Saturday, February 26, 2011


It’s interesting what people say at funerals.

Recently I participated in my uncle’s memorial service. He was married to my aunt so he was an uncle by marriage. After the service we gathered for a time of refreshment and “fellowship” (I love that word). It was that time in the gathering where we have food and conversation. It’s the only time we are legally permitted to have triangular shaped sandwiches. When they pulled the walls back where the food was waiting the triangular shaped sandwiches appeared on cue. I know you can picture it!

As we stood around talking, someone made an interesting comment.

“Well, hopefully this will bring some closure for their family.” It came from a good heart I know but before I new it words came out of my mouth. “Closure? Whoever came up with that idea really didn’t know what they were talking about.” This was 101 in how to kill a conversation.

Later that day it got me thinking. What is closure? Why do we call it closure when we lose a loved one? I don’t want closure. I might be wrong (I have been wrong once this year) but “closure” to me is a picture of a closed door and whatever is behind it can no longer been seen, experienced, or even accessed.

I speak from experience having lost my father when I was 11 years old. I have never had closure on that part of my life and to be truthful I don’t think I want closure .

You see, I view that time in my life as something that has molded me to be the person I am today. If I had gotten closure and moved on I don’t think that I would be honoring my father. I have seen so much “good” come from that painful experience.

What I have learned about that open door is that I have become a better:







Blogger (there must be another word for that - it sounds funny)

…. all because of that experience in my life.

I wonder if God is not interested in closure? I wonder if it’s something that we have come up with to make us feel better. Maybe we should stop thinking about closure and simply allow this pain to become part of who God wants us to become.

Just Sayin!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


You have to picture this: A coffee shop filled with people – I mean, lots of people. Every table is full. The line up is huge at the counter where you order your coffee and food. I am not sure where everyone is going to sit (I am not giving up my seat, I know that). This is where I find myself in this moment.

There are people of all ages. The table beside me has two couples, and they seem to be retired and have time to meet in the coffee shop. I get up at one point and almost knock their little number down as I brush by the table: “Oops, sorry about that.” The older dude gives me one of those looks that could kill. Imagine if it was his food I almost knocked off the table.

As I sit here I am blown away by the amount of noise: plates crashing on the floor (I think she might get fired for that one), machines making specialty coffee. There is a lot of laughter, and yes, a lot of conversation.

At every table there is conversation going on, but there is so much noise you cannot really distinguish voices. It’s strange if you ask me… all these voices and conversations and I cannot pick out one word (okay, maybe I can hear the table beside me talking about hockey, but nothing else).

All these conversations and so much noise I can’t hear individual voices. It’s weird!

One thing I am convinced of is that God is trying to have a conversation with each and every one of us. It might not be audible, but he wants to have time with us about the things that matter. About the struggles, the pain, and the celebrations.

The problem is that there is too much noise in our lives we can’t hear him. Can God rise above that noise and get our attention? Absolutely, but maybe he would prefer us to reduce the noise level of life so we can hear him more clearly.

When was the last time you shut the phone off?

When was the last time you shut the television off?

When was the last time you ignored the endless steam of Facebook messages?

…Or email (one just came in)

…okay, I’m back.

Maybe we need to refuse to accept that this is just the way it is, and reduce the noise so we can hear what God is trying to say to us.

Just Sayin!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Express Checkout

I am not ashamed to admit that my wife does the grocery shopping. I will occasionally go along for the “fun” of it but she is the primary grocery shopper in our home. Her system to get around that place is incredible.

Once in a while I will get a text asking me to pick something up on the way home. I hate those requests. Not that I don’t want to help out and do my part, it’s just that I can’t seem to find my way around a grocery store. Seriously, someone needs to come up with a better system for guys like me.

You can tell who we are. We’re the ones staring up at the aisle signs trying to find some obscure spice.

Now, one good thing about grocery stores is that they have the express checkouts. You know the ones where you are not permitted to have more than ten items. You might have spent an hour searching for that one thing, but it only takes minutes to escape.

Unless there is that one person - you know who I’m talking about!

You begin to count; 1..2..3..4…9..10……11………12. Blood begins to boil. Tap, tap, tap. “Excuse me, do you know that this is the express checkout and you have more than ten items here?”

It’s a conversation that you would love to have with that person who can’t seem to count. You never do because you realize that it will not get you anywhere. Over the intercom, “Security, fight in express lane”.

Ever wonder why we feel this way? I do. I believe it comes from a deep rooted selfishness. The need to be first, get our way, to point out to everyone that this person is not in the right aisle. You have the express checkout police badge and it’s your job to set things right.

Maybe what we need to do is slow down and not worry about it. Maybe we just need to sit back and know that God will get them for this sin (relax, I’m kidding).

Maybe we need to turn things upside down and treat that person as we would like to be treated. I think Jesus was on to something when he said that!

Just Sayin!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

To do List

How many of us are “to-do list” people? Go ahead put your hand up, it’s okay, nobody is watching. “To-do list” people can hardly function without the list. I will confess, I am a “to-do list” guy. At the beginning of each week, I get my pad of paper and I put the list down. Even on Saturday mornings when there is not much going on, I will get a little piece of paper and write a list.

We put things on our list like:

Get dog food

Do laundry

Make grocery list (get groceries)

Wash car

Clean garage

Even if I do something that is not on the list, I will add it (I know… not playing by the rules, but hey, it’s my list!)

To-do lists are great for the everyday life, but not very helpful when it comes to prayer. That’s right… prayer!

I was talking with an uncle the other day over coffee, and the topic of prayer came up. He was sharing with me that his church has this thing called “Theology On Tap”. They meet at a pub in his town to discuss matters of faith. One night, prayer was on tap (I know, I couldn’t resist).

We were discussing how prayer can be so confusing for some people, especially if you were brought up with this idea that prayer is about a “list” of things we bring to God and when he answers, we put a check mark beside it. I am all for bringing our “stuff” to God, but I wonder: Do we have the wrong idea about prayer?

Prayer is really more for you and me to enter into the process of including God on the things that matter to us. It’s not to have Him answer all our prayers; it’s acknowledging the fact that we cannot handle what is going on in our lives alone.

The point is not to put a check mark or the word “done” beside the item, it’s more about moving closer to God. It’s about learning to experience the peace of God in the midst of concerns, storms and even worry.

Are you still waiting for God to answer your prayers? Maybe the answer is not the point; it’s about your willingness to enter into a conversation with God.

Prayer taps into the presence and peace of God… let it flow!!!

Just Sayin!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Score Clocks and Injustice

If someone were watching this unfold they would probably laugh very hard. They might even ask, “What is their problem?”

It was an elementary boy’s basketball game. If you have ever had the “opportunity” to watch one of these games it’s a real treat. Back and forth with no scoring, lots of fouls, missed passes. The score is often very low and the game is determined by one or two baskets. These experiences are a real test in staying focused. Thankfully the boys don’t mind, they seem to have lots of fun.

I will never forget one particular game. The score keeper/time clock people were actually four grade eight teenage girls (you know where this is going). The scene was incredible. The occasional basket would go in and they would completely miss the basket and not put it up on the scoreboard. I didn’t mind when the opposing teams score was missed but not my sons team; this was an injustice. At times the whistle would blow and they would be so caught up in what they were talking about or on their phones (texting that is) seconds would tick by.

Now, you need to picture what is happening on the side of the court where all the parents are sitting. Parents are beginning to lose it (not me, I was totally in control of my frustration ok, maybe not). We were yelling, “stop the clock”, “the score is wrong”, “start the clock”! The referee finally got involved. Part of me was so thankful that someone was stepping in. Justice was finally going to be had. This was wrong and we wanted justice in this situation. I think many of us dads were more anxious over the score clock than the actual game. When the final buzzer went, we were so happy.

What made us so passionate about the right time and score? What made us yell across the floor to the scorekeepers? It was the injustice! We wanted to make sure that things were right for both teams.

I got thinking about this after. Can you imagine what would happen if we actually got fired up about injustice in our world? I mean fired up about things that really matter:

Children going without food;

Towns in Africa with no water;

Young women being sold into sex trafficking;

The person with the sign asking for help on the street corner.

I wonder what would happen if we actually got fired up about injustice like that?

What is it that you need to get fired up about and make a difference? Maybe you need to start yelling your own, “start the clock” on something that you see as an injustice. Let’s make sure we are yelling about the right things and in the right way.

Just Sayin!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Normal Day

It’s amazing how in one day, very little can happen. You get up, get dressed, eat breakfast (in whatever order that might be), you go to work, come home and do it all over again the next day. Whatever you do on a typical day, that’s what you do. But then there are those days when you get up and think it will be normal, and then everything changes. Your world is turned upside down. It comes in an email telling you that a good friend from your high school days has cancer; a text from someone telling you not to go on facebook because there are some wedding pictures of a former girlfriend, and you had no idea she was getting married. Or you might get one of those phone calls where there is a family member on the other end in tears telling you that they have bad news.

Recently, I got one of those calls, and it was about my aunt’s husband. They live in Austria and were on a family vacation in Saltzburg. The voice on the other end was a cousin saying that our uncle was in a skiing accident and only had only a few hours to live. The normal day no longer feels normal anymore. Something has interrupted my “normal”, and it’s not good.

As I was lying in bed thinking and praying about this news, I could not help but wonder how God could have caused this, or why He didn’t prevent it from happening? They have two young boys that need a dad. Thoughts bounced back and forth: “God might have caused it, but the God I know doesn’t seem to be like that”, “ He could have prevented it because he is all powerful”. But then this one thought penetrated all the rest: “This, I know, God can bring good from the bad.” I find assurance that God can and will bring good from this tragedy. What it is, I don’t know and don’t need to know right now, but He will bring something beautiful out of this interrupted day.

I don’t know what will change your normal day, but when it happens, be assured that God is in the business of bringing good from bad. It’s the thing that I can hang onto today!

Just Saying!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Living Parable

He looked across the table and said, “That is a modern day parable illuminated by God’s truth.”

How do you view the things that happen to you? Do you see them as random acts of chance, or do you see the events in your life as something that God can use to bring good?

The challenge that this person gave me was to take something that had happened to me when I was 18 and see how God could use truth to bring life to what took place.

It was first year of Bible College. The opening week chapel speaker was someone that I knew growing up, and in a moment of transparency, I told him I was really nervous about the workload of bible college (I hated school in general, that’s why I took all shop courses). At the opening chapel of that first week, the same speaker used my transparency against me. He used it to try to motivate the students to work hard – be focused, but in trying to motivate, he embarrassed, shamed, and humiliated me in front of a few hundred people. Now, at 41, I am beginning to see the good that can come from that dreadful service.

Let me ask you: What incident in your life is your “living parable” that can be illuminated by God’s truth? Is it a relational break down? Job loss? Financial chaos? A hurtful word? If you are like me (and if you are… I’m sorry), we can all see those things; we can feel those moments as if it were yesterday. Know today that it’s possible that they can be used for good. Seek to find how that thing that has shaped you for so long no longer needs to hold you back, but can set you free. Be okay with not having all the answers, but allow something good to come from the ugly.

Just saying


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dandelions and Jets

It’s a common scene every spring on the soccer pitch. It’s groupings of little children chasing a soccer ball around. It’s amazing to watch them swarm the ball as they kick and flail at it. Some children stick out and are true athletes, they know where to be when the ball squirts free and they take it on a big run down the field while all the other players chase. For those of you who had this experience you know what I am talking about. When my youngest was 5 he scored 8 goals in one game (he takes after his mom I guess).

Within those moments of pure joy and fun there is also something else happening. It’s the player who is off in the corner of the field, lost in the moment, picking dandelions or staring up into the sky watching a jet pass overhead. You can always tell who the child’s parents are. They are the ones yelling, “Billy! Pay attention!”, “Sydney! Stop picking the flowers!”, or, “Chase! The ball is at the other end, go get it!”. If we step back we can learn something from that little soccer player. They are lost in the fascination of that moment, where nothing else matters but what has caught their attention. It doesn’t really matter what is going on around them, they have to stop to take it in.

I was thinking about that scene and found it interesting that we try to stop them from taking that moment in. We yell and scream as motivation to get in the game (I am convinced that most parents do that because they are embarrassed), but maybe what we are doing is programming them to avoid the small moments that bring joy and satisfaction.

As we get older we find it more difficult to stop and see the small things. We get lost in the game of life and miss the small voice of a child and the laughter of friends. We miss the moments that God might be trying to give us because we are to busy chasing after something that really doesn’t matter.

Today I hope you can enjoy the small moments that bring joy and fascination.

Just Saying!