Life from the rear-view mirror

Is God enough? No…is He really? Vol 129

How fast is God?

Doug Blair was a year ahead of me…and the fastest kid at school. He held the 100 yard dash record at 10.8 seconds for many years at Oneida High School.  I was reminded of this fact every day as all the high school records and trophies were on display in the central hallway at school. I walked by that display every day.

Up until third grade I went to Willard F Pryor elementary school in Oneida, NY, and would occasionally meet Doug and Dave Blair on the way to school. One day the walk turned into a race with Doug. I didn’t win…but I only lost by a hair. (if only I had been wearing my Red Ball Jets…)
God would cream Doug Blair in a foot race.
So where did this “How fast is God?” thought come from anyway? It has nothing to do with Drew’s sermon the other day (sorry Drew) It is not a deep theological thought. (I’m not sure it’s theological at all…) I doubt if any  giants of the faith will spend time pondering these 5 words. But sometimes I need “simple.” A simple concept, a simple answer to help me understand just a sliver of how a very complex and loving God takes care of his kids.
When we are are hurting. When we are hungry. When we despair. When a child is sick. When our best friend is out of reach. When we can’t make sense of our circumstance. We want help right now. Right now like in…FAST.  And I have learned that God doesn’t always respond to what we want…he doesn’t even always respond to what we think we need. It’s not that he couldn’t…but he often doesn’t. (I think old testament Job might be able to chime in on this one…)                                                                

There are things I know  I’ve learned over the years, and then there are things I think I’ve learned or maybe learning. Here’s one of the later.

“God doesn’t get in the way of a lesson he’s teaching you.”

Natural consequences come to mind that sort of put a fine point on the thought. If you stick your finger in an electrical outlet…chances are good you are going to get the fool shocked out of you (or… insert your own colorful phrase.) That’s a little extreme perhaps, but you get the point. God often teaches through consequences…good and bad.

But that still doesn’t really do anything to address my original thought.

We know little of God’s real potential, although words like omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence certainly are good, albeit heady descriptors. But how many of us think in those terms? We look for ways to measure things in ways that communicate in a way we can understand…like horsepower, miles per hour…a 24 hour day. We don’t wrestle with those concepts. We relate to them.
So even though God is so much bigger and more complex than we will ever comprehend…I want to offer a simple answer to a ridiculous question.

How fast is God?

Fast enough.

There was a song out a few years ago now that said simply “God is enough.” And honestly, that is all we need to know for every area of our lives. To say that “God is Enough” does not limit God in any way. He is still all those heady descriptors and much more.
You may think you want or need more…but what you (and I)  need is “enough.”

Here is another concept that may be a little unpopular…
We don’t get to define how much “enough” is.
We trust in God’s definition of enough for us…whatever that may be.

dugz4 January 19, 2017 Leave A Comment Permalink

Joy through the tears…Christmas 2016 Vol 128

I know there are events in life we have to walk through…work through…especially around loss.
For the longest time, I never knew that kind of loss.
That changed when Lori passed away in 2010…we had been married nearly 19 years. It was a two-fold loss for me. Coming to grips with the loss of my wife and then vicariously dealing with the same loss for each of my four kids. The latter was the toughest…is STILL the toughest.
I’m past needing comfort (I think) and the wound is… “all haired over…” as my Texas buddy Rodney used to say. (I’m not really sure what that means…but I think it refers to a barbed-wire wound healing up on a steer…or not 😉 )
Anyway… as I was browsing FB in the few unoccupied moments I had the other day, I stumbled across a video…posted to offer comfort to those who experienced the loss of someone and were missing them this holiday season. The words were sincere. The melody was pretty… but it was a total downer….at least for me. It immediately brought me back to the pain…NOT where I wanted to be at all. I know I’m weird and I’m sure other folks took great comfort in it…but for me, for now… I’m looking for life in a major key. I’m all about hope, present and future joy, happy memories.
The sad memories come all too often without any other outside influence.
I’d rather celebrate memories of loved ones lost than continue mourning them. Especially when they were believers…because
they aren’t really lost at all. We know exactly where they are. And we live with the glorious hope that we will be reunited one day.
That is not to say we don’t miss them…of course we do.
We always will.
But for me…this Christmas…turn up the happy music…let’s celebrate!

dugz4 January 19, 2017 Leave A Comment Permalink

The trouble with “Much” Vol 127

When I have very little, I don’t struggle with choice.

Decisions are more clear…outcomes more obvious.

When I have much…choice often becomes an obstacle, rather than a reward.

Wisdom pit against want can be a frustrating and dangerous competition.

So I pray for WISDOM…and not to give in to WANT, where every “win” often demonstrates a lack of discipline, immaturity and pride.


dugz4 January 19, 2017 Leave A Comment Permalink

Reverend Warner? Who’s that? Vol 126

For the past couple of Sundays, I’ve had a chance to preach at a local church who is without a pastor.

I’m introduced as either Rev. Warner or Pastor Warner….both of those titles sound surreal to me, although I know the folks who are referring to me in that way are just being respectful…(and I actually am licensed and ordained)
Most of the lead pastors and church leaders I’m around today have forgone the titles in referring to themselves, as they feel that people can be intimidated by them and treat them differently once they know their occupation. I get that…but for the few times a year I get to preach and happen to hear any title other than “butt-head” or “Jerk” applied to me…I’m struck with the responsibility and accountability I have to communicate God’s word truthfully and accurately.

I never want to bore people so I work hard to make the 30 minutes or so I have with them interesting…to communicate truth to the best of my ability… but to present the truth of God’s word clearly above all else. That’s where  life-change emanates from…not from anything clever turn or phrase, funny analogy or my preaching style…and not from the fact that a church or denomination has (courageously) given me a certificate and license.

I guess what I’m really saying is that I’m humbled and more aware of how sinful I am when people use Rev. or Pastor to describe me. I know what a sinner I am…chances are you do too…know what kind of sinner you are I mean.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
And now that I think about it…maybe that’s not a bad thing to be reminded of how much I’m forgiven, how much I still need to be forgiven and of what a loving God we have to allow a sinner like me to stand in front of his people with a message of God’s love, passion and purpose for their lives. What an honor and privilege. 


dugz4 January 19, 2017 Leave A Comment Permalink