welcometothenew

Hump Day Hope – Mercy Me!

This week has had some challenges. That hardly makes me unique. I remember my Grandmother saying “Mercy me!” when she encountered something difficult. I had a variation of that response today. I cued up some MercyMe. I would guess that many of you who have stumbled onto my blog are familiar with the uber successful Christian band MercyMe. Their signature song, I Can Only Imagine, is a compelling ballad about Heaven and what it might be like when we see Jesus someday. But I am praying that their legacy will have really started with the release of “Welcome to the New”. This new album is the most amazing, encouraging, moving and upbeat packaging of grace and identity in Christ that I have ever discovered. My favorite track on the album is Flawless. Here is a sample of the lyrics. Could it possibly be That we simply can’t believe That this unconditional Kind of love would be enough To take a
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Monday Musings – Forbidden Topics

Nothing like starting out the week by discussing two of the three forbidden topics: politics and religion. In just a few days far too few of us will cast a vote to elect representatives and pass or discard new laws and initiatives. The ramp up to election day is predictable. Nasty television spots with ominous music and apocalyptic announcers dominate the TV lineup. Tasteless mailers full of half-truths and hysterical predictions of doom arrive in our mailbox. What should a Christian make of all of this? I used to be a rabid political guy. I once believed that with the right political leaders we could change the culture. I was wrong. Getting certain political leaders in place might help with some issues that matter to me. But even if I get my “dream team” elected we will still have a problem in our culture. Sin. Politics and law don’t change that inconvenient truth (apologies to Al Gore) that we have
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Weekend Wildcard…Big Announcement!

I guess you run a risk when you title something a big announcement. I hope you are not disappointed when you hear the news. Those who have followed my humble ramblings over the years know that I love dogs, grace, my family, baseball and Jesus. Probably not the best ordering of those but you get my point. The big announcement is a new book that combines all of those loves. The title might explain why I slipped “dogs” in first on my list above. Next February Tyndale House Publishing will release Stay: Lessons My Dogs Taught Me about Life, Loss, and Grace. When my best canine friend Hannah was diagnosed with cancer I decided to start writing about the lessons I had learned and was learning from her. When I shared those journals with friends they insisted I put them into a book. To be honest, I resisted. When we rescued a second Labrador I continued to write about lessons
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Hump Day Hope – Religion vs Relationship

The Hump Day Hope comes from two of my favorite grace rabble-rousers. My friend Ed Underwood wrote an excellent piece about our innate mistrust of grace. The title alone was enough to generate deep thought. Before You Decide that Grace is Too Radical: Who Thought of Grace? Religion is about control and performance. Jesus changed the dynamic completely and made it about relationship. Ed’s writes that the idea of grace does not come from the heart or mind of man. If you leave human beings to themselves and ask them, “If there’s a God, what do you think He’d demand from people if they wanted to have a relationship with Him?” the answer is always the same, “Be good enough for Him to accept you!” Grace says you can’t be good enough to earn it. Grace says you can’t be too bad to receive it. Grace gives up the need to control. Grace gives up the requirement to perform for
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Second chances

Monday Musing: Second Chances

Joni and I took a field trip this weekend with our grandson to the Gentle Zoo in Forney, Texas. It is a fun and kid friendly place where you can feed animals by hand. Our grandson’s favorite animals to feed were the goats. They were sweet and gentle as they took the food out of your hand. Not so nice was an overbearing Llama that forced his way into every feeding opportunity. We were warned that this critter would spit in your face if you made eye contact with him. That sounded too much like a couple of people I have encountered recently so we avoided him. What caught my eye was a sign posted around the grounds. That made the trip more special to know that many of the animals had been rescued from abusive or neglectful situations. It even allowed me to give a bit of grace to the spittin’ Llama (but I still kept a wary distance).
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The Plan

For those of you who inexplicably look forward to my ramblings I have established a schedule so you know when to expect something new. I will post a short devotional called Monday Musings to start the week. At midweek I will offer a little booster called Hump Day Hope. And on Friday a Weekend Wildcard that may be serious, silly or a combo plate of both. I will post at other times as well but you can plan on having something on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Looking forward to interacting with all of you! Blessings and grace, Dave
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Perspective

  I recently visited a large rehabilitation hospital for patients dealing with spinal cord injuries, strokes and traumatic brain trauma. As I walked  toward my car I noticed two young men in wheelchairs chatting near the entrance. I overheard a snippet of conversation that rocked my day. The tone was not bitter nor sad. This is the sentence I overheard. “I would give it all up just to be able to scuba dive one more time.” What this young man once did without thought or difficulty now was a nearly impossible dream. My heart was pierced. Just that morning I had fussed about a balky hip and yet I was walking freely to my car. I often thought about an aching shoulder but I had freedom to lift and move. All of us take so much for granted. Since that encounter I think of that young man when my hip or shoulder aches. I say a quick prayer of thanksgiving
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