A Father’s Forgiveness

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My son is nine. He has always amazed us with his incredible memory. He will randomly bring us experiences and family events that happened long ago that we didn’t think he was old enough to remember. Often, we had forgotten, but his memory brings back ours. I marvel at the things that stick in his little head and it reminds me to be intentional about how I conduct myself as a Christian, a husband, and a dad in his presence. But there is one type of question he brings up every now and then that bugs me as a dad. Luke is a pretty good kid, and rarely does anything intentionally wrong – usually when he is in trouble, it’s something he’s learning about life rather than outright willful misbehavior. His heart is usually in the right place and when emotions get him carried away, he is quick to apologize when he calms down. As a result, we have rarely needed to discipline him other than verbal correction or mild things like a “time out” or missing out on something or going to bed early. However, the few times we needed something more compelling – he remembers those, and often …

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Finding the Reflection of God

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One of the highlights of Yosemite, is seeing the reflection of towering granite cliffs in the water of the valley. In fact, one of the lakes in Yosemite earned the name “Mirror Lake” due to the beautiful reflections upon it’s surface. While not technically a lake, visitors enjoy seeing in its smooth surface the mirror image of the cliffs towering above. Mirror Lake it actually a man-made lake, from a time when sand and ice were exported from the area for use down in the coastal cities. Today, it is being allowed to return to it’s natural meadow conditions, so each year this once famous lake reflects less – and becomes filled with more grass and rock as the surface drops and widens into a meadow. Nevertheless, a creative photographer can still find places to capture a reflection of Half Dome that rises majestically above it. The reflections can be amazing… but to be seen, something is required. Without this one thing, there can be no reflection of the grandeur above. Waterfalls and flowing rivers and creeks pour over rocks and around bends throughout this incredible park, all working their way to the Merced or Tuolumne Rivers and ultimately to …

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3 Quick Tips When You Are Stressed Out

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OK, you don’t have a lot of time for this post – because you have a zillion other things you really should be doing, need to do, should have done, and ought to do. So I’ll get to the point – ready? 1) Don’t make any Big Decisions while you are stressed out. Stay the course, time for reflection and evaluation and possible changes will come. Put off reactionary changes/decisions until you can calmly and objectively think clearly. As my dad used to say, “Bad decisions can always be put off to make later. Good decisions take time.” 2) Walk away for a few minutes. Pray. Breath. Ask what can go? What can be left undone? Usually something can. If you’re not sure, ask your spouse. Then, stick it out and do whatever you got yourself into (that can’t be dropped) but remember how you feel now. You’ll need that for evaluating later. 3) Look at your calendar and look ahead. Find a breather spot. Plan something refreshing and enjoyable NOW. Even if it is weeks away, you’ll have something to look forward to. Give yourself a light at the end of the tunnel. A date? A day off? A …

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If Angels Could Sing…

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Before you watch this incredible new video from Pentatonix, I’d like you to consider something. A professor of mine in Bible college suggested an interesting theory he had about angels based on a textual study of the Bible’s original languages. An interesting fact, that while we often talk about “angelic choirs” or say someone “sings like an angel,” nowhere in Scripture are angels ever recorded as singing. But often, the saints are and we are commanded to! Keep in mind, this is a theory based on an argument from silence. So while we can’t say the Bible says “angels can’t sing,” – there is no evidence that they can in the original languages of the Bible. As Dr. James used to say, I will also say, “I sure hope they do! I bet they are amazing.” The point is simply that perhaps singing was a gift given uniquely to humans as a means of worship? Note, in Job 38:7, states that on the first day of creation, the angels “shouted for joy.” Consider that the classic Christmas play scene of children dressed as singing angels (as adorable as it is) doesn’t match the biblical text where the angels were “praising …

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Be God’s Man in God’s Place

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I’m at MBI right now for a children’s ministry conference being put on by the seniors in the Children’s Ministry Major program. A major not available when I was a student. They are doing an incredible job. It is such an honor to be here. As I walked around the campus yesterday posting pictures to Facebook of the campus changes, and what’s still the same – it brought back a lot of great memories. It was actually pretty significant that I was here on May 2nd. 24 years ago, on May 2nd, 1990 – I got to go out to take the President of Moody Bible Institute one on one. I had valet parked his car a few weeks earlier and left a note inside asking if I could treat him out to a meal. When he called my dorm room a few days later, my room mate answered, and shocked said, “It’s the Presdient!” I answered, “Bill Clinton?” And he said, “No, Joe Stowell!” We scheduled our meal, and I picked him up at the “Arch” in my little Chevy Chevete and took him to the Rock n’ Roll McDonald’s, where I was the ‘house magician’ – and where …

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