Thursday, June 24, 2010

Be Still

Psalm 46:10 - "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the Earth."

Steven taught the Men's Class on Tuesday and BTW - there are all kinds of "cool" but seeing your son who is a young man teach is really cool. He did a great job in facilitating discussion and had great timing with his humor. Sorry, I'm bragging now.

Any way, his class was on being still before God. Does anyone else beside me find that difficult? As the kids say, "I'm not going to lie," I'm a worrier, a planner, and a frustrated logistical planner. I find it hard at times to turn my brain (I'm sure some of you wonder if it's ever on) off, be still, pray, and listen to God. In education its popular to say that we're preparing life long problem solvers. Trouble is as we all know, there are some problems that we cannot solve. Its at those times as Phillip Yancey said in his book on prayer, that we pray so that we can include the mysterious in our lives.

That requires us being still and knowing that God is the Lord of this Earth and our lives. Its something I'm working on as we speak.
On the last day of Trek two years ago, we were directed to find a spot away from everyone and be alone with God in His creation for three hours. This was my view from my spot. When I think about being still before God this is the image that comes to my mind.

This is the rock that I used as both a pillow and a seat. You can see my Bible, a pair of glasses, my day pack, and my water bottle. There are times when I want to run back to that spot.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Start Blogging

Well, to my legions of adoring blog fans, I'm back. Feel free to send money if you missed me. This past couple of weekends have been very eventful. Two Sundays ago, we had a rare Sunday evening service. The occasion was a "Dinner (done by Barb) Production (done by Lee) Fund Raiser" to benefit our trip to the Mid-Ohio Valley Work Camp and our week of Bible Camp. It was a night of skits, testimonies, and worship. Steven, Sabrina, Matthew, Mark, David, and some of Matthew's friends did an outstanding time in leading our worship. Pictures at the bottom of this post.

Last Saturday, "Hurricane Chuck" and his daughter, Janel, took Steven, Kristin, and myself out to the beach on the Kennedy Space Center property. We were their for about a half hour and then it started.

"Bonnet sharks" started feasting on our surf casted menu of crabs. There is an interesting sequence of events that happens when one lands a shark. Of course the first step is bringing the shark up onto the beach. Usually one will venture out into shallow water to assist the angler by grabbing the shark's tail. They usually respond to this type of treatment by thrashing, urinating (I can only imagine the puns here), and at times throwing up.

Once the shark is secured one must remove the hook, hold up said shark for the obligatory picture, and then do an imitation of an Olympic hammer throw. Yes, we return the sharks back into the ocean so as to lessen our carbon footprint. Hey, anyone want to body surf? I didn't think so. O.K, thanks for reading and here are the pictures:

Steven singing and leading our worship.

Matthew and David playing.
Steven's shark.
My shark.
The time honored practice of the "shark throw." Notice air-borne shark in the upper right hand corner of the picture.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bring the Rain

I couldn't help but be caught up in some irony today. As I was driving in to work it started to rain. As it was raining, "MercyMe's" hit song, "Bring the Rain" was playing on the radio.

As all of this is going on, President Obama is preparing to give a speech at the Kennedy Space Center on his double talk / going back on his "word" version of the "non-future" of our country's manned space program. Unlike one of his Democratic Presidential (President Kennedy) predecessors, he is dismantling the Space Program and allowing other nations to take the lead or in Russia's case, charge us millions of dollars to fly to the International Space Station of which we financed the great majority of it.

While all of this is going on we are less than 24 hours away from Florida's Governor, Charlie Crist, signing or vetoing SB-6 which will tie teacher's salary and employment to a 2-day event better known as high stakes testing.

Yet, what is even more frightening to me is the thought of praying the prayer in the MercyMe song, "Bring the Rain."

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You Jesus, bring the rain

I'm not there yet guys but if you are, God bless you. Pray for me and my heart.

Governor Crist of Florida decided to veto SB-6
If you check out the link you'll see what is wrong with both our Republican and Democratic representatives - they do not listen to their constituents.
A line from the article:
"It generated protests by teachers and parents across the state and had scant public support.It generated protests by teachers and parents across the state and had scant public support."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


It was during the 1980 upset a medal round Ice Hockey game between the USSR and the USA when Al Michaels coined the phrase, "Do you believe in miracles?" Well, do you believe in coincidences? I don't.

This morning we had our usual 6am prayer time. At the end we usually go to the same restaurant for breakfast but today, Javier suggested we go to a different place. It was a "mom and pop" coffee shop on Merritt Island. Javier told us this place was owned and operated by a Christian couple that saw their business as more ministry than business.

After we had been there for a few minutes, the "mom" came over to our table to talk to us. She told us the story of their business and how they looked for ways to use it for outreach. She began to tell us the story of how God had send a lady to them who was running a local inner-city ministry. This lady was using cooking as a tool of instruction and outreach to kids. The story and the lady sounded familiar so I asked, "Would this lady's name happen to be (from our church) "Lee?"

She said, "Why yes, it is." All of us raised eyebrows and smiled when we told her she was from our church and that we (4 of us) were the elders and preacher of her church. She told us how she told Lee they would donate high quality boarshead meat to her efforts. O.K, are you ready for more?

At that very moment our preacher's phone began to ring - uh huh - it was Lee. As Don put her on speaker phone she began to excitedly tell him how she had found this Christian run coffee house and how they were going to donate "boarshead" meats to the Crestview ministry. As we began to laugh out loud she asked Don, "Where are you at and who's laughing in the background?"

Coincidence? Nah - I'd like to think of it as "confirmation" and perhaps God giving us a little peek into the unseen spiritual world around us.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Do you remember the movie, "Logan's Run?" A classic, yes? I know, not really. I'm glad I don't live in Logan's world. If you remember, when one turned 30 they went to a "graduation ceremony" which was really a mass killing of all of those that turned 30 in an effort to control the population. It is shocking to think someone would object to this procedure but according to the plot of the movie, they did.

As you can see in the picture when one turned 30 a red light would begin to flash in their palm to remind them and everyone else it was time to "graduate." When someone decided to forgo their graduation they became known as a "runner." It was Logan and his associates' job to catch the runner so they could keep their appointment with death.

I had a runner on Wednesday. During my 2nd Period class we had an evacuation drill. No matter what period of the school day we're in, students are to go outside on our track, find their homeroom teacher, (we have assigned areas that the kids line up on) and fall in line. We take roll, send a (pun intended) "runner" with our absentee to the "Command Center" and wait for the all clear or the coveted, "You guys get to go (has happened once in my 30 years of teaching) home," signal.

As this day would have it, I had a stray student in my line. I yelled, "Young (they are all young BTW) lady, you need to go to your line and get out of mine." She didn't move. I walked back to her and in my "I'm trying to be nice but you're hacking me off" voice I said, "Look, you need to go to your homeroom teacher's line." Her reply was succinct:

"I'm not in your line!"
Shocking I thought, perhaps I've entered a dimensional shift, a parallel universe, a rift in the time continuum, or perhaps I have a demonstrative "A-type" personality / someone who needs a lot of love in their life middle school age female. I didn't come to any of those conclusions by the way.

I took another step towards her and said, "Look, I don't want to make this into a big issue but you have to get out of my line and go fine yours." Her reply:

(with hands on hips and eyebrows and voice raised) "I'm not in your line!!"
Darn I thought, what we have here is a failure to communicate so I said, "Come with me," as I signalled to our Dean to come my way. What did she do - she took off - running! Yes, the predatory instinct did rise up in me but I decided just to walk fast and keep her in my sights.

She went into the opposite (kids are now being dismissed and are walking back into the building) part of our building and I wasn't too far behind. I made a quick search of each room but didn't' see her.

I had to return to my classroom to let my kids back in the room. Now this is what you call "bad kid karma." As I walked up to my door I peeked into the room NEXT TO mine thinking, "No way it could be this easy," and you guessed it - there was our runner!

The look on her face conveyed a sense of "rut-row" as I peered inside the room and said, "Hey, remember me?" "Surprisingly" her teacher told me, "Debby (name has been changed to protect the stupid, I mean innocent) never reported to my line during the drill."

Results were as follows:
1. Discipline referral written.
2. One day suspension issued.
3. Look on my face when I found our runner - priceless.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Smell

Smells were on my mind (and in my nose) this morning. Now for those of you who read and are from locales north of us, please try to hold the laughter down to a small roar - it has been a long stretch of "cold" weather for us here in Central Florida. When I opened our garage door to start my day I was hit by the smell of "cold." There is a certain crispness to the air when its cold. Most years, by the time we get to March the crispness of cold air is a passing memory. This is a picture of the alpine forest that we hiked through 2 summers ago on our way to the summit of Mt. Tweeto in Colorado. There is a certain smell that an alpine forest emanates when you enter it. As you know, smells are a powerful memory trigger. When we entered that alpine forest and the smell hit me, memories of being in college and bumming around Colorado in the Summer came to me as well as a 9 mile hike that Greg, my Mom, and I went on (Panorama Trail) in Yosemite National Park.If I get the chance to smell that (alpine forest) natural fragrance again, the memory of hiking with our youth (Steven - in black sweat shirt - 4th in line) group and Steven will come to my mind. That smell will remind me of a group of teens and adults who persevered through exhaustion, blisters (some had double digits worth), lack of oxygen, fear, and the constant reminder of why the "Rocky" Mountains have that name to reach a goal, the 13,700ft summit of Mount Tweeto.

I wonder if "smells" came to Paul's mind when he went from place to place, preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and seeing the lost saved. Maybe that's what he had in mind when he wrote the following in 2nd Corinthians 2:

12Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, 13I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said good-by to them and went on to Macedonia.

14But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 15For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? 17Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


The "Shawshank Redemption" is one of my favorite movies. For the past couple of weeks, the character of Brooks has been on my mind. You probably remember how Brooks after decades of incarceration is finally paroled. Despite efforts to re-engage with life on the outside, he eventually commits suicide.
When news gets back to his buddies in prison, they are all confused as to how this could happen to Brooks. The one seemingly burning desire in all of them is the dream of getting out of the walls of their institution. All of them are confused except Red.
Red waxes philosophically when speaking of Brooks he says, "... these walls are funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. Enough time passes, it gets so you depend on 'em. That's institutionalized."
I have some "Brooks" that have passed through my life. There was a time when I was a "Brooks" as in institutionalized by the seemingly impenetrable walls of my denomination. Those walls took various forms such as -
1. Believing the Bible taught freedom in worship but dumbing down my belief for the sake of a denominational view.
2. Believing the Kingdom of God is far larger than our little tribe but only working within our denomination's sectarian framework out of trying to hold the peace and partly out of fear.
Our denomination professes church autonomy but yet some of our para-church organizations will threaten God-fearing / long serving individuals who serve their organizations with removal and the always "popular" "un-invitation" for things said or done at their home churches.
Yet,not all is lost! There are many now that are discovering that if the "brotherhood" ejects you, they eject you into a far larger fellowship of Christ -followers. It has been our experience that there are many in other denominations that are tired of being "institutionalized" and are ready to roll up their sleeves and come together for the cause of Christ!
I guess I'm writing this for two reasons. First, to God be the glory for the journey our church has taken! I love worship at our church because praise just flows from our people as they engage in ministry in our community.
Second, to those of you, church leaders and lay members who are institutionalized, fear not! There is a much larger world out there just beyond your walls! May God give you a spirit of courage as a world around us dies from being lost.
May the spirit of Christ bless you all.

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