One lesson about everything that can help make anything better


I’ve learned lots of lessons.

Some of the best are:

  1. Trust God in everything.
  2. Don’t forget to pray.
  3. Take good care of your health.
  4. Family is very important
  5. Avoid the yellow snow.

In a recent round table discussion, I said, “The most important lesson I’ve learned in the past year is everything impacts everything.”

“What does that mean?” asked one of my colleagues.

Now I’ve never been accused of being the quickest with verbal responses, so I said, “Well, it means that everything…impacts…everything else.”  Everyone was overwhelmed with my dramatic pauses and word addition.

But now I’ve had time to think about what I should have said.

It all begins with seeds.

The Apostle Paul wrote Do not be deceived:  God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. (Galatians 6:7)

From, I gleaned that sowing means to scatter seed over the ground for growing.  The same source defines reaping as harvesting a crop.  So, Paul was basically saying that the seed you spread determines the type of crop that you harvest.

In other words, whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

In the movie Second Hand Lions, young Walter is sent to live with his eccentric uncles Garth and Hub.  Deciding to plant a garden, they purchase a variety of seeds from a travelling salesman.  After preparing the soil, they plant the seeds in rows and wait patiently for their crops to produce.

One day, as they are hoeing the weeds from their garden, Garth comments, “Think about how good all these vegetables are going to taste.  Peas, beans, squash, tomatoes…”

Even as his uncle is speaking, Walter notices that every plant on every row is almost identical.  When he points it out to his uncles, they are dumbfounded.

“Hey,” said Walter, pointing to the row of corn.  “This one looks right.”

“Well,” said Garth, “All those seeds did look alike, come to think of it.”

Hub throws his hoe and shakes his head.  “Corn, corn, corn,” he says, “Nothing but corn.”

Whatever one sows, that he will also reap.

The older I get, the more I realize that the same is true in every area of our lives.  What we sow determines what we reap:

–       In Finances

–       In Friendships

–       In Business Ventures

–       In our Spiritual Lives

–       In our Families

–       In our Work

–       In our Homes

–       In our Bodies

–       In our Minds

–       In Everything

Everything that we do matters.  Every decision we make, every day we work late, every book we read, every cookie we sneak, every movie we watch, every sit-up we avoid, every dollar we spend, every prayer we pray (or don’t pray), every thought we have – they’re all connected.

They join together to form an enormous tapestry that identifies us to the world and to ourselves.

What do you want your tapestry to portray?  What decisions are making that will change it’s look forever?  Are you weaving something into your tapestry that you don’t want to be there?

Here’s the deal:

Everything Matters.  Everything.

Whatever one sows, that he will also reap.

What are you going to do about it?

The Away In A Manger Controversies


One of the most tender Christmas carols has to be Away In A Manger.  The song expresses simple, childlike love for and faith in Jesus.  It transports us beyond the glitz and glitter of the Christmas season and reminds us of true reason we celebrate Christmas.

Away In A Manger was once titled Luther’s Cradle Hymn.  It was widely thought to have been written by Martin Luther for his own children, but most scholars no longer believe this to be the case.  The first two stanzas were published in the Little Children’s Book in 1885.  The third was added in the early 1900’s by John T. McFarland, a Methodist minister who needed a third verse for a children’s day program at his church.

The second verse of the song is considered by some as heretical because of the line “but little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes.”  Proponents believe the song is claiming that Jesus was fully God but not fully man.  People are certainly entitled to their opinion, but I feel like they just need to get over it.  The song doesn’t claim that Baby Jesus never cried, only that the writer wasn’t envisioning Him crying for that moment in time as he (or she) pictured the scene of the nativity.

What’s more important is the love, affection, and childlike faith that is expressed in the song.  In 2002, the simple lyrics and message of Away In A Manger inspired me to write two more stanzas.  You can find them at the bottom of the song below:

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet Head;

The stars in the sky looked down where He lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.           

The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes, but little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes;

I love Thee, Lord Jesus! Look down from the sky, and stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay, close by me forever, and love me, I pray;

Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care, And fit us for heaven, to live with Thee there.

No longer a baby, He grew to a man, sent to us from Heaven to fulfill God’s plan;

He died on a cross to atone for our sin, and rose from the dead to be alive again.                                              

This precious Lord Jesus is all that we need if we make Him our Savior and our Lord indeed;

O please, wondrous Jesus, be with us today, fill us with Your spirit, we now humbly pray.

God bless you all (even if you don’t like Away In A Manger) and Merry Christmas.

The Strange Yet Successful Christmas Duet That Almost Wasn’t


One of the strangest yet most successful Christmas duets ever has to be The Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth by Bing Crosby and David Bowie.  Interestingly enough, it almost didn’t happen.  Crosby was in England on tour in September of 1977 when he was asked to host the Merrie Olde Christmas Special.  Bowie, who was 30 at the time, was asked to sing a duet with Crosby, then 73.  When Bowie learned was told that he was to sing The Little Drummer Boy, he refused, saying that he hated the song.

A few hours before filming, a team of composers spent 75 minutes creating a new melody for Bowie to be sung as a counterpoint to Crosby’s pah-rumpa-pum-pums.  Bowie liked the new version and agreed to sing.  After less than an hour’s rehearsal, the unlikely duet nailed the performance.  The rest is Christmas radio history.

Unfortunately, Bing Crosby died from a heart attack a month after the recording.  The special was aired a month after his death.

Do Less. Experience More of Christmas


Charles Dickens once said:

It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.”

Christmas is indeed a time to celebrate when God, the Mighty Founder, came to earth in the form of child so that we might have the opportunity to live forever in His presence.

Christmas is more than what we’ve made it.  All of us could stand to do less and experience it more.

The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.  John 1:9

Results of my Second Endoscopy


A few months ago I started having problems swallowing my food.  My doctor scheduled me for an upper endoscopy, which revealed that my esophagus was damaged from acid reflux.  If untreated, the damaged area could possibly become pre-cancerous.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, an upper endoscopy is a procedure used to visually examine your upper digestive system with a tiny camera on the end of a long, flexible tube.

For the past few months, I’ve taken a generic Prevacid and dramatically changed my diet (cutting out fried foods, tomatoes and tomato based products – very acidic, chocolate, and almost all carbonated caffeinated beverages – my biggest vice.)

Today, after waking from my second endoscopy, my doctor informed me that my esophagus is almost completely healed and I can begin weaning myself off of the medicine.  I also have to continue the diet and lose more around my midsection.  Then I can eat whatever I would like, at least in moderation.  Unfortunately, my wife’s definition of moderation can be translated as “absolute zero consumption.”

Thank you all for your concern and prayers.