In the spring of 1966, the entire 4th grade class was marched to the gym where we were made to take a musical aptitude test. Other than listening to single notes played on a variety of instruments and answering whether or not they were the same, I remember little else about the test. Weeks later, I came home from school and my parents greeted me saying “the school called.” Oh, how those words could make me sweat bullets and launch my suspicious mind into a frenzied inventory of excuses even before hearing the school’s complaint.
“Do you remember the music test you took?” my parents asked. “Uh, no” said I. Dad continued with a grin “it’s difficult to believe, I know, but the school says you have a talent for music.” My little mind did a Bat-Turn** trying to Continue reading
Years ago I was blessed to take part in a traditional Jewish Seder meal where the Messianic Jewish host explained the meaning and spiritual significance of each element of the meal. When we were finished, the host encouraged all the Christian participants to observe the traditional Jewish Sabbath. It was a moving experience and launched me into prayerful study to determine how my wife and I should approach the Sabbath. In the end, neither my wife nor I felt led to observe it on a weekly basis as do the Jews. Speaking for myself, I felt that way long before ever attending the Seder meal. What the study did do for me was to show me why I feel the way I do about traditional Sabbath observance. Such is not unusual, for simple discernment often precedes knowledge and understanding.
Controversial as the subject is and having had my fill of so many self-appointed defenders of man’s religious kingdom who were threatened by the tithe articles (link) the Father led me to write, I never figured to write anything about the Sabbath. That is, until recently, when I heard a man argue for keeping the Sabbath by claiming “I recently informed my wife that I will begin sleeping with other women because of this new found freedom (that) I have (in Christ) to disregard the 7th commandment which says ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’.” I hope dear reader, that you find the man’s crass and manipulative analogy as nauseous as I do. Continue reading
A Charlie Brown Christmas has long been a favorite of mine for its lighthearted humor and moving spiritual message. It’s the character Pigpen who cracks me up the most; how can he stir up a cloud of dust while ice skating and building a snowman? Surely that’s impossible! But my favorite scene is where Linus explains the meaning of Christmas to Charlie Brown; that always puts a lump in my throat. Recently, a brother observed that when Linus speaks about Christ the Lord, he drops his security blanket to the floor and clasps his hands over his heart. So simple. So meaningful. So beautiful.
So why am I writing about Charlie Brown Christmas when it’s the end of January, you ask? Do you remember Charlie Brown’s reaction when he hung an ornament on the Christmas tree and it doubled over?
Our Italian prune tree was sick and covered with lichens. My Dad planted it some 15 years ago with a modest layer of beauty bark over black weed barrier cloth. Soon after, mom had a stroke and dad was unable to tend to it what with the round-the-clock care mom required. Continue reading
Sunday afternoon I attended a demonstration for pruning fruit trees at Paul Gautschi’s home. Observing Paul move in and about the trees as he worked with hand saw and clipper, the Spirit made several impressions on me.
As he shaped an apple tree to bow before him the Holy Spirit brought to mind the passage in Revelation where the 24 elders bow before the Creator, while in Genesis, God’s creation bows before us. In so doing, Paul was exercising his dominion over the garden.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26 ASV)
And Jehovah God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it (Genesis 2:15 ASV).
I was also deeply moved by the number of times Paul stopped pruning to devote his full attention to sharing the Creator’s truth. As often as he stopped to speak, the Holy Spirit observed that Paul “leaned on the tree”. In scripture, the word “tree” is a metaphor for the cross of Christ (Galatians 3:13). Though it was not obvious to me in the Back to Eden film, Paul was exposed to agent orange in Vietnam which has affected his ability to stand and walk without support. Several times when Paul bent down to pick up his cane from the ground, he locked one knee behind the other, presumably to keep from losing his balance or falling. Continue reading
Early last winter, Pam Spock (http://pamspock.com/) wrote about a patch of horseradish growing on the property of her and husband Vinny’s new homestead in the Finger Lakes area of NY. Her story reminded me of the summer I planted it and then spent the next 2 or 3 trying to kill it before it took over everything! If Pam was freaked out by my story of herbicidal Armageddon in the back yard, she never let on. Though she did conclude our private email exchange with the suggestion I watch the film “Back to Eden” featuring Paul Gautschi (http://www.backtoedenfilm.com/).
I’d heard organic gardening principles mentioned a time or two since moving to Sequim in October 2014; someone may even have mentioned Paul by name. But it didn’t make an impression on me at the time because we were just too busy making our home and taking care of my elderly father. And frankly, I was too entrenched in the toilsome chemical gardening methods I’d learned while living in the rural Midwest to be open to any suggestions concerning organic gardening.
Still when Pam mentioned the film and that it could be watched online for free I felt led to look for it.
Watch it here: https://vimeo.com/28055108
Karen and I sat down one December evening to watch it over a bowl of popcorn. During the opening flyover scene I hit pause and pointed at the screen: “Is that Protection Island?” I asked. Moments later, I pressed pause again; “Blue Mountain Tree Service? Lazy J Tree Farm? North Olympic Peninsula?” Continue reading
Preparing for the move to Sequim, Washington the fall of 2014, I sold my power equipment and all but a few tools. Watching my rototiller driven away was especially sad because I had planted a vegetable garden that first summer we lived in rural northern Illinois and every summer thereafter. The Holy Spirit taught me a lot while gardening, even while simply standing there watching, waiting and marveling at my little “patch of miracles”.
It’s a wonder that I ever planted a garden in the first place; what with the memory of trying to pull weeds in mom’s garden during the heat of summer, when the ground had set up like concrete. No amount of chipping away with a trowel or weed fork would get the root like mom wanted. “Aw Mom! I’m a guitar player, not a farmer! Can’t you see I have delicate hands?!?” Forty-five years later, Dad tells me weeding was one of the ways mom punished me for mouthing off. “How’d she punish you, Dad?” I asked. Continue reading
If there were a meter by which to measure introversion, I’d register in the hermit zone. That means few people other than my wife and father know me well. While I prefer it that way, it’s often frustrating, especially where sharing my faith and talents are concerned. Not surprising then that I blog, journal, and post my original tunes on the web.
From time to time the Father has given me a friend with whom to break bread real and spiritual; someone to listen, offer wise counsel and encouragement. A friend is one of God’s greatest gifts as we make this pilgrimage through life.
The wounds from a friend can be trusted; but an enemy will smother you with kisses (Proverbs 27:6).
A true friend will point out an issue, that on my own I’m blind to or simply refuse to deal with. Anger is one such issue. Decades ago, a friend observed when it comes to dealing with anger, I do a “slow boil”. Eventually that simmering pot of upset within me would boil over and I became “hell on wheels” in dealing with every unjust situation or person who had wronged me.
Upon that all-too-familiar battlefield, the grace and peace of Yeshua takes a stand against the scars and injuries I’ve accumulated over a life time and the wearisome struggle to forgive those who inflicted them. These issues, together with the all-too-frequent Continue reading