Am I Good Enough?

I was mesmerized by Whitney Houston’s televised memorial service. Maybe, I do miss church gatherings a little bit after all. They certainly “had church”! Whitney was blessed with an amazing gift, a voice that she honed into something extraordinary. She was, apparently, a very sweet, relational soul with an abiding faith in … Continue reading

Compromise?

For the last several weeks, I have been poking around in the nooks and crannies of the Hager Hacienda in an effort to eliminate clutter. Boxes of outdated and unused books have been donated to the community library. Clothes went to the drop-off box. Old dishes were delivered to a local … Continue reading

Ode to Thanksgiving

Temperatures cooling Hearts warming Family converging Kitchen cooking Television parading Table praying, chattering, complimenting, delightfully consuming Dishes washing Football watching Paper reading Naps calling Holidays commercialized This one less corrupted A reminder to Hold each other close Remember our advantages And those for whom they remain a distant hope All … Continue reading

Anger

Is it bad to get angry?  Contrary to what I was taught, no, it is not. It is not bad to let your anger control you? Yes. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry. (Ephesians 4:26) Anger is a … Continue reading

Troublemaker

  Here are some ideas that will get you branded a troublemaker. Advocacy People should not be pushed to the edges of our society. Some people cannot get on their feet without some help or advocacy. We all do not have the same opportunities because our history and circumstances vary … Continue reading

Route 7

Transitions are always unsettling, filled with thoughts of excitement, fear, anticipation, and anxiety. It would be great if we could set our personal GPS and follow the directions to our desired location, never needing to redirect. But, alas, that is not at the way life plays out and it really … Continue reading

Heroes 02

  Celebrity Edition There are a few well-known people that have made my list of admirable folks, including a singer, a football coach, a Bible teacher, and a comedian. Johnny Cash Cash is always at the top of my “most admired” list because he was true to himself. His musical … Continue reading

Heroes 01

I am a bit of a cynic, so I don’t have many heroes. Like everybody else, I have been disappointed, hurt, and dissed by people. Sometimes I think about those people, but not very often, because I choose to focus on that which builds, rather than that (those) who would pull … Continue reading

Fighter

Right now, I am frustrated. My current circumstances provide lots of opportunities to find myself in such a state. Fortunately, I have been in good spirits for some time. Roadblocks have led to creative thinking or an acceptance of the uncertainty of all that hangs in the balance. I am not … Continue reading

Rage

Last Saturday  I was picking up Patty at the door of our local Wal-Mart when I saw a grocery cart stall out right in the middle of the very busy main lane of the parking lot. The guy in the car in front of me, yells out, “So, you’re just … Continue reading

Nathan

Thirty-one years ago, I was twenty-five, Patty was just twenty-three and Nathan was thinking about finally being born. You see, according to the doctor, he was nearly a month late. He has always been one to rarely change his mind and when he found his zone, he stayed with it. So, … Continue reading

Gary Means

I was at my son’s watching my favorite NFL team be soundly trounced by a divisional opponent last Sunday, when my iPhone vibrated indicating a new email. That’s how I learned of Gary’s death from a sudden heart attack on Saturday. Like all of you, I was shocked saddened and … Continue reading

The System

I am not a fan of “the system”. There is a bit of the rebel and non-conformist in me. It is not as though I don’t understand reasonable expectations and endeavor to meet them. Rather, my issues have to do with the systematizing of everything and disregarding people who don’t fit … Continue reading

Advocacy

I have just completed a marathon of an effort to get health insurance for my disabled brother for whom I am legal guardian. It began in March and was finally accomplished in August. I must have invested days or weeks worth of hours in what began as a simple question to … Continue reading

Race

I just learned of someone who lost her job over a remark that was deemed to be racially insensitive. She is a hard worker, a highly educated upper level manager and long term employee who has devoted huge blocks of her own time and money to this supposedly Christian employer. Her … Continue reading

Sam!

Amuck: to rush about wildly That pretty well describes visits from my Grandson Sam, especially, this last one. The boy is a five-year-old perpetual motion machine. Sam and I kept each other busy last week. We toured the Jelly Belly factory  just up the road (his favorite thing to do) Went to two … Continue reading

Summer

I am a dislocated warm weather guy. So, I usually have a lot to complain about with the fluky, upper Midwest, Great Lakes-influenced weather where I live. Just one “problem”, it has been a lovely spring, which is unheard of around here. In our area, there are scads of free … Continue reading

36

Thirty-six years ago, an immature, twenty-year-old, bushy-haired, long side burned, guitar playing, hippie-like, preacher boy with an uncertain future, but a cool ’66 Mustang married a far more stable and mature eighteen-year-old girl with beautiful straight, long black hair and gorgeous big brown eyes, one week out of high school. … Continue reading

Principles

Through my studies and experience of the last few years, I am beginning to formulate some principles for helping people in material poverty. No doubt, there are future revisions and additions to be made to these thoughts, but this is where I am for now. Dignity. People deserve to be treated … Continue reading

Michelle

Thirty-two years ago, I was twenty-four, Patty was twenty-two, Nathan wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye, and Michelle was about to enter the world. Always a pretty girl with big brown eyes An advanced child and early walker and talker A high achiever, being valedictorian of her junior high … Continue reading

Tim Davis

  Last Thursday my forty-eight-year-old cousin, Tim passed out at his job in St. Joseph, Missouri and entered eternity with Jesus. Tim was the youngest of all the cousins and I still think of him as being much younger than his true age. He grew up in the rural northwestern Missouri … Continue reading

61%

Since church, i.e., how we represent Christ as a community in this world, is a pretty important thing to try to get as right as possible, I hope you will seriously explore these matters and ask, “How can we do better?” The Barna Group has carved its niche by providing … Continue reading

Splainin’ 02

This part of me trying to explain my relationship to the church. You might want to read Part 1, first. Question #2  Why don’t you go to church anymore? Short answer: I am currently following Jesus without being a part of the institutional church because I like the freedom that it provides in living … Continue reading

Fixed?

This post will make more sense if you begin by reading the first one in this series on the new healthcare law. Let’s look at how the new legislation addresses the problems with our current system of healthcare that I wrote about in the first post. Uninsured people. – FIXED in 2014! The … Continue reading

Broken

The much debated, little agreed upon healthcare reform is now the law of the land. Healthcare in this nation should have been reformed decades ago. Like any problem, the longer it continues, the more complex the solution becomes. Some things in our (non) system are very broken. Uninsured people. The number … Continue reading

Breathe

Here is an email that I received a few days ago from a really insightful friend. So… the encouragement I want to give to you is to breathe in the new thing of finding and expressing community and purpose and breathe out the old, stale mindset and I think you’ll … Continue reading

Willie

You may think of Willie Nelson as an ancient pothead hippie with a nasal voice and a worn-out guitar. You wouldn’t be entirely wrong, but that description is vastly inadequate caricature. Thanks to my son and daughter-in-law who gifted us with tickets, we saw Willie in concert at a nearby historic … Continue reading

Moses

When thinking about a framework for laying out my personal story, I thought of Moses. While I don’t rate the same biblical or prophetic pay grade as Moses, the great movements in his life remind a bit of mine, only not in the same biblical proportions. Okay, the Moses comparison … Continue reading

Silos

Silos are those tall, round structures that you see on road trips through the Midwest. Each large grain farm will have one or more of them to protect the grain from the elements and store it until the market is right for selling. In the course of doing church work, … Continue reading

Helping 03

Truly helping the poor is so much different from I first imagined. Certainly, it is more demanding, more long-term, and more relational that I ever thought. Part 2 (of 3) of Corbett and Fikkert’s book, When Helping Hurts entitled, “General Principles for Helping Without Hurting,” begins with differentiating between relief, rehabilitation, and … Continue reading