2 Days at Sea

As we sailed East from Montevideo Uruguay and then south along the Coast of Argentina, we saw the color of the water change from a muddy brown to an emerald green. The water is brown in the Samborombón Bay from the silt that flows out of the mouth of the Rio de La Plata River, flowing all the way from Brazil. As the water flows into the Atlantic Ocean it is filtered by the power of the currents and turns a beautiful sparkling green.

There is a perspective that comes from being at sea where as far as the eye can see there is only ocean. When I experience the power of the sea, I am reminded of God’s power and the way he uses the experiences of life to filter and purify me, refining me in His image.

As we sailed toward Puerto Madryn, Argentina the land faded away as the Atlantic engulfed us. It is on these days at sea that you have a chance to settle into a sabbath rhythm of sorts. I slept in, worked out, read, prayed and took a nap at my favorite spot on the stern with a panoramic view of the Ocean. This is also a good time to meet interesting people.

One person that stands out was a guy named Steve and his wife Anne who we met at lunch. They are from Pennsylvania and we had a lot of interesting conversation. He is a twin and shared 3 months ago he lost his twin brother to an unexpected illness. It was sad to hear the heartbreak he is going through. He said the experience has brought a dark cloud over his whole life.

As I was thinking about the things Steve shared, I was thinking “what a great place to be to process the difficult things of life, the open seas of the Southern Atlantic.” I know when I am quiet, the wind is blowing in my face and I am staring at the power of the Sea, it’s a great time to think and be reminded of the power of God in my life.

With each new conversation I have I seem to learn something. A life is an amazing thing. The experiences and stories of peoples lives make their mark on my soul and offer perspective to my story. I am grateful for Steve & I pray God’s healing and peace in His life.

Dia de Los Reyes!

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.

Revelation 3:20

As we drove through the streets of Montevideo, Uruguay, it seemed a very sleepy town. Most of the shops and business’ were closed and we saw very few people walking through the streets, as we drove along the 17 km of condo buildings along the coast line.

Finally, we asked a local, “it’s Friday, where are all the people? It’s a holiday, Dia de los Reyes (day of the 3 Kings), everyone is at home!” Oh that’s right it’s January 6th!

What Is Three Kings Day?

“Three Kings Day or the Feast of Epiphany is a holiday that commemorates the day the three wise men — Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar — arrived with gifts for baby Jesus. Three Kings Day or Epiphany is celebrated by Roman Catholics on Jan. 6, as the culmination of the 12 days of Christmas.”

We never thought we would show up in Uruguay on Latin American Christmas but it looks like we did. As we walked through the streets of the old city we noticed the beauty of the architecture of the homes, in particular we noticed the doors. It seemed there were no two alike (they clearly did not buy them at Home Depot), some looked new and freshly painted, others looked very old, even ancient. We began to snap pictures of the doors and buildings, to record them and make sure they would remain in our memory.

Being captured by the sight of these doors seemed fitting on Dia de los Reyes. As the country around us, really the continent around us, in a way, was celebrating the opening of a door. When Jesus came into the world over two millennium ago, he opened a door for all of us to have the possibility of knowing God as a Friend, Brother & Father. What amazes me most is this is not an offer that God made to a select few, but to all mankind, no one is excluded.

Today, I hope we are all reminded of the love and sacrifice it took for Jesus to open that door for us to know His love and grace. My prayer today is that we will know the love of God made possible through the door Jesus opened, and especially the people of Montevideo, Uruguay!

We’re Lost!

“This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.” John 18:9

After cutting it close on making our flight to Argentina, it was great to be walking the streets of Buenos Aries. Standing in the square below “Casa Rosada,” the Argentinian Presidential palace, where Eva Peron (Evita) once stood on the balcony, legendarily throwing pesos down to the people of Buenos Aries, was quite an experience.

Just 10 days ago, 5 million Argentine people were gathered in the streets to celebrate Argentina’s World Cup win, wow, I would love to have been there for that! With all its history and interesting sites, Buenos Aries has lots of problems. They have an inflation rate over 90% per year. The inflation problem is primarily from printing $, social give aways, and lots of Government corruption. They have a poverty rate of over 30% and a very apparent homeless problem.

Probably the most noticeable reality is the Godlessness that has crept into Argentinian Culture. A once vibrant Catholic Country is now mostly agnostic. Very sad to see!

After we finished our bus tour and grabbed lunch, we realized that we had wrong directions to where the shuttle bus would pick us up and take us back to the boat. We must have walked 5 miles trying to find the pick up location, until finally we realized “we’re lost!” We tried calling the boat, but the number we had would not go through on our cell phones. Finally, after several attempts to get correct directions we managed to find the location and our ride back to the boat.

When you are lost, there is no better feeling than being found again! What was once one of the most vibrant world economies with a vibrant Christian culture, now it citizens struggle to keep food on the table and a roof over their head. They brag about being the first country in S. America to legalize gay marriage and concede that their churches are more museums than they are houses of worship.

I was reminded that when I was lost God found me, and he desires to use me to help others who are lost find their way back to God. Tonight Mary-Beth and I had dinner with a couple we just met. The husband is 91 years old. He confessed to me that although he says he is a Lutheran, that he really does not believe in God. I asked him, how did he come to the conclusion that there is no God? He said “I know a lot of smart people who believe in God, but I have lost my faith, maybe it’s all the evil I see in the world.”

Thomas may have lost his faith, but I am encouraged by the words of John 18:9 when Jesus says “I have not lost one of those you gave me.” Say a prayer with me for Thomas that he will once again find his faith in God.

Bon Voyage!

We arrived at San Diego International airport with plenty of time to spare this morning to catch our flight to Buenos Aries. We checked our bags and headed to the gate with time to grab a quick lunch. Although our American Airlines app said our flight was on time, it began to be apparent that was not going to be the case.

Once we boarded our plane which was delayed into San Diego, we found out they had to change direction for take off due to winds. Instead of the normal take off over Ocean Beach & the Pacific Ocean, we would take off over downtown San Diego. For some reason this caused a huge backlog of takeoffs. The pilot announced we were 9 of 15 and it would be another 30 minutes before we could take off. Yikes! Our scheduled two hour layover in Dallas has now completely evaporated.

We are now in the air, it was a bit turbulent (that is both metaphorical and reality) after take off, but things have smoothed out now. When we arrive, we will do an OJ Simpson through the Dallas airport from terminal A to terminal D and hopefully still make our 7:45 PM connecting flight.

So our great adventure begins! Like my wonderful wife Mary-Beth always says when things don’t go exactly as planned, “well it makes for a good story!”

Anticipation is a beautiful thing in life. It allows us to experience the joy & excitement of the experience before we even leave home. If we approach the events of life with an open heart looking for God in them and try to find the story He is writing, we will always have something to celebrate.

Something New

“And the one sitting on the throne said, ‘Behold I am making everything new!’  And then He said to me, ‘write this down, for what I am saying is trustworthy and true.’”

Revelation 21:5 NLT

As we welcome in 2023 on Sunday, I am both sober and excited! I am sober at the reality that yet another year has passed, and they seem to be going by quicker than I remember. I am excited at the reality that God is in the business of making everything New!  One of the great things about a New Year is it gives us a chance to reflect on where we have been in the last year, hopefully take stock, learn, and ultimately grow. Probably most importantly is to think about how we want to live and experience the New Year.

2022 was a year filled with many challenges as well as many blessings. I am not sure that I took the time necessary to fully experience and process it all.

As we begin the New Year my wife and I are heading to South America to celebrate our 30th Anniversary on our 33 1/2 Anniversary (you can probably guess the reasons for the delay). We are excited to spend some time together, meet some strangers, and visit some new places and cultures where we have never been.

For the last several months I am been practicing my Spanish. There is a word in Spanish “demasiado” which translates “too much” in English. When I think about 2022, that pretty much describes how I feel, in many ways 2022 was “demasiado” for me. The “Something New” I am looking for in 2023 in “Lo Justo” or “Just Enough.” I am looking forward to a calmer, slower pace in the New Year. That’s what I want, we will see what the Big Guy upstairs has in mind.

Happy New Year to you and your family!

All I want for Christmas!

Christmas snuck up on me so quickly this year! I must admit that I struggle when I see Hallmarking Christmas movies running in July, and Christmas decorations on display at Costco in September. I am one who likes to keep the seasons in the season. It seems that in the name making $ businesses skip right over important holidays like Thanksgiving and go straight to Christmas the day after Halloween. This dilutes the importance of the Advent and the Christmas season, making it about what we get, rather than who we are.

Christmas is too important a holiday, to reduce it to a retail sales goals. AT CHRISTMAS WE CELEBRATE ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENTS IN HUMAN HISTORY, the birth of Jesus Christ the savior of the world. It is a celebration of life and hope for all mankind.

In 2022 all I want for Christmas is time, focused time, to celebrate with family and friends the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of the King of Kings & Lord of Lords, our Savior Jesus Christ. The traditions of Christmas if fully understood, can lead us to the deeper meaning of the holiday. One of the blessings I have experienced this Christmas has been watching season #3 of The Chosen. I am inspired when I watch the humanity of Jesus and the story of the Disciples as they struggle to follow Jesus. It has made Jesus very real to me this Christmas.

I would encourage you to consider slowing down, and dig into the things this Christmas season that will help you see Jesus more clearly and like the Shepards and Kings alike of old, seek Him out and come and worship Him. This is all I want for Christmas!

A Memory of an Unexpected Blessing

Several Years ago in July, I had the opportunity to travel to travel to Kosovo on a ministry trip with my family.  As you might expect our days were filled with many interesting people curcumstances and things to experience. Of course in a new culture their are many things to learn and explore.

This last July was exceptionally hot and our last Friday night before returning home via Istanbul we were having dinner and a final meeting with our friend and ministry partner in a local restaurant sitting under the cool air of a nearby air conditioning vent. As we enjoyed some interesting foods and a cold drink and good conversation, the family sitting next to us caught my eye, they were a large family enjoying a meal together, what caught my attention was one of the sons was handicap and I noticed the attention and deep affection the father expressed to his son. Not to many years ago Kosovo was in broiled in a bitter fight with its neighbor Serbia, to this day you can still see the remanence of this horrible conflict. One of those remanence is many handicapped children from mothers being exposed to chemicals during the fighting , my friend told me. one thing that could not be damaged in this conflict was the importance of family in the kosovar/Albanian cultures and the deep trust and love of family members. As I watched this family eating together and the love and laughter they shared it brought a smile to my face and filled my heart with joy.

I AM Back!

I have been away from this Blog for some time and for a number of reasons…I am back! I have decided it’s time to return to my computer and continue the long conversation I began some years ago with all of you.

One of my favorite things in life is people and their stories, people of all ages, sizes, colors and backgrounds. I am fascinated by their journey with its twists and turns. To hear their story, is to come to know them and gain understanding of where they have been, who they are and who they are becoming. I consider it a great gift when someone is willing to share this very personal part of themselves.

Over the weeks and months to come I hope to share with you on these electronic pages MY STORY as it unfolds. For me, this is a place to share the experiences and insights of my life in hopes they may be in some way useful to you.

I look forward to meeting you here again soon!


A Time To Reflect

Most of you are probably reading this from home, some of you are working from home, others just home. There is no question, in the last few weeks, we all have been forced into a new rhythm of life. I know for me there are some aspects of slowing down that I am enjoying, others parts not so much.

By far, the hardest part is not being able to be with friends and family.

How ever you are feeling about things, in uncertain times it’s easy to feel stress and it can be difficult to find peace. I am grateful to have a few minutes to share something with you that God spoke to me this week.

For some of us, we can loose sight of God in diffulicult times, we can feel afraid and ask ourselves why is this happening? I am big on the WHY question, I am always’s asking WHY this or WHY that.

I was thinking about “why” this week, “why” this virus and then I came across a passage in the Hebrew scriptures in the book of 11 Chronicles 7: 11

Soloman, who we are told was the son of King David, and the richest and wisest man to ever live, has just completed the most important work of his life, building the Temple of God in Jerusalem, and his own palace. This is the one place on earth where God’s presence would be with man, and the entire Jewish Nation from all over the world would come to worship God.

Soloman had completed building the Temple of the Lord and prayed a prayer dedicating God’s new home. They Jewish people celebrated for 7 days and then one night God appears to Soloman and this is what God says to him.

“I have heard your prayer and have chosen this Temple as the place for making sacrifices. 13 At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you.14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 15 My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. 16 For I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be holy—a place where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart.”

In the days before Jesus was born on earth God’s dwelling was in the Temple, but today as followers of Jesus we are His Temple, Jesus presence through His Holy Spirit is in each of His followers. 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20

No one can truly know the purpose God has in allowing difficult times in our lives, but we do learn something from His Words to Soloman.
1. In difficult times, God hears the prayers of His people – He says “15 My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place.” Bring your worry to God, He is waiting to hear your prayer.

2. Difficult times are an opportunity to humble ourselves and seek God. Not all of us, but many of us have margin right now, God is giving some of us the gift of time, lets use it to move close and listen to His voice, spend time in the Books of the Bible and allow His voice to speak to you.
Humility does not come easy for me. Maybe it’s not easy for you either. I heard a wise man say. it’s a much easier path to humble yourself before God, then to be humbled by God.

3. Difficult times can motivate us to examine our own lives and confess to God anything that does not please him and turn from our sin. Soloman’s Father David wrote these words of confession when he had fallen into sin.

Psalm 51 1-4
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight

Is this virus that is plaguing our world allowed by God to cause both Christians and non-Christians alike to turn to God, I frankly do not know, but, lets not waste a moment of the crisis we face, lets all together use this as an opportunity to evaluate where we are with God, and step toward Him, in fact lets run into His arms of Grace and Mercy.

Made In The Middle

Every story has a beginning, a middle and and end.  Beginnings are exciting and full of hope.  A new baby, a wedding, 1st job, or the first few miles of a marathon, most of us love new beginnings  and we celebrate them.  The end of the story can be pretty cool too!  Golden wedding anniversary,  retirement from a great career,  when you have been praying for years for that family member who is far from God and see them come to faith in Christ.  Or  like my wife and I seeing our son graduate from college after some tenuous years in High School.  Beginnings and endings are where it’s at.

It’s in the middle is where things get hard.  The truth is we are “Made in the Middle,” and how we navigate the middle determines what kind of a person or what kind of a leader we will become.  How many Christian leaders can we point to who have been built successful ministries and then lost their way.  It can be hard to have faith when you’re in the middle of something.  The longer we spend in the middle, the harder it gets.  In raising children it’s the teenage years that can be a challenge.  How about midlife, it’s not the most fun season.

We see the reality of ‘Made in the middle‘ throughout the Bible.  In Exodus 14 –  the Nation of Israel is fleeing from the Egyptian army, they find themselves in the middle.  They are trapped between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army, and the people of Israel begin to panic.

 As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the       Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord, 11 and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? 12 Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’” 13 But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lordrescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. 14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

We are no different, we sometimes find ourselves in the middle of difficult circumstances, things take a bad turn and we don’t know what to do.  We pray and God is silent.  We feel the weight of things bearing down on us.  Sometime it feels like we are living through a storm, the waves are coming over the bow, and we fear we will find ourselves at the bottom of the sea.  In these moments of intense pressure is where our relationship with God is deepened and our characters are formed.  From the pressure of life, we can become weary and find our faith growing weak.  This can lead us to begin to compromise and even sell out our convictions.  As Christian leaders we can loose sight of our calling, we can begin to use people for our our benefit that God once called us to love & serve.  WE LOSE OUR WAY!

The odds you can predict the path of your life are very small.  The unpredictable, sometimes the unthinkable happens, things we don’t see coming.   God does not expect you to predict the path of your life, but just to walk in it, to walk in faith.   Like the Israelites, It’s hard for us not to doubt when we are in the middle being pressured on all sides.  The hard part, the middle, is where most of life is lived.  The 1st day is not hard, the last day is not hard, but every day in the middle is hard.

What do we need to know about the times we find ourselves in the Middle?

When the people of God were stuck in the middle between the Red Sea their enemies   and Moses has a message for them, and his message also applies for those of us who find ourselves in the Middle as well:

1.  Don’t be afraid.

2. Just stay calm.

3. The Lord Himself will fight for you.


lowing, keep the faith, walk in humility, lead faithfully.  Jesus can take the sting of the things that hurt us away.  If you are in the middle today, Its an invitation to push through, faith is believing in things we can’t see.