August 31, 2008

My Favorite Love Song

Yesterday was devoted to 4 of my favorite things in life: reading, hiking, conversing with Deb and worshipping Jesus.

Began my 16 chapter down the Romans of my favorite books in the Bible.
Paul emphasizes what I call the "God Song of Creation"...God is revealing himself through the beauty and power and order and intricacy of creation. If you listen to creation with your senses and your spirit and your can hear the "witness" of God's voice singing His love over his children. This song is so prevalent and powerful that Paul says, it leaves us without an excuse if we are trying to deny God and his goodness.

Father, let these months of Sabbatical be an exercise in listening so deeply to your love song over my life, that I begin to reverberate that song more clearly to all I meet.

Ordered a new book for my Kindle (Amazon reading device) called "The 4 Hour Work Week" by Tim Ferris...had been recommended to me by some of my business buddies. I will give you a few thoughts on later...but for now let me say...while the guy is sharp, he has a whole different set of values and ethics than me so much of the book is a sharp contrast to my life...thank God! But there are some brilliant pieces of advice in it as well.

Also continued, Love God with All Your Mind...something more Christians need to think about.

Took a long gorgeous hike eating berries and watching for bears....LISTENING to MY FAVORITE LOVE SONG...God's love poured out on me through creation.

Went to worship at Vernon Alliance Church (our BC church). My brother and friend and the associate pastor Greg brought a good message on the "Scandal of Forgiveness"...emphasizing that "a lifestyle of forgiveness and grace giving may not make sense at first, but it ends up giving you what you really want and need!"

"Lord, I want not one ounce of grudge against anyone in my life. I want to quickly cover any error or offense against me with your amazing grace"

August 30, 2008


Spent the morning in ACTS and in acts.

As has been said, this book of the Bible could have as accurately been entitled the "ACTS of the HOLY SPIRIT" instead of the "ACTS of the APOSTLES". What "acts" does the Holy Spirit initiate and empower through the life of a believer? It's amazing to read this book and watch the Holy Spirit in action through people. Whether it is transforming a Saul, or empowering a Stephen, or giving a divine appointment to Philip, or using a Barnabas to encourage, or starting a church through a business woman named Lydia, or serving the poor through a Timothy...

What kind of ACTS does the Holy Spirit want to do through the rest of my life?
What would the book "The ACTS of LARRY" read like?
Those can be quite small...such as doing the dishes, serving my wife, giving an encouraging word.
Those can be quite significant...such as starting a new church, raising up a new leader, etc.
Holy Spirit, my helper, my guide, my counselor, lead my life moment by moment and season by season...I say, "YES" to your sovereignty and your wisdom for my life!

The Holy Spirit helped me do the ACT of going to the laundry mat for my wife for 2 hours!
There I sat reading "Loving God with Your Mind" by J.P.Moreland as the grittiest folks of Vernon aired their dirty laundry. Listening to their talk of their party the night before and the messes their lives was an interesting backdrop to my theological book. I came away committed to mix the "absolute truth" of the gospel with the "acts of compassion" of the gospel.

Before the Laundry mat I had taken Deb to a nice lunch and had helped her clean the house. It was a chore day for sure.

Afterwards came home and finished the book of's been so refreshing just to soak in the Word of God.

We ended the day with a treat...literally and socially. We spent the evening eating AMAZING Chocolate Cake (similar to what's pictured above) made by the amazing Teresa - mom of 5, budding esthetician, wife of Pastor Stuart, accomplished pianist. As usual laughed, shared, relaxed, and edified bytheir company.

August 29, 2008

"...TO YOU"

Note: During sabbatical this blog is serving as a brief, daily, informal, semi-personal journal of activities and thoughts...written in a quick and simple style.

Got Linz and her two friends out the door and on the road back to Seattle to catch their flights. Spent some time cleaning...then dove into the book of Acts with great eagerness.

Then worked on the travel details for the trips we are taking in September and October during our sabbatical time. That took much of the morning, but worked out well. Worked on the roof of the house for an hour and half dealing with drain and water issues.

Finished the book "Who are you and What do you want?". Good book that challenges you to think through 4 key life questions.

Read more info on the evangelist\healer who took the nation by storm over the past six much so that ABC did a special on his revival in Florida. The info broke my heart for him, his wife, his ministry, the body of Christ and for the name of Jesus. While rocketing to the top of the Christian world, he had been having an affair with a woman on his staff and also going through bouts of drunkenness. His marriage, which had been in trouble for a long time, moved to separation. The lack of true accountability and his penchant for independence helped exacerbate his dysfunction.

Having been through this with a pastor I worked for in 1985, who also ended up on an ABC special, I am especially sensitive to this. The Christian world is so quick to make heroes of those God seems to be using in powerful ways without ever questioning their integrity, their marriage, their accountability, their stewardship of God's finances.

Yet Jesus was so clear that obedience to His LORDSHIP in the private areas of our lives is what really matters. Every one claiming gifts of the Spirit should frame Matthew 7:21-23 and put it everywhere. Miracle working is not God's stamp of approval upon your life, it's his grace extended to others.

Later in the day, I read more in the book of Acts..., climbed up "Christmas Bowl" (the ski run behind our house (pictured above) and then climbed it again with Deb and spent an hour picking wild blueberries for pancakes and muffins. Watched Obama's acceptance speech and then Deb and I watched a cute movie.

As I finished the day by praying in the hot tub, I sensed the Lord impress on my mind two words, "TO YOU"....As I was reflecting on my time in the Word and the evangelist and Obama's speech...I sensed that I am often influenced and at times even controlled by this question, "HOW DO I LOOK?" Do I look good to people, to the church, to friends, to peers, etc.?

The Lord seemed to to say, "Larry, you must add these 2 words to the question that you so often ask, "How do I look...TO YOU?" There is only ONE OPINION that really holds any weight in the private places and in the public places...Lord, how do I look TO YOU? Just between you and me, am I thinking, acting, speaking, relating, being motivated in a way that is pleasing to you? TO YOU oh Lord I lift my life.

August 28, 2008

August 27 The God of "BAM"

The last day with the four female theologians was a good one...we all hiked down to the village to Bugaboos for cinnamon rolls. Then Deb and I took a long mountain hike that involved berry eating and drinking from fresh mountain streams.

Then took the girls down to Vernon for a sincerely scrumptious Thai dinner that included some of the best Pad Thai I have eaten anywhere. We celebrated Lindsey's birthday since she is going to be in Long Beach without us on September 6.

Spent some time in Acts and marveled at the actions of God in smiting Ananias and Sapphira...sure they lied to the apostles and consequently to God...sure they conspired in such a way to make themselves look generous...sure their pride and reputation was more important than the gift they were giving...sure this was the start of the NT church and God wanted to set a standard of holiness....sure God wanted to endorse the apostolic authority in such a way that led to respect for the offices that Jesus had established...sure God wanted the NT church to be purified...BUT all that said I have to admit..."whoa! pretty strong action from God. You lied? BAM!"

So here's my take...1) Don't mess with God...we want to think we can put God in our little nice warm fuzzy boxes...God is love but God is God and can take whatever action He deems appropriate...It's His game, His rules, and He's the referee...we don't live in a democracy but a theocracy...2) We don't know what's behind the scene. God will always act out of love and justice and when we don't understand part of the reason is that we only see our side of the picture.
3) Ask God when you get there...but to judge God now only hinders your heart and limits your living...Don't feel bad about having questions but don't let those stop you from TRUSTING God now and trusting you will understand later.

Sometimes our God is the God of "BAM!"...His prerogative.

August 27, 2008

August 26 - Kids and Church

Today my "pastor" and friend Stuart and his 5 Kids (ages 4 to 13) met us at the lake...but it was cool, blustery, and cloudy...the water white was a bummer to stand and look at the lake dressed in our sweatshirts....the kids all ready for swimming, boat rides and a fun time...but to no avail.

So we loaded back up and drove all the way back up the mountain...after treating the whole gang to lots of sugar at the campground grocery store. The kids hottubbed, hiked, watched movies, ate goldfish (the crackers!) under the watchful and fully involved supervision of Lindsey and Deb. (I love the McKnight I enjoyed myself too!)
Meanwhile Stuart (pictured above) and I solved the world's problems and talked ministry. Talked about how the church must get beyond what happens on location and be the church during the week in the neighborhood.

The discussion fit well with my journey into the book of ACTS today. I am struck again at the vibrancy and sacrifice of the NT church. Their commitment to the Christ, the mission, and one another is a high bar which I believe we fall so far short of. How do I as a pastor\leader model and lead in a way that keeps LLCF from being a "religious organization" and helps us be "a true community of love that is working together for the mission"? We can look at other churches and say, "hey we are doing a great job!" but then I look at the church in ACTS and it's like "whoa...we need to take it up ten notches".

Lord help us at LLCF be the BRIDE, the ARMY, the HEALERS, the FAMILY that you desire.

August 26, 2008

9-25 The Gospel according to John, The Shack and Rugby

Spent much of the morning with John...not in the John but with the Apostle John as he unfolded the majesty of Jesus...who is my life, my door, my shepherd, my vine, my truth, my gate, my bread, my King, my grace -giver, my light, my creator, my Messiah, my teacher, my friend, and ALL THE OTHER WONDER-FILLED ATTRIBUTES that John reveals about Jesus!

Also spent time reading and finishing "The Shack"....powerful and controversial book. I personally was refreshed by it...afterwards I read praises and critiques of the book by Christian leaders I admire. My opinion? A good book to help people relate to God more personally and less religiously. A poor book to derive some of your theology from. It's FICTION and must be read like fiction. If it was a theological work my concerns would be on matters of "revelation, scriptural authority, trinitarian accuracy, universalism, and undermining of the church".

On to more serious matters: RUGBY...I had hardly heard of the game...but my "PASTOR" in Vernon is convinced on the 8th Day God created RUGBY. So after spending 3 days with 4 female theologians I fled to the "city of refuge" for a testosterone fix... went to Pastor Stuart's house to watch RUGBY...South Africa vs. Australia with 50,000 people in the stadium...I learned a new foreign language including "scrums" and "trys" (why would you score a goal and call it a "try"? It's quite confusing because if you score you are not "trying" you are "scoring".)

Searching for theological revelation in rugby may seem a far fetched effort...but I did receive a vivid illustration of what some days of ministry feel like..."a scrum with Satan". Also I began to see how whole segments of people can miss the I am, a world traveler, highly educated, YET the revelation of "rugby" was completely foreign to me...I had heard it, had a clue about it...but had missed the powerful truth of the gospel of rugby!

After the sacred time, we retired to the living room for some more "ordinary biographical updates and more common theological discussion...including "The Shack"...Pastor Stuart is a bright theologian and sharp leader from Scotland. His friendship sharpens my life.

Also in the afternoon I rode my bike all the way to the top of Silver Star mountain. Some real mountain biking! What a work out but what a view from the top!

August 25, 2008

Yikes, I am First Time Visitor!

Note: During Sabbatical this is a personal journal that briefly shares a diary of my day with a few thoughts...don't expect good writing or profound wisdom.

Got up early to spend intense time with Jesus. Primarily focused in the end of Luke and the first 8 chapters of John.

Went to Grace Bible Church of Vernon...interesting church...just had merged with another church and the Associate Pastor Bob Cowert was preaching his farewell sermon and sharing about his relocation to Honduras. The message was on the importance of gathering together from Hebrews 10:19-25 with an emphasis on small group gatherings....he wanted to encourage the people to devote themselves to one another. It's a church trying to transition from the 90's to 2008. It was 90% full (300 seats) and seemed to have a buzz...75% of the church was over 60 years old...but to their credit the whole worship team was under 35. So I believe this church will turn the corner and flourish because it opening itself up to the next generation.

Worship was sincere but much too quiet and unenthusiastic for my tastes...but that's me...and it didn't stop me from worshiping with delight in my God.

I love to experience what it feels like to visit a church for the first time....I am a professional church guy and it is a bit INTIMIDATING for me to visit for the first time. It impressed me with three's so important for friends to bring friends to church...then they don't have to feel alone on their first's so essential for the "regulars" to go out of their way to enthusiastically welcome newcomers. Pastors must make the first timers their priority, greeters must be genuine and outgoing, and the general church must take it on themselves to be God's heart extended...THREE...the good-byes are as important as the "hello's"...what's the last impression as a newcomer walks to the parking lot....between the arrival and the departure you are safe in your chair...but the arrival and departures are essential because that's when the guest is wondering...will I be accepted here?

Lord, help LLCF be "the people loving place"...not in word but in deed!

Came home and read, and Deb and I went to coffee shop in village (Bugaboos) and talked with the owner, master baker Frank, then hiked, and picked raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries...all wild. All drenched from the rain.

Came home, had a long talk with mom on the phone (going through chemo) and had dinner with the girls (the 4 female theologians) and had a good talk.
Read "The Shack" and went to bed.

August 24, 2008

S. #27 Grace, Peace and Girls

Lindsey and two of her girlfriends from seminary arrived at 2:30am. Praise God for their safe arrival. Lindsey had been in Alaska with TJ and flew back to Seattle and then used my mom's car to drive the 7 hours to Silver Star.

Spent time with Jesus in Luke for much of the morning. Then had a great talk with Lindsey and Deb about her future and her time in Alaska.

Then Deb and I went to the boat. Weather has been less than desirable for boating on the lake. Deb and I swam and I skied. The 3 girls came down from the mountain and Linz wakeboarded and skiied. Then we taught Molly to wakeboard and then read, swam and skiied some more.

I am reading the hugely popular book "The Shack" is also controversial in the Christian world so I thought I would check it out for myself.

Went to church, Saturday evening service and had a good time of worship. Jeremy the youth pastor brought the word...although it was apparent that he was nervous and new in the pulpit, I appreciated that a church as large as Vernon Alliance would allow him to get the experience. His message was on "Grace and Peace" and the fact that so many of the NT letters open with that salutation. His text of Philippians 1:1-14 is a great passage. I asked the Lord to allow me to soak in his grace and peace in new ways so that I can give it away in new proportions.

Came home and bbq for the and 4 girls (Deb, Lindsey, Molly, Kristina) and they are all SEMINARY TRAINED THEOLOGIANS! So it's fun to hear their life stories and their calling and their dreams.

Watched a little of the Olympics and watched the anchor of the USA women's 4x400meter relay team come from behind to catch Russia and redeem her personal 400meter failure. (she had been picked to win but came in 4th. Her failure didn't sink her, it only gave her greater resolve.

God I pray that this may be the case in my life as well...let me receive your GRACE and PEACE in my failures and come charging back with greater resolve for YOU!

August 23, 2008

S. #26 Wild Strawberry Juice

Authors note: During sabbatical this blog is a daily semi-personal journal of activities and insights.

Spent the morning in chores and in the Word and the early afternoon in study and reading.

Deb and I took a long mountain hike. It was a good work out, it was beautiful. Saw deer. Spent a lot of time picking and enjoying wild blueberries and wild strawberries.

Standing at 7500 feet, in a clearing with pine trees surrounding, with sparkling fresh air filling our lungs, feasting our eyes on a hundred miles of mountains, trees, and lakes; with the tingling taste of wild strawberries dancing on our tastebuds, and blueberry juice dribbling down our face, with our hands clasped together in a mixture of friendship and romance, with our hearts light & free & happy, with our eyes lifted to our Father in heaven...truly one of those moments to capture, savor, and remember.

Creation floods my spirit with the presence and goodness of God..."Thank you Jesus for the intricate works of your hands".

Watched two of Lindsey's former classmates compete in the Olympics. Bryan Clay was with her at APU...he won the gold in the decathlon...and Tony Azevedo was with her at Wilson High School and he led the water polo team to the gold medal round.

Lindsey and two friends from Fuller Seminary arrived at 2:30am.

August 22, 2008

S. #25 Happy Wife, Happy Life!

Spent time with LUKE...that is a the gospel of Luke and I felt like Theopholis (see Chapter 1).

Helped Deb and Shelley prepare for meeting with our new caretaker of our homes at Silver Star. This new venture of going out on our own after have had a property manager for the last 12 years is scary. We (the Pauls and us) have to market the homes for ski rentals and run the business at a whole new level. But we really have no choice and we believe we can do it much better than what it's being done. To see the homes visit our website at

Deb is running lead on this and doing a super job. She is a Proverbs 31 lady for sure....thanks God for a great wife who is very sharp, good looking, and loves you and me greatly!

Took Shelley to Kelowna airport and ran errands with Deb...then we just spent some good couple time. I love my wife!

One of the most well known Christian speakers just chose to have an emotional affair and is separated from his wife. What a tragedy! The announcement is rocking the news last week. My motto in marriage is "Happy Wife, Happy Life!" If I can serve DEB and lay down my life for her she will go out of her way to be a blessing to me and we will grow closer as the years go by.

Marriage before Ministry!! That's part of what this sabbatical is about...taking some great time to just go deeper with DEB...she is my first ministry.

Met with Don Kassa (our Canadian realtor) about selling our property since construction prices have become prohibitive.

Came back up to house and ate big healthy salads and watched Olympics.

August 21, 2008

S. #24 The Agony of My Dream

Matthew, Mark, Luke....finished Matthew, read through Mark, and started Luke. Good morning in the Good Book...God's word is like fresh water pouring over my body, soul, and spirit. Cleansing, renewing, refreshing, reinvigorating.

Deb is in Long Beach until tonight so I have the day to invest.

One dream I have had for the last 15 years is to ride my bike from the top of the mountain at Silver Star to the town of Vernon in the valley. So I said, "why not today?" I knew it would be tough...I knew it would take some time....but "you only live once!"

So under cloudy skies and a cool day, I jumped on my bike and coasted downhill at speeds up to 30 miles an was so fast it was scary. 4,000 feet in 12 miles!

But "what goes down must go up" the 4,000 foot, 12 mile climb began and it was intense...about 3 miles up it began pouring rain...I was drenched from sweat and now I was drenched with grew harder to ride. Trucks were blazing down the hill and there is no shoulder on the road so in a spray of water they would go by me.

I stopped and drank but I had no calories with me. I rode on in increasing pain and exhaustion. About the 10 mile mark I was so out of fuel and the terrain so steep that I walked the bike for at least a mile...willing myself forward step by step. LIVING DREAMS OFTEN INCLUDES AGONY.

Finally, 3.5 hours after I started down the hill...I arrived at our house...Praise Jesus for his strength and help. Although my legs were cramping and heart was filled with victory and satisfaction...the dream in all it's glory and struggle had been lived!

I ate tons of calorie, jumped in the hot tub, crashed on the sofa and recovered.

At 9:30pm I went to pick up Deb and Shelley at Kelowna Airport.

August 20, 2008

S. #23 The BIBLE and TV

Helped get the group ready to leave...Deb is doing a quick trip back to Long Beach to deal with the matters created by the theft of her wallet...primarily DMV but other issues as well...thank God for a friend like Shelley Pauls who works for Alaska and is using her vacation to fly down with Deb so that the flight is free.

Spent most of the morning and afternoon in God's's so rich and invigorating just to fill up with the truth.

Took a long mountain hike and spent some quality time in prayer...ran some errands for Deb in the valley. Read some more and watched Olympics.

While I am greatly enjoying having a TV for the sake of the Olympics, I am reminded why I am so GLAD that we don't have a TV in our HOME! The commercials alone are enough to introduce all kind of evil into a home. So many homes are soaked in the atmosphere of sex, violence, greed, pride, sarcasm, lust, anger, pleasure, slothfulness, all because their TV's spew the garbage into their family room day after day.

Praise God for the WORD that declares His paths...they are enlightening, empowering, and embracing of the SHALOM of God. That's the atmosphere I want permeating my home!

August 19, 2008

S. #22 God and Gold Medals

Spent time in the some insightful spiritual conversation with the group of family and friends who are here in Canada with us.

Went to Lake and spent an afternoon of reading, skiing, boating, swimming, laughter, and theological discussion with the group. I began reading "Loving God with Your Mind" by the great apologist, J.P. Moreland...excellent read.

Had a special last supper with the group, followed by watching the Olympics. I reflect on how the apostle Paul used the games as a metaphor for his own spiritual development and for the crown of victory that is available to all of us.

Nastia Lukin, of the USA, tied for the gold medal in uneven bars, but through a crazy computer calculation, the Chinese girl was awarded the gold and Nastia received the silver. I am so glad that God's scoring is "grace based" not "performance based"....that God's scoring hands the gold medal to all of us who "tie" by "being found in Christ, not depending on our own greatness but on the righteousness of Christ, HIS greatness".

Grace does not mean I don't train for God's Dallas Willard writes and as I read from Moreland's book yesterday, "Grace is opposed to EARNING but not to EFFORT!"
I can never earn a Gold but I receive it by grace through faith, BUT I need to train daily to live in a way that pleases God...a truly "golden" life of becoming more and more like Christ!

August 18, 2008

S. #21 Worship in the Park

A brief daily journal with personal thoughts meant primarily for my own consumption.

Spent time with family and friends from Seattle who are at the house. Did some reading in the Word.

Went to an outdoor worship event sponsored by our church in Vernon. A great night of praise at the park that reminded me of our Long Beach Church Without Walls. Had good talks with our Pastor here, his executive pastor, and a guy who is just coming to know the Lord...he owns a sporting good store that I have gone to for years. We ended the worship time with a "How Great is God" under a beatiful Okanagon sky in a gorgeous green park with a stream flowing through it.

After worship in the park we came back and played a new dice game and I lost big time.

Lord, I read more in the "Who am I and What Do I want" book and am asking you to focus my energy, to help me to know what my "holy no's" should be and what my "holy yes's" should be. Grant me insight as I seek you on this matter!

August 17, 2008

S. #20 Beauty and a Broken Boat :(

Authors note: During my sabbatical I am using my blog as a brief personal journal of activities, happenings, and learnings. Others are welcome to read but expect simplicity, not profundity.

Shared time with my sister Brenda, partners and friends, Dwight & Shelley Pauls, and Bonnie and David Carpenter. Walked to the village (Silver Star) for cinnamon rolls at our friend, Frank's bakery. Gorgeous day. Walked through the car show they were having in the Village.

Went to the valley to the lake and skiied, swam, laughed, picnic(ed). I read a book by Mick Uklejwa (former pastor and now acquaintance of mine)...entitled, Who Are You and What do you Want? Good insight into understanding yourself and your sweet spot.

That evening we boated to the Blue Heron, a waterside cafe. After a delightful meal, we cast of for our 10 mile voyage back on a full moon stunningly beautiful night at 9:45. Guess what?

The boat broke down (overheated) and we were stranded...finally flagged down a boat and were towed back to the dock....we hit the bar not for a drink but for friendly guy, Craig Edwards from Canmoore helped us out with tools...Dwight and David worked on it for an hour and were able to fix it! Thank you Jesus! Finally got back to the marina where we are keeping the boat and where the cars were. Got home at 1am and fell into bed.

What's going on? Everything we do, something challenging happens. It's making it hard to relax and rest the mind and spirit. But God is bringing us through trial by trial. "Help me to learn step by step. I trust you Lord and I refuse to fear the power of the one who hates me!"

August 16, 2008

S. #19 Accidents and Awesomeness

Cleaned house and washed windows for a few hours before meeting a long time friend who has been our property manager for 13 years. We have ministered to him through the dissolution of his marriage and sought to be an influence for Christ. It was good to be with him, share our love and God's with him, and on top of that it was a good business meeting as well.

Went down to town in the valley...I had to slam on my brakes for a guy making a sudden left turn, behind us was a 22 year old driver following too close, going too fast and BAM!! He smashed into us. I jumped out and the entire front of his car was smashed in but he was ok. We were ok....I had a bit of whiplash but nothing major...His car had at least$2500 of damage...ours had damage to the paint and a displaced bumper...he hit our trailer hitch and that spared us a lot of damage.

We couldn't believe it!! Is the devil trying to ruin our sabbatical or what? Deb and I just shook our heads. We thanked God no one was hurt and that we had no more damage than we did.

We went to the boat and just relaxed and read and swam and I waterskiied. Our friends and partners in our boat, Dwight and Shelley, our long time Seattle friends and pastor of children Bonnie and David Carpenter, and my sister Brenda all flew in for the weekend.

We took a long mountain hike as the full moon was rising...the AWESOMENESS of God was present...and stayed up til midnight laughing, sharing old stories, and praying together. It was a rich time. During prayer they specifically asked that God would shield the rest of our sabbatical from Satan's destructive attacks.

Deb and I had decided to laugh in the devil's face....not out of disrespect for his power...but out of the certainty of our victory in Christ! The devil can't steal the joy and goodness of God in our lives. Sabbatical is not an escape from the reality of spiritual warfare but a space where we can reflect on our victory in Christ!

August 15, 2008

S. #18 CSI and the Right Heart

Spent time in the word...loving Jesus and receiving his love for me.
Helped Lindsey get ready to go to Alaska.
The four of us walked to the ski village and had a late breakfast at Bugaboos
Then drove to airport and saw the kids off.

Went back to the parking lot where Deb's wallet was lost...spent the next hour and half looking for the elusive wallet....searching dumpsters...talking with people...offering rewards...talking with the police...I kept thinking it's going to be's going to be there...praying fervently....trying to listen as if God was going to show me exactly where it was....but I got no word of knowledge, no vision...just sweating under the sun playing CSI...but to no avail and to great disappointment.

We came back up to the house, read, watched Olympics, and hot tubbed.

God, you can teach me through these me not to waste the frustrations but to learn what you want me to know...I love you, Jesus and these small trials are an opportunity....keep my attitude positive and my mind focused on you.

August 14, 2008

S. #17 Birthdays and a Very Bad Day

We were celebrating Lindsey's birthday today since we won't be together on September 6.

We got up early and did a long mountain hike...followed by mom's special German Pancakes...then off to the Lake for wakeboarding and waterskiing. Lindsey tore it up on both and so did TJ. I had my best day skiing also.

Then we took them to Turtle Bay Marina and rented a SEADOO for them for an hour...while they Seadoo'ed Deb and I chilled at the outdoor cafe.

But then the trouble started. We drove back to Bagel Lane for Lindsey to eat at one of her favorite places in Vernon. When we got there...we could not find Deb's wallet! We searched high and low and determined it must have been left at the Seadoo place because she paid. She quickly drove back the 30 minutes one way to the spot...NO WALLET! She left numbers in case anyone turns it in. No one is fessing up yet. Our whole lives are in her wallet.

Near panic was setting in but we had tickets to the incredible outdoor theater called Caravan Theater so we had to was spectacular evening in the Canadian hills...miles from anywhere...and the acting was good although none of us cared that much for the play this year.

But because of the wallet it was a somber night. TJ and Lindsey fly out to Alaska tomorrow to spend time with TJ's family and Deb may have to fly home for a few days to handle stuff if the wallet doesn't show up in the next few hours. This is me Lord to know how to minister to Deb...teach me in the tough times to be a rock and to trust you.

S. #16 Silver, Sinking, Risking

Spent extended time in the Word...went to lake with Lindsey, Deb, and TJ. Skiied hard...TJ slalomed and did great for a first timer. BBQ'd ribs at the house. Watched Olympics.

The disappointment of the USA Women's Gymnastic team, led me to think of the disappointments in life. How we handle disappointments, unmet expectations, setbacks, defeats, even tragedies...determines how we move forward or backward in life. Most people play it too safe out of fear of failure. They know the pain of disappointment is very acute so if they set their goals much lower then they seldom have to face that pain. But if they go for the gold...they have to risk the possibility of frequent exposure to pain.

I had just read of Peter getting out of the boat...walking on water...what a risk...what a thrill...but when he sunk, he was rebuked by Jesus for his lack of faith...but how much more all those disciples who never dared to try something far outside their comfort zone. Peter goes down as the disciple of Faith, even though his career as a water walker failed. He dared to step out counting the possibility of victory as greater value than the possiblity of sinking!

God help me step out when I hear you say, "Come". He will always be there to pick me up when I sink!

August 12, 2008

S, #15 Learning Nothing

Chores...even on vacations or sabbaticals...there are chores...which I really don't mind that much because as you have heard it said, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"...but "All play and no work makes Jack an undisciplined little brat incapable of deeply experiencing pleasure but habitually looking for the next fun time instead of enjoying all times." Okay maybe you haven't heard the second quote.

After chores...we packed lunches and headed for the lake and spent the afternoon bobbing in the water and swimming and reading and laughing. Came back up the mountain to the house, hot tubbed, made dinner and played "Mexican Train"...a domino game...which Deb won (there seems to be a theme in our family)...and then watched a comedy movie.

I did not learn anything significant today...that I know of...and that is one of my goals is to have a few days where I don't accomplish anything...except enjoy God, my family, my life...and that at the end of that day I would feel just as special and valuable to God as days when I accomplish a lot...OK maybe I did learn something yesterday.

August 11, 2008

S. #14 Conquering the Cliffs

Spent time with Matthew (the book) and Jesus. Good teaching for my spirit...Jesus was certainly a paradoxical blend of tough and tender...blasting Pharisees one minute, bouncing babies on his knee the next...I was touched by his humanity...when he got news that John the Baptist, his cousin, his hero (none born of women is greater) was beheaded, the next thing he does is go off alone and seek His me it has grief written all over it...his heart is heavy BUT he knows where to turn.

Since we had gone to church the night before...we packed lunches and headed for the daunting climb up the ENDERBY CLIFFS! Drove the hour there and started up. Of course Lindsey and TJ had boundless energy but Deb and I were huffing it all the way up the steep and strenuous path. It gets so steep at points that ropes are in place to help you up.

Deb felt like quitting several times but was a real champion...cheered on by the rest of the family. Ever since cancer surgery things like this have been more difficult but she refuses to be stopped. After 3.5 miles (one way) and 2200 feet of elevation gain we reached the top! What a view...we praised God!

After the 5 hour hike we were exhausted. But came home, hot tubbed, bbq'd ribs and then we went to a DRIVE IN...yes they still have them...a country drive in...we watched a double feature... Dark Knight (Batman 14) and Get Smart (Be dumb enough to watch it). Got home at 2am. What a FAMILY Day!

Lessons: Because we were committed to getting together to the top as a Family...we all had travel the pace of the slowest person...while it extended the climb time, it made the summit so much sweeter! I am the guy who likes to race to the top regardless of who I leave behind...sometimes it's more important to get there all together...Lord show me when to say, "let's go" and when to say "let's stay together".

August 10, 2008

Sabbatical #13 "My Father's Lap"

Slept in til up and made coffee...spent time with Matthew & Jesus...Matthew writes some profound stuff about Jesus...I am struck by the pattern in Jesus' life of engagement and withdrawal, intensity followed by leisure, outflow followed by recharging.

Read the rest of Jim Collins' Good to Great for the Social Sector...key thoughts for me..."Great leaders are ambitous NOT for themselves but for the cause...a blend of personal humility and professional will...a commitment to do whatever it takes to accomplish the mission of the organization. When people see you are motivated first and foremost by the greatness of the work and not self-seeking then they are inspired to follow and emulate your example. I believe the Apostle Paul was a "level 5" leader...powerfully ambitious but only for the church and the cause.

It was cold and raining and hailing on the mountain...throughout the day...beautiful and powerful with lightening and thunder. Walked down to Bugaboos in the village, visited with Frank, our Dutch friend who owns the place...he gave us 4 of his famous cinnamon rolls...Lindsey, TJ, Deb, and me enjoyed them. Deb and I took a long mountain hike, eating wild strawberries, the clouds let loose just as we had about a quarter mile to go...we ran the rest of the way and then hopped in the hot tub in the rain!

Deb and I went down to the village for the wine festival...not to drink but to visit with friends we have on the mountain...saw several friends.

Then went down to Vernon to go to OUR church...Vernon Alliance Church pastored by our friend Stuart McKnight. He is on a semi break...working 4 days a week and only preaching 2 times a period of 9 weeks. He was there, but not preaching. Had a good time connecting with him and worshipping. Len Frank brought the word and it was perfect for me and for the start of Sabbatical. Detailed the difference between living from a Performance model and living from a Relational we see to gain acceptance from God instead of receiving the GRACE of relationship...the Father's love...he brought the chair that his Father sat in all the time and how he was only allowed to sit in his father's lap a few times and when he was...he sat there tense and quietly until his Father fell asleep...he saw himself as an inconvenience to his Father.

In the worship following the message...God showed me how I had never really experienced "my Father's lap". I was too young to remember my daddy because he died when I was two. I was too old to sit on my step-dad's lap once he came into my life. The Lord seemed to show me that this is one of the reasons I have struggled with "performance" issues...having to establish my value through my accomplishments. God invites me to lean back into his chest, to feel the warmth of his arms embracing...not because I have done something special but because I AM SPECIAL to my Father.

Came back up the mountain and watched a movie with TJ and Linz.

August 09, 2008

Sabbatical #12 Thistles, Sin, & Servanthood

Got up and spent time with Jesus and Matthew...going verse by verse. I am convicted to be a "2 Mile Christian" who when compelled to go one mile cheerfully says "Can I carry that heavy load another mile for you?" That's servant leadership..."Lord, teach me to be a 'go-giver'"

Then pulled "thistles" for part of the morning...if you don't get them pulled up before they flower they continue to multiply...I couldn't help but think about sin in my life and how important it is to pull it out when it is young, new, beginning, before it's roots grow deeper and it begins to spread its poison and spread to other parts of the garden of my heart!

As I was pulling thistles my allergies went off the bumps up and down arms, sneezing, the whole deal. I pray that I would be that allergic to SIN!

Drove Deb and Lindsey to the airport and we picked up TJ, Lindsey's boyfriend. How weird does that seem to me. My little girl in a real and deepening Thursday she is flying to Alaska to meet his family. We love TJ and are so proud of his devotion to Christ and the church.

We took the boat out and all of us went skiing and wakeboarding and had a kick! (my muscles are screaming..."too much fun!") Then came back and grilled steaks and watched some of the Olympics.

Started reading "Good to Great for the Social Sector" by Jim Collins. Insightful for non-profit leadership and based on much research.
The book starts with the question "Are you trying to be interesting, or are you seeking to be interested?" There it is servanthood again.

August 08, 2008

Sabbatical #11 Goodbye & Hello Friend

Got up early and broke open a new loaf of bread...that is code language for the fact that I bought Deb and I brand new, black leather, gold edge, red letter, names embossed on the front cover, NIV, large print, thin line, non reference, BIBLES! So I started breaking mine in.

Now you must understand this is always a bittersweet see there is the Holy Bible and then there is MY Bible. The Word never changes but the book I use to read, study, and preach God's Word MUST change...I simply wear them out from hauling them to places like Ethiopia...carrying them in backpacks...etc...the binding usually breaks.

So to change Bibles is to say goodbye to old friend and retire it to some shelf of honor.

But it is also like saying...hello to a new friend who holds just as much promise, adventure, comfort, counsel, wisdom, power, and creativity as my last friend.

Over the next 8 weeks I am journeying through the New Testament and the start of that journey was exciting.

Also read another entire book yesterday..."The GO-GIVER" great short book on servant-living. The theme is "The more you give the more you live" so find creative ways to give everyday...understand that YOU are a great gift and by giving yourself away, you can bless others and position yourself to be blessed. "Lord, let me give with an abandonment that blesses everyone in my circle of influence, Let me be open to receiving all you want to give to me directly and through others!"

Finally spent a whole day, reading, relaxing, learning, growing, taking a long walk with Deb and Lindsey....played a game like horseshoes which Deb won on her last throw...I would like to say I GAVE her the victory...but she WON it fair and square.

August 07, 2008

Sabbatical #10 Your Patient Needs Patience

Got up at 6am and unloaded the jeep into the wrong house because we were locked out of our house because our property manager failed to leave the keys he had promised. Deb and Lindsey drove with me an hour to Kelowna to try and get the boat trailer fixed.

We thought this might take a couple of hours and then we could get on with the real vacation.
The bad news was the problem was worse than expected...the brake trailers had failed completely and the whole brake system would have to be overhauled. I kept checking back in, only to hear 3 different times..."It's not done yet".

My patience was running short. My frustration was building, while my attitude was deteriorating. But the Lord seemed to begin to speak to me on this subject..."Larry you are broken in places. One of the areas of brokenness is your demand that things go your way on your time table. Your "achiever" and "maximizer" strengths, while good in the right context, can become a destructive force to my peace. You are my patient whom I need to help with patience which is a fruit of my Spirit. You can have that in all situations if you trust my timing and sovereignty"

I tried to say "yes" to His voice. Finally at 5pm the trailer was done and $640 later (OUCH!) I was able to pull away for the hour trip back to the house.

I did have a good afternoon in the park with Deb and Lindsey enjoying a stunningly beautiful day on green grass by the exquisite Lake Okanogan.

Finally got the boat to the Lake...all our stuff moved into our house...and ended the day with a soak in the hot tub...thanking God that HE IS PATIENT with His Patient.

August 05, 2008

Sabbatical #9 Broken bearings & Burn Out

What a day!! As in challenging, hard, long day. Got up and packed the boat and jeep and finally left Seattle about 11am. That took forever!

Then drove for 7 hours at Costco in Kelowna...that's one hour from our home in Silver Star BC. As I was pulling into Costco I heard a terrible was my rear axle on boat trailer...the bearings are toast. It's too late to get it fixed but the problem is the boat is filled with the we have to leave Lindsey perched on top of the boat as Deb and I drive madly to our house unload the Jeep and Deb drives back while I carry stuff up to the house.

Deb and Lindsey will be home in 20 minutes and I will have to unpack the Jeep...and be back up at 6am to rescue the boat from Costco parking lot and spend half the day (hopefully not more) getting the trailer fixed...Yikes!! So this little mishap cost us 5 hours of driving, probably $500 or more bucks, and lots of extra work...BUT...BUT...You know what I know???

God is good all the time, and the all the time God is good!! What if I had been stranded in the middle of nowhere....that could have happened. God helped me with my attitude when my circumstances made me what to holler. It's just stuff, it's just another day, God has purpose and blessing in the midst of mud! Jesus is circumstances are NOT!

Just like those bearings burnt out from going too hard and too fast for too life and ministry can burn out also. So maybe the Lord was giving me an object lesson...time to take your life to the shop and have new bearings put in so you can get your bearings in life a little more clear.

Sabbatical #8 Lesson on Desire & Disappointment

Nice breakfast with Deb on the patio in the beautiful Seattle sunshine with tall pine trees overhead and beautiful flowers surrounding us.

Then off to fix broken things...brakes, etc on the Grand Cherokee....$500! Ouch! Flat tire on the bicycle! 18$! Ouch! Went to Starbucks with wife, daughter, and Shelley P. and drowned my sorrows in a mesmerizing doze of expensive coffee.

While at Starbucks got an email confirming that a dream has died. Call the mortuary for a casket for expectations. A real estate project that was supposed to help fund the kingdom and be a blessing to Deb and me, fell through. 3 years we have been working on this thing. I won't detail it out but it gave me the opportunity to work through the whole "desire and disappointment" part of life.

Here's what I sensed the Lord may be saying to me in this significant letdown:
"Larry, when you make me the desire and the delight of your heart then disappointments, while real and painful, are quite small things. Because of who I am, Because Hebrews 13:8 is true and I will never change and thus never disappoint you, WHEN you keep me as the primary desire and delight of your heart, you rebound quickly from disappointments. Don't stop dreaming and creating and going for it...BUT never let anything but me have the center of your heart! I always have NEW and GOOD ahead for you as you trust me! So dream again but never let a earth dream get too big...As I told you in Psalms 34 Delight yourself in me and I will give you the desires of your heart (myself, my love, my beauty)"

Spent rest of day going to Pike Place Market on a gorgeous of my favorite places...the smells, the sights, the people, the flying fish. Then to Fremont and lovely time reading and relaxing and then a gourmet dinner at 35th Avenue Bistro...try the Salmon or the Ravoli and the housemade sorbet!

August 03, 2008

Sabbatical #7 Seattle Sunday...Good, Sad, & Ugly

Got up and went to worship Jesus with the saints of New Heart Worship Center in Federal Way, Washington. Great time of worship and hearing the word from Pastor Gordon Banks. Preached on Delegated Authority from Genesis 41 how Pharoah raised up Joseph. The Lord spoke to me about the difference of walking in the authority I create for myself and the authority God grants me when I release my clinching fisthold on my own authority to operate in the peace and wisdom of His authority. Also that power and authority go together and I need to believe for more power and more authority in my life and my ministry.

Then went to brunch with family and friends at a special place that Shelley Pauls took us to.

Went to the home we found to relocate Mom from Oregon to Seattle. It was a gorgeous day and the home has a sweeping view of Puget Sound.

Then went to IKEA to shop with Deb for our Canadian rental home..then bike riding with Dwight beside White River..then Thai Bistro for some scrumptious Pad Thai.

Had a very disappointing email that seems to have a shot down a 3 year real estate project Deb and I had been working on...ouch...bummer. We will see.....the song I love goes, "You give and take away...Blessed me your name!" Holy Spirit coach me when I swing and miss! I love you Lord!

Sabbatical #6 - Road Trips, Dreams?, Songs

Up by 6am going hard to finish as much as I can at Mom's. Packed up pick-up and headed out at noon for the six hour drive to Seattle...just me and mom talking about life past, present, future. Unloaded, went to sister Brenda's house where one of the guys from the drug recovery program they run was fixing dinner. He was a real chef, trained at the Culinary Institute of America and he was artistic last night...excellent. Then took brother Justin home and crashed at midnight.

The Lord may have spoken to me in a dream...I showed up to a normal looking apartment just as a young white man was leaving with a deadly looking knife in his hand. Somehow I knew (dreams don't fill in all the details for you, ever notice that?) that he was the mass murderer everyone was hunting for and I knew he had just killed again.

I spoke a greeting to him and said something that engaged him in a friendly conversation, even though I was fearful, I kept talking and looking at the knife...the conversation went deeper and he opened up to me without telling me he was the mass murderer. I encouraged him to get help and suggested my wife and another psychologist...he thanked me sincerely and then went sprinting off.

The next evening I was sitting in my home...not my real home but my dream home...not my "dream" home like a mansion...but the house in my dream...suddenly a note was slipped under my door and it was the young man writing me to say, he was ready to get help, he hated himself and his deeds and thanked me for my friendship and gave me his phone number...I had 2 emotions...gratitude that I could be used by God like that AND fear that he knew where I lived without me even giving him any personal info.

Then I woke up.

Interpretation? Not sure yet but praying about it...The first interpreation to come to mind was that God wants to use Deb and me to interrupt the murderous violence on the streets around our church and that if we care, we can make a difference....and that now is the time to help and if we do our part God will do His...and that it will be scary. Hmmmmmm.....

A MUCH EASIER WORD...About 11:30pm I am driving the pickup to Dwight and Shelley's, our best buds who we are staying with during our Seattle stint....and listening to Country Music for a change. This song comes on..."I know what I was feelin' BUT what was I thinkin?'" It was about a guy who got in trouble because he let his emotion\hormones override his intellect.

What a great song..."Lord, my people and myself we get the two confused to our destruction too me to walk in what I KNOW is best"....Love you Jesus!

August 01, 2008

Sabbatical #5 Clocks and Rodeos

Worked hard til 3pm...doing a final dump run and cleaning out cobweb filled junk.

Went to Sisters, Oregon....quaint little tourist spot high in the mountains to take an ancient clock there to be repaired by a master clockmaker...the clock's been in the family for almost a 100 years...and to repair it was $250...much more than the original price of clock. But things that last are worth the effort and expense put into them....I (and you) are eternal and therefore, God is willing to put the effort and expense into our lives...we don't just last for 20 years like most of the junk I hauled but we are a heirloom...a masterpiece. Lord, please clean me up, lubricate me, adjust me, so I can run for you for another 50 years.

Went to the COUNTY FAIR and RODEO...favorite shirt I saw: "I messed with Txas."

Got a good dose of "yeehaw"...ate bbq beef, kettle corn, and tortatoes...homemade on the spot potato chips...good and greasy and gross and I am glad the fair is only once a year.