Aug 01 2014

Omaha Beach World War II Memory

Published by under Life,Uncategorized

We often consume stories today as though they’re entertainment – here to satisfy the hunger of our boredom. What we too often forget is that stories are almost always tied to real, breathing human beings.

We hear the story of someone who was a bombardier in a B-17 during World War II and our interest is piqued. That’s something very much out of the ordinary.

Last week, I was talking with a family friend in Columbus, Ohio. The great man was a cardiologist who treated many World War II vets. One of his friends was a man named Joe.

About five years ago, the doctor went over to Normandy, France and saw the beaches that the allied troops landed on during D-Day. At 70 years old, having not participated in the war, he was blown away. When he returned to the US, he recounted his visit to Joe and said, “Normandy is remarkable, Joe! Have you ever been there?”

The doctor told me that Joe paused for a moment, gathering his thoughts and then said this….

“On June 6, 1944, I was a bombardier in a B-17. We weren’t allowed to fly our plane higher than 400 feet so we wouldn’t be detected by radar. We flew right over the beaches and could see very clearly those sons-of-bitches (the Germans) blowing our boys up. We dropped our bombs behind the German lines. We did three missions that day. I never want to see that place again.”

It was a reminder to me that things out-of-the-ordinary are often deeply painful to real people.

I fear today that stories are, at times, being prostituted for monetary and personal gain, consumed and quickly discarded without much care paid to those who endured such difficult stories.

We need look no further than our own veterans who have returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan. We listen raptly to their stories of heroism and then let many of these heroes melt down because of what those stories did to them.

As our world continues to move faster and faster, I hope we all discover how to slow down and see the people behind the tales.

Love doesn’t consume, it respects. Love isn’t fast. Love isn’t entertainment. If you tell stories, don’t tell stories to build your platform. Remind yourself they exist to build a better understanding of the human spirit and our relationships to each other, to this world, and to God. Peter hinted that the prophets should serve as our example. The bible writers didn’t recount events because it made them famous or popular.

It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you…
_1 Peter 1:12

May God give us pure hearts!

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Jul 23 2014

Like a Baby

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Here’s a fact: if a human being born at 8 pounds continued growing at the same rate as first-year babies do, they’d be 25 feet tall and weigh 315 pounds by the time they were 20.

No wonder babies are always making noises and freaking out. They’re mega-growers.

The last few months have been pretty tough for me and as time has gone on, I’ve discovered myself calling out to God in strange ways. With my mouth closed, I’ve been talking to God as I fall asleep and wake up. It sounds like the adult version of baby mumbling.

“From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise.”
_Jesus quoting Psalm 8:2 in Matthew 21:16

What if the babbling of babies isn’t babbling at all? What if it’s some kind of hidden language of praise to God?

What if our times of groaning in life are also received as praise by him?

How might that be possible?

God made us in the Garden to know him. Then the world got wacky with sin and we couldn’t know him the same exact way anymore.

But what happens when we go through tough times in this life? So often, we ultimately get to know God better. As we call out to him, maybe we please him and our groaning is heard by him to mean, “Father, you’re the only one I have. You are the best and I don’t just want to be fixed. I want to be transformed. I want to know you.”

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Jul 20 2014

Hey God! Nice Try!

Published by under Life

Nimbus clouds are the worst. And cumulus clouds, too. Cirrus clouds are the good ones.

Weeping willow trees are disgusting. And magnolia trees, too. Pine trees are the only good ones.

Can you imagine saying that kind of stuff to God?

“HEY GOD!!!! Nice try with the flowers. You only got tulips right.”

We wouldn’t dare.

But we do. With people. Every day.

You know what I’m tired of? Us being unsatisfied with who we are. And I’m not talking about wanting to become a better person. I’m talking about our standards.

We hate our hair. We hate our skin. We hate our body type. We hate our clothes. We often base our opinions of others on these things. I do, anyway. We tell God, “Yo, nice try on that one.”

And we let other people make us feel bad about ourselves because we’re too quiet or too loud or too tall or a little overweight or too messy. Sometimes we make OURSELVES feel bad about this stuff! Can you imagine God playing favorites the way we do? Would he ever say, “Hey, Andrew, you’re a bit chubby, fatty. You suck!” No way! But we do it to ourselves.

It’s some kind of crap.

You know one reason I think God made so many types of clouds and trees and animals? To show us that difference is something built into this life. Something he not only DESIGNED but something he delights in. He wanted us to see differences all over this planet and know we can be different as people and still be great.

I’m super tired of feeling less than others because I like being by myself or because I don’t have the coolest clothes. I’m tired of hearing girls fret about their hair not being perfectly styled or that they’re not wearing make-up! How exhausting! I bet God doesn’t care about maybe 90% of what we obsess over.

And why do you worry about clothes?
_Jesus in Matthew 6:28

So many of us work so hard to fit into a mold. Some of us try to squeeze into the right group, the right house, the right pair of pants.

You know what God loves? Squeezing more of himself into us.

And I’m not saying clothes and Christ are mutually exclusive, but we fuss and fret about a million other things God doesn’t care much about. I’m tired of that crap! I really am. Because Jesus talked about those of us who worry about this life too much.

Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.
_Mark 4:18-19

I don’t know the road forward. I don’t. But I know the road I DON’T want to travel. And I pray to God for all of us that he will lead us down the narrow road. Do you know why I pray about it? Mainly because I don’t know what else to do. But also because it was all the Apostle Paul did. He didn’t have 15 steps to holiness or some secret teaching that guaranteed a happy life. He trusted God to make the magic happen. He told the Ephesians…

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
_Ephesians 1:17

What will make us really attractive to the world isn’t our hair or skin or clothes. It will be the kindness and love of Jesus inside us. And that only gets inside us because of the Holy Spirit. Let’s fuss about that!

God, please give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so we may know you better!

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Jul 15 2014

Her Praise

Published by under Uncategorized

SHE is foremost of those that I would hear praised.
I have gone about the house, gone up and down
As a man does who has published a new book
Or a young girl dressed out in her new gown,
And though I have turned the talk by hook or crook
Until her praise should be the uppermost theme,
A woman spoke of some new tale she had read,
A man confusedly in a half dream
As though some other name ran in his head.
She is foremost of those that I would hear praised.
I will talk no more of books or the long war
But walk by the dry thorn until I have found
Some beggar sheltering from the wind, and there
Manage the talk until her name come round.
If there be rags enough he will know her name
And be well pleased remembering it, for in the old days,
Though she had young men’s praise and old men’s blame,
Among the poor both old and young gave her praise.


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