Second to One


Feet on Chimney RockOn our 10th wedding anniversary, I find myself reminiscing about the way it all began. For us, it happened with the click of a mouse on a dating site called “Love & Seek.” I lived in Michigan at the time. Rose lived in New Mexico.

Anyone who’s played the online dating game knows it’s actually a game of hide and seek: players tend to hide the truth about who they really are – posting photos of themselves from days long gone – while at the same time seeking the perfect mate – hoping against hope they’re the “real deal.” A major component of the game is scrolling aimlessly through the hundreds of smiling faces vying for attention. Every now and then, one might pause to take a closer look, and then scroll on…and on…and on.

Following a late night of sitting at the campfire in my backyard, contemplating the glowing embers and other wonderful mysteries, I meandered back into the house. It was late, and I was ready for bed. On my way toward the bedroom, I passed by my laptop, and gave in to the urge to take one last look. Just in case.

And there she was. Beautiful brown eyes were looking back at me…the most gorgeous eyes I’d ever seen. She was wearing a black cowgirl hat, and her smile literally made my heart trip over itself. She was stunning.

So I clicked to take a closer look. She was obviously an outdoor kind of gal. She mentioned something in her profile about “racing to the top of the mountain,” which quite honestly quickened my pulse just thinking about the possibility. Then I mustered all the courage I could to take the next step; that is, actually communicate with her. I typed the words, “So what’s happening in New Mexico?” And I hit the send button. [I know, not all that creative, but I was a little enamored at the moment.]

And she clicked back! She thought I was “safe” since I lived so far away. She was on the dating site because a friend of hers had convinced her that she needed a pen pal. She invited me to the Balloon Fiesta–and nearly fainted when I accepted. We hiked in the mountains, and she raced me to the top – and won. [I blame it on being a lowlander.] A few weeks later she met me in Detroit when I returned from a trip to Kenya. A month after that, we got married – the 3rd time we were together.

That was 10 years – and a multitude of amazing adventures – ago. I never imagined I would be married to a woman as wonderful as Rose. And there’s a secret to the wonder of who she is. It’s a secret she shared with me in the spirit of “full-disclosure” shortly before we got married. I guess it was a confession of sorts. Rose told me I would never be number one in her life. That place had already been taken. Her Papa God was her number One. I was welcome to the number two place in her life.

I’m not sure when it actually hit me – the significance of being second to God. But that’s what I am – number two to God [at least in Rose’s life]. I’m married to a woman who seeks the heart of God with all her heart, and I’m the beneficiary of the love that pours from my heavenly Father through her. I’m married to a woman who honors me as her husband – not just with her words, but with everything she is. She believes in me, and she forgives me when I become impatient or distracted. She shares her heart with me, and she listen when I share mine.

I’m number two to the One who blessed me with my beautiful Rose.

Happy anniversary, Rosa Maria…I love you eternally!

Jesus is COMING…Look BUSY!


Boy working    I saw a bumper sticker earlier this week that read: JESUS IS COMING…LOOK BUSY!

So I began to think about the importance of being busy about my Father’s work. My natural tendency is to be busy—about something…anything. Sometimes my busyness is the thing that “easily entangles” me [Hebrews 12.1]. Others’ natural tendency may be to “veg out,” feeling grateful to know we are neither required nor capable of “earning” our way into heaven. Many find themselves resting on that assurance.

Back in the 70s there was a popular mantra in the air that went something like this: “Be a human being, not a human doing.” It had a catchy ring to it, and I think it caught on for many reasons, one being that it offered a valid excuse for checking out of mainstream society.

It was around the time of the “make love, not war” love-cry in the air. It was a time when iridescent posters glowed in the black light of weed-smoke-filled head shops, serenaded by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and the Grateful Dead. Back then I enjoyed strolling the streets in Old Town, Chicago, with the scent of incense in the air, basking in the afterglow of love and peace.

“Far out, man.”

And there’s some truth to the mantra of being rather than doing. It’s easy to get so caught up in the frenzy of doing that we lose the art of being.

But it’s not an either/or kind of thing. It’s both/and…both being and doing.

We are designed to be human beings doing the things we were created to do… “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” [Ephesians 2.10]. It amazes me that God has invited us to participate in his kingdom plan. We sometimes call it being “the hands and feet of Jesus.” So much of what God wants to do about the needs of his people happens through his people.

And there are times when God will accomplish what he wants accomplished without involving us at all. It’s easy to lose our place in the plan—exaggerating our importance– acting as if we believe we’re more vital in the grand scheme of things than we actually are. So our Creator also reminds us to “Be still, and know that I am God!” [Psalm 46.10]. One version puts it this way… “Cease striving…” [NASB]. In other words, God reminds us “I’ve got this. Step back from all your activities, cease the frenzied pace, and rest in My sufficiency.”

We serve most effectively when we’re resting in the sufficiency of God. Our soul is most deeply satisfied when “in all our ways we acknowledge him” [Proverbs 3.6] as the source of all we are. We are nourished as we live in alignment with his calling and purpose in our lives, just as Jesus said, “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work” [John 4.34].

We experience deep satisfaction as we participate with God in his kingdom plan. We discover peace that boggles human understanding when we rest in his sufficiency…remembering that “God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” [Philippians 1.6].

We are human beings doing life with God…both when we are resting in him, and when we are busy about the work of his kingdom in our day-to-day lives.

Jesus is coming. Be found doing life with him…and fulfilling your role as a member of his body.

.

FOR SALE: 1994 Dodge Viper R/T 10


Viper (2)For Sale: 1994 Dodge Viper R/T 10. Original Owner. Red with grey leather interior; A/C; 2nd generation wheels; also includes original wheels and tires; 7,300 miles. Kept in carpeted garage with no natural light. Ready to break out into the light with a new owner!

My first car was a 1962 Impala SS with a 327 c.i. 4 barrel – red with a white convertible top. I sold her for $300 in 1969. Today she’s probably worth something in the range of $25,000 to $30,000. Looking back, I wish I would have kept her.

So when I hit my mid-life crisis (make that my mid-life “Chrysler”) shortly after I turned 40, I decided the Viper would be a great car to buy and keep…a good car to have in the garage. It’s been fun to drive and own, but it’s time to let ‘er go. (She really is for sale.)

Possibly I will regret selling the Viper, like I regret selling the Impala. Time will tell. But there’s a certain kind of pain in every choice we make – letting go of one thing to take hold of something else.

(NOTE: No, you may not “take her for a spin:)” That is, not until you have bought her. That’s the way it worked for me when she sat on the showroom floor behind the chains that were meant to protect her from groping hands.)Viper (2)

‘SINtense!


Verb TenseKnowledge of the tense of a verb can sometimes be critical for accurate interpretation of the Bible. For example, consider the following verse:

“No one who is born of God practices sin, because his (God’s) seed abides in him and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” ~ 1 John 3:9

Look at the verb sin. At first glance, the verse seems to imply that one who is “born of God” can never commit a sin, and yet Scripture teaches us this is not a reality:

1 John 1:8 – “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
2 Chronicles 6:36a – “…for there is no one who does not sin…”
Ecclesiastes 7:20 – “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.”
James 3:2 – “We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.”

When we understand that the verb sin is in the present tense, it becomes clear that John is saying that one who is born of God cannot habitually commit sins as their general pattern of life. The verb “practices” is also present tense and conveys the same thought. All believers commit sins, but not habitually or as their lifestyle. (Note the importance of a Biblical definition of sin, which not only includes intentional disobedience, but also “missing the mark,” and the “sins of omission” – knowing the right thing to do but neglecting/refusing to do it. The “sin” highlighted in 1 John 3.9 is the sin of “omission or commission, in thought and feeling or in speech and action.”)

Application: If our lifestyle is a lifestyle of continual sinning with no desire for holiness: Hebrews 12:14 – “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord,” we must examine whether we are genuinely new creatures in Christ: 2 Corinthians 5:17 – “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” and born from above: John 3:3 – “Jesus declared, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again’” and 2 Corinthians 13:5 – “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?”

Armed with this knowledge, we can understand that a proper understanding of 1 John 3:9 requires a proper understanding of the verb tense.

May the Author enlighten our minds to receive the truth of his Word, and may we walk in the Light and by the power of the Holy Spirit!

(adapted from preceptaustin.org)

Bursting into cheers!


Just want to take a minute to thank everyone for taking the time to stop by to visit our blog. We reached a milestone this week–over 2,000 views. Yea God!

Those of you who know Rose and I personally know how blessed we are to have this opportunity to “write on paper” the thoughts our Lord brings to our minds. Someone asked recently why we write, and my immediate thought was that we’d burst if we didn’t. God designed us—all of us—to express our thoughts and feelings about what he is doing in our lives.

I love the story in Luke 19 about Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, riding a donkey. Here’s what happened:

“As he (Jesus) rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of him. When he reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.

Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!’

But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, ‘Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!’

(This is the part I love!) Jesus replied, ‘If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!’”

Don’t you love this imagery! Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords, and he gives us LIFE! How can we not tell the people around us about the joy with us! Are you bursting at the seams with your gratitude for God’s mighty love in your life?

So, thank you for stopping by our blog to see what God has put in our hearts. And thank you for taking the time to share your own thoughts and feelings about what we write.

Bursting into cheers!

Rod & Rose

Thanks Family Life Coach Mike…!


It was about three weeks ago I had a conversation on the phone with Mike Fendley, Manager of HomeBuilder Coaching at Family Life. It was one of those delightful conversations you know has been arranged by our Father. Mike and I had met briefly in February on the “Love Like You Mean It” cruise.

Mike’s gift is to encourage people to maximize the giftedness and opportunities God has entrusted to us. He’s good at what he does. By the end of our conversation, Mike had tapped in to the desire God has placed in my heart – and in the heart of my wife Rose – to share with others the flow of His Spirit in our lives. We love to talk and write about the Life Lessons we are learning along our journey with each other – and with Jesus.

Toward the end of our conversation Mike asked me what my next step might be. He also reminded me – kindly – of the fact I’m no longer a whippersnapper, and essentially told me I need to get on with the plans God has put in my heart.

So…Rose and I started our blog and I started tweeting—the same day. Like I said, that was about three weeks ago, and we now have about 450 people following us on Twitter, and our blog has had about  900 views. Rose is nearly bursting at the seams with happiness – LOVING the opportunity to write about her joyfully rejuvenating journey with her PapaGod!

Just wondering…what’s YOUR next step? Whether you’re a whippersnapper (like Rose!) or a geezer (like me!), what’s God stirring in your heart? Let’s get on with it. We have lots to do. And in all we do…may we bring glory to our Lord and Savior!

Thank you Mike!

It happened on a hike in New Mexico…


It happened on a hike in the mountains of New Mexico, the very first time we met after connecting on loveandseek.com. Rose had invited me to come to Albuquerque for the 2004 International Balloon Fiesta. I lived in Michigan at the time -1613.3 miles away. A “safe” distance, we thought. No chance of anything “happening” other than meeting a new friend.

Rose took me hiking in the mountains, and it was on one of those hikes I encountered the grace of God in the form of woman. As we were descending the mountain, I told her my story of moral failure, and my eventual spiritual healing. I was totally unprepared for the response I got from her as she stopped on the trail, turned and embraced me, and told me she saw a man transformed by the grace of God.  She says that’s when she first fell in love with me…in the midst of my “mess confession!” Imagine that!

A few weeks after our first encounter I traveled to Kenya to deliver medical supplies to an orphanage. When I arrived back in Detroit, Rose met me at the airport, and we enjoyed our second “date.”  A few weeks later Rose and I were married in New Mexico—the 3rd time we met. We recently celebrated our 7th anniversary.

There’s something about the grace of our Lord that creates a bond that is beyond our ability to explain. For Rose and me, our personal stories are a living illustration of God’s amazing grace–and our love story is the Divine punch line!

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: