It all started a few months back with a conversation with a friend at church. He’d said that he’d never seen the “Lord of the Rings” movies, didn’t plan on seeing them, and really had no desire to see them. But I just knew that he’d appreciate the story if he would just take the time to watch even the first of the three movies. Now, this friend is newly married, and I know that his wife appreciates a good story – and she likes LOTR. So I convinced her to ask him as one of her Christmas presents, for them to come to our house and have dinner and watch the first of the movies (“Fellowship of the Ring”) with us. He relented. What else could he do, right?
Well, it’s taken a few months and having to re-do our plans at least once, but last night they arrived at 5:30pm with pizza in hand. My job was to pick up some orders of chips and queso from Chili’s on the way home – oh, and a large half-Coke-half-diet Coke for my wife. As I was leaving work around 4:50pm I called and asked if she could have our youngest son look for the movie in our collection so that if it wasn’t there I could pick it up somewhere on the way. Response back was that he was sure that it was on NetFlix so we had no worries.
Made it to Chili’s, picked up the order, and headed home – would be there by 5:20pm (early, which is amazing). I was literally five blocks from our street when I get a text from another of our sons: “Dad, I’m at so-and-so’s, can you pick me up so I won’t miss dinner?” I had just passed that friends house on my way from work to Chili’s – why couldn’t that text have come 15 minutes ago? Back into the heart of rush-hour traffic to get him, and then finally get back home 15 minutes late for our friends arrival. Thankfully my wife was already home. Continue reading →
I have this crazy dream. It’s not the normal thing that a guy who has lived most of his life in Florida would probably want to do, but I want to do it anyway. I want to go on a cattle drive. You know – riding like a cowboy on a horse, yelping and making noises as I try to get cattle moving in the right direction. Boots, the hat, the whole thing. Now, I did the “City Slickers” thing and told myself I would have it done before my 40th birthday – well I’m 41 now and I haven’t done it yet. Funny thing how money is always involved. But it’s still inside of me rumbling around wanting to be done – and I just KNOW that someday I am going to do it. I guess this probably leaves you wondering why any sane person would want to do something so unusual, right? That’s an easy-enough answer… It’s God’s fault.
If you’ve been reading these posts, by now you know I love history… and maybe you’ve also picked up a bit on that part of me that yearns for the big, sweeping, and epic moments of life. I love movies like “Dances With Wolves”, “Glory” and “The Patriot” – anything full of big, wide, panoramic shots of the openness of America, all packed in with historical moments and zipped up in an overwhelming sound score. Something in me craves to know that there is more out there than the laid out streets of our neighborhoods. When I was a child, I had a subscription to Arizona Highways magazine – just so I could look at the pictures of the Grand Canyon and life “out West”. I would also play for hours alone in the woods near where we lived with an old WWII-era training rifle, letting the hills and streams of Delmar, NY and Walpole, MA become the battlefields of Bunker Hill and Normandy. Fallen logs would turn into the walls and ramparts at the Alamo or the fences surrounding Gettysburg. I don’t think that there was a major battle in our nation’s history that I didn’t fight in. I covered a lot of ground for a kid in the 4th grade. Continue reading →
It was the summer before my Junior year in High School that God used this verse to confirm that He was calling me into a life in the ministry. When I responded to the Holy Spirit’s drawing at a youth camp that summer, I knew from that moment forward that I would be working with youth the rest of my life. I had been praying and asked God to confirm that calling to me through His Word, and one day that scripture “address” popped into my head, and when I looked it up – well, you can see why I would take that as a confirmation.
Over the 25+ years as youth pastors and pastors since then, we have had so many young people come and go through our lives. It’s been an awesome privilege to see so many grow in their walks with the Lord, and especially in seeing those who have responded themselves to that same call into ministry. Now – don’t get me wrong, those who are now studying law, or who are teachers, soldiers, store clerks, nurses, firefighters, moms, dads… I am equally proud of each of them, too! But to deny that there is not some sort of kindredness with those called into ministry would be a lie. I guess you could compare it to being a Marine and knowing other Marines… sure you admire the Navy, Army, and Air Force – but you really feel connected to another Marine. I hope that makes sense. Continue reading →