A Thing That Made Me Go “Hmm?”

“Lord – Protect my family and me. Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will.”

A simple prayer. Protection… Forgiveness… Humility and Hope… Wisdom… Willingness… It’s a prayer not too different from many I have prayed myself.

But a lot of people are upset about this particular prayer. Not so much the words it contains, but the source of these words. The prayer was actually taken out of a crevice in the Western Wall in Jerusalem. It had been placed there last week by Barak Obama while he toured the region.

Whatever your politics are, this raises a lot of questions:
Does the prayer tell us anything about what’s really going on in the heart and mind of the Presidential nominee?
Why would a Jewish seminary student think it was ok in this situation to take someone else’s prayer out of the wall?
Should the world really be privvy to private conversations with God?
Will this change any conservative Christian minds about who Barak Obama really is?
What is it that causes so many to be so skeptical of his motives/intentions/abilities?
Was this simply a strategic way to appear more spiritually minded?

What do you think?

Pay attention…

This has been a pretty crappy summer. Kids were sick, LuAnn got sick, the basement flooded, LuAnn got E.Coli (went septic and had blood pressure low enough to scrape the pavement) and a kidney stone, my race car got wrecked… and it’s not even August yet! It seems like every time one thing gets better, something else is smashed to pieces. It’s been really discouraging.

I had to miss Jr. High camp alltogether and most of High School camp. By last Wednesday, LuAnn was feeling enough better that I went up for the last full day of camp. The worship time was very encouraging (thanks Adam – who is, by the way, soon leaving for the planting of Whitewater Christian Church and would be a great recipient of some of your mission-giving budget). I was struck by how my level of intimacy with God has suffered over the past couple years and how that’s affected everything else in my life. My ministry is weaker, my inner life is pretty ‘scattered’, my ability to develop deeper connections with students has deteriorated…

After coming home from camp, about a dozen of us got up Saturday morning and left for Denver to go to Heavenfest. I’ll try to post more about this later, but to sum it all up – it was awesome! More than a typical music festival, it was a time of artful worship. Over 12,000 people there, with 70 some bands, but what mattered most was that the 1 God was there.

After this great weekend, I was trying to distill some thoughts for a short newsletter article this morning. Here’s the summary of what I’ve been chewing on this weekend:

Have you ever forgotten that God still speaks? It’s easy to become so preoccupied with the everyday activity of life that we forget to pay attention to God. When we simply meander through life from one task to the next, we miss the real details of life… we miss God.

Like me, maybe you need to be reminded that God is still speaking. He’s still desiring to commune with us. Maybe you need to get out of the habits that are deafening you to the Voice that created you. Maybe, like me, you need to form new habits that heighten your perception of God – that draw your attention to Him.

Thank God for His patience with us. His grace and mercy continue, even when we’re too busy to notice. Stop. Notice. Listen.


A snippet of today’s lunchtime conversation:

Josiah: What are humans made of?

Emily and Dakota (in a creepy kind of unison): MEAT!

Should I worry?

I just graduated preschool – I wanna be a cannibal when I grow up!


“…eventually you have to stop thinking about it, dreaming about it, imagining it, hoping, scheming, planning, or even praying, and you have to actually do something. You have to act. You have to execute. You have to step into the real world and bring the change that you can only see through the eyes of faith.” -from Erwin McManus’ Wide Awake

I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer. I can see things better than they are. But sometimes I feel powerless to move them from what is to what could be. Lately, I’ve seen a lot of what could be happening but isn’t – a lot of potential lying dormant. But instead of creatively leading forward, I’ve been frustrated into cynicism.

One of my favorite concepts in physics is the transformation of potential energy into kinetic energy. An object sitting around has potential energy. Even though it’s just there, not accomplishing anything, there is potential energy. It’s measurable. But it’s only potential. The energy is not useful until it’s made kinetic – until it’s set in motion. Our dreams of a better future are like that. Unless we set them in motion, they are worthless to the world. Set something in motion today.

A dream deferred eventually becomes a weed of despair instead of the seed of hope God planted.