July 30, 2009

Thanks TOM...I feel Younger!

I am NOT a GOLFER but the lessons in this article were TOO GOOD not to pass along, especially if you are over 50 like me! Worth the read.

59 Is the New 30 By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN (July 29, New York Times Op Ed)

"....Indeed, I have been struck at how many golfers and non-golfers got caught up in Watson’s historic performance — tying for the lead after four rounds at Turnberry, but losing in a playoff to the 36-year-old Stewart Cink. I was not alone in being devastated that Watson was not able to par the last hole and clinch the win. Like millions of others, I shouted at the TV as his ball ran across the 18th green — heading for trouble — “STOP! STOP! STOP!” as if I personally had something at stake. Why was that?

Many reasons. For starters, Watson’s run was freaky unusual — a 59-year-old man who had played his opening two rounds in this tournament with a 16-year-old Italian amateur — was able to best the greatest golfers in the world at least a decade after anyone would have dreamt it possible.

Watching this happen actually widened our sense of what any of us is capable of. That is, when Kobe Bryant scores 70 points, we are in awe. When Tiger Woods wins by 15 strokes, we are in awe. But when a man our own age and size whips the world’s best — who are half his age — we identify.

Of course, Watson has unique golfing skills, but if you are a baby boomer you could not help but look at him and say something you would never say about Tiger or Kobe: “He’s my age; he’s my build; he’s my height; and he even had his hip replaced like me. If he can do that, maybe I can do something like that, too.”

Neil Oxman, Watson’s caddy,... said to him, ‘For a lot of people, what you’re doing is life-affirming.’

Also, as Watson himself appreciates, the way he lost the tournament underscored why golf is the sport most like life. He hit two perfect shots on the 18th hole in the final round, and the second one bounced just a little too hard and ran through the green, leaving him a difficult chip back, which he was unable to get up and down. Had his ball stopped a foot shorter, he would have had an easy two-putt and a win.

That’s the point. Baseball, basketball and football are played on flat surfaces designed to give true bounces. Golf is played on an uneven terrain designed to surprise. Good and bad bounces are built into the essence of the game. And the reason golf is so much like life is that the game — like life — is all about how you react to those good and bad bounces. Do you blame your caddy? Do you cheat? Do you throw your clubs? Or do you accept it all with dignity and grace and move on, as Watson always has. Hence the saying: Play one round of golf with someone and you will learn everything you need to know about his character.

Golf is all about individual character. The ball is fixed. No one throws it to you. You initiate the swing, and you alone have to live with the results. There are no teammates to blame or commiserate with. Also, pro golfers, unlike baseball, football or basketball players, have no fixed salaries. They eat what they kill. If they score well, they make money. If they don’t, they don’t make money. I wonder what the average N.B.A. player’s free-throw shooting percentage would be if he had to make free throws to get paid the way golfers have to make three-foot putts?

This wonderful but cruel game never stops testing or teaching you. “The only comment I can make,” Watson told me after, “is one that the immortal Bobby Jones related: ‘One learns from defeat, not from victory.’ I may never have the chance again to beat the kids, but I took one thing from the last hole: hitting both the tee shot and the approach shots exactly the way I meant to wasn’t good enough. ... I had to finish.”

So Tom Watson got a brutal lesson in golf that he’ll never forget, but he gave us all an incredible lesson in possibilities — one we’ll never forget.

July 28, 2009

The Crystal Ball

I am juggler by profession. I have all different sizes and shapes of balls that must be kept in the air at all times. But sometimes I drop the ball or more than one ball. I am not too worried about that unless it is a crystal ball.

Most balls in life are rubber. They will bounce back. You can pick them up and start juggling again. Maybe they got a little dirty when you dropped them but it's no big deal.

But a few balls in life are crystal. If you drop them they don't bounce, they shatter. Sometimes you can glue them back together, but they aren't really the same.

Wise people know which few balls in life are crystal. They would drop all the other balls before they would drop one of those handful of crystal balls.

Those crystal balls must be concentrated on. The eye must stay trained on them.

Life can get going so fast we mistake cheap balls for crystal balls. We take our eye off the priceless balls.

Most crystal balls are relationships...Relationships with God, with family, and with one or two friends.

As you juggle in life are you keeping your eye on the crystal balls?

July 23, 2009


Here's one club I plan on joining (see article below)....I figure it this way, I have goals, dreams and plans to last until I am 100 and I am going to be in heaven forever. So 100 years is just about right for me.

This means I am a year over half way...I like that. It also means I have to stay really fit and eat really well and keep my brain really stimulated and hang around 20something's and keep from getting RUTITIS...stuck in RUTS that age me.

Now, Jesus, please don't misunderstand. You can come back anytime you want...the sooner the better for me...MARANATHA...but if you don't, I'll stick around and work for you for another 50 years!

Here's the article about the club I am joining!
In 1950, the number of centenarians was a few thousand, but it has jumped to more than 340,000 worldwide today. The highest concentrations are in the U.S. and Japan, according to the latest Census Bureau figures. Their numbers are projected to grow at more than 20 times the rates of the total population by 2050, making them the fastest growing age segment. [The Associated Press]

I say, Why NOT ME?

July 20, 2009

Angry Email Pain

I got an email from an angry newcomer today. We had an amazing service yesterday with several new people raving about what a warm friendly loving caring church we are. I am floating, thinking life is great, God is great, our church is great and then BAM...someone punches me in the heart. Ouch!

But I have to credit the guy...he signed the email. I have a healthy habit of trashing all the notes and emails that are not signed. If someone is not brave enough to sign it, then I am not interested enough to read it. I don't have time to guess who wrote it. So the guy gets one credit.

After that it's all down hill. He verbally vomits and in the process gets most of his facts wrong. But emotions are such tricky things...we don't see reality, we see our perception of reality and when we are wearing blue spectacles then, my golly, the world is blue...for a fact it's blue.

I really feel bad for the guy and hopefully if he reads my blog he won't know it's him that I am talking about. His initials are H.U.R.T. I know that for a fact.

And here's the big truth you must never forget.....drum roll please....HURTING PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE. That truth helps me a lot...they are mad at me...but not really...they are mad at life and their pain is so heavy they must try and transmit as much of it as possible to others.

So here's how I handle it:
1. I look for any truth in his words.
2. I pray for him and his pain.
3. I write a soft reply (a gentle answer turns away wrath the Bible says).
4. I seek my next opportunity to love a man who thinks he is my enemy.
5. I focus on the positive comments that far outweigh the one bad.
6. I remember even Jesus had a Judas who was a BIG critic.
7. I drown my pain in a Root Beer Float. (jk)

July 18, 2009

Body, Souls, Spirits - New Adventures

A BODY needs food and clean water.
A SOUL needs education and care.
A SPIRIT needs Jesus, truth, and love.

My life is committed to making an impact in the lives of others in all 3 arenas.

This week our non-profit (limeworks.org) launched a new initiative that will be headed by Denise Keller. It is to bring a life-giving, significant size water well to the needy in the remote village of Bita Genet, Ethiopia. The diseases contracted from the unfit water that is being scavenged from gross puddles are killing many, especially children.

Also we are going to build a school in that village. Bita Genet has 80% unemployment and 80% illiteracy. The gift of being able to read will be a huge blessing to children.

JR Rushik, leader of Storehouse Church in Philadelphia is partnering with me and Light & Life Christian Fellowship to build a new and significant church building in the village of Bita Genet. We want to introduce people to the life-changing power of Jesus Christ and see their spirits set free to soar in God.

An amazing thing happened this week: A Dutch-Indonesian pastor sought me out and wants to integrate his small church into Light & Life. He is almost 70 and looking to retire but wants to provide for his flock. The church "City of Praise" also has a dynamic work in Indonesia on the island formerly known as Borneo.

City of Praise in Indonesia includes a school, an orphanage, micro-enterprise, a church, and more. Another way that we may end up touching hundreds of lives in Body, Soul, and Spirit.

I need prayer and wisdom and resources to pursue these incredible open doors of ministry.

Love a Dog But Love a Kid More

Growing up on the farm I have a different view of animals than the urban pet owner who has only seen their animal through eyes of friendship. But I believe that the following article from Christianity Today makes a very valid point about "the higher value of humans, the kindness toward animals, and the unlimited capacity for compassion within the human heart that is filled with the Holy Spirit:

Not One Sparrow
We can be 'speciesists' and show compassion for animals.
A Christianity Today editorial | posted 7/13/2009 10:33AM

In a recent post on Her.meneutics, the Christianity Today women's blog, Saddleback Church's Kay Warren shared the story of being emotionally duped, then angered, by a heart-tugging television ad about suffering animals. As someone who has seen Rwandan children orphaned by hiv and surviving on dirt cookies, Warren urged readers to remember the chasm between humans and animals, and the respective dignity that chasm confers. "Only people have a spiritual dimension," she wrote. "Jesus didn't die for animals; he gave his all for human beings."

Warren's post received many thankful "amens." Her frustration resonates with many Christians who are concerned with appeals for animal compassion when so much callousness toward human suffering persists. Such concern is rooted in both Scripture's witness and the intuitive knowledge that, while animals and all of non-human creation are not disposable, neither do they have the same worth as humankind. It was the first human's nostrils into which God, in an embarrassingly intimate act, breathed life; it was the human patriarchs and their families whom God called into covenant relationship; when God chose Mary, a Jewish teenager in a backwater of the Roman Empire, it was human flesh he chose to take on. And though Paul writes in Romans 8 that God will usher the entire creation into freedom in the age to come, he also says that humans alone were chosen "before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless … to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ" (Eph. 1:4-5).

Given the highlights of God's story of redemption, Christians cannot help being a bit speciesist, a term coined by psychologist Richard D. Ryder for "the widespread discrimination … practiced by man against other species" and popularized by Princeton philosopher Peter Singer.

But while Christians happily acknowledge the charge, we misstep when we brush off animal cruelty with nonchalance. Showing animal compassion does not de facto assign animals the same worth as humans. It merely acknowledges that animals have worth and dignity—something plainly assumed in biblical passages like Exodus 21-22:14 and Deuteronomy 25, which outline upright ways to handle livestock, and Proverbs 12:10, which praises the righteous man who "cares for the needs of his animal." The church has traditionally interpreted Isaiah 65's well-known apocalyptic imagery of lions and lambs not as a cozy metaphor of human community, but as a picture of fully restored creation, people and animals. And while Luke 12:6's five sparrows sold for two cents usually refer to God's sovereign care for us in our daily lives, it's remarkable that those five sparrows aren't forgotten by God, but are part of his sovereign care as well.

Instead of leading us down dangerous paths toward secular humanism, animal compassion becomes part of our privileged role as custodians of the creatures in which God delights. In fact, C. S. Lewis, who wrestled in many essays with the seeming senselessness of animal suffering, argued that it was precisely because humans are higher than animals in creation's hierarchy that they should oppose animal cruelty. Our very superiority to animals, he said, ought to motivate us "to prove ourselves better than the beasts precisely by the fact of acknowledging duties to them which they do not acknowledge to us."

When we hear about dogs being hanged or drowned for not performing well in dogfighting rings, or about legitimate hunting turning into mere slaughter, or when livestock are killed in ways that prolong their suffering, what usually erupts in us is an adamant no! We do well to pay attention to that no!, because it tells us that something has gone horribly wrong with the world, something Christians believe traces back to man's enmity with God.No! is also our response, of course, when 8-year-olds are forced to prostitute themselves on Cambodian streets, or a doctor admits to having aborted a child one day before he was due. But we need not worry that our no! about cruelty to animals will lessen our response to wrong done to humans.

Compassion is not a zero-sum game. Compassion begets more compassion, though channeled into different responses and for different ends. The most famous evangelical animal activist, William Wilberforce, publicly opposed bull-baiting (a spectator sport where dogs attack bulls) and co-founded the first animal welfare group out of the same vision for Christ's kingdom that led him to support public Sabbath observance, fund evangelism to Indians, and work to overthrow the British slave trade, among countless other initiatives.

It's our recognition of Christ's reign over all things—even the sparrows—that compels us to proclaim our no! about animal cruelty in the public square, and to make our yes! about the worth and dignity of all God's creatures a joyful witness to his coming kingdom.

July 13, 2009

African Village Recalibration

Upon return from three weeks in remote villages of Africa, I appreciate so many things, so very much.
I get RECALIBRATED every time I spend time in 3rd World Poverty.

I have new found appreciation for:
Paved roads, green grassy yards, curbs, ICE, choices in food, vehicles with all the floorboard in place,running water, toilets, napkins, dogs without mange, boundaries for farm animals (not in house), emission controls, stoplights and stop signs, sewer systems, bug control, washing machines, ICE, electricity, democracy with only minimal corruption, hospitals, ambulances, medical centers, recliners, tap water, tap water, tap water, art, parking spots, stores with parking lots, unemployment rates below 20%, literacy rates above 50%, smoke free cooking (except when I cook), libraries, theaters, ICE, mattresses with springs, dressers, and much much more.

Things I miss when I return home from African villages:
Time for friendships, slower pace of life, deeper connection with nature, joy found in simple things, the priority of family life, the dependency upon God, the joy found in God's presence, the uncomplicated truth about life, the lack of pretense and play acting, the freedom from multi-tasking.