Category Archives: Writing and Blogging

Again. Mitch.

Outrageous! (Unless, you know, it’s true)
Originally posted on The Power of Story, April 11, 2019 by Mitch Teemley:

I don’t know who created the above meme, but I love its irreverent reverence. In fact I even LOL’d when I read it (something I rarely do in polite circles). I mean, I’ve been called a liar from time to time, and never once did it mean, “Dude, you’re totally deluded, but you’re still a great moral teacher.” It meant, Run! Always. So, yeah…

Jesus’ claims are truly outrageous (read what he says about himself in the Gospel of John). Unless they’re true. And then, well, OK, they’re still outrageous, but they’re also the most wonderful news we’ll ever hear. Because it means our Creator loves us so much that he chose to personally save us from the most out-of-control, destructive force ever to emerge on our planet–us.

No way? Yahweh. Totally outrageous. Here’s what C. S. Lewis concluded:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

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5 Encouragements for the Long Road to Finding “Your People”

As if Brandon Adams heard me occasionally complain about my present aloneness:

It took me a while to find “my people”.

Returning home after the Air Force, I found friendmaking difficult. I’m far from a natural.

First I tried the church’s college group. Never really fit in. Then I latched onto a Bible study of older singles. They were good people but had grown up with more money, and therefore with hobbies and pastimes I struggled to get into. Regardless of where I turned, I found myself on many D-lists.

Continue reading  at Brandon J. Adams-For Millennials Seeking the Abundant Life of Jesushttps://wp.me/p6JURF-85E

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Wait… Reblog

It’s so good to know it wasn’t merely a mood swing. I felt it too:

Reblogged from Stuart M. Perkins, the Storyshucker ( https://wp.me/s3EzSK-wait ):

Wait…

I’m watching from my window today.

For a few minutes more, at least. Saturday errands call, but right now the view into the garden has my willpower paralyzed. Soothed by the peaceful nothingness happening out there, I stare blissfully through the glass a little longer.

Oh well. I need to start those errands. Yawn, stretch, and one last glance outside before I begin. I stand up.

Wait… I sit back down.

There’s a bird. A little yellow bird. He flits and darts to the top of a frost-covered evergreen. Stops, hops, poses, and drops to another branch to repeat his mesmerizing moves. He struts and prances along several branches then flies away in a blur. Gone. How lucky I was to have shared that moment!

It doesn’t matter.

I have to get the car inspected. It’s too important not to. I stand up.

Wait… I sit back down.

Those leaves. Those five little leaves left clinging to a twig on the winter-bare crepe myrtle. They were yellow a second ago. Wow look! In one fluid move they drift from yellow to gold to fiery orange as a shifting morning sun illuminates them from behind. Amazing to have seen that magic display!

It doesn’t matter.

I have to get to the post office. It’s too important not to. I stand up.

These errands and many others! Now I have to hurry! So much to do today! Urgent rushing and running!

Wait…

Just wait. Maybe I’ll get the car inspected tomorrow. And the bank is open next week. What’s one more day for a few insipid tasks?

How often does a yellow bird dance in the trees for me while the sun turns tiny leaves into fire? Moments like these happen every day, but I won’t see if I don’t watch.

I really should watch. It’s too important not to. I sit back down.

Saturday errands call but I know what they can do.

Wait…

I’m watching from my window today.

By Stuart M. Perkins, Storyshucker

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.”

Psalm 62:5 (ESV)

 

Feature Image courtesy Pixabay

 

 

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Honor Them

They did their part. Let’s do ours.

Let us use the freedoms they defended and implore God to bless all our Veterans.

But don’t stop there.

Let’s all do as He asks.

Amen.

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves… Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:10 & 13 (NIV)

 

Image courtesy VeteransDayBlog

Feature Image courtesy ABSFreepic.

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Armed Forces Day

From Jacqui Murray at Worddreams :

Many Americans celebrate Armed Forces Day annually on the third Saturday of May. It is a day to pay tribute to men and women who serve the United States’ armed forces. Armed Forces Day is also part of Armed Forces Week, which begins on the second Saturday of May.

Original Post: https://wp.me/p90mx-4lF

“Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.”
Psalm 144:1, 2 (NIV)

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Dandelions – Human Weeds

A storm last night took out our internet signal – again, so I’m sharing Mitch Teemley’s post from The Power of Story that I can’t get out of my head.

Enjoy!

It’s that time of year. Even amid hushes of snow, the dandelions appear. How like us they are, arranging themselves about their clocks, terrified of being uprooted. Created to live for a season and then die beyond themselves, instead they push their feet into the soil and flatten their bodies against the sod. Huddling beneath the mowings […]

via Dandelions are Human Weeds — Mitch Teemley

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My God, That Guy: Part V

“What’s going on?” the man said loudly before either of us knew what woke us – or even that we’d fallen asleep. He talked late into the night, captivating me with his stories. My mind raced between amazement that he was serious, and confusion – I mean, things he described simply don’t happen. But it all aligned with what I’d been hearing all day. I barely spoke the entire night but listened intently.

But now, something in me also sprang to life as the excited woman ran past us calling something about the tomb being empty. The man immediately bolted after her.

I had intended to leave early for the journey home, but I wound up dozing on the street next to this man. And yet heartbeats after my ears and eyes awoke, I was running after these people – I wanted to call to the man when I realized I never asked his name. I could hear their winded, excited, voices ahead of me, their feet pounded the ground and I did my best to catch up.

Soon I could see a huge stone sitting aside a carved opening in the rock,  and the woman looking in from outside. When I arrived the man walked out of the tomb and silently hurried toward the town. The woman called to him, sobbing, “I tell you, the shroud, the napkin we covered his head with were sitting to the side, neatly folded. He was already gone.”

The man called back something about guards… and not enough people to move that stone. He couldn’t have seen me. He kept walking only faster.

A myriad of emotions overtook me – entirely exhausted, every hair on my body stood on end as though the air I breathed was charged with energy. I don’t know why I walked around while there could have been guards lingering about. Still, I studied the ground until I found a level place and sat to lean against the rock wall.

002-jesus-alive

I don’t know how long I sat there until the light disturbed me. Overwhelmed with all my mind had to process in such a short time, I stood and staggered around a few steps to see the woman still standing at the opening of the tomb, weeping openly.

But the light – brilliant light I’ve never seen or even imagined, and I heard a voice, barely audible from where I leaned against the rocks, yet I clearly, distinctively heard the words from the source of the light, someone, some being seated on the stone,

“Don’t be afraid!” he said to her, “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said… And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead…”*

Frozen in place, I watched the woman turn and run where the man had gone earlier. Then the light was gone as fast as she was and a dust cloud wafted over the scene.

Drawing every bit of strength I could muster up, shelving logic as best I could for the moment, I stumbled to the opening next to the stone where the being sat moments before.

As I peered into the darkness, suddenly the same light inside the tomb almost blinded me and yet I could make out the forms of two men. They said in perfect unison, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?”**

I’m not sure what happened, I might have fainted. And yet I was more rested and energized than I had ever felt before. I recognized the sounds of footsteps swiftly approaching. Uncertain about anything anymore, I tried to not think. I climbed around the rocks again and hid. Though they all talked at once, some of the voices sounded upset, like the people that had been here earlier.

I slipped a few more feet away as quietly as I could. And yet I no longer cared why. I felt so… so relieved. I began walking, barely feeling my weight on my feet. Once past the tombs and on the road, I turned toward home. I couldn’t care about anything I left behind. Lost in my thoughts about my new friend and all he told me, all I heard from people, I could hardly wait to tell the friend I’d missed all week all I’d learned about this Jesus that was crucified.

Sure, he’ll probably think I’ve lost my senses. I don’t care. This Jesus lives!

“Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

John 20:28, 29 (NIV)

*Matthew 28:5-7 (NLT)
** Luke 24:5 (NLT) Paraphrased with creative license

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Still, That Guy: Part IV

The Passover is past. The men who died on the crosses are buried. Yet, the numbers of people that seem to think and feel the same as I do is remarkable. Even if it isn’t apparent on their faces, in their countenance, all morning I heard them say so.

In the marketplace one man exclaimed to the group he was with, “…ever since I heard things Jesus said around the village and especially at the temple I see things differently. I can’t explain it, but I feel more hopeful.”

I wanted to ask him more, but that’s none of my business.

Still, I overheard similar comments all over town. “He taught like someone much older,” “…more experienced,” “wise…”

People were confused by the Jesus guy calling out the priests and scribes, how they live as compared to how Jesus lived – and died:

– The priests plotted to kill Jesus’ friend in Bethany, the man Jesus raised four days after he died.
– The priests questioned and threatened the man Jesus gave sight and his parents, the man that was born blind.
– The priests demanded Jesus’ death and freed a known felon.
– Herod actually wanted nothing to do with the Jesus trial – washing his hands of innocent blood when Jesus would not defend himself.
– One of Jesus’ own betrayed him for money, told where and when the Temple Guards would find him – and then hanged himself.
– Jesus’ last words were cries to The Almighty to forgive his accusers, saying they didn’t know what they had done.
– In his life this Jesus fulfilled the prophesies about the Messiah.

Above all, one statement I heard in particular keeps coming to mind. One woman that seemed quite sound and especially wise mentioned that Jesus said to the priests, “…destroy this temple and I shall resurrect it in three days…” She repeated how she somehow knew Jesus wasn’t referring to the building that took 46 years to build.

I wandered the streets with all these thoughts and images on my mind, still hoping to find my friend. I could have started my journey home, but I felt as if I should linger. Surely something important must have come up that we still hadn’t found one another.

While walking I came upon a man. His head bowed, he seemed positively miserable. With all my concerns, the man seemed far worse off than I. For reasons I can’t explain, I wished him a good day. He responded that the day couldn’t be worse, that all he believed in was lost. I don’t know why I didn’t keep walking, but I stopped and listened. And the man kept talking.

sad-man-with-his-hand-4272x2848_23961

He had been one of those guys that traveled with Jesus. Listening to him I became so captivated with his story I couldn’t leave. We sat, he talked and I listened. His stories about that Jesus guy were amazing. I sensed they weren’t mere stories, but facts. But then he came around to his agony today. He said he hid as his friend died; he had denied he even knew Jesus. The night before, hours after the Master had washed his feet, before the soldiers came, Jesus had told him that he would.

“But why can’t I come now, Lord?” he asked. “I’m ready to die for you.” John 13:37 (NLT)

Image courtesy Pixabay

Originally posted on Whats Next 2016 March 26

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Nothing and Everything – Repost

Our internet service has been uncooperative, (go figure, I’d recently commented that it’s improved).  Today I’m resigned to sharing an early post from Blogging U and The Next Best Thing.

 

nothing everything

I was born in a Chicago suburb, surrounded by generations of family. We’d drive station wagons and family sedans along paved roads through gentle slopes lined with lilac blossoms in spring, and various maples, oaks and elms year-round. Every weekend the entire family gathered at one or another’s home.

Family gatherings gradually changed after we all moved to Phoenix. My grandparents and aunts settled a half-day’s drive away, my parents, siblings, and I into a square pink house. Brother and I started school in a dry, hotter climate walking by ocotillo, acacias, and towering oleander walls.

Our playgrounds gradually replaced weekly visits with family. For weeks we explored livestock pastures, citrus groves and our favorite toys were ropes tied to enormous, friendly trees which we climbed to swing across the canals.  Later we practiced lying about swimming in the precarious waters.

Late in the summer before I was to become an upperclassman at our grade school,  we left my grandparents and aunts’ families behind. In two cars with trailers, our parents drove my five siblings, our German Shepherd a box full of her 12 suckling pups and me across the dessert to southern California. Home became a three-bedroom apartment where there were more trees, but no yard. Dad and Mother both went to jobs immediately.

Very used to caring for one another, my siblings and I faced the new climate, society, a much faster pace and being strange, new kids in metropolitan schools. Brother and I entered junior high.

Cool wasn’t about the weather anymore; either you were or you weren’t. In jeans, t-shirts and gym shoes, my main concern was hand washing laundry and having dinner ready before bedtime. Brother became cool. He stopped being my pal and was mean sometimes. I was not cool. To him I became nothing. Still, we had four other siblings  and the dog that didn’t care about cool. We somehow got through our new life together, day by day, some days worse than others.

After an eternity of a few months we moved into a house in a much nicer suburb. Eventually Brother discovered the bus lines to the beach, and he went there often. Though I missed him, I appreciated his absences.

Two years after coming to Los Angeles, one midweek day Mother pulled us from school and took us to Crystal Cove near Newport Beach. The fresh ocean air lifted me from our life and for the first time in months I could breathe. Tide pools, waves, kelp beds, sandpipers and sea gulls sent my senses and my imagination soaring, changing everything.

Through the following years I didn’t get to the shore often enough for my liking. Whenever I could, I dug my feet deep into the sand as though that would keep me from spinning off the planet. The beach became my sanctuary and the God I knew as a kid in the dessert met me there.

Often enough I came with nothing, only to gaze where the sky meets the ocean. Between that horizon and my feet I found everything I needed.

In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
    he saved me from all my troubles.”  Psalm 34:6 (NLT)

 

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Shout Out

One of the most wonderful aspects of the Blogosphere is the Blogging Community. “Duh” one might think.  That might seem like a no-brainer, but if it isn’t, have you actually experienced much of today’s media?

Craziness that most of us used to only read about or imagine in our worst moments has become commonplace.

“…Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. …practice everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8, 9 (edited NLT)

On my down days I enjoy a warm, steaming mug with my blogosphere friends until the good vibes roll. Today, I want to recognize members of the blogging community that consistently share their firm, positive stand in reality.  If you don’t already know them too, you’ve been missing out:

These were my first lifelines today alone. And there are so many more. Who can feel lonely?

“When we consider the blessings of God – the gifts that add beauty and joy to our lives, that enable us to keep going through stretches of boredom and even suffering – friendship is very hear the top.” – Donald W. McCullough, Mastering Personal Growth

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