Friday, November 20, 2009


doG sselb aciremA" + "America bless God"

There's a zinger of a challenge for a catchy little speech ending.

Until the example of the cross becomes a mirror for our nation, we are probably going to keep getting it backward.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Crack! The sound echoed through the valley as thousands of men gasped in disbelief. Their world had just changed in an instant. Belligerent bullies, cocky with pride, suddenly felt their hearts melt and their knees buckle while the cowards who faced them exploded in a wave of rage that hurled them violently forward into a day of gruesome redemption. Countless souls were torn from their bodies that day while countless more began to live again as men.

There, among the guttural yells of the warriors, and the terrified screams of the dying, embedded deeply in the brain tissue of a gigantic man, was the simple little stone that had started it all. It had been ages since the boulder had fallen from a cliff into the rolling rapids below. Churning downhill in that relentless current it eroded in time to a fraction of its former size, each unique feature erased by the journey until it was virtually indistinguishable from the miles of gravel littering the stream bed around it, no longer a boulder, it was just another stone.

But that morning something changed. That morning it caught the eye of a young boy looking for a fitting projectile for his simple hand made sling. It was instinctively weighed, measured and selected by the keen eye of an undiscovered warrior who was about to change the world. Moments later that granite missile, launched from the sling of David and sunk into the skull of the giant Goliath where it ignited the spark, that started the battle, that ultimately overthrew the entire Philistine nation in a single day.

One God, one stone, one man. A trinity of potential energy truly realized in a moment.

Dear God, take me from the lofty heights of my own making as far as I need to roll in the tumultuous currents of life to turn me into such a stone - No, even more... such a man!

Monday, December 8, 2008


I just noticed a wrinkle in the corner of my eye and frankly I feel a bit insulted. It seems that time is using my own face to wink at me as it steals my youth. For a moment I stare regretfully at my reflection considering the reality that I'm not the same man I used to be;

But then I look past the wrinkle into the eyes...

Ah yes, there I am! The same man - no, even the same boy, who used to play for hours in the sandbox dreaming the castles I built were real. Time may alter my features but it cannot change my soul. It cannot change my soul because it comes from a place where time has never been; And someday, perhaps a day so soon I would shudder if I only knew, someday I will go back there again forever.

And the castles in the sand? They may yet prove to be real after all...

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Rip! The fragile paper tore beneath my fingers as I hurriedly flipped the page. Cringing at the sound, I closed my eyes tightly, afraid to look. The battered old book in my hands had seen better days. The marks of soiled fingers marred its dog eared pages, each one a unique canvas of hurriedly scribbled notes, underlines, references and multi-colored highlights. The binding was beginning to fail and the leather cover was ragged and torn; It was a real mess.

Slowly I looked down at my fingers, tenderly pressing the newly ripped edges together as if the gesture might somehow heal the fresh wound. "One more scar," I sighed. "Sorry about that old friend." The book seemed so alive in my hands that I half expected it to answer. Over the years many of its pages had developed their own personalities as the notes, underlines and scars accumulated. It seemed to anticipate my questions and moods, engaging me in dialog by easily falling open in my hands to the words of comfort, insight and wisdom needed in the moment. It was more than a book; It had become an irreplaceable companion.

I lifted the old Bible to eye level, rotating it in my hand, carefully examining each flaw. "You're sure not much to look at," I wryly observed. I thought back to the first time I had held it, a Christmas present from my parents in my sophomore year in high school. There among the tinsels and bows of that magic morning, at a time when it seemed like my transition into adulthood had been suddenly accelerated, the parental gesture of a "grown up gift" to help me find my way in the world was sincerely appreciated.

As I pulled it from its box, I could sense by the smell of its new leather cover and the gold edging that I was holding an expensive book. It would be years before I grasped its value though. I sure didn't imagine at the time that it would ever look like this old battered volume I held in my hand at the moment. There was no clue that bright Christmas morning that the first real scars of life were just around the corner for both of us.

As a young man I tore into life with a reckless abandon and life tore right back. I had a strong work ethic that became an obsession. By the time I was 20 years old 120 hour weeks were the norm and I was burning out fast. I approached "good times" with the same intensity, blowing through money, alcohol and relationships like a bullet train. Train wrecks at that speed leave a real mess. By the time I found my way back from the proverbial far country the strings of regret were long and dark. This old book had paved the way home. We had been through a lot together.

Running my fingers down the ragged edge of the old Bible I thought of my two young sons. "God, please..." The words broke off as my eyes welled with tears at the very thought of their lives reflecting mine. "God, please," I began again; "Please help me guide them toward a better way." There in the unexpected emotions of the moment I could almost feel the supernatural fingers of my heavenly Father running down the battered edges of my life. My spirit opened effortlessly to his touch as my attention returned to the book in my hand. A thought so vivid it was almost audible rolled into my mind, "I could never replace you."

The book really was a mirror, the greatest earthly treasure I owned, not in spite of the scars, but precisely because of them. I realized that I would take away the damage if I could but never the marks, annotations and highlights. The years had made it mine. There was not another one like it in the world. At the moment it was conveying a truth that went beyond words. In the hands of an almighty God, the scars, the marks and the highlights of life add value, they don't detract from it.

I thought about the stories of slaves, prostitutes, murderers, thieves and vagabonds stumbling their way into world changers, becoming instruments of grace, beauty and wisdom as they grew through their trials into their potential. Few if any ever make much of life without crawling over the mountains of their own failures and regrets to get there. Take away that struggle and you remove character, mercy and strength, all essential to faith, hope and love, the true marks of a successful life.

Walking across the room, I picked up my oldest son's Bible, a gift from his mother and I at his baptism. The inside cover was already marked with words of encouragement and praise from both of us, just as my Bible had been marked by my own parents that Christmas morning. Several of the pages were already wrinkled where he had carelessly tossed it aside to run and play. A finger print or two were the only marks he had made so far, but he was only seven. There was plenty of time for him to make it his own.

Tears again, this time unchecked, at the fresh realization that I was raising a man, not a boy. A man that would one day step beyond the covering of my home to find his own way, make his own scars, and leave his own marks on life. I would guide him to the best launch possible, but there is no better way...

Stretching a piece of tape across the new rip in my Bible I found the courage to pray again, this time with the perspective of a bold new realism. "God, please, help me steer these boys of mine away from my foolishness - And keep me well stocked with dad tape will ya? The good stuff, that's clear and stays stuck. As they find their way, may you pick them up often and carry them home. Most of all, may your highlights, underlines and annotations grow to outweigh their scars. And Lord, whatever you do, whatever it takes, just make them irreplaceable."

Friday, November 7, 2008


I want to capture an image of God. I'm talking about an honest portrait of the entity himself. Not a picture of the sunset he created, the flowers he painted, the trees swaying under the force of his breath, or any of the cliches that spring to mind when you think about how to illustrate such an awesome, enormous thing. No, I'm talking about a real deal candid moment where I've got him in my lens, I see him looking right at me, guard down, sincere gaze, truthful, real, captivating! Click.

More and more I find myself drawing the view finder to my eye, pulling a graphite tip across a piece of paper, or touching my fingers to the keyboard, trying to find the one word, the one image, the one illustration, that will capture that moment of clarity once and for all. I've not seen it yet, not vividly anyway, but I believe I will - I've decided I will. It's there in my mind. A footprint here, an impression there, energetic truth, ever elusive, waiting to connect with some external thing that will trip the shutter and catch it in all of its startling beauty. That's why my drive to illustrate the cacophony of thoughts and images constantly running through my mind infuses its way into just about everything I do. It's why I keep exploring new ways to express it. I must get that picture!

If I can do that before I die, if I can capture that one image and share it with the world, then I will have accomplished more than any man has a right to dream. God, I'm not the most gifted artist you've created, but I ask you in all sincerity, may I take your portrait?

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Gasp! One breath – human lungs inhaled life. Moments later a baby’s cry rang through the rafters of that tiny stable. The ancient voice, that once rang through the darkness with that authoritative cry, “LET THERE BE LIGHT,” now shook the foundations of the earth once more.

These were human lungs, pressing air through human vocal chords, giving voice to a divine cry of hope to the souls of all mankind. In that breath the vessel of God’s grace was launched into the sea of human misery. The Messiah had finally come!! Amazingly – few even noticed.

Thousands of years later I stood there looking into the night sky, thinking of that moment. Thick darkness surrounded me, the kind you could feel. The air was heavy with moisture and I knew the rain would begin to fall at any moment.

Flash! A brilliant bolt of lightning tore a crystal blue rip in the darkness. I gasped, startled by the explosion of static energy. Moments later, a low rumble rolled over and around me, building wave upon wave of sound that crescendoed in a deafening clap of thunder. It seemed like the heavens were giving a standing ovation to that flashy show of force and power.

I blinked as a drop of water hit my face. Lost in thought, I had barely noticed that it was raining.
I was thinking about that baby in the manger. Why would a God of lightning and thunder choose such a quiet and lowly way of birthing the single most important moment in history up to that point? That was the Messiah lying there among the cow manure and camel slobber, crying a cry that few even heard!

Several puddles had formed and the raindrops were splashing in them. Small ripples circled the points where each drop hit. That was all they got. A few little circles, gone in a second, were all that marked their brief impact on the world.

A small flower stood there by one of those puddles, still drooping a bit from its fight with the sun. I spoke to its limp form, as if it could hear me. “Hey little fellow, I see you survived the drought. I bet this rain is a welcome sight to you.” The words sparked another flash, this time, one of insight.

That’s it! This was not only a God of thunder and lightning – this was a God of rain. He didn’t come so the world would gasp and applaud – He came so the world, starving to death in the drought of their failure and sin, could tap into the deep well of his love and live!

In that manger, Jesus fell into the ocean of human misery and pain. The small ripples rolling out from that impact grew into waves of mercy flooding over history past and future. A tidal wave of grace overwhelmed all that were caught in its path, but that didn’t happen in that manger. It happened, years later, on a cross.

Gasp! "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" - "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Gasp! “Into your hand I commit my spirit!”
That was his last breath. Then the lightning, thunder, and darkness came. The light was gone.

Matthew 27:51-54 (NIV)
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. [52] The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. [53] They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
[54] When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!"

Too late! It was too late to undo what they had done. That was a body hanging there on that tree – As dead as the hope going out of them in that moment of dreadful realization.

Years earlier God’s gift to the world had been wrapped in swaddling clothes and wise men had traveled from far and wide to anoint him with the costly spices, francinses and myhr.
Tonight fools would wrap him in linen strips, laced with those same spices, and they would bury their final hope in the ground – once and for all.

Days later, the darkness of that moment still hung thick and heavy over the land. Cold stone covered the opening of that icy hole in the ground. Even the heavenly host looked on in bewilderment at that cold dead body. The empty shell of God’s great plan.

What went wrong? Never before had there been such a dead silence.

And then, the most powerful sound in history ...

Gasp! One breath – Human lungs inhaled life.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Golden Wrecked Angle?

The "Golden Rectangle" is a ratio that appears repeatedly in all things nature. The Creator has a lot of love for 1:1.61804. Once this ratio was discovered, designers and artists began using it to pattern their own creations after the divine. It is said that these designs are based on the "Golden Rectangle."

Shoot for the divine and miss? What you've got there is something based on the "Golden Wrecked Angle." Seems a fitting title for observations and musings about my life. Man I want to hit that divine target so bad, but it seems like the ever changing cross breeze just keeps pushing me a little wide.

Thankfully it's the cross, and not the breeze that measures that final shot - BULLSEYE!