Resurrecting Hope

The woman who sat before me said, “Six family members died the between April and December 2020, the last of these was my husband. None from COVID-19. It’s been a tough year.” Devastating losses. How does a person walk through such losses? She is reacting in anger toward others around her. That made sense knowing…

Heal What Ails You

Matthew called to unpack his time at his parents and then said, “Dad, I have a question and it is okay to say no.” Matthew is our chosen son. He dated one of our daughters for a very short time five years ago. They broke up, but he has remained a part of our lives…

Saving Grace

Sunday mornings I sit in the narthex of my wife’s church building, running the zoom service during the in-person gathering. I’m sitting out there because it currently has the only live outlet to plug in my computer. In this area of the building is the rope pull for the bell in the steeple; I’ve had…

Hello, My Name is Phillip: Chapter Twenty-Four

(This is the serial telling of my book Hello, My Name is Phillip. Available here on Amazon. Search for “Phillip’s Story” on this blog site for the other chapters. Enjoy stepping into this story of a 6 year-old named Phillip.) Kevin meets me at the car every day. He slings his arm over my shoulder,…

Gardens

What’s the benefit of a garden? For me, beyond the beauty, the pleasure of growing living things, the joy of the fruit from it, these are among the gifts it brings into life. The main gift is the intentional pause. I love gardens!

Hello, My Name is Phillip: Chapter Twenty-two

A midnight trip to the hospital opens up the possibility for unexpected miracles. You never know when Jesus might show up. And in this story, he does! Encounter a whole new meaning for the color blue.

Hello, My Name is Phillip: Chapter Nineteen

(This is the serial release of my book Hello, My Name is Phillip. You are welcome to share these posts with friends, and welcome also to buy the book here. The story picks up as Phillip eavesdrops on an important conversation.) It is Mr. Clay, from the church. He stands there, smiling that wide grin…

Moving On…

Sunday afternoon, I met three of our daughters at Michelle’s Pianos in Portland. Susanna had flown in from Boise in order to select and purchase a piano. When she and her husband had married, Collin told her he wanted to her to have a good piano someday. Susanna had been a piano performance major, so…

It was the Right Thing to Do

Taking action because you know it’s the right thing to do is powerful. It benefits others, benefits you, and allows you to participate in something grand. Just take the action. Do the right thing.

Spread light

The stress of this season — COVID, FIRES — can create emotional backlogs which then get expressed against others around us. Instead, be self aware in order to spread light not darkness. Bring peace not discord. Examples of this abound. Spread light.

Be the Neighbor

It was over 11 years ago I first walked into Papa’s Haven, a coffee shop near to where I was pastoring a local church. Dreamed into existence by a guy named Jerry and his wife Jane, as a second career this place was perfect for me. I began to come there for most of my…

Connections Matter

Connections with others and how they happen are mysterious, aren’t they? In BC — Before COVID-19 — (which feels like lightyears ago,  when we could just board planes and travel with relative ease) I flew to London from Los Angeles. Needing to board from the third floor of the terminal because of the height of…

I See You

“I see you!” Those are famous words from the 2009 James Cameron blockbuster movie AVATAR as the heroine, Neytiri, rescues the hero, Jake Sully, in the final scenes. She can see “him,” even though looking into his human not his avatar’s face. To be thus seen is to be seen as who he is, it…

The Men Who Put Skin on Jesus: “Jack”

(This is a chapter by chapter release of my short memoirs The Men Who Put Skin on Jesus.) The day I turned 13, March 22, 1972, my parents had my birthday party at a local bowling alley. I bowled, ate hotdogs, popcorn, candy, and cake with six friends while my parents orchestrated the moving trucks…

The Men who Put Skin on Jesus: “Little”

Memoirs On the outside, I looked like a man, grown-up, clean-shaven, sometimes dressed in black slacks, a colorful Ariat shirt, and Altras. But inside, I was just a pup, like Ben the grizzly, old funeral director in Forest Grove called me. It was a freezing cold winter day when he picked me up in the…

The Men who Put Skin on Jesus: Introduction

Memoirs Karen shouted back and threw a small couch pillow at me. It hit my shoulder. As it hit, something snapped inside of me. No longer was I a 34-year-old pastor and husband, arguing with his wife of 12 years, the father of four daughters. Instead, I became a little boy.   I felt seven or…

A Burn, A Deer and a Miracle…

Last Thursday, I flew to Phoenix. The night before Southwest shifted me from a one-stop flight at 7:15 am to a nonstop at 6:05 am, so I arrived four hours earlier than originally planned. As a result, I got to spend a full 24-hours with friends at whose home I swam for the first time…

Patience

I pulled up to the pump at Safeway.  Mike, grey-haired, a bit grizzly in appearance, with a cap on his head and bandana for a mask arrived at my care after a few moments. He apologized for the wait. I responded, “I am good at waiting.” As he pumped, Mike talked. As if it had…

Large Blessings in Small Packages

Our oldest, Anna, wanted to come visit with her two young daughters, reserved two nights at a campsite on the Oregon coast and invited anyone available to come. She drove two days to bring her daughters, 2.5 year old Bridget and 5 year old Josie, out to Oregon. They arrived at our house for a…

Blame

The two couples were sitting having dinner on the patio behind one of their homes. They have known each other and been friends for decades. Conversation turned to the COVID vaccine somehow, and suddenly one of the women got very, very strong in her statements against the vaccine. She began arguing with the other woman…

Rain

I left my coat in the car that day. When I arrived at the office, the sky was overcast but it did not look like rain. The clouds darkened and during the day. “I need to go outside and get my coat,” I thought more than once. But by the time I stepped outside, it…

Meeting God in a Friend

The strangest circumstance occurred. The board meeting I was booked to attend in Nashville got moved to Ada, OK. It also changed so just the executive committee needed to attend. The rest were to attend via zoom. Technically, then, I could have canceled the trip and stayed home. But, I was scheduled to stay with…