Monthly Archives: June 2016

I Think We Need More Bread

I Think We Need More Bread

I was looking through some journals yesterday when I came upon an entry I posted last March. I’ve read it three more times since then. I can’t get over the way that God gave me such a powerful word just because I asked.

It began with this sentence: “Yesterday it ran out. The last of Mike’s severance from the school. There are no long term prospects for work; there are no unemployment benefits. There is so much uncertainty about our provision.”

Those days were difficult. A job loss is not ever easy to accept, but this one stung. A lot. For reasons I won’t rehash, it was personal and painful. We were hurting; we knew God was going to move and that he had a plan, but it was hidden from our clouded vision.

We were in the boat with him, but when we looked around we couldn’t see past the water lapping at the sides. We wondered if we had adequate resources for this journey.

Certain writers use words that connect with my soul. One of those is Emily P. Freeman. At the time I didn’t know much about her, but I occasionally popped into her blog. That day, she posted this wonderful piece about leftovers.

Now, before you get the wrong idea, Emily’s site isn’t a cooking blog. She was talking about “making lists and then shaking them in God’s face” as if to tell him what he already knows. And she helped me take a hard look at what was left over after a miraculous provision.

“Are we going to be okay?”

That was the question I had written out and was shaking at him that day. For thousands of years, God’s people have looked at one another and at him with that question.

Emily’s post inspired me to look at my concern in light of Mark 8.

Bread was his idea. He never needs to be reminded of our hunger. Time and again he had compassion for the physical needs of the crowd.

While the disciples worried about bread in the boat, Jesus reminded them of the excess after feeding the crowd.

When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”

“Twelve,” they replied.

“And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”

They answered, “Seven.”

 He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

I am so slow to understand, but I get it – there was more left over that day than the original meager offering.

It’s been a tough week in the world around us. The things that have happened in my backyard in the last seven days are unspeakable.

I’m more desperate than ever to remember you when I hold the bread in my hands and taste the miracle of your provision.

The pieces are broken; broken because there was a very real cost to meeting our needs.

Your body was broken for me. I am eternally secure with you. No man can ever change that.

Today I ask the same question in a completely different context, yet in the shadow of the former.

Are we going to be okay?

His answer hasn’t changed.

In Emily’s words (thank you, dear Emily, for sharing these words with me last March):

This morning, I hear it, the invitation to hold the bread in my hands, to see my day with kingdom eyes, to feast on him, to move forward with the energy that comes from eating the broken pieces. This is My body, broken for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”

Jesus Broken Breads.

I am sure I will ask the question again, but I pray that it will be with a desire to see with unveiled sight the places where he is meeting us with the broken bits that are offered so that we might become whole.

Whatever your needs, my friend, if you are in the boat with Jesus he’s got you.


Please take a few minutes to check out Emily’s original post here:

I highly recommend her recent book, Simply Tuesday. It is a beautiful encouragement to look for the beauty in the ordinary. All of her books are here:


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This is me enjoying “Simply Tuesday” poolside.

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A Native’s Response to the Terror Attack on Orlando

Olrando Skyline

Photography Credit: Jeremy Reper

I have lived in Orlando since 1956. A purist would argue that I’m not a native, but my roots run deep through the sandy soil of Central Florida.

I spent summer afternoons swimming in Lake Fairview to escape the heat of a house without air conditioning, eating grilled hot dogs at a concrete picnic table while swatting away flies.

I vividly remember the Wigwam Village Motel that once stood on the Orange Blossom Trail with its teepee shaped cottages. In those days, the roadway’s name suggested adventure and opportunity to discover new frontiers.

Charming. That is how I would describe the city where I grew from a toddler. The City Beautiful. My home town. I love this place.

Thanks to a certain mouse, my hometown has grown beyond anything I could have imagined, from just over 52,000 residents in 1956 to more than 2,000,000 today. It’s diverse; it’s teeming with professional sports teams and cultural venues. It’s not the sleepy little town of my childhood.

To the world, it’s the gateway to Disney theme parks; to people like me, it’s home. It’s the place I learned the benefits and responsibilities of citizenship.

Today my city and her surrounding communities are in mourning. Home became a target, and the unthinkable happened in our back yard.

Much like a family, we need to rally around one another, setting our differences aside. This is not the time to argue with an uncle about politics or religion or anything else, for that matter.

I have another citizenship that was impacted by the events of this past weekend.  I’m a Christian.

For Christ followers, this is a sacred moment, a call to be the Church. We stand on holy ground.

The weight of it is too much and so I pray that we will get this right:

 Our hearts are heavy, God. We cry for those who have received word of loved ones gone; we ache for those who wait still.

Remind us that you catch every tear and make note of every sorrow.
You linger with those who mourn.
Teach us to linger in the uncomfortable places.

Fill our hearts with your compassion;
give us wisdom and grace far beyond our human capacity.

We ask you, the great physician, to heal the wounded.
Show us how to lift up the arms of those who are doing the work we cannot.

Here in the home of the happiest place on earth, hundreds have no joy.
Restore in us the joy of your salvation; make us vessels of your joy
so that we may pour into the lives of the hurting.

As a community of believers,
make our feet be beautiful,
carrying your perfect love to hurting people

Take us to the places you would go;
give us the words that you would speak
and one more thing, Lord…

You gave a donkey a voice to get the attention of Balaam; and when he finally understood your mission he said “Am I able to speak anything at all? The word that God puts in my mouth, that shall I speak.”

Let us speak only the words that you put in our mouths.

Lift up our faces that we may behold your beauty in the midst of ashes,


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Photography Credit: Jeremy Reper





Do You Really Want to Know God?


Eric Liddell Baner.

Eric Liddell knew a thing or two about practice. By his own admission, it was God who made him fast, but it was up to him to nurture and preserve the gift of speed that afforded him two Olympic medals.

After reading a biography of his short life I’m convinced that he was much more committed to practicing knowing God than to practicing running. This guy was legit.

I was given a step counter earlier this year. Wearing it revealed solid evidence of my inactivity and I got moving. A lot. Once I connected with others in April for some friendly competition, the steps really began to add up. With my new commitment to walking I was feeling fit, had lots of energy and slept well. I had a heightened awareness of my body’s need to be active.

But May brought thunderstorms, hot temperatures, and a trip to the dermatologist which resulted in a bunch of biopsies for skin cancer. There were many distractions and I lost my focus. My step count plunged.

I walked up the stairs yesterday, winded by the time I reached the third landing. By three and half my legs were screaming and I wasn’t sure I could make it to four. Three weeks ago those stairs were not easy, but I could hit that fifth landing without slowing down. I am again surprised by how quickly a body loses strength with inactivity.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve noticed that a lot like that climb up the stairs, my spiritual legs are weak where they had been strong. Once toned muscles have atrophied from lack of use.

I had a great plan to read and journal from the Psalms this summer, but I’ve not been consistent. Life has brought storms and other distractions; I’ve lost focus. Here I am again, shaking my head over something so elemental to spiritual growth.

I’ll never walk in the power of God outside of the presence of God.

power of god

As I struggled up those stairs and stopped to rest on the landing, I heard that quiet voice of the Spirit:

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things,
holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
This is a trustworthy
saying that deserves full acceptance. That is why we labor and strive, because we have
put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people,
and especially of those who believe. – 1 Timothy 4:8-10

 I need to get back on the walking trail and get some steps in. I love feeling strong and exercise is good for mind, body and soul.

Even greater, I want to know more of God at the end of the summer than I do now.  He knows I need some practice. And I’m desperate to know Him, my only HOPE.

By his grace alone,



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A Total Reboot of my Heart



It’s been a harsh week on social media. I have literally seen so many hateful things in my newsfeed and even on my own wall that I am struggling with depression.

Apparently everyone is an expert in parenting, zoology and public safety. It’s also possible that people mindlessly troll feeds on Facebook and comment on the comments without reading the actual story. They spew hateful, even vulgar comments without conscience.

We are beginning a new month. Summer is right around the corner.My coworker just had the most difficult four months of her life. She announced that today is a reboot – she’s doing a hard restart of this year. I think she may be on to something.

I make my living doing software support. It’s astonishing the number of times that my only solution to a frustrated client has been a system reboot. None of the suggested solutions was working and there was nothing in the Knowledge Base specific to the “stuck” application. Remarkably, rebooting clears up most of those problems.

I find myself in a similar stuck place emotionally and spiritually today – tired, depressed and a little disillusioned by life. I don’t know of any fixes specific to this feeling of hopeless fatigue.

In spite of that, I’m embarking on a study of the Psalms for the summer. I’ve got a plan to read, write out and commit some verses to memory.

Psalm 1, verse 1 – literally at the very start, of the very day that I ask God for a reboot, he reveals his plan for restoring my sad heart. It’s right there in the  Knowledge Base:

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or
stand in the way that sinners take
 or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, 
which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers.
Psalm 1:1-3 – NIV

Blessed is a stronger word than happy; it means enjoying God’s grace and favor. The blessed person avoids the natural progression to spiritual burnout spelled out in the very first verse of this very first psalm.

Don’t walk, stand or sit with the foolish. Those are the people who spout words with feigned authority and disregard God and his sovereignty. Sound familiar?

The blessed person finds delight in God’s word. While it can also be cutting, its purpose is always for good:

Everything in the Scriptures is God’s Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live. – 2 Timothy 3:6 (CEV)

I love the image in the third verse of Psalm 1 of a tree planted near water. It is naturally provided all that it needs to flourish, grow and produce fruit.

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When a computer is rebooted, all current processes are shut down. Programs relinquish cached memory; it is basically dumping all of the junk and starting fresh.

Reboot it is. I need to free up some space on my calendar and in my heart; I need to dump some junk to make time for a dip into living water. It’s my only hope for survival this hot summer.

Haters gonna hate. But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain. (Psalm 3:3-4)


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