Thursday, December 27, 2012

Coffee with a Bite!

The other week I was doing some reading and having a cup of take-away coffee from a local café.  I decided to enjoy the cup of Joe just outside my office on the veranda.  It was a pleasant day with the sun shining, birds singing, and white fluffy clouds floating by. (my attempt to rub it in to the northern hemisphere readers…it’s summer here)  I set my take away cappuccino cup down on the cement next to my chair.  As I finished the drink I did what I normally do, took the lid off the cup and began licking the froth that had settled on the inside of the cup. (I normally do this in seclusion, not in public) All of a sudden I felt a sharp sting on my tongue as if I had cut it.   Investigating further, I took my tongue and began rubbing it over my teeth trying to determine exactly where the pain was coming from.  The spot was right in the middle of my tongue.  Resigned to the fact that I had probably sliced it on the seam of the cup I went back to my reading.  A few moments later I continued my investigation by sticking out my tongue and touching the spot and discovering a tiny lump.  As I continued to examine the lump the sting grew in intensity.  It was then I looked down where my cup had been setting and knew immediately what the cause of my pain was.  ANTS!  Yep, an ant had climbed into the cup and was now holding on to my tongue for dear life!  I quickly performed an ant-ectomy. 

Here are some of my observations:

1.     Don’t put my coffee on the veranda floor.

2.     Use a spoon to get the remaining froth from the cup.

3.     Discovered the ancient secret of ant’s hyper activity…caffeine!

Have a great one,


Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Tragedy on So Many Levels

Words are not adequate to express the deep sorrow and sadness that permeates the tragedy that happened in Newton Connecticut.  Two things come to my mind as I try to process this horrible event. First, is the degree of grief for those who lost precious children and loved ones.  As I type this blog, Natalie is in flight from the U.S. to Australia for her Christmas break.  The plane cannot go fast enough for this father to embrace his daughter again.  Thinking of the families who have lost that chance seems almost unbearable.  The level of grief, anger, frustration and the replaying of the day’s events would send even a strong person into despair.  My heart goes out to those families.  I pray for God’s presence to overwhelm them.  For those who in the midst of this crisis who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus, my hope is that Christ-Followers will surround them, grieve with them, love them, and appropriately point them to Jesus.

The other thought is the depth of brokenness we live with in this world.  Behind the acts of violence and murder was a broken, troubled, and very confused young man.  What was his past? What was going through his mind as he pulled the trigger repeatedly?  What level of deception had overcome his mind to act with such random violence that changed the lives of so many parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, teachers, and friends?  He was someone’s son, brother, nephew, neighbor, and friend.  How many people will look back and wonder if there was anything they could have done to somehow impact his life?  There is so much to process with this.  I can’t help but think how God’s heart is breaking for not only the victims and their families but also for the perpetrator who demonstrated yet another convincing act that reminds us all, life has gotten so far out of whack from what God intended.   

When tragedy like this occurs I wonder how I would respond if this happened in my family?  Then, I wonder how I would respond if this happened in my community?  I hope I would respond with the grace, love, and appropriateness of Jesus.  I, and I know a lot of you reading this; pray that God’s will, would be done on earth as it is in heaven.  One of our responsibilities as followers of Jesus is to live, love, and act in such as way that brings up there, down here.  I don’t want to wait for a tragedy to nudge me in that mission.  Who knows whom I may impact away from acting out evil?  My prayer is that each day I will pursue life to that end…bringing up there, down here!

Be assured of His Presence even in dark times,


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Just Wait!

This morning I was in a waiting room.  My car was getting serviced so I camped out at the dealer with a book, smart phone, and computer!  I was waiting but I was productive!!!  As I was pondering deep issues this morning it occurred to me I have never heard anyone say: I just love to wait. Or, I have the spiritual gift of waiting! But, there is so much of life that entails waiting: the wait to be born, the wait to go to school, the wait to get your drivers license, the wait to graduate, etc.  Each day there seems to be time consumed in waiting, even for the most trivial of things.

We are in the season that for some, waiting becomes hard: Christmas.  I can remember the agony of waiting until: the Christmas eve meal was eaten, the dishes were all done, and mom and dad got settled before presents were opened.  Those few hours seemed like days to a 9 year old!  One Christmas I caved into the temptation not to wait.  In our family, Sunday afternoons were times of rest and relaxation.  The routine was predictable: mom and dad would retreat to their bedroom for a couple of hours while my older brothers held up in their bedrooms.  I was left all alone in the living room with the TV usually on a basketball game and a Christmas tree loaded with gifts!  On one quiet Sunday afternoon as I lay on the floor near the tree I notice one of my gifts.  There was a flap of wrapping paper where the tape had given way, exposing the end of my gift.  I perfected on that wintery afternoon the fine art of peeling tape back without ripping the paper and meticulously re-applying the tape after I had discovered what treasure lay beneath the tree.  I couldn't wait!

Christmas is about waiting isn't it?  Think of the many years the faithful of Israel waited for the Messiah.  I'm sure there were times they wanted to peel back the future to just see what was coming!  I have come to realize over the last several years the hardest part about waiting.  Want to know what it is?  WAITING!!!  We have had a few times when waiting seemed to drag on: waiting for Natalie to be born and waiting to know where the next ministry takes us.  Yep, were on a journey of waiting and discovering where we will be next.  Our time in Australia will come to a close no later than the end of April 2013.  So now we wait.

Here are a few things I've come to realize about waiting: First, waiting doesn't mean inactivity, neutral, or doing nothing.  While I'm waiting I can use this time to be productive.  Three things I can do without knowing what's next are: Listen, Learn, and Love.  I can listen for God's voice as I wait.  The Psalmist says: Be still and know that I am God (Ps. 46:10).  Next I can learn.  When I'm waiting time seems to be a luxury that leaves when direction is clear.  I can use the time to read, review what I have learned or learn something new. In this case learn to play the didgeridoo...concert information will be available soon!  And last but not least, I can love.  The world is full of tons of opportunities to express the love of God.  While I wait, I need to get my eyes off myself and onto what God sees!  Serving, encouraging, helping never go out of style!

The last thought goes back to the waiting that happened over 2000 years ago.  Once Jesus entered this world the wait for the Savior was over and the reality of His Kingdom came to life.  Even in the midst of my waiting right now, I don't have to wait for a Savior, Redeemer, Friend, Lord, and King to arrive and bring hope to my wait.  He's already here.  Waiting with someone is so much better than waiting alone.  So, for now, I'll wait, how about you???

Have a great Christmas!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Prodigal

I recently heard a message about the Prodigal that rocked my world.  Tim Keller, at a Willow Creek Leadership Summit spoke about the Prodigal God.  Here's a few thoughts from his talk:

"The definition of a prodigal is recklessly extravagant."

God is not only the God of the prodigal son but he is also a prodigal God.  He is recklessly extravagant in his love for a broken humanity.  To bring it closer to home, he is recklessly extravagant in his love for ME!  Sometimes I cringe at just how selfish, proud, arrogant, angry, get the point, I can be.  I don't know how many times I've read the parable of the prodigal son and just assumed the definition of prodigal meant: "one who squanders wealth and is unwise." 

"The main point of the parable is that both the younger and older brother are alienated from the father.  Neither really loved the father but they loved the father's things."

"Elder brothers are obeying God to get things.  They think they offer Jesus a righteous record and then they get things.  People who believe the gospel think differently.  Jesus gives us a righteous record and then we live for him.  We have every spiritual blessing."

I've always seen the older brother as a Pharisaical representation but I haven't attached how closely I resemble the older brother.  The older brother was counting on his goodness, his faithfulness, his relentless pursuit of doing the right thing to pay dividends in the end.  I have caught myself in the past lamenting why certain things don't go my way, I've been faithful, good, do the right things, shouldn't God bless me? Have I slipped into the mode of an older brother?

An interesting point about the Prodigal parable; the father had given half of his wealth to the younger son.  When the younger son returned, where did the father get the resources to kill the fatted calf, put an expensive robe on his shoulders and place a ring on his finger?  It had to come out of the older brother's estate!  Maybe that's why the older brother wasn't too excited about the younger bother's return!  

Tim states we need to get to a new level of repentance.  The Pharisee's repented but only saw it as another thing to do on their list.  They didn't see repentance as the key to open up the gates of grace and freedom from things.  I need to repent for the "right doing" with the wrong motives.  Instead of doing right to leverage God, I do right and remain faithful because of what Jesus, my true older brother did for me.  He gave up his place, paid the price for my sin, gave up everything so I could have an eternal inheritance.  

Just some things I've been wrestling with,


Thursday, November 8, 2012


The election is over, here are a few things I’ve been thinking about:

1.    No matter who won, I’m responsible for my own words, attitudes, and actions.  As a Christ-follower, I can either choose to talk and walk in love, grace, and perspective of eternity or I can become consumed with putting my hope in people, governments, policy and the “now what will happen?” 

2.    One thing I’ve been convicted about has been my lack of prayer for those who are in government office.  Here’s a question:  Do I pray for those in government as much as I criticize?  Even if I don’t like who is in office is no excuse not to pray for them.  I think I can contribute more on my knees than posting on facebook or engaging in debate with people who are set in their ideology.

3.    Regardless of my political views I must be driven by a higher calling and mission.  With that said, I cannot wait for, depend on, or expect the government to do what I am called to do by God.  Compassion for those who are disenfranchised, broken, and the least of these must characterize my life.

4.    This is NOT my home or final destination.  My hope and future are in God’s Kingdom not anything manmade.  Because of this my time must be spent in pursuing His Kingdom through the ministry of His Bride, the Church.  Since I mentioned the church, now is an opportunity for the church to rise up like never before and bring “up there down here!”  What would happen in communities around the country if people truly became the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus? 

5.    I will continue to support those who have chosen to give their lives to serve our country through military service.  I will also chose to support those candidates who best reflect my principles of how a society should be governed.  As an American I have been given a great privilege and opportunity.  I will continue to stay informed but refuse to allow this to consume me at the expense of my mission as a Christ-follower.  With this, I will choose to respect others who hold differing and at times opposing views.  To do anything less would be to fall into the trap of alienation of those who like me are made in the image of God.

In 1972 there was a block-buster film, The Poseidon Adventure.  This film utilized at the time state of the art special effects, a cast of notable stars, an intriguing story line, and an Academy Award winning song: “There’s got to be a morning after.”  The story was about a cruise ship turned upside down during a brutal storm and the passengers attempt to survive.  The theme song spoke to the need for hope:

There's got to be a morning after
If we can hold on through the night
We have a chance to find the sunshine
Let's keep on looking for the light

Oh, can't you see the morning after?
It's waiting right outside the storm
Why don't we cross the bridge together
And find a place that's safe and warm?

It's not too late, we should be giving
Only with love can we climb
It's not too late, not while we're living
Let's put our hands out in time

You may feel as though things have been turned upside down with the election.   Take heart, there is a morning after that is sure, His name is Jesus and He is in the process of making all things new again.

And for those of you who are not disappointed, take heart when disappointment does come, there is a morning after.

Be Blessed,


Monday, October 22, 2012

Don't Know Much!

“Don't know much about history
Don't know much biology
Don't know much about a science book
Don't know much about the French I took
But I do know that I love you
And I know that if you love me too
What a wonderful world this would be”

Sam Cooke hit the nail on the head when he penned the words to the song: “Don’t Know Much About History.”  In thinking about what I could blog about this week, one thing burst upon my mind as I thought: Ruthann and Natalie, your family!  Too many times I have taken for granted their love, kindness, and grace for me.  Sometimes I’m part IDIOT.  No one knows that better than my family but, they still claim me!  I am a blessed man.  
I Don’t Know Much…but what I do know…
I am truly blessed beyond my wildest dreams to have a wife and daughter whom I love and they love me…what a wonderful world this IS!     

Be Blessed,

Sunday, October 7, 2012

R U successful?

What is success?  How do you know when you are…a success?  Some view success as a destination when the reality is, it’s a process.  Andy Stanley puts it this way: 

   "Success is remaining faithful to the process God has laid out for you.  Certainly there are significant and enjoyable mile markers along the way.  But success is not the mile marker.  Success is not the raise, promotion, recognition, Christian home, or wonderful children.  Those are simply enjoyable mile markers along the way.  Success is staying faithful to the process that contributed to those things becoming a reality.  Unfortunately, we often don’t consider ourselves successful until we experience the rewards."   
From the book: Visioneering, God’s blueprint for developing and maintaining personal vision.

Each new day is an opportunity to be successful.  I may not see many of the “rewards” of success but I know one day I will!  What are the areas you are a success?


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Shelf Life?

The other week I was in our local grocery store and realized Christmas was on it's way.  How did I notice this you ask?  Look closely at the picture and you'll see that our store has started selling Christmas fruit cakes!

WOW! Four months before Christmas!  I have one question: what's the shelf life of fruit cake? 

So, for those of you who want to get their Christmas shopping done early...FRUIT CAKE is the only way to go!  In fact, I think I'll stock up not only for this Christmas but the next 5!

That's All,


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Passion & Paradise

PASSION. Here's one word that brings so much to mind. By definition, it means a strong and barely controllable emotion: a state or outburst of such emotion, intense sexual love, an intense desire or enthusiasm for something.  What or Where is your PASSION?  Do you recognize it when you see it?  Are you experiencing life with it? 

Another definition is: the suffering and death of Jesus.  Interesting.  For some, PASSION and Jesus just doesn't seem to fit.  I think mainly because the word carries with it a sexual / romantic bent.  As I have thought about this I am amazed at how connected it is to God.  He is PASSIONATE...about people. It was demonstrated as Jesus willingly gave up his life so we can experience real life with PASSION!  

What do you think of when you hear the word PARADISE?  Some immediately go to a deserted beach, a day of relaxation without kids, or time with a special person.  Jesus referred to PARADISE on the cross.  He turned to the thief who had asked to be remembered and said: today, you will be with me in PARADISE.  What is it?  Will there be PASSION in PARADISE?  YES.  I think we will be filled with such PASSION and be completely whole, the way God intended us to be.  Think about it, living every moment with extreme PASSION in PARADISE.  You may be thinking, great Marty, get me all excited about that somewhere over the rainbow place, what about now?  Here's the good part, I think God wants us to live today with PASSION in anticipation of the day we live it in PARADISE!  Jesus says it's a place where he is making all things new again.  Wow, that process has already begun and we can live with PASSION now and bring a part of PARADISE here, even with the limitations of a broken world!

Last week I came across a music group that plays with, well, PASSION.   Click on the link to see: 

Why wait for somewhere? Go LIVE with PASSION today!


Friday, August 24, 2012


My first real job was working for Louie.  Louie owned the vast majority of vending machines in town.  My job was to drive a cargo van full of candy bars, gum, and pop, restock the machines and bring the cash back to the office.  The only catch in securing the job was I needed to know how to drive “3 on the tree.” (3 speed manual transmission on the column)  Being 16 and living in a household where automatics were king I had to learn to shift!   The solution: grandpa and his 1965 green Chevy pick ‘em up truck.  So, one afternoon I went to grandpa’s for my lesson in shifting.  He quickly gave me the basics of clutch, accelerator, stick and the H pattern sequence.  Then, he pointed to a nearby field and said, “go out there and practice.” 

I started the truck and made my way to the field sustaining mild blows of wipe lash as the truck lurched ahead.  I practiced the sensory method of shifting that day: the sound of grinding gears, the smell of burning metal, the vibrations of the gear shift lever, the sudden glances from field to ceiling of the truck as my head snapped up on every attempt to shift, and the taste of humiliation when the truck stalled.  Eventually I emerged from the field successfully able to shift, keeping the truck running and moving without the need of a neck brace or a new starter. 

Shifting…is another word for change.  Most people don’t like change.  I love it…especially when it has nothing to do with me!  Because of that, I’ve realized my resistance to change and the need for it. Shifting or change is really an opportunity.  It can either be an opportunity filled with apprehension, fear of failure, anxiety, or doubt which will keep me from learning and moving ahead.  Or, it can be full of anticipation, confidence, new perspective, and success as I progress from point A to point B.   

One of the things I need to keep in mind is that change is a journey not an event. Before I learned how to “shift” I was really wondering if I would get the job.  Looking back, the process of change holds great memories of grandpa and me learning and accomplishing something new.  That’s what I have to keep in mind when more “shifting” is required of me: enjoy the process and be willing to learn even if there is pain. So the next time “shifting” is required, I need lean into the sounds of grinding gears, the vibrations of new feelings, the new sights of movement, the smell of progress, and the taste of success.  What shifting are you experiencing? 


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Recovery or Taking it Easy?

One would think that if you train and run a marathon the results of that training would remain for longer than a week or two!  After I had finished the marathon I read and heard about recovery.  I intentionally decided I would "take it easy" after my marathon.  I am learning there is a big difference between recovery and "taking it easy!"

I'm back in the groove again to GET BACK IN SHAPE.  My break from a training routine needs to be over.  I don't like the early warning signs of "Lazy Boy-itis." I was really surprised to learn how quickly my body relaxed into non exercise mode.  As I think about this, I can see how a "taking it easy" type of attitude affects other areas of my life: faith, relationships, vocation, learning, hobbies...the list goes on and on! If I give in to the desire to just stop for a while, how quickly will deterioration begin to set in?  The danger here is to be obsessed and driven in all these areas which cause more issues down the road.  What I'm talking about here is balance. There in lies the great challenge in life doesn't it?  I would be interested to hear how you strike balance in our life!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Staying out of the coop!

Growing up on a farm we never raised chickens but we did have a chicken coop and I hated it.  Not being crazy about dark, smelly, cobwebbed infested buildings added to my fear and resolve to stay away from the coop.  Besides, if there had been chickens in the coop, why would I want to put my life on the line to enter the coop with the sole purpose to snatch away the offspring of an unsuspecting mother hen?  Just sounded like trouble to me!  The subject of this post could be similar to the dread of the coop in my early years.

It’s amazing to me that there has been such “banter” back and forth over the last month about another coop called Chick-fil-A. I’m not that good at giving immediate, thoughtful, intelligent, and informed responses and realize I need  time for my brain to process information.

Not being in the country and seeing all the media attention about this I can only imagine most people are pretty tired of it.  If that is you then don’t feel obligated to continue reading, just surf away to another site.  

Just the other day I was asked what my thoughts were regarding the whole matter.  To me the first question I had to ask myself was: what good does it do to stand in line for 2 plus hours to get a chicken sandwich?  How does that help with the underlying issue of the deep divide that seems to be widening in our country between people who disagree?  With that said I understand the need to stand and make your voice heard when someone you side with is being treated without respect.  My question goes to a follow up observation and it is this, sometimes we give our detractors added fodder to chew up and spit back out at us.  What really was accomplished with this action besides many people standing in line to eat another meal?  How did this advance the cause of Christ to a hurting, broken, desperate world?  What would of happened in the media and to some of the accusations from the opposition if people would have supported Chick-fil-A on a given day but not so they could eat lunch but take the food to homeless shelters, rescue missions, people in need, or someone who needed encouraging? 

I’m all for being bold and standing up for beliefs but let’s get creative.  Let’s act with the intention to be the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus to the world, not just take a stand or seat at a restaurant, eat, and leave it at that.  There is more at stake than this.  I would like to propose that Christ Followers and Churches begin thinking about how we can reach those who are seemingly on the opposite side of the fence.  We may need to learn to dialogue in respectful ways to begin to understand.  If we keep boycotting, protesting, and picking sides it’ll only get uglier and continue to make our mission that much more difficult. 

What’s interesting about living out of the U.S. during this time is that Facebook and Internet News gives us a good indication of what’s really “hot” at the moment.  It seems that the issue has past and life has returned to “normal.”  My question in regards to this whole issue is: Now What?  Let’s think, dream, envision, and be strategic beyond the heat of the moment to bring “up there, down here.”  Besides, there’s a lot more “chicken coop’s” that will present themselves in the future!

Something to think about,


Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Beauty is in the eye...!"

Beauty, is it only in the eye of the beholder?  Or, is there beauty even if no one notices?  One of the things I'm coming to discover is beauty is all around me.  The question is, do I notice it?

Living along the south coast of Australia, I am surrounded by beauty.  However, I have to concede that everywhere I have lived or visited there is's just a different type of beauty.  Some would say the south coast is one of the most beautiful places in the world.  I agree, but, so is the majestic Rocky Mountains, the clear waters and sandy beaches of the Caribbean, the grander of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, Africa, or the brilliant Autumn leaves of the U.S. Midwest. On the flip side, there is beauty even in the common everyday Millersburg, Indiana, Sun Prairie Wisconsin, Auburn, Indiana, Fishers, Indiana, and yes, even Peoria, Illinois!  Beauty isn't just in the eye of the beholder, it's a result of a beautiful God who chooses to bless us no matter where we go with a reflection of His Beauty! Do I see the beauty in and through the common, everyday things or have I been conditioned to only see beauty in the spectacular sights?  That's a tough question as I look out and see the fluffy white clouds against a deep blue sky and hear the ocean pound the beach.  I have to remind myself that the beauty I see pales in comparison with the author of this beauty.

"One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple." Psalm 27:4

The see the beauty all around, no matter where I gives me another picture of my God!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

When Should You Buy a New Computer?

With the speed of new technology accelerating, a question I've had is: when do I update my computer?  Some will say the only way to go is to lease but when the dollars are limited, leasing can be a little pricey!  So, here's my answer to the question: when should you buy a new computer?  Two weeks after I do!  Five years ago we converted to Apple when I brought home a 17" IMac, 2 weeks later the new 21" IMac's were introduced at the same price as what I paid for the 17".  Two weeks ago we decided we should go ahead and replace one of our computers and so I did the research and decided to get a 13" Mac Book Pro notebook.  I was able to order it online, have it shipped to my brother who will be arriving in Australia with my computer this Friday.  What a surprise to find out THIS MORNING that Apple just released a NEW VERSION of the Mac Book Pro...faster, sleeker, with added features for the same price as the model I JUST BOUGHT!  SO, when should you buy a new computer?  Feel free to click "buy now".  You'll get a good deal!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Marathon Reflections

Last Sunday I ran a marathon.  I have been leading up to this event for nearly 10 years in my my body, the last 5 months.  As I look back on the experience there are a lot of things that come to my mind: the time, energy, effort, support, encouragement, injuries, aches and pains, doubts, fretting, anticipation, questions, wonder, fear, exhilaration, fatigue, hydration, nutrition, all seemed to occupy my thoughts and time.  There is a part of me that is questioning all this and asking: "was this worth it?"  There have been many lessons learned from this experience and some personal growth points discovered as a result of all the time and effort.  For me, the most important discovery and life lesson is the significance of mental preparation.  I had heard that 90% of running long distances was mental but I hadn't experienced that as much as I did in the preparation and actual running of the marathon.  Don't get me wrong, there is much to be said about the physical preparedness of running a marathon.  But what I'm taking away from this experience is the importance of having my mind focused and ready.  

What continually amazes me is how the Bible points out things that I discover sometimes the hard way and in some respects, after the fact.  The Bible has many verses that point out the value of the mind and the focus of the mind being on God.  I have to ask myself the question:  What or who am I allowing shape my mind?  Hmmmmm, I don't think I want to answer that but am coming to realize the importance allowing God to renew my mind day by day.  Now, the good news is you don't have to run a marathon to find this out.  However, we all in a marathon called life.

For what it's worth,


P.S. The jury is still out on whether I'll run another marathon!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"A Watched Pot...."

My mom used to tell me: "Marty, a watched pot never boils."  As a young boy, I just accepted this age old saying as truth!  There must be some magic in putting a pot of water on the stove, walking away, and then it boils.  It wasn't until I was older I realized: that's not true. I could put a pot of water on the stove and in a matter of minutes the water would be in a rolling boil.  However, it seemed like a lifetime for the water to boil and the process of watching water before it boiled was agony.

Ever have something you've anticipated and time seems to lag?  For me, it's every time Natalie makes the trip from the U.S. to Australia.  The countdown begins about 30 days out until the eventful day arrives when we pick her up at the airport.  Right now, we are about 36 hours away from the hugs, kisses, and the lugging of her bags to the car.  Then, once home, the meal of the day is her favorite: Tuna Noodle Casserole or Tuna Mon ea for the Australians.  Part of the waiting involves a whimsical wish that Tuna would be outlawed by the Australian government in the next few hours!   Anyway, my point is this...waiting and anticipating can be either agony or a process of living life with something to look forward too!  For this dad, I choose the eager anticipation over the agony of the wait.  I'm eagerly anticipating the moment I see Natalie's smiling face.  I'm not watching a pot of water to boil, just a clock to tic away the hours.  In the meantime, I think I'll send off my petition to the Aussie government for that Tuna ban!!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Back to the Future

Easter 2012 will be remembered as a great experience for both Ruthann and me.  I was invited to be the speaker for a youth event...Easter Camp 2012.  Over 200 High School and University students gathered for 4 days of fun, worship, and challenge and we were in the middle of it.  Having spent over 16 years in youth ministry I must say I was just a little apprehensive about this gig.  I know how tough this type of audience can be, but, I also knew how much potential and energy exists.  What transpired over the 4 days from Good Friday to Easter Monday was nothing short of miraculous.  I have never spoken to such attentive and responsive students.  It seemed as though they hung on every word.  In fact, I had one University student tell me toward the end of the camp he was disappointed the first night I spoke because I didn't speak longer!  Now that's a first for any audience!!!  
One of the things that kept coming back to me was the power of God through prayer.  This camp had many people from the church and at the camp praying for God to work...and He did.  On Saturday morning I shared the simple concept that we are all broken by sin and Jesus came to make everything new again.  At the end I invited students to respond and accept Jesus as their Savior.  To my shock 30-40 students rose to their feet.  On Sunday (Easter) morning I spoke on the importance of the resurrection and challenged students to allow Jesus to break the strongholds that  hold them back in their life (habits, attitudes, behavior, etc).  Over 75 students immediately made their way to the stage for prayer.  To say this camp was fulfilling would be a gross understatement.  God seemed to be breaking through barrier after barrier in the students.  It was great to be a part of this camp and it will go down in the books as one of the best Easters ever.  Go God!

When we returned home Ruthann asked if I had any desire to get back into youth ministry?  My first response was NO, I don't have the energy...but now that I've had 48 hours to sleep, I'd have to say, it's tempting.  Maybe not full blown youth ministry but definitely something to do with University students.  One thing is certain, there is a generation rising up to bring "up there, down here!"

I've attached a couple of video clips for you to see the enthusiasm for worship and zaniness that went on during the camp.

Be blessed,


Sunday, March 4, 2012


Ever have one of those days where a simple thing became very complex?  Some years ago we bought a house and were in the process of moving in.  One of the things on my to do list was to hook up the washer and dryer.  I have become adept in doing this seeing how we have moved 13 times in 30 years.  The washer and dryer were hooked up in record time and when I went to test the connections…there was a leak.  Water was coming out from under the washer.  I quickly turn off the water pulled the washer out and deducted the faucets and the drain thingy was bad.  The drywall surrounding the faucets showed signs of leaks in the past.  At this point I went into hyper drive.  The drywall was torn off the wall, new faucets were purchased and installed, and I even bought a drain catch system that would prevent any further damage to the wall “if” another leak ever occurred in the next millennium.  Day one in the two-day project was completed.  Day two consisted of final prep to the wall, paint and baseboard installed before the final hook up of the washing machine.  Everything looked great as I stood back and admired my handiwork.  I was quite proud of myself; I had taken the bull by the horns and made a potentially bad situation turn out really well. 

The moment had finally come where I turned the faucets back on.  I don’t think I said any bad words when the water began to form under the washer although I must confess I was thinking a few!  I quickly shut off the water and was totally perplexed by this sudden turn of events.  I didn’t know what to do.  After a few moments of silent meditation I decided to unhook the washing machine and begin troubleshooting.  As the hoses were disconnected from their faucets I realized one more time how much of an idiot I can be at times.  One of the hoses didn’t have a rubber washer!  I had managed to take a very simple fix: a 5-cent washer, and turn it into a two-day, $100 project.  It was simple…but I had made it complicated.  Life seems to go like that sometimes.  In fact, I think that’s really the issue with life.  Within us is a desire to move to the simple things of life.  This goes all the way back to the beginning in the garden.  It was simple until we humans decided to make things complex with sin.  I’m so glad Jesus came on the scene and brought simplicity back.  He says he’s making all things new again.  When questioned about the most important command he simply says: Love God, Love Others!  It’s simple…I just hope I can keep from making this too complex!

Trying to keep it simple,


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Running with the Wind

I'm attempting something this May that has been on my list for over 5 years: A Marathon.  Last Sunday according to my training schedule I was to run 9.7 K (6 miles).  The weather conditions were not real favorable, the wind was gusting from the south up to 72 kph (45 mph).  I came up with the brilliant idea: run with the wind!  So, I headed to the beach and marked out my route north.  The only problem was my route was short by 3.2 K (2 miles) so I decided I would just run back (south) for the remaining part of the run.  Bad idea!  The first 6.5 K was awesome, I was fast, my time was incredible and I felt like I could go forever.  The last 3.2 K was unbelievably hard.  My pace went from light speed to slow mo in just one simple turn.  I could hardly breath, my legs felt like rubber, and I began to wonder if I had lost all my marbles!  Another thought was: don't spit Marty!  I really wanted to quit. As I began to ponder the reality of finishing the route one thought kept coming to mind: just keep going.  I can't tell you the exhilaration I felt when I reached the end of the route. 

I don't know about you, but for me there are times I have felt like I am running with the wind in life.  Things are going great, accomplishments seem to be a breeze, and the "run" is just plain ole fun.  It's in those days I feel like I can do anything, life is good.  However, there are those simple turns in life that take my breath away, makes my legs go wobbly, and the thoughts swirl through my cranial lobes: what is going on, will I make it?  It's in those times I have to remember to just keep going.  The prophet Isaiah penned these words in chapter 43:18,19: Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.  In other words, just keep going, God is making a way!

It's been a few days since Sunday and I am so glad I didn't quit when the run got tough.  I'm also glad I didn't spit!  I'm hoping to remember this day for a while...especially when I'm "running against the winds of life."  God is making a way.

Be Blessed and just keep going!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Up Close and Personal

Okay, I just had another experience that kind of surprised me.  I got to be on the sidelines of the Tour Down Under professional bike race.  Go figure!  I have watched several times portions of the Tour De France on television and never thought I would see something like that in person.  This event draws riders and spectators from all over the world.  Goolwa is one of the towns the tour passes through on it's third leg of the Tour.  On television you get to follow the bikers as they ride the course, you get the bird's eye view of the lead riders and the distance that separates the peloton, in person...not so much.  As you can see from the video the experience lasted only a few seconds. The video doesn't do justice the speed or force of the riders.  I'm sure there are some deep spiritual insights, parallels, or truths that can be drawn from this experience but for now I'm just enjoying the experience and the cool summer breeze in South Australia!

Be Blessed,

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I think I'll take a Mulligan!

Golf, for some it brings thoughts and feelings of relaxation, anticipation, and excitement.  For me, not so much!  I have dabbled in the sport, but find it too slow and very agonizing.  I've never gotten the hang of it, never really understood the technique of it, and really haven't had the time or willing "coach" to lead me from "the rough" to the green of the game!  By description I'm a hacker.  I have on occasion shown greatness on the green for one hole out of eighteen but overall, I choose not to frustrate myself with slices, hooks, dribbles, and going through packets of balls.

One aspect of the game I find intriguing: the Mulligan.  I tried to find the origin of this term and there are many legends surrounding how this term became a standard for "do over!"  Where ever it came from doesn't matter to me, I like it!  Wouldn't it be great if life came with mulligans?  Give the wrong answer on a test...mulligan!  Rear end the guy in front of you...mulligan!  Say too much in a conversation...mulligan!  Retaliate after a deep hurt...mulligan!  A mulligan is in a sense the ability to wipe the slate clean and start over.  However, it's more like a second chance.  With a second chance I can take the experience of what I've just done, hopefully learn from it, make corrections, and take another swing at it.  I find that new years are somewhat like a mulligan...a fresh start, a second chance!  I have the opportunity to take the experiences of the past year, learn from them, make corrections, and take another swing at it!  This is not a new thought, God has pretty much designed life this way and even provided a way for new things to emerge out of past hooks of pain and slices of disappointment.  Jesus declares that he is making all things new again...!  He provides me with the opportunity to take a mulligan and take a second chance (although with me, I think I'm on my 14th or 15th chance in some areas)!

This new year, I'm grateful that God is a God who allows for mulligans.  I look forward to this year and the opportunity I'll have to go for the green.  I do know there will be times I'll swing and land in the rough but when I can, I'll remember the option to use the mulligan to get back on track!

Happy New Year...and to you golfers out there, keep your eye on the ball and take a mulligan for me!