I Lost an Old Friend Yesterday…

October 15, 2016 at 6:57 pm (Uncategorized)

snickers-looking-upWe met her at Pet Smart. We took her home that day! We adopted her from the Orange County Humane Society. They called her “Snickers.” They said we could name her anything we wanted, but we decided to go with it. Between shots, adoption fees and all the supplies we bought at Pet Smart, we had spent $200 on our “free” dog!?!

They said she was 3 or 4 years old when we got her in 2008. She was a beagle mix. We think she was probably crossed with a Britney (see the brown spots on her back side) or some other medium sporting dog. She weighed about 30 Lbs – on the small side of a medium dog (too big for a pure bred beagle). She had a bend in her cropped tail, probably the result some sort of accident (you can see it in the picture). You can also see the beautiful gold and white (short haired) coat she had.

She was kind of a “scared-y dog” at first. She was hand shy, especially with men (even me at first). It took a while, but she came around. We had a few “accidents” in the house but she eventually came around on that too. She fit well in our family and everyone loved her. She had a sweet spirit. I think all she ever wanted in life was to be part of a family that loved her and to have some safety & security. She got that!

If she had been part of a dog pack she would not have been the lead dog, likely not the strongest, the bravest, or the toughest, but I know one thing for sure: she would have been the most faithful to the pack!

She loved to smell, but wasn’t much of a licker. She also loved to cuddle up on the couch (and chase our cat Cutey). She would lay next to you and then push her snout into your lap (a Britney behavior). She wasn’t much of a bird dog, but she loved small furry animals (especially bunny rabbits). Sometimes we would run after one or two in the spring when they would show up in our neighborhood on one of our late night walks. I couldn’t let her off the leash because she would bolt and I might not ever see here again. She wasn’t trained to come on call, but could do some basic commands like sit, or lie down (if you really coaxed her). Her favorite food was chicken.

Last night I went to put the extra water left over after I made the coffee in her bowl, but no bowl. This afternoon I was making a sandwich and started to push it away from the edge of the counter so she wouldn’t jump up and snag it. But that’s not necessary anymore. Then after I finished making my sandwich I went to brush the crumbs of meat off onto the floor where she always sat by during food prep waiting hopefully for a morsel to drop, but no doggie to clean up the scraps! I keep looking at that now blank wall where her kennel sat on the floor for 8+ years, and it reminds me of the empty place in my heart that has formed with her passing last night.snickers-last-cuddles_161014

I have lost my walking partner, friend, companion and occasional irritant. Those cold dark walks each night will never be the same. They will be lonely and will always make me think of you. I love you Snickerdogle! You were a good dog.

Snickers (~2004-2016) – a faithful hound

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A Prayer

January 5, 2014 at 10:33 pm (Dependence on God, Discipleship, Following Jesus, Prayer, Serving, Spirituality)

Dear God,

Perform Your work in me. Do Your work through me. Please Lord, I need You!

(A Prayer by Emerson Eggerichs)

I am weak, You are strong.

I am poor, You are rich.

I am small, You are great.

I am student, You are teacher.

I am disciple, You are Rabbi.

I am follower, You are leader.

I am creature. You are creator.

I am subject, You are King.

I am doulos (bond-servant), You are master.

I am servant (diakonos), You are Lord.

(a prayerful response by Brad Blocksom)

In Jesus’ name – Amen

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The War on Christmas, really? Some reflections on a personal experience

December 23, 2013 at 10:49 pm (Christmas, Evangelism, Outreach, Respect, Spirituality)

So our church was doing an outreach at the local Christmas parade. We were handing out free hot chocolate, and candy canes for the little ones, along with invites to our Christmas Eve service (your typical low pressure, servant evangelism type of event). We were stationed at the youth table so the teens were doing most of the work. So I resigned myself to mostly a warm smile and a “Merry Christmas” to many of those we served. Then it happened. One guy replied to my “Merry Christmas” with a friendly “Shalom!” Needless to say, I drew the presumably reasonable conclusion that ‘he is Jewish.’ I detected no antagonism or offense taken in either his tone of voice nor his facial expressions. You know, as in, “You dang Christians, pushing your religion on everyone else. You’re so insensitive and obnoxious!” Perhaps I should have told him “You need to repent and receive Jesus Christ as your personal Lord & Savior!” (I don’t really think that, but perhaps some do). Rather I felt blessed. Anyone who has ever done a word study on the Hebrew word “Shalom” knows that this is a very rich, beautiful word whose meaning goes much deeper than the English word “Peace” (the absence of war, or a feeling of quiet serenity). A greeting of Shalom is to wish for complete wholeness in every area of life for the recipient (physical, spiritual, emotional). In a single word, this guy declared a blessing on me that Yahweh (the covenant name of God in the Old Testament) would grant me wholeness in my body, peace in my spirit, harmony in relationships within my family… in my book – that’s pretty cool! Or as Dick Mills would say: “I’ll take that!”

Now is it my desire that this guy would become a follower of Jesus – of course it is! But we earn the right to speak into a person’s life, especially when it comes to spiritual matters. Is it my desire that this guy should have a crappy day on December 25th because he doesn’t believe the same way I do – of course not! Should he feel threatened by my wishing him a happy day on the 5th day of winter this year – I don’t see why? Should I be offended that (in response to my “Merry Christmas”) he shared a blessing on me in accordance with his own faith tradition (I’m thinkin’ probably not). Can an environment of mutual respect provide a more fertile ground for evangelism (which, by the way, the greek euangelion means ‘to proclaim good news’ not ‘to convert a person from one religion to another’).

Thanks for reading my blog. And, oh yeah, Merry Christmas!  ; )

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13 Books You Should Seriously Consider Reading

December 18, 2013 at 9:50 pm (Blogging, Church History, Cosmology, Devotions, Eschatology, Fantasy, Hermeneutics, Holiness, Inspiration, Science Fiction, Social Networking)

So, yeah this blog post is pretty much just pulled from something I recently put up on Facebook. I don’t even know if I’m like, breaking blog etiquette by doing that. I guess you’ll have to consult the social media/blogging gurus (like Michael Hyatt, Frank Viola, or Mike Campagna) on that. So here it is, pretty much cut and pasted from that scourge on social networking affectionately known as “FB” (which OBTW my daughter tells me adults have ruined for young people), but I none-the-less thought it was worth sharing here because all of these books have, in one way or another had a significant effect on my heart, mind and/or life:

1) The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien – forever turned me into a Sci Fi/Fantasy/Sword & Sorcery geek. I love the way Tolkien portrays the struggle of good against evil.

2) The Blessed Hope by George Eldon Ladd will forever influence my understanding of Eschatology (the study of Last Things).

3) Gospel & Spirit: Issues in New Testament Hermeneutics by Gordon Fee (see also Fee’s “Listening to the Spirit in the Text”). Hermeneutics is everything!! – ’nuff said.

4) The Holiness of God by R.C Sproul. I’ll never read Isaiah chapter 6 the same. Some day I would like to preach a sermon entitled “God’s Holy and You’re Not!”

5) The Early Church by Henry Chadwick. Reading church history helps me to understand who I am in Christ, how I got to be this way, where my biases/beliefs came from, and why stuff like the Trinity & Chalecedonian orthodoxy actually do matter!

6) Confessions by Augustine. Connected me with a genuine Christian who had real struggles like me, yet lived in a completely different time, place and culture from me.

7) Wild at Heart by John Eldredge played a role in my moving across the continental US from one coast to the other.

8) The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. The first non-theological/devotional/inspirational book I read after finishing seminary. One word – Grace! A great collection of stories and illustrations of just what grace really means, what it looks like to be a child of God, and how to be able to say “Daddy God.” You should read it!!

9) The Quest for the Radical Middle by Bill Jackson.This book so resonated with with me like nothing I’ve ever read before. A masterful melding of story, history and theology! After reading it, I knew I had finally found my “theological” home in the Vineyard!

10) A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. Yes God, the Bible, Christianity and a Big Bang Cosmology creation event actually can go together!

11) I Give You Authority by Charles Kraft, the Cultural Anthropologist who along with C. Peter Wagner was one of the Fuller Profs who went from conservative evangelical to third wave evangelical as a result of their encounter with John Wimber and the now legendary MC510 Signs and Wonders course at Fuller Seminary. A masterpiece on the nature of the authority given to Jesus’ followers.

12) Reading the Bible with Heart & Mind by Tremper Longman. Tremper was the only professor I had in 10 years of theological study that ever dared to say that it was possible that God could put meaning in the scripture that the original human authors may not have been aware of or didn’t intend. After all, Jesus did say that all of the scriptures were concerning Himself (Lk. 24:27)?

Wait, that’s only 12! Where’s #13? Did anybody catch it? Anyway, thanks to my friend (and fellow aspiring author) Trish, for sharing the original post that inspired this blog – “10 books that have touched or inspired me at some point in my life (including childhood).” As you can see, I love books and couldn’t stop at ten! <<Confession time:Truth be told, I did do a little editing from my original FB post and added #12.>>

So what books are on your list? Share below, or feel free to steal our idea and write your own blog or share it on your social media outlet of choice. But comment below with a link to your favorites so we can all see what books have touched, inspired or changed your life. Happy reading!

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Jesus Before Facebook!?!

September 2, 2013 at 10:03 pm (Addictions, Devotions, Social Networking, Spiritual Disciplines, Spiritual Formation, Spirituality)

That’s right! I recently made, well more a decision than a vow. I was examining my life and realizing how much time I waste on Facebook, Twitter, etc. I had also developed a really bad habit of waking up in the morning and before even rolling out of bed, grabbing my iPad and checking Facebook, Twitter, Weather, Email. This all seemed fairly pathetic to me. Especially as much as I complain about not having enough time to get anything I want done! Then (and here comes the big revelation) I realized that by my actions, I was drawing more of my own self-worth, who I am, from how many likes or comments I got than from who I am in Christ. I was getting on Facebook before I had spent time with Jesus. That’s right, this is a post about devotions: that time to get away and spend time with the Father (that we’re all told we’re supposed to do or else we’re bad Christians)! Seriously though, by my actions I was placing social networking as a higher priority than hearing from God!

So yeah, I’ve decided that, no more! I will no longer get on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Instagram each day until I’ve cracked open my Bible and listened to what the Spirit is saying to me through the text (or at least tried). I’ve been doing this for a couple of weeks now. During the week I do my scripture reading followed by journaling on what I’ve read (a loose version of the S.O.A.P. method for those who care). Then on the weekend I lighten up a bit and just kick back on the couch with my coffee and read a chapter or so on my iPad from YouVersion (the Bible App) before venturing off into the Twitter-sphere of wasted time. Now, admittedly, I still spend too much time on social networking, but I feel like this is a good first step. What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

But more importantly, will you consider joining me? Will you put your relationship with Jesus (at least chronologically) before your favorite social networking vice/addiction? Aren’t we drawing too much of our identity from our number of followers and not enough of our identity from our maker? Take the pledge! Bible first, Facebook later.

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