Miscellaneous Feed

I celebrate my mom today

10384836_878585448831993_3749717722363112829_nAnd now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

Today is my Mom’s 68th birthday. When I think about my Mom, I think of the word “love.” There is nothing more powerful than love and its many attributes. It is extravagant, unwavering, all-consuming, loyal, fun, creative, faithful, imaginative and courageous—to name a few. These are some of the words that come to mind when I think about my Mom.  She is one who loves deeply and her friends and family are the benefactors of that love.

I am blessed to have Leona Roberts as my Mom. I thank God for her and celebrate my Mom today.

birthday girl!

IMG_0885Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Philippians 1:3 (MSG)

A half a century never looked so good! Today we celebrate the birthday of Dina Roberts. Her life is a blessing to the world around her. Dina's love for her family, her friends, her students and her Lord is abundant. She is a reflection of the faithfulness, patience and love of Jesus.

Dina brings an element of joy and fun into everyday life that will surprise you! "How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?" You can't—just enjoy its light and the beauty that it provides.

I love Dina and celebrate her life today. -Ryan

28 years - becoming

IMG_0730The most important thing in your life is not what you do. It is who you become. –Dallas Willard

Today we celebrate 28 years of marriage. This year on the calendar mirrors the year of our wedding—it was at the end of the first semester of our senior year in college on the Friday after final exams. We wanted to have the ceremony at a time when all of our college friends could attend, and many of them stuck around an extra day and celebrated with us. It was a fun time and stands as a treasured memory.

The past 28 years have been filled with thrills, laughter, challenges, learning, sorrow, growth and much joy. We have been richly blessed with two wonderful daughters and an amazing group of family and friends from around the world to walk alongside us on this journey of life.

I am grateful to God for all that Dina and I have done in life together, but more than that, I am thankful for what I am becoming in the process. Dina’s love and friendship are integral to who I am, and who I am becoming. She is a precious gift to me and I thank God for her.

by their cost

DSC07210“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 know and remember my blessings by their cost. 


27 years!

DSC06216 - Version 2Life 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.


the unstoppable story

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 1.25.38 PMIf 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.

I have enjoyed the privilege of personally meeting Steve Saint, Nate Saint's son.  I have followed the stories of the martyred men's families and I have witnessed how God can take a tragedy and use it for good and His glory.

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.

Below is the video.  Enjoy!


In Need of a Face Lift? Start with Your Heart

There is a story about Abraham Lincoln’s hiring procedures and method of judging character that would give any respectable, law conscious HR director heart palpitations.

It is told that as Lincoln was in the process of assembling his cabinet members one of his advisors recommended an individual that Lincoln curtly rejected.  When asked why he wouldn’t consider the suggested candidate Lincoln said, “I don’t like the man’s face.”

The advisor responded, “But the poor man is not responsible for his face.”

Lincoln replied, “Every man over forty is responsible for his face,” and the discussion ended.


Lincoln was a great man.  He was pivotal in the work of abolishing slavery in the USA and it is clear that he did not judge a man based upon the color of his skin.  But did Lincoln reckon a man and his worth based upon the look of his face?

Yes and no.

In a revealing anecdote it is told that in the midst of a political debate involving some harsh personal criticism, Lincoln responded to his detractors with the quip, “If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?”  

It is evident within Lincoln’s self-deprecating humor that he did not regard the specifics of one’s appearance (particularly his own) too highly.  Yet, a man’s countenance obviously mattered to Lincoln.  He refused to consider a man for hire simply because he didn’t like his face!  


Because Lincoln knew that the face of a person speaks volumes, and the real tale it tells is the story of the heart.  He wasn’t concerned about the man’s outward appearance as much as he was concerned about the inward reality it was reflecting.

As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.” Proverbs 27:19 (NIV)  

Nearly $450 billion a year is spent on beauty products in the USA.  When it comes to our faces, we spend a lot of time and money—washing, powdering, shaving, plucking, moisturizing and painting.  These efforts at “saving face” work for a while, but eventually time and life take their toll.  The years play upon our visage in a way that makes the need for name tags at a class reunion a non-negotiable.

According to Lincoln, we are responsible for our faces, especially if we are over forty—and at that stage in the game it is a steep uphill battle. William Shakespeare and wisdom literature from the Bible offer up some insight into face and heart maintenance:

A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:13 (NIV)

Wisdom brightens a man’s face and changes its hard appearance.” Ecclesiastes 8:1 (NIV)

 “The eyes are the window to your soul.”  —William Shakespeare

Just as the elements of weather impact and form the landscape of the earth, so do the intangibles of joy, disappointment, wisdom and sorrow play upon our faces.  That is because our faces are connected to our hearts.

The work of the face is the domain of plastic surgeons and cosmetologists, but the realm of the heart is superintended by God.  In the Bible Jesus mentions the heart 743 times.  A person’s heart is where the treasure for living resides—where God dwells—and it deserves our utmost care and attention.

Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.” Proverbs 4:23 (MSG)

Whether you are over forty or under forty, you are responsible for the state of your face and your heart.  If you are in need of a face lift the place to begin is with your heart.  Jesus was a carpenter and is the creator of the universe.  Remodeling hearts is his specialty.  He will address that stone face of yours by giving you a new heart.

Anyone united with Jesus gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (MSG)

Look to Jesus for a new heart and a new face.  It comes complete with hope, joy, love and peace . . . and maybe even a job.

sink about such things

Things are out of control the stock market, politics, the weather, morality, the wrinkles, the gray hair, gas prices and the other drivers. 

What are we to do?

We need to control what we can control, and a good place to start is with ourselves.

How's your attitude?  What are you thinking about?  Or as some would say, "sinking about."  Take a look at this video.


Proverbs 23:7 nails it:  As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

In other words, "What we think, we become."

How's your attitude?  Where is your focus?  What are you thinking about?

Here are a couple of suggestions:

Hebrews 12:2-3 (MSG)

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

When things seems out of control (mayday!), control what you can.

Sink about it.

a means to something bigger


"Security is mostly superstition.  It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.  Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.  Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."  –Helen Keller

“. . . an adventure is not an end to itself but a means to something bigger.”  -Jeff Goins

Spring break.  Hmmm . . . a time to rest and relax or, a time to "re-create" with a group of high schoolers at a children's home in India?

Here we go, on our way to something bigger.  Pray for us!