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Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I wanted to take just a moment to wish you a very Merry Christmas this morning!

I hope you've slept a little late, found a nice cup of hot chocolate or coffee, and are daring to spend the morning in your pajamas! By the time you read this, I'll have been up for a while watching stars dance in the eyes of my children, and hopefully in the eyes of my bride, and talking about the reason we give gifts at Christmas time. It's been a subject for us all month, it seems, and the cool thing is that the kids really seem to get it pretty easily.

Have you thought about that lately? Why do we give and receive gifts at Christmas time? Did some anti-Jesus fellow plant that movement just to distract us from the "real" meaning of Christmas?

Actually, its very glorifying to God that we give gifts to one another in commemoration of both the gift of God in Christ to us, and in memory of the gifts of the Magi to Jesus.

In the letter to the church at Ephesus, the Apostle Paul tells us, "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma." (Ephesians 5:1-2, NASB)

You see, when we imitate the actions of love with which God acts toward us, we walk in obedience to His will. We give gifts, then, to remind us of how God acts in love towards us. The key is that we don't forget the why behind the what.

This morning, in whatever context you find yourself, remember to copy and paste the love of God into your home. Let the hot chocolate and coffee remind you of the warmth and welcome of the forgiveness of Christ in His grace; let the gifts you give remind you of the gratitude we should live within responding to the amazing gift of God in Christ; let the relationships you foster reflect the love you find in Christ every day as we walk in relationship with Him.

Merry Christmas... and may the peace of Christ which passes all understand invade, overtake, and contour every part of your day!

Pax Christi!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving as it Swirls About My Feet and Climbs Upon My Shoulders

Sweet rolls for breakfast, strong black coffee, way too much snacking, and a little target practice with the b-b gun out back... now that's a relaxing mornin'. Today I woke up amidst the pines of East Texas and strode downstairs to the beautiful aromas of strong black coffee and the smiles of my children... a kiss from Penny and life was once again in balance for a new day!

It is the little blessings of God's providence which speak the loudest to me these days. The feast is the late-comer to a party already celebrated in the eyes of my wife and children. My heart is full before my stomach begins to smile at the yummy smells of the day. Mine is the life I dreamt of when just a boy, and for that I am beyond thankful, indeed I am simply drawn to a place of quiet amazement as the providential blessings of God spin around me in an orchestrated cacophony of life. I am blessed to pastor both my family and my church, and to hear the voices of my children ask questions and reveal the praises of the God who made us. I am blessed with a fellowship which would seek the simple profundity of the Word of God with me before the spectacular emotionalism of the world. I am blessed with a woman who loves me completely and looks bravely with me into the future of a life ordained for sacrifice. Through the natural accounting of pain and blessing, often intermingled, I find myself in awe that the Almighty might allow me such a life as this.

Well, the turkey's almost ready, and my children would rather their Daddy be off the computer... and I hope they always do!

May our hearts take note of the favorable providence of God, as did our forefathers who landed at Plymouth; and may our hearts find gleeful camaraderie with the cranberry sauce and apple pie!

Pax Christi ad Nobis!


Thursday, October 1, 2009


This week I've been in Job. The oldest of all the text of Scripture hammers home the simplest, most massive foundation stone of life... that God is God and I am not.

What's really amazing to me is that God cares at all about us.

I mean really... think about it... I must be the rough equivalent of a super-miniature ant, size-wise, compared to His massiveness. Why does He care, concern Himself, much less love us???

Yesterday I asked God about something that was massive from my temporal, human perspective, and He showed me quickly about His great love for me... He stepped right into my comparatively insignificant minutia, which of course is huge at my little level, and showed me His love and faithfulness. It was really cool!

Job asked God why He would give a rip about man, too (check out chapter 7). In the end, it is enough that God does, that God loves, that God chooses to involve with us. He is God. Through good and bad, He is God. Through the sun on our faces to the dirt on our knees, He is God. Sometimes it feels great, and sometimes it hurts for no discernable reason, but He is still God.

For this miniature ant, that's enough... its simply amazing that He actually cares!


Monday, August 17, 2009

The World Stopped but for a Moment

Today my life sped by in unparalleled color and blurring fusion as a morning I have hoped for and dreaded came and went with barely the inkling of an evidence that my heart had somehow torn and stretched all in a blink as my daughter took up her uniform and her back-pack to go to kindergarten.

Oh, I know, its a little thing... but so was she just yesterday.

When did the little pink tennis shoes that sit on my writing desk and warm my heart get traded for the black leather mary-janes she wore today? When did the precious purple quilted jacket get traded for the plaid of the private school uniform? When did she suddenly grow that tall?!

Each step I remember as if it were just yesterday... and sometimes it feels as if it were. I remember buying each new size of shoe, and the day her acceptance letter came from the school; but oh, how much more quickly it all ensued than my heart had somehow expected.

As she clung to my arms this morning, nothing inside of me wanted to leave her side. It was as if the insides of me were battling with the situation, saying, "Would someone just scoot a grown-up chair over to the end my daughter's table, please? I'm just going to stay and take the class with her!"

I am so proud of my little girl, but sad to the point of tears that press upon the surface of my eyes as I tell them not to fall. I guess that as the grey hair finds me ever-more-quickly, so too must the growth of my children. I wouldn't have it any other way, I know; but the heart within me wonders... for this morning, as she clung to me and I knelt beside her table, we held hands and the world, for me, stopped but for a moment... and there in the suspension of time and space I drank deep of the moment and wondered why it could not have been longer as I reluctantly walked away.

A final whisper, "Ich bin sehr stolz von dir"... and my heart was left on a kindergarten table.

Beauty is for a moment and then it grows and becomes again. And such is the state of the beauty walking through my heart as it giggles and laughs, and grows again, never realizing that my heart has stretched and ached, and smiled along the way.

Ich bin sehr stolz von dir, Jordan! Hoo-ah!


Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Walk in the Sun

This morning I have that particular delight of spending focused time with my children.  We've cooked pancakes, stirred the batter with chopsticks for no particular reason, watched copious episodes of our favorite cartoons, and finally exhausted our little energies with a nice walk in the sun, up on the levee, overlooking the Mighty Mississippi.

As I held the hands of my children, was repeatedly rewarded with handfuls of rocks and seashells found along the way, and walked the morning away in the ever-heating sun, I found myself enjoying a sense of the true blessings of the Almighty.  I cheered as JeeP showed me how he can "go fast", and wowed and exclaimed over Jordan as she discovered beautiful white seashell after beautiful white seashell... and then accepted their hands back in mine as we continued our walk.  Cyclist after cyclist rode by, but instead of wishing I was training for another triathlon, I found the peace of the love of my children and considered how our walk in the morning sun had become so much more to me.

In the years to come, the expressions of the blessing will undoubtedly change with the growth of them, but for today, it is enough that a smile of the heart was imbued with little hands holding rocks and shells on a walk in the sun.

On a cooler day, we'll walk farther perhaps... but today we have walked together, and that is more than enough.

In the peace of Christ,


Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Bride

This morning during prayer time, I read about my bride.

Today's readings were wonderful for me.  As we read about the descendants of Levi, the heritage of that house of Israel, and the descendants who fulfilled it, I found myself praying for my own children, and celebrating before the Lord the heritage He has given in their wonderful little lives.  I prayed for them individually, praised God for them, and proceeded to read the rest of the day's Scriptures.  As I journeyed through, I came to Proverbs 19:14... and the face of my bride filled my mind.

"House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord." (Prov. 19:14, NASB)

I waited many years for Penny, because I had from an early age discerned God's calling on my life into the clergy.  I had read from my earliest days about the paths of the Lord's clergy, and of the Bible's standards of a Godly wife.  In the end, I had determined from the time of my youth either to find that person whom God had set aside to work with me, live along side of me, and celebrate life together, praying that He had prepared just such a woman, or to live out my days in this temporal life in the sole intimate companionship of the Lord.  The day I met her, my soul jumped with fireworks.  A woman of beauty, of joy, of strength, and as the Proverbs said today, of prudence, or understanding, stood before me and suddenly worked along side of me!

Far beyond the blessings of this world, are the blessings of a good wife; and such are the blessings which God has attended unto me.

May my children, and their children to them be so blessed, and may the blessings of my God be visited continuously upon the bride who fulfills the heart of my youth and the joy of my grey.

Pax Christi,


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Back in the Saddle

This morning, I was awakened to the gentle nudge of my bride, the gleeful tones of my children playing, and the smell of fresh-brewed chicory coffee... it's been a good morning!

I got up and walked into the kitchen to receive a kiss from Penny, and hugs from the kids, and I found there at my chair a gift they had all prepared for Daddy while I was on the road from Sunday evening 'till yesterday morning.  Hanging over the back of my chair, was a beautiful pair of US Cavalry Saddlebags, circa 1915-ish, from the US 109th, which have miraculously lived out the last near-century in someone's barn in relatively perfect aged condition!  Inside of each saddle bag, was a picture of me with each of my children, in frames they painted themselves, and on top, slid gently beneath one of the straps, was a note from my bride... now that's somethin' to wake up to: old leather & a love note from my bride, and presents from my children!  And lest I fail to mention it, a necklace my daughter made for me (and yes, I'm wearing it right along with my Barbie band-aid!)  It was enough to get this old Texan emotional.

As I left this morning, then, I packed my saddle bags with the books, and needed accoutrements, of the day, and wondered how many times they had been packed by their original GI in the old US 109th.  I thought about the fact that so often the old things just seem to work better than the new things.  How an old wind up swiss watch will tend to keep perfect time, how real books don't "crash" and get lost on a computer's hard-drive when a virus hits (if you're not a mac user of course), and how almost 100 year old leather, properly cared for, is immediately ready to get right back in the saddle again... only this time carrying the Bible of a simple clergyman in his Jeep.

This morning's reading in the Scriptures was, in part, about the days of Moses, how old he was when he got his 'big assignment' and so forth.  I guess its impossible to tell whether we're at the beginning of our life's 'big assignment', at the end of it, or even in the middle, but I know this thing for certain, that when I slung my saddle bags over my shoulder, I was glad they had been tested, I was honored to bring them back into service, and their beauty is in the scars earned from many a trail ridden to guard the freedom my children now enjoy.

Perhaps as good leather grows better with good aging, so my soul grows closer to God with years along the journey... and in the end, it's simply good to be in the saddle, on the trail of the Almighty, and packed well for duty.

May God go before us all on the journey he has set before us!

Pax Christi!


Thursday, May 28, 2009

I Love My Boots...

This mornin' I got up, took a shower, and got dressed.  The last things I put on were my boots.  Truth is, I love my boots.  I've got two pair thanks to my sweet bride... my Dan Posts are my preachin' and sparkin' boots, and my Ariats keep my feet all kinds of comfortable on those days I can just relax.

My boots tell a lot about me, I guess.  Around once a year, I have to have my Posts resoled 'cause I wear 'em clean out; and the toes of my Ariats get scuffed every day... hence the oiled leather so I can get 'em looking good again.  They're more comfortable today than they were a year ago, and in ten or fifteen years, I'll have 'em just right... and no, don't even think I'll consider throwing them away for a new pair!

Of course, there'll be new pairs of boots along the trail, but the memories and dances that the old square toes of my Posts will hold by then will be too many to let me get rid of 'em.  Eventually, they won't look good enough to wear when I'm preachin'; and one Friday night I'll reluctantly retire them from date night.  They'll sit in my closet and wait for the days when I can sit in the back yard, smoke a cigar that brings back too many memories, kick up my feet in a chair and let the leather tell me the stories we've lived together.  Every line and crease tellin' about a trail we road, a saddle we sat, a dance where I held my girl tight for a waltz in Fredericksburg and kicked a little saw-dust around the floor doing the jitter-bug.  We'll talk out a pipe about the shores of the Mississippi down in the Frenchman's part of town, and they'll help me to remember the long, sweet fingers of my bride laced into mine like the stitching of good tack.

Many cities have seen the soles, and they could tell you stories you'll never get to hear... but I'll listen on mornin's like these; in times when JeeP's big enough to wear 'em for himself, and I finally give 'em to him, I'll just see him wearin' them like a pants leg when he's two, and remember Jordan bringing them to me in mornings already fading way too quickly.

Yes, I love my boots... as good on the trail as they are on the dance floor!  Made in Texas... right to wear even if you have to go to New York City!  I'll take my Posts into a cajun shoe-maker today, and they'll be good for another year!

May the trail be easy enough to ride and tough enough to enjoy!


Monday, May 11, 2009

My Pipe

Yesterday morning I found my favorite pipe!

Since our recent move to New Orleans, I had lost the very first pipe Penny ever bought for me, my favorite vintage Ben Wade Meerschaum Jambo pipe.  I discovered this particular pipe on my favorite web-site some years ago being sold out of an old pipe store in England... it was "New Old Stock" which meant that it was made back when a Ben Wade was really something to smoke, but that it had been sitting there for about 45 years just waiting for me to send an auction reminder gently over to my bride's e-mail... and to my complete delight, she took the hint!!!

It really does smoke like a dream... just cool enough in the hand, perfect temperature for the tobacco, and now beginning to turn that wonderful golden brown that meerschaum has long been known to achieve.  And for the past weeks, I've thought that I had lost it until yesterday morning when I reached into the sport-coat I chose and found that beautiful work of art!

Today is a study day for me at the office.  I love opening up to the new week's text in Scripture on Monday... its a fresh adventure into the ancient, and this morning was no disappointment.  I had plenty of fodder to dig through the Greek and Hebrew, the differentiations of the original Davidic text being quoted by the Christ, and the distinctions of Yahweh to Father when travelling from the Psalms to Luke's account of the Gospel.  I inked up my fountain pens, wrote notes in the margins of my beautiful new goatskin bound Cambridge Bible, and settled into a glorious little banter of translation and interpretation at my desk.

Its not a bad way to spend a morning... and it reminded me a few minutes ago of my old meerschaum pipe.  Even as the pipe smokes smoother the longer I smoke it, so do the pages of Holy Scripture grow clearer and more beautiful every week as the grand adventure draws me ever onward.  Little things jump out at me from old, ancient words, capturing my mind and inviting me to celebrate with those who have gone before me.  So long as I will journey the path before me, I find the fellowship of those who have been there ahead of me... and it is, for me, a glorious journey.

I wonder how that old pipe will smoke in twenty years... and I wonder what new, indeed truly ancient, discoveries I will find in these same texts those same twenty years from now.  Whatever lies beneath the surface upon which now I stand, I await the next discovery and revel in the jewels I have been shown today.

My the journey make you strong and yield great discoveries; and may the grace of Christ be with you today!


Thursday, May 7, 2009


Yesterday, I read a survey of clergy pertaining to their satisfaction with their own prayer life... the same day I received some unsettling news about our nation's observance of the National Day of Prayer, and it suddenly became imperative that I prepare our worship center with the bread and cup of Christ, and invite my parishioners to come by and join me in prayer before going to work.

The watershed moment for me, oddly enough, was not held within the response of my congregation, but within the moments preceding the onset of the formal time of prayer I had announced.  

As I knelt for prayer at the altar of communion, my heart was stilled just moments before the 6 AM service time, and I was suddenly brought to remember that just weeks ago, we had celebrated Holy Thursday, the day of Christ's death.  Now within the tradition of my raising, Maundy Thursday was not a huge point of observance, but this morning, as I took communion and celebrated the sacrifice of Christ once again, I was stirred and stilled all at the same time by the somehow right-ness of this time.  Could it be that all these twenty plus years of serving in the clergy I have missed such a central celebration as observing a special time of prayer and remembrance on the week-day of the death of Christ?  I'm fairly certain that there is no profound difference between Thursdays and Tuesdays in the eyes of Heaven, but this morning was different somehow.

It seems to me, that in the Protestant church, for the many beauties of the Reformation, that over the centuries we have somehow forgotten some of the beauties of tradition... and I don't believe that was the goal of such men as Luther.  Today is a new day, and perhaps a day to awaken the heart of Ancient Christianity.

For me, I believe that I will continue this simple Thursday morning ritual.  For me it is centering, purifying, and draws my attention to the grace I am given.  As I head into my weekend, I am reminded of what is truly important, that which is not of myself, but greater than I... from the Grace of Christ to the love of my wife and children, to the souls of my congregants.  I am reminded and honed for my work, and that is a good thing.

So happy Thursday to you, this morning... the day of Christ's amazing sacrifice!

May His grace find you today... indeed, may it rest upon all who seek Him!


Thursday, April 30, 2009

The End of the Week

Sometimes I come to the end of the week and wonder just how deeply I've dug the well, just how much water I've managed to draw, and just how much the crops are growing for my work.  I've come to rest in the idea of God "giving the increase", as the Apostle Paul so aptly states, but I find myself sitting in my office on the last evening of my work week, letting my mind wonder across the landscape of the tending of my flock, the times of simply stretching my soul to engage the throne of Heaven, and the moments of offering the simple Jesus to everyday people I tend to meet everyday.

Tonight, the tired feeling feels good.  I look at the work behind me and find hope and deep seated joy for the work which lies ahead.  The work is good and hard, and what more could a man ask for than to tend the field of the soul... so tonight, I think that I shall sleep deeply, because I have run another week's race.

And there you go... a peek inside of my brain.  

May the grace of Christ find you all tonight!


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Afternoon...

Well, Sunday has drawn to a pause for me and my mind is racing with scores of details, developments, and dreams.

Its interesting to watch the faces of parishioners as I preach.  I wonder about the successes and pain, the laughter and sorrows which might have accompanied the week's experience into which I am speaking.  It is, in the end, the space between their ears which forms the fertile field of formation for the precepts of Christ I'm charged to preach.

Today's sermon was all about God as "Father".  It was a fun sermon to preach, because I got to talk about my kids, but tough because so many people have pain in their lives when it comes to the idea of "Daddy".  For me, I am blessed with a Dad who loves me; but I stand at the point of hope on the behalf of those who would dare hope once more upon the love of an Almighty, compassionate God.  

Indeed, in the end, there is nothing new under the sun (thank you, Qoheleth); and the struggle of children to deal with their experiences in the families of origin is nothing new... but today, I preached into that struggle, and I wonder with concern for my people.  If only we might embrace God as He reveals Himself to be... willingly laying aside our own detrimental experiences and biases... wouldn't that be something!

The faces race through my mind, and my heart prays silent prayers after the last notes have sounded, and the final offerings of communion have been taken.  And that is what runs through the space between my ears in the hours after... just in case you might have wondered.

May the blessings of Christ be abundantly upon you today!


Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Saturday Press

Saturday in the mind of a pastor can be a place of many terraces.

By this time, my sermon has been rattling around in my head for at least a week, in this case for a lot longer, has made its way onto my desk for several hours of page turning and translation either during normal hours, or late evening, and is percolating now in my sub-conscience vying for attention in the conversations of my home.

The truth is, I find my sermons growing roots in my own life and relationship with God long, long before I ever reach the pulpit.  And this week, I'm preaching on what it means to believe.

For some years I have lived with the growing realization that the root of Biblical belief is found in followship.  The funny thing is that those who have not spent years in the church seem to sometimes get this more than those of us who have... its interesting to me.  Indeed, the grace of God is beyond our ability to earn, but we must also realize that faith is only proved out through the exercise of it in real time.

Today, I read again a reference to "Moses, the servant of God" in the book of Joshua, chapter 18, and was struck by the reminder that this title is venerated in Scripture unto the uber-committed.  Even the basic Greek word for belief lends itself more to following God than understanding God, though certainly the understanding of the basics of who God is, and the soul's embrace of His grace offered through Christ are integral parts of the whole.

In the end, "I believe" joins us more to the ancient Hebrew fathers, the church fathers, and indeed to Christ Himself as we engage true belief... heart, soul, mind, and strength.  It is in the latter that the three before it find their proof, and that the venerated title, "servant of God" seems to be found.

Oh that I would run this race in such a way as that!

And that my friends, is what runs through the space between my ears this morning as I play with my children, hear the songs of my daughter, and help my son make great adventures in the backyard.

May your belief find feet this morning; indeed may it be so for all of us!


Friday, April 17, 2009

Pushin' Forty

I'm about to turn thirty-nine in just a few months, and the realization that I'm pushin' forty has been creeping up on me for some time now.

I can't really claim mid-thirties anymore, my twenties are somewhere back on the side of the road half forgotten, and college seems like it happened in a different life-time!  Just this past July, I noticed that I had more grey hair in my beard than I could easily count... the funny thing is, I thought to myself, "cool".

It's funny being a part of my generation at this stage of life.  I'm not quite a dead-head, and didn't see Hendrix play the national anthem, but I remember Hank Aaron hitting one out of the park at Arlington stadium toward the end of his career.  I'm not a child of the 50's or the 60's, but still live in the afterwash of the weird combined impact of both eras.  Computers were a brand new thing when I went to college, but I love my macbook pro!  I spend half my journaling online, and half in a leather-bound book that would fit in a study a hundred years ago.  It's cool and weird all at the same time.

Last week I read something cool that put things into perspective for me.  I read about the time when Moses came out to address the people of Israel before they went into the Promised Land of Canaan.  He was passing the torch of Leadership to Joshua, and suddenly it hit me that even Joshua was getting a little "long in the tooth" himself!  It seems that Joshua was between 60 & 80 (if the quick math in my head serves me well) when he picked up leading all of Israel... and suddenly, I felt young again!

I can imagine relating to Joshua in my youth, when every turn felt as though I was about to enter the Promised Land, only to find that life, and ministry, are a long journey home.  I can think of times of my life that felt like wondering in a desert, and suddenly realize that Joshua had to do that with the children of Israel for far, far longer than I have ever experienced.  I think of my life now, even as I sit at my kitchen counter on my day off and type this on a beautiful, easy to use, computer, and realize how very blessed I am!

The days of charging wind mills long past, my life is one of walking with people... leading them to the God I know and have come to love and live for.  Individuals have become more important than movements; the latter serving the former instead of the other way around... and interestingly enough, I still get up in the mornings enthusiastic about giving my life to the movement of, the person of, the mission of God today.

Pushin' forty seems suddenly like a starting place, and something deep within me says that it was always supposed to be just that.

May the blessings of Christ be upon you today!


A New Day in the Big Easy

Well, its a new day... I've progressed into the virtual age and have started bloggin!  For a man who loves real pages of real books, writes with real ink from real pens, this is a big step!

The cool thing is, I get to be connected with all of you in a new, real-time way!

So welcome to my life!  It's where the ancient meets the modern, and technology collides with classical to form the chocolate in peanut butter life I know... and I'm glad you're along for the ride!