Heroes of the faith

Turning 50 was wonderful. That lasted, what, 20 days?

Transitions are tough, and at 50 I just hit a transition I knew was coming, but still hated to see. One of my great heroes of the faith is retiring. Dr. Gordon Anderson announced his retirement as president of North Central University today. This is my alma mater and also the place I currently serve as an adjunct professor.

Those who know Dr. Anderson only as a college president know a good part of him. I was incredibly fortunate to know him as TEACHER. Dr. Anderson was on the faculty during my time as a student. He was tough, knowledgeable, passionate, and deeply hungry for teaching others about Jesus. I took classes I didn’t need to take just because Dr. Anderson was  teaching them.

He also got me hooked on Calvin and Hobbes. In fact, that may be his greatest legacy. We were in a class one day and somone asked about some papers we had handed in and had not received back as yet. Dr. Anderson replied, “Sorry I didn’t get to that yet. I was somewhere over Russia the other night and couldn’t get to it. Well, at least I THINK it was Russia. My transmogrifier doesn’t have windows.”

To that point I had only heard of Calvin and Hobbes, but enough to recognize that term. I read Calvin and Hobbes the next day in the comics… and was hooked for the length of the series.

When my wife and I had left North Central to start a new church in my hometown, we found out he was the morning teacher at a Bible camp about an hour away. We went over for a couple of days just to listen to his morning teachings. It was so great drinking in his wisdom once again!

After the last morning session we could attend, we were talking to him and nervously asked if we could take him to lunch. It was nerve-wracking for us. He was our hero. Did heroes even EAT?

He graciously accepted our invitation and we had about a two hour lunch talking life, ministry, and so much more.

Transitions happen. This one is significant. I am so deeply thankful to the influence of this incredible man of God. I am so deeply grateful for the professors I had during my time at North Central, and so deeply grateful for Dr. Anderson’s influence on my life as a teacher of the Word.


The big 5-0

In a few days I will be 50. FIFTY. 5-0.

49 has been good. It’s been a great year.

Our family has added a daughter-in-law. We also celebrate our first grandson.

It’s been a great year.

Our church has made a big leap of faith, moving from it’s old facility into a new building and we’re trying to get all permits lined up to get a coffee shop built. It’s an intentional step to keep blessing our community and it has stretched us. God is bringing favor to us.

On this particular birthday, I am going to do something I try not to do very often, especially on this blog. I am going to ASK for something.

The coffee shop has been trying to gain some traction in funding to make sure we have every possible cost covered and then be able to add some nice things right from the start if possible.

For my 50th birthday, while I don’t ask for gifts or presents, I would like to impose on you and ask if you would give to the coffee shop GoFundMe project. It would mean a lot to me personally.

Make it the “FIVE” project, if you like. Give in increments of 5.

$5, $25, $50, $500… you get the idea.

It would mean a lot if on my birthday (January 1), there was a new surge in funding for the coffee shop. 2016 will be a year of ABUNDANCE. It will also be a year of HARVEST. Would you consider helping me get it off to a great start? Click on the highlighted link above and consider giving. As you give, also please consider passing along the link in your social networks.




Thank you, Coach Kill

It’s been tough in Minnesota sports lately. Flip Saunders, coach of the Timberwolves, passed away this weekend. Torii Hunter, long time outfielder for the Twins, retired. And today the shock of Jerry Kill resigning from Gopher Football due to his health. 

When Coach Kill was hired, it was so odd to the media. Once I found out Kill was from Kansas and how his coaches went with him everywhere, I knew this was going to be the hardest working man in the Big Ten. While this year has been a struggle with wins and losses, I have been a huge fan of Coach Kill. He was loyal to football, the U, to his players, and he enjoyed what he did.

Coach Kill has been a class act all through his career. This act of stepping aside for the sake of his family and health is a class act. Coach Kill represents what I think is still possible in sports. The game will be less without him, but he is a greater man because of this bold decision.

Slay the hashtag!

The latest hashtag movement:


Just like #bringbackourgirls and Kony and whatever else… it will fade away and people will go back to their normal routines and nothing will be done. (NOTE: Kony wasn’t brought down by a hashtag.)

Here is how “journalists” can honor the two killed live on TV (and I’m not going to quit using quotes or air quotes until we get some real journalists back in the media):

  1. They could quit defaulting to the simple mantra of gun control. YES, it’s a discussion, but it’s not the ONLY discussion, and the panacea of “no guns” is utter foolishness.
  2. They could decide to do more stories on mental health, mental health laws, adult mental health issues, reporting adults with mental health problems, and highlighting organizations that are doing more to help in the mental health area.
  3. They would decide to quit sitting at their computer terminals and following what is trending on Twitter and get their butts in the streets to actually do, you know, reporting. Find the story.
  4. They would refuse to allow blow hards to set the agenda for what headlines the evening broadcast and instead ask the blow hard a hard question in return and not stop until a real answer is given.
  5. They would quit reporting weather as “breaking news.” And put it back into a 30 second segment it deserves way at the end of the newscast.
  6. They would quit flashing “BREAKING NEWS” on EVERY broadcast. It’s foolishness.

Don’t stop with a stupid hashtag. Get out and revive your profession! Make it MEAN something. That would bring honor to two people who gave their lives for a mad man wanting more Facebook hits.

The shed

I finished mowing the lawn today and as I closed up the shed where I store the lawn mower, I looked at the little bolt at the top of the door. It is designed to keep the double doors flush to the frame. A clasp lock lower down puts the two doors together and that’s where the padlock keeps the shed secure. The little bolt is not high for an adult to reach and loosen to open the doors, but for a kid it’s a bit of a challenge.

Almost every time I take hold of that little bolt now I’m thrown back to an image years ago. When we first got the shed our boys were little. I think our oldest wanted to go out and ride his bike so he went out to get the bike out of the shed. I can remember so vividly watching from the back door as he went right to the door, unlocked the padlock, then leaped up to undo the little bolt. It was beyond his reach standing there, but he wasn’t going to let that stop him. A couple of leaps and he had it loose and the doors came open.

Each of the boys then grew and took turns taking care of the lawn. They are all grown and gone now and it’s up to me to get the mower out and take care of the lawn.

The little bolt today threw me once again back to watching that scene and reflecting on how fast last moves. In two very short days our youngest son gets married. He is marrying a wonderful young lady we are so proud to welcome into the family. All three boys will be there. Our oldest with his wife and they are expecting our first grandchild. Our middle son working hard and making his way in life.

Adult young men and I’m left wondering… how did that happen so fast?

I finished Don Meyer’s wonderful book, The Distinguishing Mark of Leadershipyesterday and Dr. Meyer asks a key question that he has modeled all of his life: what is my legacy?

This Saturday I will be gathered with my legacy. Three incredible sons. Two daughters-in-law. A grandbaby on the way. An amazing wife.

Our children are part of the greatest legacy we can live for this planet, and for the Kingdom of God. They will have the opportunity to live out the values of generations that have gone before. I pray I have fulfilled the legacy of my parents and grandparents. They are giants to me.

Our children are the testimony to the world of God’s faithfulness and the hope of what they can do to extend the beauty of the Kingdom well past our time on this planet.

I love that shed every time I go to mow the lawn. I take hold of that little bolt and I think of three boys, now men, and how proud I am to be called their dad.

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