Miscellaneous thoughts from a Christ following husband, dad, teacher, preacher, professor, school administrator, musician and taco lover, who likes to hang out at coffee shops, read, write, hike, run, play tennis, bike, play guitar and dabble in photography
“I know my blessings by their cost.” —Wendell Berry
This is the first Memorial Day Weekend in eight years that I have been “home". I have been living abroad, in a different culture, with different holidays, but all the while blessed with a US Passport bearing my name and photograph.
With that US Passport I have encountered much of the world’s beauty in its people and places. I have seen the good that the USA has been a part of in the nations. I have enjoyed the privilege of being a foreigner that always has a place of promise to call home.
This Memorial Day Weekend I give pause and remember, with thanksgiving, this country and its people that have been used for good in the world and in my life. I don’t take their sacrifice lightly.
I like this poem. It speaks of something that I find true in my own life.
Gentle, elegant, well spoken words . . . from me? That is a wonder of wonders! But, I am learning that it is so much more than that—it is God's grace.
I know me and I know, along with Berry, that any good that resonates out of my words, work, art or effort is not the norm and definitely not natural. Left to myself, I am a mess. We all are.
The only time wonder, goodness and grace are realized in my life is when God is in control. And God, the one who is love, doesn’t take control of my life—I give God control. The choice is mine.
God is ever loving, wooing and calling me to live a life that is a wonder and it is up to me to respond—to acknowledge, welcome, and obey God’s ways and presence in my life. How can and does that happen in you and me?
I think that Ephesians 4:30 (MSG) is a good start:
"Don't grieve God. Don't break his heart. His Holy Spirit moving and breathing in you is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself."
I was made by God and in Him alone do I find my stride. Any other path will leave me searching and out of sync. God is not a condiment to be added to my bland, or at times, foul tasting life. Rather, God wants to be my all in all—as important and life giving as each and every breath I take.
As we, the created ones, allow the creator to move, live and have His being in our lives, we are used for good in the most unexpected ways. When God is involved—our words, work, art and effort are transformed by grace, and then they make a difference in the lives of those around us.
Waiting . . . not our first choice and not something that many of us like to do. In a world of instant coffee, microwave popcorn and Netflix movies now, waiting is not our strong suit.
Waiting is hard; especially when things aren't going our way and we don't know what is next.
"Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:14
In waiting we feel like all is stopped and life has been put on pause. But in the Lord, this is not the case. When it seems like nothing is happening, something is happening. The fish are in the river, the seed is germinating and the stone is being rolled away. It is left to the fisherman, the farmer and the disciple . . . to wait.
Waiting is hard, but in Jesus Christ waiting is not futile. It is filled with life and hope.
"[T]hey that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31
Waiting upon the Lord is hard, but in the end, worth it.
I recently came across this song and video by Colony House. I like this group, their music and the message of this song. Enjoy.
"We are not made for the mountains, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life— those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life, and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength." -Oswald Chambers
'Tis the season of inversion in the Boise valley. The foggy, cold, sunless days are interesting for about five minutes. It is hard to imagine that just beyond the gray, drab all around lie color, contrast, light and life.
I went on a hike in the hills this morning with a friend. In ten minutes we were able to walk uphill from clouds and darkness into beauty. The inversion looks so small from above.
It was a welcome moment of inspiration in the midst of ordinary life.
Life is too deep for words, so don’t try to describe it, just live it. —C.S. Lewis
Today we celebrate 27 years of marriage. December 11th is a date on the calendar for Dina and I to remember and to celebrate. It is hard to believe that another year of life has flown by—but it has not been without notice.
The days of this past year have been filled with much change, new challenges, sad goodbyes and new adventures. Through it all God has been with us, and we are thankful.
There are no words to describe the depth of my love for Dina. What a joy it is for me to live life together with her.
If you have followed my blog over the years, you know that I have a keen interest in the story of Nate Saint, Jim Elliot and the other missionaries that were martyred in the early 1950's in South America. They gave their lives to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to a tribe of people who were immersed in a hopeless culture of violence, fear and death.
A great way to familiarize yourself with this story is to watch the movie, End of the Spear. It is an engaging movie and a true story that will forever impact your life.
The story continues, and today it was my privilege to come across a video about this unstoppable story that was created and produced by alumni of Northwest Nazarene University (NNU). I am an alum of NNU and I work at NNU as a professor in the Education Department. I am proud of our NNU graduates and pleased to see them use their talents, degrees, training and lives as God's creative and redemptive agents in the world.
Lately I have been listening to an album by "All Sons and Daughters." I came across this group via a recommendation from my own two daughters. They try to help me stay "current" when it comes to music. I need and love their help.
There is a song on the album called, "Great Are You Lord" and the lyrics and the melody won't let me go. I am particularly captured by the chorus:
It's Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It's Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only
As I get older, I hate to admit it, but I am not doing very well at keeping up with the current music and cultural trends. I am a bit out of touch, but at the same time I am also realizing how precious each day of life is. Every breath that I breathe is a gift from God and I want to be a good steward of that precious gift. I want the breath in my lungs to be used to praise and proclaim the glory of God--the everlasting one, whose life, love, grace and hope will last forever.
View From the Top: An Inside Look at How People in Power See and Shape the World
by D. Michael Lindsay
This is more than a book about leadership. It is a realistic glimpse inside the multifaceted and complex world of being a leader—highlighting the characteristics, insights and experiences of noteworthy individuals that have lead institutions that have made a significant impact upon the world.
Aspiring leaders, current leaders and former leaders will all enjoy and benefit from reading View from the Top. It offers a wealth of knowledge gleaned from the personal testimonies and experiences of some of the most powerful and revered leaders of the past twenty years. This book will both affirm and confirm the experiences of readers who have “felt the same way” or have experienced similar things in their lives of leadership, and it will serve to guide, challenge and assist any teachable leader wanting to better themselves for the sake of their institution and for the common good.
The engaging leadership examples and illustrations provided throughout the book were drawn from interviews of hundreds of successful leaders who were, at one time or another, leading an institution. In View from the Top, Lindsay states, “Institutions, not individuals, wield the real, world-changing power.” The truth of this statement is not lost on the fact that individuals lead institutions and at times it is difficult to distinguish between the individual leader and the institution they are leading.
Later in the book Lindsay says, “Extraordinary leaders do more than verbalize, they personify.” It is undeniably evident in the many examples given by Lindsay that the influence and success of an institution is inextricably tied to the personal and professional choices and actions of its leader. Leadership is an institutional undertaking that is realized at a very personal level.
This book was a delight to read. Michael Lindsay writes in a conversational style that is nuanced with academic references to his unprecedented sociological study that makes the writing interesting, realistic, applicable and engaging. He gives credence to the various leadership traits observed in others as he compares and contrasts them to his own personal leadership context in the realm of Christian Higher Education.
My only complaint about this book is that it ended too quickly. There is much to be gleaned from the lives of the 550 leaders that Michael Lindsay has interviewed over the past ten years. I hope that this book is the first of many that Dr. Lindsay will distill from the Platinum Study and share with the world.