Friday, August 31, 2007

Psalm 51:1-17 - The Message

Psalm 51

Generous in love—God, give grace!
Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I've been;
my sins are staring me down.

You're the One I've violated, and you've seen
it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
I've been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you're after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.

Soak me in your laundry and I'll come out clean,
scrub me and I'll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don't look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don't throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
and I'll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
I'll let loose with your praise.

Going through the motions doesn't please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don't for a moment escape God's notice.

The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Magdalena: Released from Shame

I previewed this film last night. Mary (Magdalena) introduces her friends to Jesus through her own story and the stories of other women whose lives he touched by his love and grace.

(Click on the title of this blog to go to the Magdalena website.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Go Big Red!

Behind dominating performances from its middle blockers, the top-ranked Nebraska volleyball team claimed the 2007 AVCA Showcase crown with a 30-23, 22-30, 30-18, 30-21 victory over fifth-ranked UCLA in front of an event record-crowd of 11,076 at the Qwest Center.

I was one of the 11,076 and it was a great evening of college volleyball! The match between Utah and Tennessee that preceded the Nebraska-UCLA match was a nail biter, too. I was wiped out by the time we got home just after midnight -- but with no regrets!

And here's one of the things I love about the athletic program at the University of Nebraska: the athletes are STUDENTS. One of these women -- (#9 Sarah Pavan -- a 6'5" senior from Canada) is carrying a 4.0 in microbiology.

Friday, August 24, 2007


"But then they danced down the street like dingeldodies, and I shambled after as I've been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue center light pop and everyone goes 'Awww!'"
-Jack Kerouac

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I mean no disrespect when I say that some of you reading this can never understand my love for this state in which I've never lived (I am the ONLY person in my family who can say that, by the way) and which is mountain-less and beach-less.

In a couple of hours, I'm hopping on a Delta flight through Cincinnati to Omaha where we'll pick up a rental car and drive to Lincoln. Two other colleagues and I will be attending the annual meeting of the North American Forum of Bible Agencies held, this year, at the headquarters of Back to the Bible.

After I drop the two of them back off at the airport in Omaha on Saturday morning, I am staying to hang out with family for a few days. I am NOT being sarcastic (so if you're reading it that way, go back and change my tone of voice in your head and try again) when I say that I'm excited to be going.

Nebraska in August may be occasionally HOT and HUMID, but I hear that the corn is high and green and gorgeous this year! And I hear that the Husker women's volleyball team is #1 in the nation (and we have tickets for Saturday night!!).

Now, I've not found many wi-fi hot spots in the places where I'll be, so don't expect real-time updated to this blog while I'm gone. I'm sure you'll be fine.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

It's just wrong...

I was out wandering around the neighborhood early this morning on my Schwinn 1-speed (slow) with an Ahhhhhh Soft seat and realized that there were teen-agers lurking around corners and coming out of houses. Here it was, not quite 6 AM, and they were out waiting for the bus to take them to school.

How can this be right? How can it even be healthy? I mean, really, how many of these kids watch at least through Letterman's Top 10 list before going to sleep (around midnight) and then get up at 5:40 to catch a 6 o'clock bus?!

Here I was feeling all proud of myself for being up early and there they are. A few of them at least are eating Pop tarts with their Throttle Energy Drink. (I wonder if Kellogg's has thought about putting caffeine in their Pop tarts -- I bet that would sell.)

This just makes me sad.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

SVP in charge of Rocks

How cool is that?!!

Alright, so here's the deal. A week or two ago I got an email from the Center Services director telling me that he needed to clear some stuff out of a space that was being re-purposed and asking whether one "collection" of items might be of interest to me as we keep looking for ways to creatively tell the Wycliffe story.

The collection? Rocks. Stones. They'd been collected by a former President of Wycliffe USA and were used in a display when Wycliffe was moving from Orange County, California to Orange County, Florida -- reminders of where we'd been and of where we were going.

I immediately responded that I would find a way to use them and please feel free to deliver them to my office any time. They arrived late last week and I couldn't be happier. I'm working on developing "talking points" for them. I'm even thinking about ways to update or add to the collection -- including creating a list of places from which I'd really like to add a stone.

Once I've got a first draft of a script together, I'll probably share it here.

Until then, rejoice with me for this uniquely perfect for uniquely me delivery of big, cool rocks to my third floor office. Some of you know just how much that spoke to me of God's ability to do whatever He wants to do -- no matter how unlikely.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

07MA: Days 6-8 - Leadership Summit

Wednesday and Thursday (all day) and Saturday morning I attended Willow Creek's Leadership Summit with Bill and Terri @ Grace Chapel in Lexington (where Bill is an executive pastor -- a great story in itself). I was planning to attend @ Discovery Church in Orlando with others from Wycliffe, but when it worked out for me to visit Burkes the days before, it only made sense for me to stay and attend with them.

The Summit was, as it has been every year I've attended, a well planned and well executed event balancing inspiration with information, admonition with encouragement, reflection with celebration.

Some sessions were favorites right away -- others become favorites later, as the content seeps its way into me.

John Ortberg -- that man is not only a great communicator with a delicious sense of humor, God speaks well through him.

I'm not going to summarize all the sessions in this blog. Maybe there will be times when I'm reflecting on what I heard and I'll do that -- but not now.

Saturday we left the summit and headed directly to Logan International airport when I discovered that Delta had changed me from a "through Atlanta to Orlando" flight to a direct flight leaving 20 minutes later and arriving 2 1/2 hours earlier -- and they'd upgraded my seat to 1st class again. Nice way to end a vacation.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

07MA: Day 5 - Hogwarts

On Wednesday I slept in (after staying up late reading) and then spent nearly all the day reading. Finishing #7. I started it on the plane flying up. I moved from the chair to the sofa to the wicker chair on the deck to another chair...and read. It was delicious.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

07MA: "The Big Dig"

Click on the title above if you want to read about the Big Dig. I was not really familiar with the project until I arrived in the city and was riding through the under-the-water tunnel and Bill told me about it. It's a rather extraordinary thing.

I'll resist any elaborate comparisons between this project an a certain tower that was central stage in one story in Genesis that didn't turn out as the way-too-intelligent-for-their-own-good city folk thought it would.

Anyhow, the "trivia" we heard from our ConDUCKtor was confirmed on the turnpike website: The Big Dig project placed 3.8 million cubic yards of concrete, enough to build a sidewalk three feet wide and four inches thick from Boston to San Francisco and back three times.

07MA: Day 4 - Boston (Duck Tour and Quincy Market)

After catching a view of the city from the SkyWalk on the 51st floor of the Prudential Building (a story in itself with strange clouds and all) Terri and I took a Duck Tour.

The fun began as soon as we boarded our "DUCK", an authentic, renovated World War II amphibious landing vehicle. After we all got settled, they moved us to another "DUCK" and there were some misunderstandings about "keeping your old seats" and all. I was mostly amused. Terri and I were with six others on a higher platform off the back end of the "DUCK."

We were greeted, as promised, by one of their legendary tour ConDUCKtor, who narrated our tour. We cruised by all the places that make Boston the birthplace of freedom and a city of firsts, from the golden-domed State House to Bunker Hill and the TD Banknorth Garden, Boston Common and Copley Square to the Big Dig, Government Center to fashionable Newbury Street, Quincy Market to the Prudential Tower, and more. Our ConDUCKtor even took us by Old Ironsides in dock. How cool is that! And, as Boston unfolded before our eyes, your ConDUCKtor gave us lots of little known facts and interesting insights about Boston -- like my favorite Big Dig trivia.

And just when I thought we'd seen it all, there was more. It was time for "Splashdown" as our ConDUCKtor splashed your DUCK right into the Charles River for a breathtaking view of the Boston and Cambridge skylines. It was very cool.

After the tour, we walked to Quincy Market for lunch. I had a Lobster Roll and a cup of New England Clam Chowder from the Chowda Company. FANTASTIC stuff. Another "food from a place" eaten in the place and check off my list!! (Next time, Boston Creme Pie!)

We dinked around in shops and wandered down to the water. I walked barefoot in the "real" grass a while. We sat in Rose Kennedy's Rose Garden for quite a while and talked. As we headed back toward the train, we ran into this performer just finishing his act.

I even found a pair of Clark's shoes (exactly what I'd been looking for, no kidding) on sale! What a day!!

Monday, August 06, 2007

07MA: Day 3 - Boston (Museum + Theater)

Terri and I took the train into the city. I can still hear the automated announcement: "Next stop, Harvard" and "Next stop, MIT." I had the lowest IQ on the train.

We took the red line to the green line and that out to the Boston Museum of Fine Art to catch the Edward Hopper Exhibit. While we waited for our "turn" to enter this special event, we headed to the Impressionists in the European Art section. I love it.

I'm so glad we rented the headsets for the Hopper -- I know so little and don't have the patience to read all the captions I need to read to really get it all. It was all very well done and Hopper's art is quite enjoyable in many ways. I still don't get the thing with some artists for painting women doing mundane things (sitting in a chair, looking out a window, reading the paper, and such) naked. Even more odd to me is naked except for shoes or a hat. Anyhow, I'm not really looking for answers about that...just find it strangely amusing.

We grabbed a late lunch and then, inspired by the RAIN to alter our afternoon plans, we headed to the Lowes multiplex across the street from Boston Common and just down the street from Park Street Church. (I'd like to visit there next time I go to Boston.)

We saw Becoming Jane. Also very enjoyable. Sad story, really...but nicely told. I enjoyed Anne Hathaway in this role.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

07MA: Day 2 - Concord

On Sunday after church at Grace Chapel of Lexington and brunch, Terri took me to Concord. We stopped at the Minute Man Visitor's Center and watched a great (yes, Meg, I said GREAT) media presentation that told the story of April 19, 1775 when lanterns were hung in a bell tower and Paul (and another guy -- did you know there was another guy) rode through the night and the "red coats" marched from Boston to Concord, through Lexington.

Of all the "historic sites" around that event that I could have chosen, I wanted to see the North Bridge at the Minute Man National Park. Remember the "shot heard round the world?"

The bridge has been rebuild a couple of times since 1775, but it's the same place and same land. Also, most of these trees were not standing in that day -- the land had been cleared and there was a fairly good view from the hill just behind this into the town (not at all visible now).

Right next to this site is the Old Manse built c. 1770 by Ralph Waldo Emerson's grandfather who was a minister living in the house April 19, 1775 and, it is said, watched history unfold out his study windows.

Both Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote here. So, the trees are new since then and the grass is new since then, but there was this HUGE rock in the back yard of the Manse and it had to have been there when Ralph and Nathaniel were here writing.

It is impossible to think that they did not sit on this rock and look out at the river. So, THAT is where I needed to sit.

And then stand. The Manse is behind me -- I'm facing the river.

We also went to the Concord Museum.

Besides having a great collection of period furniture and clocks from various periods of Concord's rich history, they had a great collection of both Emerson and Thoreau "stuff." I loved seeing some of the things from the small house (cabin) Thoreau built and lived in at Walden Pond, for instance.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

07MA: Day 1 - Lake Winnipesaukee

After my plane landed (thanks to Medallion status with Delta I enjoyed a first class seat on my non-stop to Logan International Airport which is one of my new favorite places to land -- beautiful view), Bill and Terri took me to their home in Lexington where we had a quick lunch before heading to New Hampshire. ( more state added to my "been there" list!!)

We got to their boat and did all the things you have to do to prepare a boat to launch (I watched) and headed out onto Lake Winnipewsaukee. GORGEOUS! Weather was perfect. They said it was a little choppy, but I loved it.

We motored up to the town of Meridith where we docked and eventually disembarked for supper, a stroll around the town, and an ice cream cone before re-boarding and heading back to the dock where they keep the boat.

By the time we were loading into the car for the drive home, it was dark. Ahhhhhhh!

Bill is a very good captain, if you wondered. And no, we did not see the President of France -- though he was on this same lake at this time.

The water.
The mountains.
The sky.
Perfect way to start a vacation.

[Yes, I am posting these according to the dates they happened and not the dates when I'm finally blogging. It makes more sense to me this way.]


I've been here for a few days and have seen SO much! When I get home, I'll blog about some of the highlights. Until then...

What is on your iPod?

I'm NOT going to list all the songs on my Nano, but I will tell you about one play list that I always have loaded -- even when other lists come and go.

I call it "TO REMEMBER" and it's a set of songs that help me remember what IS and what is NOT. Who GOD is and who I am...and who I am not.

This is what that play list looks like right now:

Who Is God?
Northland Worship Team
One Hallelujah

Come Now Is The Time To Worship
Brian Doerksen
Come Now Is The Time To Worship

Open The Eyes Of My Heart
Paul Baloche
WOW Worship: Yellow

One Day Live

Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)
Chris Tomlin
See The Morning

John 11
Randall Goodgame
The Hymnal

Nicole C. Mullen
Nicole C. Mullen

I Will Sing Of My Redeemer
Fernando Ortega
This Bright Hour

Chris Rice
Deep Enough To Dream

This Is My Father's World
Randall Goodgame
The Hymnal

Share The Well
Caedmon's Call
Share The Well

All The Nations
Michale O'Brien
Voices Of The Faithful

O Praise Him (All This For A King)
David Crowder Band

Hallelujah (Your Love Is Amazing)
Vineyard UK

For the Lord is Good
Northland Worship Team

Soon And Very Soon
Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
Tribute - The Songs Of Andrae Crouch

I'll Fly Away
Faith: A Hymns Collection

Friday, August 03, 2007

August 3 E.Postcard Update

As always, click on the image above and it will open in the browser in a larger format that is easier to read.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Cabbage Patch Kids

A couple years ago when I traveled to Costa Rica to visit friends, I found that Lucy's girls had a Cabbage Patch Doll. We all thought it bore an uncanny resemblance to me. What do you think?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Aileen* left town today -- started on her multi-month, multi-state venture.

Once that venture is completed, she'll be headed to the other side of the globe.

Twelve time-zones away.

Half the time when it's today here, it's already tomorrow there.

One more thing that reminds me of just how much I can't wait for heaven when the "space" between us will be transformed by the perfect love of Christ in whom all things are brought together in perfect unity. No more tears. No more sorrow. No more "good bye."

[Here is a photo of the Communications Department + me that Aileen had taken today. When you find me (easy to do) then you can find Aileen over my left shoulder in the white blouse. Heather is behind her in green. Heather and her husband, Jeff, will begin their venture away from Wycliffe USA toward assignments in Africa on August 8. I'll say good bye to her on Friday before I head out on vacation.]

*see post from July