Sunday, January 29, 2012


Peace - I grew up near Berkeley, California and was a late teen during 60's. Peace symbols, tie died shirts and peace signs were prolific. As most things I believed at eighteen, my mind has matured and I now KNOW what peace means. Peace is almost a mistranslation  to convey the Greek word - eirene. The more accurate translation is "Harmony" or "Serenity". If you are lucky enough to be named Irene, your name means harmony.

Over the past few weeks, I have been talking about the fruit of the Spirit. In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul talks about what should be the by-product of our faith. I would like to share these verses from a translation by Eugene Peterson entitled, The Message:

"But what happens when we live God's way?
He brings gifts into our lives,
much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard --
things like affection for others, 
exuberance about life,
We develop a willingness to stick with things,
a sense of compassion in the heart,
and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people.
We find ourselves in loyal commitments,
not needing to force our way in life,
able to marshal and direct our energies wisely."

Peace is one of those listed, Peterson translates it serenity. Eirene is not a passive concept or an absence of conflict. Rather, it is active and it drives people to find common ground. It comes from within us and drives us to be at harmony in our relationships, environment and ourselves. When faced with conflict or pain, it is serenity. The song below was written in the midst of unbelievable loss, yet it begins with the words: 

"When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot,
Thou has taught me to say,
It is well with my soul"


His response sums up the concept of peace. We have talked about forgiveness, joy, love, faith and many other parts of a relationship with God. Peace, or that inner harmony, like joy is what sustains us. There is nothing the world can throw in our path to derail us. Pray that God can bring harmony to your life, an inner contentment. Then share that peace with those whom you come in contact.


~I am available to speak to churches and groups, 
Please contact me at

Sunday, January 22, 2012


~Please Watch This Short Video Before Reading~

Words, just words. They pour out of our mouths every day. Unfortunately,   they often pour out without a thought behind them. They can hurt, inspire, teach, encourage, condemn, uplift, marginalize, gossip or be an affirmation of love. Words come at us constantly throughout the day - radio, TV, billboards, texts, Tweets and the internet in general. Words are the tools that can sway a country, through the oratory gifts of a Hitler or a Martin Luther King. They are the medium by which we learn. They are the way we express our love. They are the weapon we use to destroy another person. Words, just words...

We all have words that have stuck in our minds. Something said by a parent, loved one, mentor or teacher. We have no idea if our words will register in the mind of the person with whom we are communicating. If you have ever been the parent of a teenager, you wonder if they are even penetrating their skull. Yet, I know that is incorrect, those words were heard, maybe not heeded. Words have a tendency to come back around and pop back into our heads years after they were spoken. I once read, and can't remember where, that it takes seven positive words to make up for the damage made by one negative word. 

I remember my Junior High School Counselor telling me I should take mainly shop classes (vocational/mechanical classes). He said, "You will probably work at the Standard Oil Refinery, you don't need to worry about College." Being who I am, I took that as a challenge, I hope he knew I would. But those words motivated me to go to College and eventually Graduate School. How many others would have taken them at face value and never realized their true potential.

I also remember the words of a minister named Lynn Anderson. He slowly and patiently shared the grace of God with me. He helped me realize that no amount of legalistic adherence to Dogma brought me closer to God. He taught me to see the beauty of God in everyone I meet. To see people as Jesus saw people; made in the image of God. To be quick to forgive and slow to condemn. I learned to listen to the "story" that each person possesses. To not judge people based on where they are today, but rather where they are in the story of their life.

In the Gospel of John, he begins with these words:

"In the beginning was the word..."

In this verse, John is talking about Jesus. However he uses a very powerful Greek word - logos. In my library I have a series of books called, The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. When it attempts to define logos, 200 pages are dedicated to this one word. Among many of the definitions are: mind, thought, expression, reason and communication. John chose a word that is full of dynamics and is multifaceted.

In the same way words are more than just words. They carry with them power. As a kid I used to hear, "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me". Today, at almost 60, I can say, "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can rip my heart to shreds." or "Material things can make me happy for a bit, but words can change my life forever."

Everyday you have the opportunity to change the world around you. I would encourage you to choose your words wisely. Do your best to make your words a blessing to the people you interact with. See if encouragement gets better results than judgment. Don't get me wrong. I still have a tendency to blast people, but I am trying to control that.

So, with all that being said - Change your words and change the world.

~I am available to speak at churches or other groups. 
Contact me at


Saturday, January 7, 2012



"Kindness" - When we read about the fruit of the Spirit, we see the template of what God wants us to become.
 "The fruit of the Spirit is: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" - Galatians 5:22
Did you notice that none of those attributes talk about religious division, hatred, prejudice, doctrinal purity, church attendance or having the "Truth"? They also are not things you do, but rather what is within you. In my almost six decades, I have met many religious people. Most have had these attributes in abundance, some have used their "religion" as a tool to show their superiority over non-believers. These self-righteous paragons of Christianity have been some of the meanest people I have ever encountered. They collect their adherence to dogma and their own moral code like a Boy Scout collects Merit Badges.  I believe the fruit of the Spirit is really the essence of Christianity.

The church was intended to be the incarnation of God in the midst of His creation. It was never meant to be a political or religious power. It is to be a group of people who, after placing their faith in God, continually reflect His kindness and love to everyone they encounter.

A large number of the people who follow this blog have been hurt by this very church. There are literally thousands of people who believe the church has left them. Sadly for many, they also believe God has abandoned them. I know exactly how you feel. I have written about what it was like for me to wander in the "wastelands", and it wasn't pleasant. Even though I felt betrayed and abandoned, I still knew there was a North Star within me calling me back to God. I have read a great deal about King David. He was a deeply flawed man, yet never gave up on God. He committed adultery and even planned the death of the husband of his lover. Yet he still, in his own feeble way, continued to make his way back to his Shepherd. My prayer for you is that you find your way home.

I many ways I am hoping that some church leaders will read this. To them I say, go out and find every person your church has alienated or marginalized. When you find them, apologize for your failure to treat them with the kindness God expects of you. Look at the fruit of the Spirit and see how much of your treatment of them reflects that fruit. See if reconciliation works better than judgment.

Now to the rest of you. Kindness does not cost you a penny. I would invite you to start incorporating random and intentional acts of kindness into your daily life. We live in a hostile competitive world. Kindness and compassion seem to get set aside as we continue our fast paced lives. Look for opportunities to be kind. Intentionally become an instrument of healing with those around you. Don't expect anything in return, nor expect the person to become miraculously what you want them to be. Just know in your heart you are doing what God would have you do. Maybe, just maybe, this world could become a better place.

Have a wonderful Day!

And for Josephine, Here's Johnny, and by the way, HE NAILS IT!