Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Stop the Ride. . . I wanna get off! ! !"

Years ago, I was on a ride at a fair in Africa, and the ride attendant walked away.  The ride was one of those "Swing Rides" where you sit in a chair, suspended by chains, and spin around.  I was on that ride for about 10 minutes. . . and I have to tell you, I haven't been on one since!

I utterly felt like I had lost control and was at the mercy of the ride, and missing attendant.  It was scary in every way!

Over the past two months, I have felt like I have been on one of those rides again. . . for most of the two months.  Life has been spinning faster and faster, and it seems like it just wouldn't stop.  In fact, I'm not sure it has stopped YET!  But at least I am coping a little better.

I have to tell you, I am sorry that I have not been around for the past two months.  When I started this blog, I had every intention of writing something every few days to encourage us on our journey through life.  And then life caught up with me.  HA

Isn't that just how life is?  About the time we have things "figured out", life starts spinning and just doesn't seem to stop.  When Peter stepped out of that boat and started walking toward Jesus, I suspect he thought he had things figured out. . . but it didn't take long and his life started spinning around him.  Next thing he did was start to sink!  Can any of you relate to that "sinking feeling"?  I know I can.

I suspect that Peter felt the same way I did. . . out of control!  And scared to death!

But then Peter did something very smart!  He yelled out "Lord, Save Me!"  And Jesus did!

When our life starts to spin, and we feel overwhelmed. . . when we start sinking and all looks lost. . . perhaps we should look to Jesus and yell "Lord, Save Me!".  He's still there. . . just waiting for our call.

Don't let life spin out of control for you.  And certainly don't try to deal with the spinning alone.  Jesus isn't like that ride attendant that walked away from my ride in Africa to leave me spinning round and round.  He is there to stop the ride. . . and whisk you away in His arms!

Is your life spinning?

Are you sinking fast?

Call out to him.  He's still there, and He will see you through!

See you on the Road,

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunrise! ! ! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. . . .

I do believe my favorite time of day is Sunrise.

Now, as my wife reads this, she will say "WHAT?!?"  Because I am NOT a morning person.  I am a night owl.

As a result, most of the sunrises I have seen are a result of my being up all night, and catching the sunrise then.  And they are always special to me!

Sunsets are beautiful too, and here in the Caribbean region, there are some spectacular sunsets!  But Sunset's almost make me a little sad.  It is an ending. . . and I suppose I don't like endings as much as I like beginnings.

Sunrises on the other hand ARE a beginning.  With the rising of the sun comes hope, and excitement, and anticipation!  What will today bring?  How are things going to unfold today?

For me, Sunrises take more work to enjoy too.  To get up in time to watch the sunrise is really difficult for me.  Sunsets on the other hand are very easy.  You just have to be there.

The picture that is on display with this story is one that I took a few days ago, right outside my office here in Guyana.  I love seeing the Sunrise, or even a full moon, through the leaves of a Palm Tree.  There is something exotic, and lovely, and heartwarming about it.

As the sun peaks over the horizon for the first time in the day, it is almost saying "Hey. . . time for a new start!  Time to see what wonders the day has to offer!"  I like that.

Jesus was a fan of sunrises.  At least I think that is the case, since he chose to come out of the tomb first thing in the morning.  That certainly was His new beginning. . . and ours too!  When he came out of that tomb, he was saying "Hey. .  time for a new start!  Time to see the wonders that God has to offer those who chose to follow me!"

I suppose that is why I like sunrises so.  It reminds me of the new start we receive in Christ!

Are you enjoying the sunrise in your life?  Jesus said "I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly!"  And that sunrise, that Resurrection of His insures our abundant life.

The great thing is, that His sunrise insures for us a fresh start!  A time to start with a clean slate, and revel in His sunrise.

Take time to enjoy the sunrise.  Not just the one at the beginning of the day, but the one provided by the Son.  Enjoy the new beginning!

See you on the Road!

Maintenance Work

Recently, here in Guyana, we had to do a lot of maintenance work to our fleet of vehicles.  As time goes by, this becomes an issue more and more.  (Our newest vehicle is a 1992 model.)

With any vehicle, especially an older one, preventive maintenance is vitally important.  As machinery gets older, careful attention must be taken to make sure that everything is maintained and taken care of.  Otherwise, when you need the vehicle the most, it may not be able to deliver.

The same is true with us!  What are you doing to make sure that you maintain yourself?

Pay close attention here, because I am not just talking about physical maintenance.  Although physical maintenance IS important. . . we are not mere machines.  We are spiritual beings.  And since we are not mere machines. . . we have to take care of what is in our hearts, as well as what makes us tick physically.

Jesus understood this, and took time off for personal maintenance.  It was vital to His work, and it is vital to us too.  Take a look here.

Mark 6:30-31
30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996 

Jesus knew the importance of moving to a quiet place and getting rest.  

Sometimes, in our society today, it is difficult to get rest.  We roll out of bed early in the morning, and have a long list of things to do.  We are off to work, getting the kids off to school, running from one appointment to another, shopping, paying bills, . . . . living.  We just get too busy.

If we are not careful, we don't take care of ourselves. . . either physically OR spiritually.

What are you doing to take care of yourself?

The journey we are on is a one way trip to Heaven.  And we have to take care of ourselves if we are going to reach our destination.

Just like the vehicles we have here in Guyana. . . if we want them to get us where we need to go, we have to take care of them.  If YOU want to get to your final destination, you have to do the same.

Are you spending time in prayer, study, and meditation?  If not, your maintenance may need to be looked at.

Don't miss out on the destination because you didn't take care of an "oil change" in your spiritual life.  Spend time reading your Bible.  Talk to God everyday.  And retreat to a quiet place every once in a while.

Taking care of the maintenance will insure you make it on the journey.

See you on the road!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mountain Top Experience II

The next year, after climbing Crestone Peak, I got the opportunity to climb Mt. Elbert.  I had never heard of Mt. Elbert, so I did some research.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that Mt. Elbert was the HIGHEST mountain in Colorado. . . standing at 14,443 Feet.

What an incredible Mountain!

On the day of our summit attempt, we started early, just like we did on Crestone.  As the team started the climb, I began to slowly drift further and further behind.  By the time we cleared the timber line, I knew I was in trouble and probably wouldn't make it to the top.  Actually, that was fine with me.  I was tired and decided that I would just stop and rest, perhaps take a nap, and then join the group as they came down the mountain.

I was just relaxing and starting to doze off, when I heard a noise above me.  When I opened my eyes, there was one of the young men on the trip, Tracy.  He said "What are you doing?"  I told him that I was going to stay here, and he should go on.  He climbed down from where he was and told me that since I wasn't going to the top, he wasn't going to the top.  I argued with him for a while, but soon saw that he was serious. . . so I got up and started walking with him.

The angle of ascent for us had some surprises.  In fact, about a half dozen "False Summits".  A False summit is when you see a valley, and a rise, and what appears to be the top of the mountain.  Only when you get to that "top", you discover there is another valley, rise, and "top" ahead of you.  After you have done this two or three times, it really starts to play with you head.

After clearing the false summits, and finally seeing the REAL summit ahead, I simply ran out of gas.  I was totally exhausted and literally could not pick my feet up.  I laid down and Tracy again said, "What are you doing?  The top is just right there!  Come on. . . let's go!"

I looked up at Tracy and told him that not only would I not make it to the top, but that I was pretty sure I wouldn't make it down either.  I was TOTALLY spent.  I then told him that if he wanted to make it to the top. . he better go now. (No. . .I didn't think I was going to die, I just thought I would end up spending the night on the mountain top.)

With tears in his eyes, Tracy walked the rest of the way up to the mountain.  As I watched him go, I saw how his shoulders were slumped, and how he was genuinely disappointed that I wasn't going to make it to the top.

Shortly after he got to the top, I saw him coming back, with about six other guys from our Youth Group.  When they got to me, one of the young men said "What's going on?"  I told him I was spent, that not only would I not make it to the top, but I might not even make it back to our campsite that night.  I was literally as exhausted as I have ever been.

With that revelation, the young men looked at each other, and did the most amazing thing.  They picked me up and carried me to the top!  Now remember, we were above 14,000 feet!  There was very little oxygen in the air, and here these guys were carrying me!  (Mind you, I wasn't as heavy then as I am now. . .but it was still a job.)

When we got to the top, several of us hugged, and cried, and basked in what had just happened!  It was amazing!  And one of the most humbling experiences of my life.

Long story short, several of the guys, and our guide, walked me down the mountain and the closer we got to camp. . the better I began to feel.  (Incidently, I went back years later with my wife and oldest daughter, and we climbed that mountain again. . together.)

So what did I learn?

First, I would have never made it to the top without Tracy.  He was a young man, but he pushed, prodded, and encouraged me almost from the start of that days climb to make it.  I have thought of him often, and know without a doubt that I would have never made it without HIS HELP!

Second, I learned the power of a group.  Those young men that Tracy brought back made absolutely certain that I was going to make it to the top. . . even if it meant carrying me there!  That group made sure that I made it!

Finally, I learned that I would NOT have made it to the top if I had allowed my pride to get in the way.  Lot's of times people offer to help, and because of our pride. . . we don't let them.  And we miss out on the Mountain top!

Sometimes, we need to be Tracy.  We need to be willing to do all we can do to help those around us.  We need to push, prod, and encourage those who don't think they can make the journey.

Sometimes, we need to be the group.  Because sometimes it just takes more than one to make it on the journey.  And the power that the group offers, often allows us to do things that are incredibly difficult.

And sometimes, we need to swallow our pride and let people help.  That is hard to do, but when we do. .  the Mountain top awaits!

What's keeping you from the Mountain Top?

See you on the road!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mountain Top Experience!

Many years ago, I went on a “Wilderness Trek” in Colorado.  I have to tell you, it was one of the most spiritually enriching things I have ever been involved in.  It was truly an amazing experience.
We ended up climbing a mountain in Colorado that was 14,294 feet to the summit.  Crestone Peak is the 7th highest mountain in Colorado, and one that offers an incredible view from the top!  And the view along the way was nothing short of breathtaking.  From the very first camp, until the top of the mountain, the scenery and the view were something that I will never, ever forget.
On the morning of the summit attempt, I was awakened by our guide, walking around the camp waking everyone up with a loud “Wakey Wakey!”  As I rolled out of my sleeping bag (literally since we were on the side of the mountain), I remembered thinking “Are we climbing this mountain in the dark?” (It was still pitch black outside.)
This was the beginning of a long long day, and certainly was not the first rude awakening of the day.
We were camped just below “timber line” which is right at 12,000 feet.  Do you know why the call it Timber line?  Because at that point, the trees, and even grass, doesn’t grow.  Do you know why?  Because the air is too thin.  I didn’t know this fact either that morning, but I was soon to find out.
As we started the journey, it was very interesting.  I walked across a patch of ice that was larger than the size of a football field.  However, this football field was on a MAJOR INCLINE. . .and some of our party slid down the patch more than once.
After we got through the ice floe, then. . . .the steepness of the journey increased in a drastic way.  Very quickly, the teens and younger folks in our group moved ahead of me. . .and I found myself alone.  I kept climbing.
Quickly, I noticed the lack of oxygen.  In fact, it got so bad, that I would walk for a minute, and stop and rest for a minute. . . or two. .  .or five.  I was constantly out of breath.
As the climb got steeper, and the air got thinner, my resolve to make it to the top began to shrink. . . as quickly as some of my friends had slid down the ice earlier.
That is when ONE VERSE from the New Testament really sprung out at me.  Here it is;
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13
I bet a quoted that verse a thousand times that day.  I would stop and huff and puff, quote the verse, say a prayer, and move on.  I climbed, cried, rested, and climbed some more.
And found the strength to make it to the top!
When I got there, I did not expect what happened next.  There at the top were several of my party who obviously had beat me to the top.  And what happened next was amazing!
As I came over the top, they started applauding!  Then, they rushed forward and hugged me!  I was totally enveloped in love and approval!
I had never had a “Mountain Top Experience” . . . on a MOUNTAIN TOP before!
They sang, they prayed, they hugged!  And I felt wonderful!
Imagine what it would be like to have that kind of reception after you had just climbed hand over fist to the top of your last mountain?  Just think about how you would have felt, if someone had hugged, prayed with, and sang to you, as you rose over the top of your last “difficult climb”.
You know. . .that is EXACTLY what we are here to do!  To encourage, cheer, and praise those who have gone through a difficult journey, and have come out on the other end.
Are you one of those people who cheers and encourages others along the roadway of life?  You can be.  Just decide that is what you are going to do. . .and then. . . .JUST DO IT!
After that terrible climb, I could have cheer all alone.  But the victory was 100% better with other who knew what I had just overcome, and were willing to wait for me, and cheer me on!
What about you?
See you on the Road!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Out of Power. . . .

Once, while driving between Muskogee Oklahoma and Fort Smith Arkansas, my car just stopped.  No power, no nothing!  I tried to start the car, but no click, not engine turn over, no nothing.

Then, as if that wasn't enough. . . NO CELL PHONE SERVICE!

What made this even worse, was I was on a deserted stretch of the Turnpike, early on Sunday morning. . . on my way to speak at a Church.  I was all dressed up in my suit, had my lesson all prepared, and was out of power. . . TOTALLY!

What an adventure!

I know on your journey through life, you have no doubt had those episodes where everything in your life, and perhaps even you yourself, felt powerless.  It sure is a lost, frustrating, and almost hopeless feeling.

What to do, what to do?

On this particular occasion, when the car just stopped, I coasted down a hill.  So, I decided that maybe if I walked up the hill, I could get a cell signal, or perhaps see a house in the distance.  So uphill I walked. . . to find NOTHING as far as I could see.

I took out my phone, and alas. . . a spotty signal.  I tried calling the church I was going to speak at, but kept getting cut off.  It was crazy.

After several minutes of trying, and no cars coming in either direction. . . I decided to walk back to the car and wait.  As I was walking back, I know I was a sight.  Walking along a deserted stretch of road, just as the sun has come up, with nothing or no one in sight. . . dressed in my finest suit!  Talk about overdressed for the situation.

Just before I got back to my car, I heard the sound of traffic behind me, and turned around in time to see a LARGE CONVOY of U.S. National Guardsmen bearing down on me.  No doubt, they thought I was a strange sight too. . . so they stopped.

When I explained that my rented car just stopped for no reason, they called back to someone in the convoy whose regular job was a Service Repairman for the very model I was driving.  He came, asked me what happened, and promptly raised the hood and fixed the problem.  ( A loose connection on a wire! )  With that, they whisked away, and shortly thereafter, I was on my way too. . . albeit late.

The truth is, when we are battling with feelings of "powerlessness", the fact is. . . we just may be disconnected from THE Power source.

Praise God in His sanctuary. 
Praise Him in His mighty heavens. 
2 Praise Him for His powerful acts; 
praise Him for His abundant greatness. 
Psalms 150:1-2

Monday, August 9, 2010

What WAS that?

Not long ago, my wife (Colleen) and I were driving from Georgetown to the airport.  This is a drive that usually takes about an hour, and is full of surprises along the way.

About 25 minutes into our journey, we were passing through a community, and up ahead, I could see a man out walking his pet.  I wasn't really paying close attention to it, but as we got even with the man, I glanced over and was puzzled at what I saw.  This animal, that was on a leash, looked like a cross between a dog, a monkey, and a raccoon.

As we passed by, I turned and asked Colleen, "Did you SEE that?"  "I am so glad you saw it too!" was her reply, followed by "What WAS that?"  I didn't know.

I found out later that it was a Sloath.  An animal common to the Jungle here in Guyana.  It certainly is NOT the common type of house pet.

The truth is, on the road here there are often strange things to be seen.  Cars and trucks of every shape and size, families of four or five. . . all riding on the same motorcycle, people walking, and people on bicycles.  And of course, there are Horse carts, Donkey carts, push carts, Cows, Pigs, Goats, Horses, and Donkey's sharing the same roadway.  I have even seen gators and LARGE Snakes on the road as well.

In truth, we never know what we are going to find on the road here.  Some of the surprises are humorous, some are strange, and some are sad or scary.

Everything and anything is possible on the roadways in Guyana.  Everything shares the road.

Isn't that the way it is in the world.  We are all here together. Great and small, happy and sad, on foot or traveling by car. . . we all share the same place.  Sometimes we may seem odd to others, and sometimes . . . others may seem odd to us.  But we ALL share the same road.  We are all God's creatures, trying to get where we need to go.

As we travel the roadway together, in Guyana or anywhere else in the world, lets remember we are all here together.  We are traveling together.  And the journey is the same for all of us. . . ultimately.

It wouldn't be right or proper to tell others. . . even the pigs. . . that they have no right to be on the road.  Here in Guyana, and on life's journey too, we are ALL on the road.  We are all on the journey together.

And here is another thought. . .
While we are on the road, we are OFTEN going to be met by surprises.  It may be a strange animal on the side of the road, being led around on a leash.  It may be a blowout!  It may be any sort of surprise that interrupts your journey.

At that time of surprise, look around. . . AND LOOK UP . . . for help!  There is help out there.  And God sends it in many forms.

Be on the lookout to let God use YOU for help as well.  There are lots of broken hearts on the roadway.  And you might be just the one to start the healing.  Let God use you.  Look around for those who need your help.

After all. . . .we are all on the road together.

See you on the road!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

From Guyana. . .

As I write this post, I am sitting in my office just east of Georgetown Guyana.  I live here about half of the year, and have done so for almost twenty years.  What an amazing place!

Guyana is what is commonly referred to as a "Developing Nation", which means that a lot of the people live at or below the poverty level.  Many of my friends here do not have the "things" that most of us in the USA take for granted.  But the people here are some of the richest people I know!

They have a real capacity to love, and be loved!  They are truly some of the most sharing and hospitable people I have ever met!  Total strangers here will offer me a place to stay, and will care for me as long as I need their help.


The weather here is also amazing!  It is what I call "endless summer".  The year round, the temperature is between 70 and 92 degrees.  As a result, you don't ever see the changing of the seasons.  About the only change here is rainy season, or not rainy season. We get between 7 and 10 feet of rain a year here!  (Can anyone say "Rain Forest"?)

Simple things that we take for granted in the USA are not so simple here.  The electricty "comes and goes" here a lot.  In fact, yesterday we had three "Blackouts", and that is not uncommon.

Furthermore, although the name Guyana means "land of many waters", for the most part. . . you cannot drink the tap water.  You really have to be careful, or Typhoid can rear it's ugly head.

Malaria is a common illness in the interior.  Imagine that!

Yet with all the challenges, and with all the difficulties, the people here are some of the happiest I know!  Seems they have learned to enjoy the journey. . . even if it has it's challenges!

What about you?  Do you have challenges in your life that make you complain?  Why not take a look at the things in your life that make you happy?  We all have them. . . we just have to look sometimes!

As you travel along the way, take time to look at the things that are good in your life.  Stop and smell the roses.  Look at the clouds.  Enjoy the sunset.  Take time to be with your family and friends.  Watch a child playing.  Breathe in the fresh air.  Enjoy the change of seasons.

Whatever it is. . . enjoy the Mile Markers along the way!   You'll be glad you did!

See you on the road!


Welcome to the Journey!


I don't know about you but for me, to pack my bags and get ready for a trip is really a rush!  In fact, most of the time, the planning of the trip starts weeks ahead of the trip, and the anticipation is part of the fun!

Sometimes on the Journey, we get bogged down in the aspect of "Are we there yet?".  What a shame.  Part of the fun of the journey is getting there!  And too many times, we are more concerned with where we are going, than where we are right now!

Hopefully, as we take a look at the Mile Markers Along the Way, we will really enjoy the journey.

Life is a journey you know.

Even if you don't leave your hometown your whole life, you are still on a journey.  What Mile Markers have you passed?  What are the "mile stones" that have made up your life along the way?

Maybe we can look at all that together!

At any rate, enjoy the journey!  And let's take a long at the Mile Markers along the way!

See you on the road!