Acts of God

Committing Acts of God Make All the Difference

Our Sunday plans took a hard left turn yesterday morning. Instead of going to church Joni and I headed to the emergency room to check out a little medical scare. Thankfully all is well. But part of the process brought back some difficult memories from my bride’s cancer journey many years ago. As we went through the check-in process Joni began to tear up. The nurse filling in the paperwork stopped dead in her tracks and stood up. “Do you need a hug?” Then she leaned across the counter and gave my wife a hug. It was a remarkable example of remembering that all of us are in the people business. It was a moment that changed the narrative for both of us. In retrospect it was a pretty simple gesture. It cost this nurse about 30 seconds in her form filling task but it made a huge impact. Acts of kindness are something all of us can do and
Continue reading...


Can We Ever Get Together?

The song “Get Together” was written in 1963 by a songwriter who went by the stage name of Dino Valente. “Get Together” was recorded by The Kingston Trio and also by We Five (of “You Were on My Mind” fame) in the mid-60’s. The Youngbloods recorded the song in 1967 and it became a minor hit. The song had a major breakthrough after the National Council of Christians and Jews used the song for radio commercials to promote unity. In 1969 the song became a top five hit and one of the quintessential peace songs of the era. I remember listening to the static on my AM transistor radio while singing along with The Youngbloods in 1969. I was in my junior year in high school and I was sure that my generation could make a difference. We would fix the mess that my parents and grandparents had made. Now my kids dream of repairing the mess my generation has
Continue reading...

Saint Paul

An Interview with Paul of Taursus

Church signs sometimes make me smile. Sometimes they make me cringe. Recently a church sign made me think about a remarkable gift. Here is that church sign message. Don’t Fear The Full Ten Commandments They Are The Character of God Uhhhhh…Actually I do fear both the full and even the partial Ten Commandments. And the reason I fear them is because the Ten Commandments actually do reveal the character of God. They also reveal that I can never measure up to God’s character. What can we do about this conundrum? I decided to invite a man who is an expert on Biblical law to the Monday Musing. It is my honor to welcome our special guest Paul of Taursus. Paul of Taursus: May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Dave of Garland: Thanks. I know you wrote a bit about the crushing requirements of the law that God gave the Jews. Yet you
Continue reading...


The Only Thing Grace Doesn’t Cover

I talk about Grace so much that the auto-suggest on my phone pops up the word as soon as I hit “G”. I suspect that sometimes you faithful readers wish I would mix up my topics. The truth is I cannot. Understanding grace rocked my spiritual world and changed my walk with God in dramatic and wonderful ways. I regularly extol the virtues of grace for a follower of Jesus. Grace compels you to trust others with you. Grace compels you to trust Jesus with your sin because you can’t manage it yourself. Grace compels you to forgive because you have been forgiven. Grace compels you to accept others and not judge them. Grace compels you to move toward the unlovable and not away. Grace compels you to sacrifice when you desire security. Grace compels you to love when your heart is hateful. Grace compels you to trust God when you are afraid and weak. The amazing thing about God’s
Continue reading...

impossible possible

Is Joyful Christian Living an Impossible Dream?

Every forty-six years or so I like to be involved with a stage production of Man of La Mancha. Recently Joni and I enjoyed a top notch production of the musical by the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. The musical is probably most remembered for the song “Impossible Dream” but it is also a powerful story of believing that you do not have to be trapped in your current or past identity. I wrote a bit about that long ago experience in my book Stay: Lessons My Dogs Taught Me about Life, Loss, and Grace. Many years ago, for reasons I still don’t understand, I was cast as the lead in our Senior high school production of Man of La Mancha. I had never acted and was not a trained singer. And yet that stellar résumé somehow landed me the role as Don Quixote. Go figure. The play is based on Miguel de Cervantes’s seventeenth-century novel Don Quixote. The drama unfolds as
Continue reading...


The Secret of Contentment

Regular readers of these humble ramblings (all tens of you) know what an over the top dog lover I am. I shared this illustration in my  book Stay. A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, “Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.” Very quietly, the doctor said, “I don’t know.” “You don’t know? You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?” The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side of which came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness. Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “Did you notice my dog? He’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master
Continue reading...


Wonderful, Messy Grace

Sometimes I just want to step away from people. I get tired. Living in honest community can be frustrating and discouraging. And then the song “Lean On Me” cycles up on the iPod. That is not funny Lord. The lyrics sung by Bill Withers talks about being there for others. Life happens, John Lennon famously said, when you are making other plans. Life has been happening to us and many close to us in recent months. Sometimes in our lives We all have pain We all have sorrow But if we are wise We know that there’s Always tomorrow Lean on me, when you’re not strong And I’ll be your friend I have been thinking a lot about community. I have, to be honest, had many moments recently when I wondered if living in community with messy people is worth it. I am drawn to the dysfunctional. My heart goes out to the wounded lambs. But I will confess that
Continue reading...