Monday, May 23, 2011

D. Bonhoeffer

I don't read a lot of books - I try, but it's a rare one that can keep my attention to the end.  So, I have huge bookcases filled with books that I have never read cover to cover.
This one was different.  "Bonhoeffer".  A slow reader I am, but I just kept going.  Nearly every page was significant - a quote, a thought, an idea, significant insights - one after the other.  Truth.  It was a history lesson and a spy novel all in one.  And as it turns out - it is a theological work that's so simple, it's deep - the icing on the cake.  
In my mind, I've been building the list of people I want to meet first, face-to-face, when I get to heaven.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer is on the first page of my long list.  I don't want to just get around to meeting him in a couple of years up there, I'm hoping to seek him out within the first hour - if he'll see me.  Who's on your list?
First, I need to amount to something more than I am now here on earth.  Dietrich was only 39 when the Nazi's killed him - just a kid really.  But by that age he had done so much I can't fathom it.  He wrote books, like 'Nachfolge' (Discipleship), in 1937, when he was 31.  He coined the phrase (from what i can tell) "cheap grace". 
He lived, and died, with PURPOSE.
I'm not an intellectual (dah, stop laughing you guys ...) - but I feel smarter having read this biography.
Bonhoeffer went to the US twice (from Germany).  On one trip he went to Chicago then drove a car to Mexico - way down deep into Mexico.  This was in the 30's.  What a stud.  Once he wrote home saying "In New York they preach everything, only one thing is not addressed, or is addressed so rarely that I have as yet been unable to hear it, namely, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cross, sin and forgivenss, death and life."    Sound familiar now - in 2011?
Here's another quote I like:  "Christianity conceals within itself a germ hostile to the church."  and "If you board the wrong train it is no use running along the corridor in the opposite direction."   good stuff.
When you read through it, you feel as though we are now living through the same situation as they lived in the 30's and 40's in Germany under Hitler - only different.  Now, it's far more cynical, more masked, more devious, more modern and high tech.  Yet, still the same. 

You gotta read this book everyone!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Jumping Off

Jumping Off.  When my favorite (and only) son graduated from Baylor this weekend - it reminded me of a lot of things.  It reminded me that at one time - I jumped.

I bet you jumped - at least once.  You know, the time you took that big risk - the real big one.  The time you said 'yes' - even when you should have said 'no'.  That investment you made - and shouldn't have.  Your first house.  Your first car.  Your first love.  When you became a Christian.  Or, when you told God you were done - with Him - because He didn't come through for you.

You Jumped.  And it felt good.  Then maybe it felt bad.

Have you jumped lateley?

When Dagen jumped off this wall Friday - this statue of "Mr. Baylor"- it was in effect, a symbol of beginning something new.  I don't know how he does it, but he always seems to be on the cusp of something unimaginable - and he's always animated.  Just when I think he can't possibly do this next thing, he does, he pulls it off.  Then, just when I think he's got this other thing all wired-up tight - he doesn't.  He's usually in tune with God - he has a close walk - very close.  The thing is, he still trusts, no matter what.  Good news or bad - he's leaving it to God who knows what he needs - who sees the bigger picture - who wants the best for him - the REAL best.  This approach to life takes courage - real courage.  It's what makes us so proud of Dagen - the master.

When God says no, and kicks you around a little, just to show you who is boss - it's what you do then that counts.  Nothing else counts.  The way you react, tells God what you're made of - who you really belong to.  You may say - "hey, a loving God wouldn't kick me around" - ummmmm, ya, he would, he does.  The single most complex theological quandary out there is the  "why God, why??" question.   It's when he nudges that you flinch and sometimes coward back, and run like a rabbit, or you want to hit back.

His question to you is:  "Who do you trust - tell me - WHO - and tell me now"?!

We all have questions, and always will.  We've all been there - you may be there now.  You can pull-up, the plane doesn't have to crash.  It's never too late to begin trusting Him - and jumping off again - in the right direction - toward Him.

Where are you headed now - what are you doing next?   Is it time now to jump, and to start trusting something bigger and better than yourself (ie JC!). 

Just something to think about - I am.  Has nothing really to do with Dagen's spectacular performance over the last 4 years at Baylor - but still - good to think about.
Oh, and Congratulations Dagen!!  YOU DID IT.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hamburgers - Animal Style

Today they opened the first In-N-Out Burger in Texas, and it's in my bakyard - I could walk to it.  That's important, because prior to today, I had to fly to San Diego (or Phoenix) for a good hamburger, fries and a milkshake.
I'm gonna save THOUSANDS $$!
We tried, but we couldn't eat there today.  I'd guess 100,000, maybe 200,000 people were in line, in cars and on foot.  (I'm not good with numbers - but there were a lot of people).  I was thinking they couldn't possible have had enough food in there for all those people, then a big semi pulled up with the refresh.  I'm thinking of going over late tonight to see if the crowds have slowed down.
Someone (a fool at work) told me he doesn't really like In-n-Out hamburgers.  I said - "what does that have to do with it?"  Puzzled (a common look for this particular guy), he asked what I meant.  I had to explain a lot of things to him - including the fact that sometimes it's about the experience as much as the food.  And I asked him if he had ever ordered 'animal style'?,  and of course he had never heard of it.  "Protein style maybe"?, a blank stare.   In the end, it turns out he prefers 'burger king'  (just shoot me).
I love going to Starbucks for coffee too.  This same guy told me he doesn't like Starbucks coffee, and I said "what does that have to do with it"?
I contend that businesses don't (generally) succeed because their stuff tastes better, or looks better, or is made better than the other guy.  They succeed because they offer more than the obvious - they offer an experience, an identity, an attitude.  A MEMORY.
We have a lot of family memories at In-N-Out California  -  and plan to keep that tradition going here in Texas.
and, John 3:16 - on the bottom of every cup.  nice.  



Monday, May 9, 2011

Duck Eggs Dogs and Masters

Kahlua ('the' dog with issues) has been just barely catching the female mallard duck in the backyard - every morning - for a week.  Yesterday he got the back end of her and most of her feathers are in the pool now.  But she made it out, floating over the arbor, gracefully - for a duck.  I didn't realize till this weekend that ducks only pretend to fly, until they reach a certain height.  They fake it for the first 50 feet - it's embarrassing really, the flapping of the wings, the dragging of the clumsy feet - it looks painful - but they make it.  I wonder if God created ducks to demonstrate something to us:  you were made for land and water, but you can soar high and far - but it won't be easy for you to clear the fence.  Once you clear the fence, reach some height, and trust in Me, then you can go anywhere and do anything
But that's a little deep for all I want to say here.
I'm looking for advice:  this duck has done the unthinkable in my backyard - she laid 9 eggs.  A week ago someone in the neighborhood sent out and email blast warning all of us that the last thing you want is a duck laying eggs in your backyard.  She has a pool too and some duck took over the pool - laid eggs - and this homeowner eventually spent hundreds of dollars 'relocating' the baby ducklings somewhere into east Texas. 
Worse - I have a dog (Kahlua) who wants a duck, and all the babies he can get.  He salivates as he gazes out the window toward the bush he KNOWS houses the duck and her kids.  It's just instinct.  He doesn't want them for himself - he wants them for ME.  I know this dog, he yearns to please me.  And his greatest pleasure is to capture the cutest rabbit, bird, squirrel or whatever - and to lay his gift at my feet (usually squirming just moments from death).  Sorry - not pretty - but it's his instinct and nothing more.  A God-given instinct.  He wishes to please his master.

So now I've got to keep Kahlua out of the backyard for the summer.  Bummer.

But it has made me think of something:

Is your instinct to please your Master?  No matter what, no matter how seemingly gruesome or crazy?  How far do we go each day to just follow our instinct to please our Master?  Not too far I'm afraid.  But then again - who is your Master?  Maybe you do please your master (little 'm').

Until you've met JC (for real), your instinct is to dis-please Him - it's our sin nature to serve ourselves and Satan - and not Him.  It's our human nature to do the wrong thing - to serve the wrong master - and to be disappointed everydayDon't live a dead end life serving the wrong master.  Once we learn to serve the REAL Master - life is sooooo good.
Anyway - what am I going to do with all these mallards??