A Change in Family

Our family has undergone a major change.  Our foster child has moved out of our home.  We, simply, were not able to provide the level of care which she needed.  It has been heartbreaking to watch a child struggle so much and endure such pain.  We will take a break from foster care for the next few months as we set some more careful parameters with the agency, in which we have a great deal of disappointment right now.  We believe we have much to share and we believe there are children who need our home.  Please be in prayer for us as we process this change.

Although we have experienced a traumatic few months we are still very committed to foster care and pray that others will remain hopeful, with us.  If you would like to learn more about foster care and the successes that can and do come or to learn about other ways to help children in Central Illinois, click here!


What does it mean to start over?  When it comes to a cake, you have to trash the whole burnt mess and start with all new ingredients.  Luckily starting fresh in life doesn’t have to be so violent (or messy), but it can be.  Sometimes we have to lose our lives in order to start over.  Jesus said something about that in the Bible, in fact….

For me, starting over wasn’t an obvious thing.  I didn’t even realize it was happening nor did I have that intent.  Yet, over the last few weeks I’ve come to realize that I look at certain things differently.  My worldview has shifted ever-so slightly.

I notice it in things as simple as my sleep schedule.  Over the last few months I’ve been going to bed earlier and getting my day started sooner.  Is it because I look forward to what tomorrow holds?

I notice it in my attentiveness to my wife.  I don’t know if she notices, but I’m a little more aware of what is happening for her, although a new church appointment has kept me from investing more time in my marriage.

I notice it in my outlook on issues and, even, moments of “crisis” around me.  I think the experiences of a brain tumor, two neuro-surgeries, and a near-death experience in my hospital bed have changed my world in ways I didn’t even realize…  somehow for the better.

I don’t think you will notice the changes I have experienced.  I don’t think it is in overt ways, necessarily, but it happened all the same.  As a pastor, I look around at the world and wonder…is that what faith does?  When we begin to see that there is hope and love in this world, does it change us?  I think so.  We don’t always notice the change right away, but when we see the world through the lens of possibility instead of impossibility…when we see that this world is more filled with love than hate…when we recognize that God can give us hope for a brighter tomorrow…I think it changes our world and us a little at a time.

Well, enough rambling for now!

Went And Got Myself Sick!

We far too often think that we are master’s of our own destinies.  We think that we set the direction of ‘things to come’ and that we can navigate the future.  We say to people, “Stay well” as though we can will a bacteria or virus out of our system or we say, “safe travels” as though we can magically make the roads safe.

The truth is that we have little control over ‘the things to come.’  I’m not trying to be a pessimist, but we need to keep in mind our place in this universe.  We aren’t gods, you see, we are human beings.  We can’t see around corners, we can’t peer into the future, and, no matter what greatness we attribute to ourselves, we cannot help that bad things will sometimes happen.

As a person of faith I have to know that I cannot control the world I live in, my own future, or other people (that last one is an important lesson, btw).  What I can control is how I react to others and how I react to what happens to me.

Okay, so my title reminds us that I can do things to keep myself healthy and I probably engaged in some risky behaviors that exposed me to sickness during these past couple of weeks since my surgery, but I didn’t ‘get myself sick.’  Sickness happened and now my body is reacting.

Christians need to keep this in mind as they go through life.  There are Christians who act with hate and malice as they go through life trying to control the actions of others and trying to make everyone act the way they think ought to be.  What do I mean?  You need look no further than a Christian woman holding a picture of a fetus, or as members of Westboro Baptist Church (Fred Phelps and his gang) picket a funeral.


Christians far too often think that they can will the world into being what they want it to be.  They believe that they can force others to act the way they want them to act, but ladies and gentlemen:  We are not gods.  We do not control fate.  We are not masters of our own destinies.  We are flawed and fragile human beings but we do have control over how we react to this world and the people in it.

Christ always acted out of love, when we look at scripture.  He didn’t buy into the legalism of his day, but he witnessed to people by showing them that he cared.  There would sure be a lot less abortions in our country if these holier-than-thou folks holding picket signs would take the hand of a young girl and walk along with her.  There would sure be a lot less murder and crime if church people didn’t just pass the rough parts of town, but got involved with troubled teens.  We can’t improve education by passing a new piece of legislation, but we can get our hands ‘dirty’ and go out into our communities and start working with children.

We live in an imperfect, messed up, out-of-balance world.  We live in a world we cannot control, yet when we are reminded of our place in the world, we acknowledge that there is hope through our God and our relationship with God.  We can take our faith and make a difference in the lives around us.  My body is reacting to the flu -or whatever got into my system.  Let us act like my immune system.  Let’s take a look at the world around us and let’s begin the process of healing and restoration.  It won’t happen without us getting our hands dirty.  It can’t happen from a distance or by writing a check or authoring a congressional bill…but it can happen.

A speech & song that changed an election. How are we doing as a nation, now, though? Do we just complain that our president hasn’t done enough on his own, or are we all actively working to change this world. As a people, do we believe, “Yes, We Can?”

As we approach an election year, let’s stop trying to find 1 person to fix things for us…I mean, that’s never going to happen!  Instead, let’s allow our current president (both now and a year from now) to lead us toward a more vital and beautiful world. Let’s stand together to make our world a better place where people have healthcare, where people can work, where people have a roof over their heads, where children don’t go hungry, and where the right to speech is protected. Let us stop relying upon fear of war (and terrorism) and let’s begin shifting our resources from acts of violence (war & ‘defense’) toward preserving and enhancing life.

I believe the best in people and I believe the best is possible for our country.  I believe ‘we can’, do you?