 12 months a year and the Detroit Tigers would be the 2011 World Series Champs.

Speaking of World Series Champions - congratulations to Tony LaRussa and the St. Louis Cardinals.  Two months ago no one really gave them a chance to make the playoffs, let alone win the Series against a slugging team like the Texas Rangers. But they closed the gap to be the NL Wild Card Team, overwhelmed the Milwaukee Brewers and then took the Rangers to a 7th Game that reflected the whole series - aggressive base running, closers who couldn't close and home runs galore from both sides.  I have many friends from my chldhood in the Midwest who were "rabid" Cardinal fans and their hour-by-hour agony filled the newsfeed on my Facebook for the past two weeks. Now they can be at peace.  For my money David Freese deserves the World Series MVP.  He saved the Cardinals in Game Six and I think broke the spirit of the Rangers. (I'd have loved to see a rematch of the 2006 Series between the Tigers and Cardinals given the power that has been added to the Tiger batting order in the last year.)

The eyes of the world have been on Greece this week where a highly troubled economy was undermining the European Union.  But the American stock market remained volatile this week as investors agonized over the impact of Greece's economic woes on our global economy.  Despite the protectionists in every nation around the world, we do have a global economy that really cannot be undone.  But the reality of that economy is in the impact on all nations when one nation does not keep its final house in order.  This is another reason why the US must get its own final house in order.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

MORE ON BASEBALL - Baseball, Beards, and Spitting! Yikes!

More baseball fun, this time from Mark Roberts,

In the last couple of days, I watched more baseball than I have in a couple of years. In the end, it was not much fun for someone from Texas, though I’ve got to give tons of credit to the St. Louis Cardinals. They proved to have great fortitude in addition to great talent.

But I have one gripe and one question.

My gripe is this: spitting. Not only did I see more baseball in the last week than I have in a long time, but also I saw more spitting than I have in the last decade. At one point, I started to count the number of spits in an inning, but I lost track into the twenties. I realize that lots of players are chewing tobacco. I hear that some have gone healthier, with sunflower seeds or gum. But, I don’t care if they’re chewing their tongues, the spitting thing is obnoxious. I suppose if I were to watch baseball all the time I’d get used to it. But, frankly, this gives me a good reason not to watch. I just don’t particularly want to watch people spitting all the time.

One of the most impressive beards in baseball belongs to Brian Wilson, relief pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. Most of the beards in the World Series were nicely trimmed. If Wilson wants to help his team into the series, he should get a beard trimmer.

My question: What’s up with the beards? It seemed like almost every player on the Cardinals and the Rangers had a beard. Now this doesn’t bother me. I wore a beard for more than half of my adult life. I’m just curious about where the beard wearing came from. In the olden days, professional athletes had short, well-managed hair, and they were almost always clean-shaven. Now, it’s not uncommon to see long hair flowing out from the back of NFL helmets. And I guess if you really want to play in the World Series, you’d better have a beard. And not just a scruffy “I’m not shaving during the playoffs” beard, but a well-manicured beauty. Does anybody know when baseball players started wearing beards? Is there some magic reason?

I can see only one major problem with the beard thing, and that’s the mixture of beard and spitting. I’d be afraid to guess what’s lurking in some of those beards. Ugh!


Biblical scholar and blogger, Ben Witherington, shares my love of baseball.  His most recent post captures that love and its spiritual significance.- Steve

Let’s be honest.  The most popular game in America these days is brutal. I’m talking about the incessantly broadcast game of professional football, a game, as they say ‘won in the trenches’, a term borrowed from WWI and the Maginot line. Today instead it is the offensive or defensive line. Yes, there are thrilling plays in football— elegantly arched passes to diving receivers, runners weaving their way through traffic heading for the endzone. But most of the actual play on the football field is not beautiful. It involves holding, pushing, shoving, tackling, hitting— especially hitting these days. The game’s name should be changed from tackle football to hit football. Launching one’s body at another human being, outside the football field is called assault. It is not beautiful. It is ugly.

Football, if it is possible, has become even more of a bloodsport today, than it was when padding was not nearly so good. It does a good job of feeding our lust for the dramatic, for a thrill a moment, and our voyeuristic joy in watching someone else crash and burn. Baseball, except for the occasional collision on the base paths or at home plate is not about players smashing up other players. It’s about beauty, and it’s about life and what is good in human striving.

If you have not been under a rock, and have watched this truly memorable World Series between the Cardinals and Rangers, you will see lots of amazing individual and team achievements. Say, Albert Pujols’ three monster home runs in Arlington which conjured up images of Mr. October, Reggie Jackson. Or say the hometown boy David Freese made good, almost single-handedly staving off elimination in Game Six when the Cardinals were down to their last strike, twice. Or watching a guy built like a lineman, a catcher named Napoli, time and again lift his team with his bat or throws as the crowd chanted Napoli, Napoli, Napoli.

The problem with football, especially college football, is that with one loss even at the beginning of the season, you can be out of the championship hunt. That, frankly, is not merely a buzzkill, its cruel. Contrast that to baseball.

The St. Louis Cardinals, for a great deal of the season were not very good. Indeed, on Sept. 1, they were so far behind in the wildcard race, they weren’t even in anybody’s rear view mirror. And even after 161 games, the issue was not settled as to who would be the wild card team. It turned out to be….wait for it….. the Wild Cards.

Baseball was and is about redemption after losses, even devastating losses. It’s the game that is most like life. It is a game of children played by adults. In what other sport can you get a hit only one try out of three, failing two thirds of the time, and end up in a Hall of Fame? None. None that I know of. Thank goodness life is more like baseball than football. In what other sport can you fail magnificently, completely, repeatedly, in double digits, and still go on to win a world championship?
In an age of individualism, and rampant narcissism, baseball remains a team sport. There are some baseball players, even today, who have exactly one specialized skill. They don’t look like athletes, they can’t run like athletes, they would never make even a semi-pro team in other sports. But there they are, playing professional baseball. I’m talking about players like Darren Oliver. A big man who has played in the majors twenty years. What does he do? He is a relief pitcher who comes in, usually to get exactly one or two hitters out. That’s it. Or take one of my favorites– Eric Hinske. He can’t run worth a darn. His fielding is no better than mine. But put him in as a pinch hitter when the chips are down— and watch him hit yet another miracle home run in the clutch. That’s beautiful.

Most of us cannot identify with transcendent athletes like a Michael Jordan or a Deion Sanders, or an Albert Pujols. They are way beyond our reach or pay grade. But if you love baseball, you can dream of being little Ryan Theriot, a good fielder. Or an Eric Hinske. The thing about baseball is it really does confirm to you that even the ordinary person under extraordinary circumstances can do the extraordinary, can transcend the mundane and shine for a moment.

Finish reading ....

Thursday, October 27, 2011


n various circles there continues the debate between atheism and religion.  In fact, whenever any candidate claims to have a faith, particularly Christianity, they often come under attack from the cultural pundits and the media.  Rabbi David Wolpe, during the last presidential campaign, shared a powerful analysis with the concept of atheism persists (now called New Atheism) in a nation where so many people of sol many stripes continue to be people of faith.  I'd be interested in your feedback.


The Phillies has decided not to pick up the option on Roy Oswalt and Brad Lidge.  Because the Brewers wanted to save money, the played chicken and Prince Fielder may be a cross-division rival next year if the Cardinals sign him. I know! I know!  Baseball is a business not purely sport.  Teams have bottom lines and owners want to realize a profit. The Phillies has decided not to pick up the option on Roy Oswalt and Brad Lidge.  Because the Brewers wanted to save money, the played chicken and Prince Fielder may be a cross-division rival next year if the Cardinals sign him. I get that.

But in my humble estimation, no one in St. Louis should be playing chicken with Albert Pujols.  The commentators noted (several times now) that Wednesday's game might be Pujols final home game as a Cardinal.

Are they kidding?  Is the St. Louis management that greedy or that dense?  Anyone who saw Pujols awesome display of power on Saturday night and the effect of the teams (both his and the Rangers) simply have to ask--why would the Cardinals let the Pujols get away--for any amount of money?  He is the heart of the team -- he is the inspiration for it, as well.  The team can probably win without him bit it won't be the sa

Just pay Pujols!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011



People spend a lot of time and energy trying to figure out what is necessary to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Plans are developed. Whole books and workbooks are written.  How do we capture the essence of true discipleship to make sure we’ve got it right, and by implication, that God will be pleased with us?

They try to think of every situation that may arise and write a plan for it.  They pour themselves into many activities in order to build a spiritual resume–although their busyness does not always [produce lasting fruit.

I remember a college student I knew who had a schedule for every minute in the day of what he planned to do for Jesus.  He also had checklists to make sure that he had covered a broad range of discipleship activities from Bible study to outreach to mentoring to evangelism; at the same time having an elaborate prayer list which he was constantly checking to see if he covered everyone and writing a note of the results of those prayers.

I know of Christians who are so concerned that they do the right thing in the right way that they are reluctant to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  I also know others who fear that if they plan anything they will interfere with the Spirit’s work. Persons who believe authentic faith is always connected to an emotional high and enthusiasm, and others who believe that you have to have an elaborate reason or proof text to any position or action.

For many of these people there is no joy to their salvation – only feelings of inadequacy or guilt when they don’t measure up. There is no peace because they live in fear that God will change the game plan.

The bottom line is this – love God with every ounce or your being and love God by loving your neighbor as God loves them (starting with yourself.) That is the bottom line.  It is that simple. It is not rocket science.

It living by grace in the power of God motivated by His unconditional love.

(c) 2011 by Stephen L Dunn

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


In yesterday's post I was not all that sympathetic with the OCCUPY WALL STREET PEOPLE. In fairness to them, this cartoon in USA Today is worth posting.
Jan Cubbison Miesse is a former parishioner, now an author and motivational speaker.  Loved this photo she posted on her Facebook Page.
One of my favorite ladies when 25 of us on a mission trip to the Southwest did a little shopping in Window Rock AZ.  I love people who are not so dignified that they can't have a little fun.

Here's my 81-year old father, once the pastor at my denomination's mother church greeting his new pastor and a successor in a long line dedicated servants of God in the city.

And one bit of sublime ridiculousness

Sunday, October 23, 2011


In Woodhaven MI, 39-year old father Shawn Wierner made a decision.  Shawn, divorced and a man with a reported drinking problem, went for a drive with his 9-year old daughter.  Clarification. He went for a drive with her, he let his daughter do the driving. Stopping for gas slightly before 3 a.m., he told the station clerk that she was his designated driver.  Now Wierner has been arrested and is facing charges of child abuse. The debate is on in Michigan as to whether it is indeed child abuse or a dumb decision made by a dad in a  difficult situation.  Dumb mistake or bad parent?  For my money, both.  Why you a drunk and on the road with your daughter at this hour is beside me.  She, at least, should have been in bed.  Given that he doesn't have custody, why he could he not have chosen not to drink.  An intoxicated parent, custodial or not, is neither a wise one or a good one.  As a pastor, I watch countless kids who are harmed or whose lives are unnecessarily burdened because a parent is thinking primarily of their own needs, giving actual parenting only the leftovers of their emotion or attention. The courts will decide whether in 21st century America this rises to child abuse.

Denver Broncos coach John Fox finally made a wise decision. He gave the starting quarterback job to Tim Tebow. Tebow is a gifted quarterback and dedicated team player.  Trust me, I know.  The Tebow-led Florida Gators made life miserable for my beloved Buckeyes.  He is also a controversial quarterback.  Not because of night club antics, or domestic violence, or team-busting arrogance, or cruelty to animals.  He is controversial because he is a man of faith, the Christian faith in particular.  Tebow, an evangelical, is unashamed about views that support biblical values. It is something that the dogs of political correctness see as raw meat.  Earlier in the season, honored quarterback Joe Montana plainly said that Tebow would fight an uphill battle precisely because of his public faith. As we watched Kyle Orton simply collapse at QB and the once-proud Broncos spiral downward; most of us wonder what took Fox so long.   But finally after coming in last week against the Chargers as a replacement, Tebow ran for one TD and threw for another.  And the result of his first start this week - Tebow generated touchdowns and a Denver victory.

Occupy Wall Street and similar "occupations' are in the news and the fuel for many a coffee shop debate these days.  (If I decide to get into one of these "occupations", I'm leaning towards Occupy Wakaki.)  Just wondering?  If the economy being so bad (and it seems to be bad) it seems odd that people would expend so much money (and require the public safety divisions of these communities to spend so much money) why a contribution to the local rescue mission or homeless shelter, rather than buying these stocks, wouldn't be a stronger statement of protest.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I received this very good question the other day following a sermon on John 8, "Jesus and the Woman Caught in Adultery."  What is the difference between judging people and judgement? They were referring to the fact that we are admonished not to judge people and also the popular belief that we cannot make judgements about people's behaviors and choices. Here is my answer.

The very concept of judgement  (and justice) infers that there is a right and a wrong - a standard against which our behaviors need to be measured.  In John 8, a group of Pharisees and religious teachers were using a very severe law handed down through Moses (capital punishment for a woman's adultery) to trap Jesus into contradicting or denouncing the Mosaic Law.  Jesus refused to cooperate with their manipulative question because it had to do with their jealousy of him, not is idea of justice.  It is a reminder that laws and standards are lived out not in a vacuum but in life and must take into account the spirit as well as the letter of a law.

When Jesus sent his critics packing he was still left with a woman who had done something wrong - who had committed a sin. That sin was adultery.  In fact, the purpose of the law was to remind her and all of her nation that choices have consequences, and that some choices lead to sin - i.e., living contrary to God's will and vision for us.  At the end he asks where her accusers are. By that he is asking, "Where are the guys who want to kill you?"  She says they are gone.  He responds, "Then neither do I condemn you ..."  But his answer doesn't end there although popularly it does and we seem to see this as condoning her adultery or saying it's no big deal.  No, his response is ... "go and leave your life of sin."  There is a judgement expressed here, a judgement that clearly implies her responsibility while receiving mercy where the law required death to stop doing the thing that makes her guilty before God.

Which brings us to the next step in this discussion. The passage that comes into view here are words from Jesus in Matthew 7.1-2.“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  This verse goes directly to our sinful tendency to judge or measure others against a standard that often we do not even live up. To presume spiritual or moral superiority in one area of life while ignoring sinfulness in another part. That's why verses 3 and following continue: Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."  

Judgement has to do with being accountable to a standard that is beyond ourselves.  In the case of God's Word, to understand that we live under God's sovereignty and authority.  Because we acknowledge that we are accountable to the perfect Judge, we are mindful of our imperfect ability to perform the same function.  We are careful about exacting judgment towards others and particularly careful about assuming that our judgment equates with God's justice. And we would never assume that others are guiltier than we of violating the standards of a Holy God.

God indeed judges us as he should (and has the right to do).  But the Judge of All the Universe knows the powerlessness of the guilty and includes in his justice the provision to receive mercy.  Our judging of others almost never focuses on transformation but retribution--nor is it about forgiveness but pronouncement of guilt.

Sometimes people throw the "you shouldn't judge me" comment in our face because they don't want to be accountable to anyone but themselves. But whether anyone of us desires it or not, we are not masters of our soul; God is. We cannot escape accountability.  And if we acknowledge it, we are more willing to confess, "I am a forgiven sinner."

(C) 2011 by Stephen L Dunn

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Most bloggers enhance their craft by reading other person's blogs.  Although I write LIFE MATTERS from the perspective of a Christian, I don't simply read religious or spiritual blogs.  I am drawn just to blogs where people reflect on life creatively.  Came across this great post  by bronxboy called "Don't Ask, Don't Yell".  Here is an excerpt ...

As a young adult, I once heard someone say that “there’s no such thing as a stupid question.” This came as a great surprise to me, because not so many years earlier, stupid questions had been quite common. In fact, my parents had pretty much convinced me that I was a natural spring of inane and idiotic inquiries, a bubbling fountain of foolishness. If there had been no such thing as a stupid question, I could have surely been granted a patent for one.
According to my hazy and frequently inaccurate memory, my parents didn’t handle this particular character trait with a great deal of patience. They may have tried. I like to think they did, at least at first. But I eventually wore them down to throbbing nerve endings, then pushed them close to the edge of their sanity. As they often reminded me, I drove them crazy.

But I didn’t understand that at the time. A young boy tends to be focused on himself, and so I bounced between just wanting to ask my questions and wondering why my parents were so mad at me. Taking those feelings into adulthood, I promised myself and any future children I might be fortunate to have that I would always listen and respond with thoughtfulness and care.

This, of course, is where the faulty memory kicks in and causes trouble. One day, I found myself driving, with my daughter in her car seat in the back. She’d been chattering away, nonstop, for a good twenty minutes and I realized I hadn’t heard a word she’d said. My mind had drifted off to some quiet place with butterflies and puffy clouds. (I may be inventing the butterfly and puffy cloud image. It’s more likely that I was fantasizing about those glass barriers that they have in expensive limousines, the ones that go up and down between the driver and the back seat. They were soundproof, I was pretty sure.)
Read more ....

A couple of other "sightings."

From my Facebook Friends:
Don't tell GOD how big your problems are, tell your problems how big your GOD is. – Matt Trostle

From Pamela Rice Hahn:


Bright spots Joaquin Benoit and Alex Avila
I guess it just wasn't to be.  The Tigers, who had the best record in baseball the final six weeks, who buried their AL Central Division foes, who juggled numerous injuries to create more different starting line-ups than any time in a decade, finally fell ... to the Texas Rangers.  To be exact the Tiger hurlers were blasted into oblivion by the Ranger sluggers.  It didn't matter that the Tigers had four men who spent most of the season batting above .300, the Ranger hitters literally "ran way" with the pennant, by timely base-stealing and aggressively smart base-running.  Nonetheless, thank you Detroit Tigers.  You gave this fan much joy - especially when you didn't choke in September and you embarrassed the Yankees in October.  It would have been nice to have a rematch against the Cardinals, but that will be Texas' honor.  Go Rangers!

On a matrimonially significant note, my baseball season is over and Dianne is back to have my generally undivided attention in the evening.

Theo Epstein, the newest Cubbie
The Chicago Cubs, who have lived more than 100 years under a curse (if you believe in that sort of thing) traded some minor leaguers and cash for a GM who has destroyed another curse.  Theo Epstein of the Boston Red Sox is headed for the Windy City.  (I didn't even know you could trade General Managers). Pundits are praising Epstein for the genius of Red Sox baseball.  They forget that Red Sox baseball was pioneered by Billy Beane of the Oakland Athletics.  Beane, according to the movie Money Ball which I thoroughly enjoyed, turned down 12.5 million dollars from John Lewis to stay the GM at Oakland, thereby opening the door for Theo to make his name on the job.

Blackberry had a meltdown last week.  Now we learn that the government is going to require cell phone providers to warn their customers when they are in danger of exceeding their contracted limits. (Up until now additional charges were frustratingly routine.) Many of my neighbors find that they are regularly without internet because of the ways they have bundled their services, sometimes when they need accessibility the most.  My bank requires two passwords, two security questions, and an image recognition in order to access my account but still sends me alerts when people are using some new spyware, etc. to try invading my very meager bankroll.  It is a reminder that technology is not the answer to everything and sometimes carries unwanted prices for its benefits.  Still nothing can take the place of God who loves us unconditionally and is at work to do go in all things for those who love Him are living by His purposes. (Romans 8:28)

Time was on the minds of many of the patrons of my favorite eating establishment, the Silver Spring Family Restaurant.  To be specific, "Daylight Savings Time."  Doesn't it end October 31st?  No, not sense the Bush Administration chose to tinker with it in the name of greater productivity.  (Now it's sometime in November, or is it after Thanksgiving?)  Oh, and the other question? Forward or backward. Gain an honor or lose one.  Remember, "Spring forward, fall back" unless the Obama Administration decided to tinker with DST as well

Monday, October 10, 2011


 My apologies -- I forgot to post on Monday

Steve Jobs died last week from pancreatic cancer.  A man of incredible vision and creativity, Jobs clearly revolutionized the world with his inventions and innovations.  One of my favorite Steve Jobs' quotes was: "Don't let the noise of other people's opinions drown out your inner voice."  His creative imagination seemed to know no bounds and his inventive efforts have dramatically changed the way we do business, educate, and communicate--much of which I believe has clearly been for the good of humankind. (I suspect from what I have read about him, however, that Jobs would have been a bit embarased by this cartoon.

Jobs' passing invites sincere and well-deserved eulogies. It also opens up serious and worthwhile debate about the price of technology and the hidden costs to human community and relationships.  I have found one of the most helpful commentaries to be that of Walt Mueller of the Center for Parent and Youth Understanding (with the attendant links he offers):

" ... I don't think I'd be able to do what I'm doing in the way that I'm doing it if it hadn't been for the vision, creativity, and work of guys like Steve Jobs. That said, the outpouring in reaction to his death had me tossing and turning a bit overnight.

Most of the reaction I was following came from the world of youth ministry. That's where I've lived for the last 30-some years. Naturally, the tweets I saw came from all over the youth ministry world. I was seriously blown away by how widespread the response was. I saw it on Facebook too. I can't ever remember a more immediate and widespread response to the death of anyone. Granted, if all this stuff had existed when Mike Yaconelli died several years ago, I wouldn't have heard about it several hours after the fact through a phone call from my friends at Youth Specialties. This left me pondering not so much what Steve Jobs meant to people in my youth ministry world, but how much we've come to love and depend on the technology guys like Jobs created. Several weeks ago the church lost John Stott - a great theologian who has done more to directly and indirectly shape the faith of our youth ministry world than maybe any other theologian of the last 50 years. Judging from the traffic - or lack thereof - on Twitter and Facebook, Stott's passing was a small blip. . . especially when compared to the passing of Jobs. So I'm asking and wondering. . . do our reactions to both indicate what's more important to us in the church. . . technology/tools or the content of our message?

Some words from Marshall McCluhan are fresh on my mind as I've been looking at his 50 year-old "prophecies" on media and technology and what they do to us without us even knowing it. Consider these quotes from McCluhan that I shared with youth workers in San Diego last weekend in my Digital Kids seminar:

“Societies have been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication.”

“All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered. The medium is the message.”

“We shape our tools and afterward our tools shape us.”

Steve Jobs' death is sad, very sad. But I'm wondering if there's something even more heartbreaking about our response to it and what it says about us. AP writer Pamela Simpson's piece this morning included these words: "Fans for whom the Apple brand became a near-religion grasped for comparisons to history's great innovators, as well as its celebrities, to honor the man they credit with putting 1,000 songs and the Internet in their pockets."

Have we been lulled into worshipping the tools and their makers? Thoughts?"

Mueller had some powerful responses and I would invite you to read the next day's post.  Mueller ...

Sunday, October 9, 2011


This past week I hit a wall.  Too many hours on too many projects dealing with too many people wanting me to operate on their schedules.  I hit the wall so hard that some very good friends encouraged me to go home and get some rest. They gave me "permission", which is what most workaholics need ( I admit it-I am a "recovering" workaholic that periodically falls off the wagon.

The problem for workaholics in the ministry or any people-helping profession is that there is always something to always someone asking.  You don't want to be a slacker. You don't want to let people down. You don't want to fail to do what needs to be done.

And most of all, you hate to say "NO."

But that is a trap and not a wise life-planning principle.  Recently I read something by life coach Michael Hyatt.  Hyatt wrote:

If we don’t get better at saying “no,”
  1. Other peoples’ priorities will take precedence over ours.
  2. Mere acquaintances—people we barely know!—will crowd out time with family and close friends.
  3. We will not have the time we need for rest and recovery.
  4. We will end up frustrated and stressed.
  5. We won’t be able to say “yes” to the really important things.
For more from Michael Hyatt go to HYATT
This last one was the clincher for me. Every time I say “no” to something that is not important, I am saying “yes” to something that is.

We are not immortal. We have limits. We have "tanks" that empty without replenishing.  We get tired and become less productive and find it difficult to make wise decisions when we are weary.

But more importantly, we are not indispensable - even if we like to tell ourselves that and others want us to be leave so that they can be dispensable.

As a Christian I believe that the Holy Spirit tries to guide me in all truth.  I need to remember to listen to the Spirit when making decisions - even the small ones that begin to add up.  Then equipped with the Spirit's discernment and trusting in God's sovereignty - I can learn to give a "sanctified no."

And in so doing say "yes" to something really important God wants me to be ready for.

For more from Michael Hyatt go to HYATT

Monday, October 3, 2011


Nate Burleson has a reception late in the game as the Lions come back
There is joy in Detroit tonight.  The Lions who have lost a lion's share of football games these past dozen seasons, erased a deficit to defeat the Dallas Cowboys in Texas Stadium 34-30.  About the same time the Tigers who had lost an opening game fiasco 27 hours after the first pitch rebounded to defeat the Yankees 5-3 and even the series.  Max Verlander pitched a no-hitter into the 6th.  Today the Tigers are back in Detroit and once again Verlander will square off against CC Sabathia in the Dream Game of the Playoffs.  Being raised in northwest Ohio, I grew up listening to Ernie Harwell chronicle the baseball adventures of Norm Cash and Al Kaline, Bill Freehan and Lou Whittaker, Mickey Lolich and Denny McClain.  You couldn't help root for the "Detroits".  It was too many years ago that they came within a game of breaking the record for baseball futility.  And I loved rooting for the Lions on Thanksgiving Day, especially when they were playing the hated Dallas Cowboy's who arrogantly claimed to be "America's Team." I hated to see them lose for so many years. The rising fortunes of both of this clubs makes me say "There IS a God!"

Victor Martinez, although hobbled, gets a key hit in game 2 as the Tigers square off againth the Yankees


Sunday, October 2, 2011


I had a lot of fun watching this.  This is just for fun, so enjoy!

Love Tap from Mike Goode on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Today's post is a smorgasbord of pictures, quotes and other items that I have been collecting lately with no other purpose than to get us to reflect on "life matters" and the fact that life MATTERS.  Enjoy, comment, repost.

"What I wouldn't give to feel normal again" - Katie S.

"The two factors that will influence you most in the years ahead are the books
you read and the people you are around." - Lisa Thurston