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Jul 17

The Number Is Zero

Posted on Thursday, July 17, 2014 in Emotional, Relational, Social, Spiritual, Values

360px-Earthquake_cracks_near_BexleyI have a friend who read the Bible and his conclusions broke his heart. He read about a God who didn’t fit his paradigm. He read about a God who didn’t do what he thought best. He read about a God who seemed to sit silent through tragedy. His crumbling faith and doubts rippled through him like an earthquake. The chasm led him to abandon his previous love for God.

When people face tragedy, they usually have one of three reactions. They blame God, they turn to God for help or they abandon God.

Jul 16

Predictable

Posted on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 in Emotional, Relational, Social, Spiritual, TreeHouse, Values

Note: This is part 3 of the series, By The Numbers. Catch up if you need to:
1. Paint By Numbers.
2. By The Numbers.

photoIt’s 2:38 A.M.

Few people who know me well would be surprised that I’m awake. Almost everyone would be surprised that it’s 2:38 A.M. and I just woke up.

Huh?

I’m a night owl, but last night I had to go to bed early for a 4:15 A.M. wake up.

Predictably I didn’t need an alarm. Predictably, I didn’t want to startle Amy awake at 4:15 A.M. Predictably, I woke up early enough not to need an alarm.

Jul 15

By The Numbers

Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 in Relational, Spiritual, Values

320px-F5_tornado_Elie_Manitoba_2007Recently I led our TreeHouse trip to northern Minnesota. On the way to our destination we stopped in Duluth. After some fun at Adventure Zone we were hungry for dinner.

My friend and co-worker Ash SanFilippo is a fan of the Food Network show, “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” One of the cheapest meals in the Duluth area belongs to the “world famous” Anchor Bar in Superior, WI.

Enthusiastically I led the caravan to the Anchor Bar. As we drove over Tower Bridge I envisioned Ash’s excitement. As we maneuvered through the streets the taste of the delicious Anchor Bar burgers and fries made my hungry mouth water.

Jul 14

Paint By Numbers

Posted on Monday, July 14, 2014 in Music, Spiritual, Values

22UntitledThere I sat at the gray laminate kitchen table. It’s the only color I could envision looking good atop that table.

That was not good news.

I sat there perplexed with my Paint-by-Number painting in-complete, well actually it was un-started.

I didn’t know where to begin. This was not my work of art, it was someone else’s. I was just trying to mimic her work.

When you paint by numbers you try to create someone else’s pretty picture. Hopefully it looks good. It might even fool some people that the painting was created by a real artist.

Jun 14

God Is Just Not Fair by Jennifer Rothschild

Posted on Saturday, June 14, 2014 in Reviews, Spiritual

God is Just coverWhen I read the title to Jennifer Rothschild’s recent release, God Is Just Not Fair, I was excited to read it.

Shortly into her book I read: “If you feel weighed down and burdened, look to Jesus and his cross — focus on the generous love it represents. When you’re really hurting, think about what you really deserved and thank him for what you got instead. You got grace; you got peace; and you got unconditional love that will carry you through any sorrow. And both you and I got the best gift of all — fairest Lord Jesus.”

Apr 30

Protect Yourself from Blind Spots

Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 in Emotional, How To, Relational, Social, Spiritual, TreeHouse, Values

heart-beachLast night I was reading a book called, “Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome.”  Not because I had any inclinations to have an affair – I don’t – but because there is “grass” and I don’t want to ever think that it’s “greener.” So reading about how her marriage is overcoming her affair and “How to Grow Affair-Proof Hedges Around Your Marriage” appeals to me.

“Blind Spots” led to her affair. “Blind Spots” led to the breakdown of their marriage.

We all have blind spots in our life; misguided thinking, bad decisions and the like. Often times other people can see our blind spots but we either ignore, deny, or dismiss them.

Apr 11

Just Jesus by Walter Wink

Posted on Friday, April 11, 2014 in Reviews, Spiritual, Values

JustJesusAs a well-read person I knew embarrassingly little about Walter Wink before I read this book. He’s a fascinating man. I wish that I had known him personally.

Reading “Just Jesus”, the final book by Walter Wink, was an introduction to a fascinating man who made public his joys and sorrows, successes and “my struggle to become human.” This book is a quick read. There are stories and discourses in short chapters, poems, and prayers.

I loved reading several chapters; my favorites were:

Apr 9

Pray for Punka

Posted on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 in Emotional, Social, Spiritual, TreeHouse, Values

ShannonMysilentscream is here for you most days. Today #mysilentscream is for YOU to help me.

Today my daughter leaves for the Philippines. By the time many of you read this Shannon will be half a planet away.  I’m blessed, thrilled and a little jealous of her. I’m also Shannon’s (“Punka’s”) anxious, unsettled, and already-lonely-for-her dad.

If you’re a praying person please pray for Shannon, her colleagues and her parents who were both just teary-eyed in the living room.

I’ll let Shannon explain more via her supportshannon.com website.

Hello my name is Shannon Volltrauer.

Mar 29

Love Does DVD by Bob Goff

Posted on Saturday, March 29, 2014 in Reviews, Spiritual, Values

Book.1050.coverLove Does, subtitled “Discover A Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World,” is based on Bob Goff’s New York Times best-selling book, Love Does.

“Living a life fully engaged and full of whimsy and the kind of things that love does is something most people plan to do, but along the way they just kind of forget. Their dreams become one of those ‘we’ll go there next time’ … The sad thing is, for many there is no ‘next time’… love is never stationary. In the end, love doesn’t just keep thinking about it or keep planning for it. Simply put: love does.”

Jan 21

Haiti and Heroes

Posted on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 in Music, Social, Spiritual, TreeHouse, Values

HansonSteve and Marcus are two of the men in my life I admire.

Steve is my elder. He’s my former pastor. He’s devoted to the poor and “Jesus with skin on” for people worldwide.

MarcusandBethanyMarcus is younger than me, but I look up to him. He’s passionate about God, compassionate for the lost and broken, and he has more faith than I have to see God’s powerful and unexpected work among us.

Work

Both men had their hearts broken for the lost while working with teenagers. Steve worked with Timber Bay and then Church of the Open Door. Marcus has and does work for TreeHouse.