Why does God choose the insignificant? Why does he choose the out of the way things? He is no marketing genius, I’ll tell you!

When it comes to the birth of Messiah, for instance, he doesn’t pick Jerusalem. He doesn’t pick a prominent family. He doesn’t even let the religious leaders know.

What was he thinking?

It is so blatantly obvious we all need to slow down. It is also blatantly obvious we have no clue how to accomplish that task.

Last week we decided to get a real Christmas tree for the first time in our marriage. It was the best decision of this Christmas season. It is a beautiful balsam fir that stand over 6 feet.

Two nights this week my wife and I have turned off all the lights and allowed the Christmas tree lights to illuminate the living room. The boys were off in bed, so we sat almost in silence enjoying something. While it was so incredibly relaxing, it is also frustrating. We can always think of something else we should be DOING while we are “wasting” our time staring at a tree.

The rat race is infuriating!

Where has our expectation gone? There really is a weariness in well-doing. God has so much for us, and we sit doing so little.

We need the wildness of the Spirit unleashed in our lives once again. We need to surrender our desire for predictibility and ask the Spirit to blow as HE wishes!

It is the reality and awareness that must permeate the church today if we are to recapture the dynamic of the Early Church. It is not the structure of the service that will affect this; it is the awareness, the desire for, and the cooperation with the activity of the Spirit by the leadership and by the congregation, in whatever form, that ensure this reality. He may refresh like the wind or convict like fire, speak with the tongues of men and angels, or, He may simply brood over the congregation to illuminate the spoken Word.” (J. Lowell Harrup, pastor of Northland Cathedral in K.C., MO.)

We live like spiritual bums far too often. We mistake being cynical for “being honest”. If someone were actually POSITIVE, we would think they were lying. How could someone be “positive” and “honest”? It’s like those words just do not fit any more.

We lack such honesty with God. We don’t speak with Him or listen for Him or to Him any more. Who has time? We have time for the world’s cynical perspective, and maybe a little Dr. Phil, but to actually ask for a true Kingdom perspective just seems beyond us these days.

While there may be cynicism, and that may be in part “honest”, we lack true honesty and a desire to actually know Kingdom perspectives.

“But this is a people plundered and looted;
they are all of them trapped in holes and hidden in prisons;
they have become plunder with none to rescue,
spoil with none to say, ‘Restore!'”

Isa. 42:22 (ESV)

We live among people plundered and looted. They do not even know it. Spiritually, though, they are empty. They walk around trapped all the time, not wanting to be set free.

I had a picture of this the other day. So often we make fun of bums on the street corner holding those signs, “Will Work for Food”. They look so bad and probably smell worse. We think, “Why don’t they go get a real job?”

Yet, we too often walk around like spiritual bums. We have all the access to the Kingdom of God, yet refuse to pray and walk in the Spirit. We hold up signs, “Need a Miracle!”

The question is, “Why don’t we just GO HOME?”

Home to the Father, who is waiting to pour his wonderful gifts into our lives.

We are plundered and looted. We need to hear the word of the Lord: RESTORE.

Do you ever wonder about the stories in the lives of people you pass?

Today I was driving by a funeral home and there was a crowd outside. Who had died? Was this family? Friends? Both? Was this someone young or old? Dearly loved or tolerated?

So often I want to know the stories of those I read about in the obituaries. I check those just about everyday. I also check the Fortune 500 list. If I am not in either one, I go to work.

Going through the obituaries, I am sobered into my own mortality. So many die young. Too young. Too young is getting older every year for me, too.

What are the stories of those we pass every day? What are their hurts? What are their triumphs? How can God use me in their lives today?

For those who may not know me very well, my post about voting for Hillary Clinton in 2008 was sarcastic.

Now, on to greater things…

Why I actually admire the New York Yankees:

The playoffs are in full swing and the Yankees went down to the Los Angeles/Anaheim/California Angels.

Right there is enough reason to admire the Yankees. They have one name and they have stuck with it for nearly 100 years. The Angels have been in the League for about 40 years or so and have had three or four name changes. Come on!

Anyway, as I was watching the Yankees go down in flames, I found myself actually admiring several things about this team.

1. Derek Jeter. The man doesn’t quit. He plays hard on every opportunity. Early in the game he was on first and when the single from A-Rod (I think) went to right field, Jeter didn’t hesitate. He went first to third and challenged Vlad Guerrero’s arm. Guerrero has probably the best arm in baseball and Jeter dared him to throw. Jeter was safe. There is no quit in the man.

2. A-Rod. He had a lousy series, but this man is one of the premier players of the game. He is the consummate professional. He is IN the game. He doesn’t sit idly by in the dugout.

3. Mariano Rivera. He has one pitch and hardly anyone can hit it. In Game Four he came in with two innings left in the game. The last two games he has done that, he cost the Yankees the game. He buckled down and took care of business, even shutting down the top of the Angels order in the top of the ninth.

4. Joe Torre. Who else could manage a team for George Steinbrenner for 10 years? Who else could manage a bunch of high-priced, overpaid athletes and demand EXCELLENCE out of them? The Red Sox brag about their nut group. They don’t cut their hair, they wear beards, they do drugs and booze it up and brag about it. The Yankees even LOOK good. They play good, but they LOOK good. When you come to a Joe Torre team, you WILL look respectable, and you WILL want to win.

Okay, deep down I’m glad not to have an East Coast team left in the playoffs. I get tired of that arrogance, but I must register my admiration for a team like the New York Yankees.

What is Gideon’s Torch?

It is my new whacky idea.

I love missions. My heart is broken for the world. Giving to missions has always been important to me. Lately, our missions giving has been STUCK. We are behind in our current support, we can’t take on new missionaries, and we can’t raise our current support at all.

As I contemplated this horrible dilemma, I thought of how little units can make a BIG difference. Gideon had an army of 300 and defeated the huge Midianite army. 300 torches against the darkness.

If I could muster up 300 units that gave only $10 per month, our church missions budge would TRIPLE! It doesn’t have to be 300 people. One person could take 5 units, for example, and give $50 per month. This would be above their regular tithe.

300 torches against the darkness.

I need your help. Please visit our church website to see more about Gideon’s Torch, or how to contact me for more information. Every dollar given to Gideon’s Torch will go to missions. Our chuch will take nothing. Missionaries and missions projects get every dollar. Your giving will make a difference!

Let’s talk about it!

Dan