Wednesday, October 28, 2009

moment of compassion

Catalyst 2009 Compassion Moment from Catalyst on Vimeo.

while i was not at catalyst this year, this moment at the event is transforming.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

communication breakdown

tonight our journey team focuses in on our prayer life. we are utilizing the nooma video 019 "open" which centers on prayer. my prayer life is need of help and i wonder if others in our group might have the same affliction. sometimes my prayer time is full of life and sometimes it feels dead. sometimes i have those thoughts that God has enough on His plate and my stuff does not matter. that's foolish thinking. how do i know what is on God's plate and how much He can handle? the problem with me is that i have that "conditional love" thing going on in my head. i don't stop to think about how "unconditional love" works. no matter how distant i might feel from Him, that distance is on me - not Him. He is constant - i am inconsistent. that is why i need this message - i need the input of others and the way they pray. after all, this is our communication with God - that's big!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

oh, wow!

our daughter jessica and grandson jay came to visit last weekend for mother's day. one afternoon after jay went down for a nap the girls went out shopping (imagine that!) and i stayed home with jay. he woke up not feeling well and just cried for his momma but momma wasn't home. so i walked around with him in my arms trying to substitute something for his need for his momma. nothing seemed to change things as he continued to cry. but as we were walking by a wreath on the front door, jay spots an artificial butterfly and all of a sudden without a hint of tears he exclaims "oh, wow!" and he is amazed at the beautiful butterfly. it has taken all of his focus from wanting his momma to sheer beauty. i think that is why Jesus says we must be like little children - to be able to find the beauty of God when all of our focus is on ourselves. oh, wow! - how i love the way this little guy teaches me new things. last night at journey team we talked about the ways we see God in our everyday lives. mostly we see Him through the nature that only He can create - the birds that sing, the flowers that bloom, the beauty of sunrise and sunset. some see Him through the melody of our favorite songs. i think those ways are our opportunity to become childlike and marvel at His creation. the deal is that we don't stop enough to smell His roses - to feel the wind upon our face. "be still and know that I am God", psalm 46:10.

Monday, May 11, 2009


i was a disaster as a student. from early childhood i was a rebellious, mischievous punk that disrupted classrooms making a general pita of myself. i could not see the reason for education. later in life i was diagnosed with add, adhd and dyslexia which are now treatable. i have been married to an educator for twenty five years and now have a profound understanding of how education shapes your life. therefore, i have added my name to the one campaign petition "the big read" aimed at helping all children with basic literacy. i hope you will watch the video and join the campaign.

Monday, April 27, 2009

a must read book

i was looking for a new book the other day when i stumbled on to one i can not put down. this is a true story and i don't want to give any of it away except to say - read this!! this is God's work in an extraordinary way. a little embarrased to admit but i was so overcome with emotion last night in the latter part of the book that i had to stop reading. i thank God i found this book. to learn more about this incredible adventure, here is a link to the website:

the ravine

just a block from the guesthouse is an area of port-au-prince known as the ravine. houses are stacked upon each other covering the mountainside as far as you can see. in the last photos you see the drainage ditch with pigs and goats scavenging for food.

meeting edwide

on thursday morning i was picked up to go to meet our compassion sponsored child, edwide (pronounced similarly to edward and rhymes with squid). in the photo right to left are edwide's mom, edwide, the director of the compassion project in the area where edwide lives, and a friend of edwide's mom. they had made a ten hour drive from the northern part of haiti to port-au-prince on wednesday.

this is jeannot, our compassion field office interpreter. jeannot is also an assistant pastor at his fathers church. i promised jeannot that one day he will look out at the people of his church and see me sitting in the pews. maybe this summer.

deborah and i went shopping for edwide before the trip. since deb is an educator, we decided to send school supplies and coloring books along with a pink backpack. edwide was wearing a beautiful pink dress and the backpack matched perfectly! at first the meeting was very awkward as i thought it would be - this little girl is only seven and probably had never seen a white person before. but after the backpack was given to her i began to take some photos that i would then spin the camera around and show to her and the group. well that broke the ice and it was now smiles, giggles and laughter.

she did not want to take the backpack off! we had some lunch and then a tearful "bonswa" (goodbye/good afternoon) but not a goodbye - just an "until next time".

seeing your compassion child smile - priceless!

wednesday with the lashbrooks

keith and cindy lashbrook have been serving the children in the port-de-paix area which is on the north coast of haiti. they are pictured here with their adopted two and a half year old daughter, sabrina. the lashbrooks have been in haiti over twelve years and have built a boys home, orphanage, school and church. their story is so amazing as they came to haiti with no particualar mission focus or training and no funding. they picked me up from the guesthouse and showed me around parts of port-au-prince. i really came to love and admire the lashbrooks. my next trip will take me to see their ministry on the north coast. for more information on their ministries, here is the link;

this is the caribbean super market in port-au-prince. you go inside and it is like you have stepped back in to america.

they even had bubba burgers - what's up with that?

but then you go back outside and you are immersed in the poverty again - strange paradox.

driving in port-au-prince

driving in port-au-prince can go from this kind of road -

- to this kind instantaneously.

the view from the roof

this is the rooftop patio of the guesthouse - a fabulous place to hang out. the views of that part of port-au-prince were interesting. we were located in the southeastern part of the city of about two million people. looking northward you see a mountain range in the distance and thousands of rooftops. in the last photo there is construction next door.

the bensons and the guesthouse

this is cathie and greg benson, field directors for csi - christian services international - and hosts at the csi guesthouse in port-au-prince. the bensons have been serving God in haiti for over twenty years and they were great hosts. for more information on csi:

this is a view from the rear of the guesthouse with the first floor kitchen and dining rooms, second floor with dormitory style rooms and the rooftop patio. the guesthouse will accomodate around thirty and the rooftop patio is the place for morning devotions and evening get togethers. the guesthouse in open air - no a/c with cold water showers but that was okay 'cause it was refreshing.

these two ladies ran the kitchen and fed us. great food!! and i would help out a little by drying dishes, pot, pans, and eating utensils. i really liked them. while my haitian creole was about as good as their american english, a good "merci" and "okay" between us meant a lot. i'll know more creole when i return next time.

fenel pierre

this is fenel pierre from the compassion office in port-au-prince, haiti. if fenel had not been at the airport to pick me up after landing, i might still be lost there somewhere. i arrived in haiti on tuesday, april 14th with less than fifty u.s. dollars in my pocket and no complete address as to where i would be staying. the arrangements had been made through the compassion office and i did not print out the last correspondence. haiti immigration was not going to let me in without some sort of address and phone number - neither which i could offer. finally i found a printed-out email with the compassion port-au-prince office address and phone numbers and they let that suffice. as i was beginning to panic about my lack of information and money, there stood fenel pierre holding up a sheet of paper on which my name was written. i waved acknowledgement to fenel and as i approched he stuck out his right hand to shake but i put the biggest bearhug on him that caught him a bit off-guard. i was so glad to see him. he shuttled me to the csi guesthouse in pétionville, a sort of suburb in the southeastern part of port-au-prince. i owe so many thanks to fenel, who was a compassion-sponsored child growing up. i look forward to seeing him again soon.


roundtrip airline tickets miami to port-au-prince - $380.
three nights/two meals per day guesthouse stay - $120.
meeting our compassion sponsored child, edwide - priceless!
yes, i made it to haiti and met with edwide and her mother. it has taken me a week or so to return and put my thoughts together. now i will tell the story for those who are interested.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


i was struck by an article in the augusta chronicle yesterday - an associated press story about a 72 year old woman found dead in her home 18 months after she died. this happened in a small community between columbia and charleston, south carolina. come on - 18 months and nobody cared or knew her enough to check on her? wow - how lonely could that have been? how did she slip through the cracks? one of the paragraphs stated that the authorities didn't think she attended church - you think? while i don't say that church is the answer to everything, it is a place for true community - true love for one another or it should be. church is where everyone should know your name - know if you are not there and care enough to go find out why you are missing. i feel so bad for her and the people that lived near her - near enough to look in on her every now and then. and her car sat in front of the house - never moved - for a year and a half and nobody noticed. so what does this have to do with you and me? do you/i know your/my neighbors? are we in touch with them enough for them to know if you/i died or they did? i think it is easy to just forget about the elderly. they don't mean so much any more do they? one of the hardest things ever is to visit an assisted living or nursing home. seeing people - really shells of people. but they are still people. the really scarry thing is that might be us one day - lonely people.
if you care to read this story, here is a link;!%20News:%20U.S.%20News/Reclusive%20woman%27s%20death%20sobers%20small%20SC%20community%20%20%20%20%20%20(AP)/?ref=national|MOUNTAIN-VIEW+CA+US


last night our journey team members laid hands on me in prayer as i prepare for the trip to haiti. it was a powerful and moving experience. i have been a part of laying on hands before but it had been a while. it kinda freaks some out but i think it is a great way to share God's love for others. i shared with the group last night how i had begun to feel some fear about the trip tuesday after being informed that the week i am in haiti, senatorial elections will be going on and that the city gets a bit rowdy. they cautioned me to be aware. some of that led to other fears and if i was doing the right thing. then yesterday i get an email from a close friend who has contacted some of his friends in haiti and they are going to meet me to show me their ministry and that stopped the fears. "strength will rise when we wait upon the Lord". thinking about last night i realized that God has laid His hand upon me and will not take it off. our j-team finished up the "crazy love" study series by francis chan. i think it brought out a lot in all of us. it makes me contemplate "what am i willing to give Him who gives me everything?" what is He worth to me? as chan ends the dvd study he shares the same hope that i have - that i will hear those words touching my soul,"well done".
can you imagine the incredible feeling with those words - well done. isn't that what we all so long for - someone to affirm us - to say well done. and to hear it from the One who gives us everything - i can only imagine.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

bobo a go go

while my path has me headed for haiti, i love seeing where God is leading other people. i produced this video for the church i attend called truenorth in north augusta,sc. bill and peggy bobo have been a part of tnc since it began 4 and a half years ago. this ia a great story that i hope you will watch. here is a link to the church;

little hope

two little words with enormous impact - little hope. in this video you can see just how little hope there is in haiti. but notice it does not say "no" hope - just the word little. but just as a child is born little and grows to be bigger, hope will grow bigger with each day if we don't give up. tonight our journey team wraps up a five week study on francis chan's book "crazy love". in the ninth chapter he describes various people obsessed with a relentless God. people whose stories leave you mind-boggled. they put everything on the line for God every day. and now i am in the midst of the book "mountains beyond mountains" the story of dr. paul farmer and while this is not written with some christian or Christ-seeking message, it is the essence of what God put us on this earth to do - love one another. i am hearing so many hearts cry out for africa and it is so needed - but don't forget our neighbor to the south - right in our own backyard. haiti needs us now. haiti needs our attention, our hearts and our actions. if you read the book "mountains beyond mountains" you will see the incredible spirit of people waiting to bloom. they need this "little hope" to continue to grow bigger. they need more doctor paul farmers, jim kims, ophelia dahls, sarah marshs and so many others on the ground in haiti right now. i have never known the full weight of the two words - little hope - and i am seeking to bring just a grain of hope to a little girl that we sponsor in haiti through compassion international. in two weeks i make my first visit to hait to meet her. last night my wife and i bought a little girls backpack and various school supplies for me to carry to her. my hope is that through this little girls education we can partner with her and her family to help them elevate their hope level. that maybe one day she will have the opportunity to go to college and bring more hope to her island nation. one day, one child - this is where it starts.

Monday, March 30, 2009


in his inauguration speech in march of 1933, franklin d. roosevelt made bold statements to bring the country out of the depression.
"This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory". are we scared? do we fear the uncertainty of our time? what is the basis of fear? defines fear;
1. a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
when you feel fear, where do you turn or what do you do about it? face it head-on? how do you know if the fear is real or imagined? there is lots of fear right now but let us not shrink from it. now is the time to ask God for our guidance. now is the time to come together, face our fears, and place our trust in the only one who can deliver. are you afraid?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

my top five

several years ago i began to list the top five people that i would love to have coffee, lunch or dinner with. here is my top five right now:

first on my list is pastor rick warren. it was his book, "purpose driven life" that put in motion the change in my life. i was in a financial meltdown and saw an article in the local paper about pdl classes at a local church. i had not read a book in probably 30 years, but when i saw you read one chapter a day for forty days, i knew i could do it. it is the catalyst for my transformation. i also think he is the "billy graham" of our day. many of the churches of today got their start as a result of rick's pioneering. i hope to visit saddleback soon. thanks pastor rick!

my second pick is, in my opinion, the most creative genius in music today and thankfully his love for the lord makes his and the dc*b groups creations of even more important. his eccentricities have paved the way for others to be themselves and not what the religious system says they should be. dang, i would love to hang out in the barn with the group!! am i sounding like a stalker or groupie? thanks dc*b!

louie giglio - need i say more? my only regret - and not really a regret - is that i am not in my 20's instead of in my 50's. this guy, his wife shelley and the whole passion movement are off the chain and have affected lives of millions of youth around the world. and now they have started a church in atlanta - how hard must it be to get a ticket for that worship? they have chris tomlin, matt redman and so many others leading worship. they will take worship to a new level. thanks louie!

if you have read the incredible book, "three cups of tea" then you know who i am writing about. when you look up the criteria for the nobel peace prize, greg mortenson's picture should pop up. this guys story is totally amazing and continues today. if i could, i would drink yak butter tea with this dude! i am blown away at what he has done - build a bridge of peace to remote parts of the world. thanks greg!

i am reading the book "mountains beyond mountains - the quest of dr. paul farmer - a man who would cure the world. another person who should be up for a nobel peace prize. he should be prime minister or whatever the head of haiti is called. this guy has more love for the most unloved country in the western hemisphere. wow, what a passion. thanks dokte paul!

well there you have it my top five most influential people today. thanks for all of your incredible loves and passions and the affect you have had on my life.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

extraordinary people

in case you did not see it, abc news profiled greg mortenson as the "person of the week" last night. greg mortenson's story in the book "three cups of tea" is one of extraordinary courage, vision and love of people. he shows us how to build peace throughout the world. i have said before that he should have already been given a nobel peace prize for his life work in northern pakistan and afghanistan building schools especially for girls. we can learn a great deal from him. here is a link to the video from the abc news story on mortenson:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

thoughts on crazy love

i haven't a clue how many or if any people read this blog. i really write to kinda put down some of my random thoughts without much regard if anyone is out there. so many times i have said to myself "who cares?". it doesn't matter. as our journey team heads into the last two chapters of francis chan's book "crazy love", i just want to reverberate what the book is doing to us. this is a book that will really challenge you to look inside yourself. ask yourself serious questions and then to put your money where your mouth is. it is not something that you probably haven't heard before, it is just the way chan speaks to you. i don't know why but he seems to ask the things i would imagine that all pastors want to ask but are afraid to. the one thing that continues to resonate in my heart is what am i willing to sacrifice for Him? what am i willing to give away to help others? time, money, possessions, love? chan paints a picture of christian "lukewarmness" and i find myself there. and that place can be a bit frightening 'cause i thought i was more in love with Him than that. but the real good thing is that where i might be now is not where i want to stay. therein lies the question - where is that and how do i get there? in chapter 8 chan asks you to pray this prayer, "God bring me closer to You during this trip, whatever it takes". chan uses the word "trip" but i think you can substitute whatever you want to fit what is going on in your life. this prayer was especially meaningful to me as i prepare to travel to haiti next month to meet with the young girl and her family that my wife and i sponsor through compassion international. i want God to continue to draw me closer to Him, do you?

a job that needs to be done

this mornings reading in "our daily bread" caught my attention. a recent "dirty jobs" segment with mike rowe had mike inside one of the support towers of the mackinac bridge in northern michigan. mike says to one of the painters, "there's no glory in what you do". the painter replies, "no, but it's a job that must be done". the story is that while probably no one knows what the painter does, his work serves to protect the interior of the bridge support towers so they don't corrode thereby compromising the integrity of the bridge. so many things in our lives go on without our knowledge, without even being noticed, but they are vitally important. sometimes it might just be in a smile to the person handing you your breakfast at a local fast food joint or that you speak kindly to the checkout clerk at walmart. whatever it is, it is our opportunity to give to others what Christ gives to us - faith, hope and love. and that is a job that needs to be done.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

mixed emotions

it is scenes like this that bring such mixed emotions as i prepare to travel to haiti next month. most likely i will spend all of my time in the capital city of port-au-prince but the real poverty and devastation lie mainly north in the gonaives area.
last fall, four hurricanes battered the island and particularly this area with fierce winds, heavy rains, flooding and mudslides killing hundreds. the young girl that we support lives northwest of gonaives and i hardly have a clue what their living situation must be like. i hope to visit their home in my next trip. i have no presumptions as to what i can do but you don't know until you go.
what can i do and where do i start? what do you do when there appears to be no hope? i don't know the answers but you can't just do nothing. and maybe that is why my wife and i felt led to begin supporting this haitian child through compassion international in december 2007. so far, hope is hard to find in what i know about haiti and i am hoping that will change for me after this trip. my hope is that i can bring some hope to this family and together we can spread more hope in their community. my hope is to see what we can do to help their daily lives. possibly through this little girls education - she is six years old and just beginning to learn and have hope. maybe one day she will be able to go to college and come back to her community to bring more hope. that word hope is a big word and i am using it a bunch here. but hope and love are all we really have. and i think we must bring hope throughout the world one person at a time. i can not thank God enough - and don't - for the opportunity He presents me with. my hope is in Him.

Friday, March 20, 2009

dr. paul farmer

i wrote in my last post about the book, "mountains beyond mountains" by tracy kidder that i am reading. the book is about dr. paul farmer and 60 minutes did a segment on him last spring. this is it and i hope you will watch it.

moving mountains

i recently picked up the book, "mountains beyond mountains" at the urging of my new friend jill smith. this is the story of dr. paul farmer, a harvard school of medicine graduate and staff member who has dedicated his life to bring medical help to haiti and other areas of the world that are impoverished and often overlooked. this is one of the those books that tell the story of ordinary people doing extrodinary things much like greg mortenson and his work in northern pakistan and afghanistan and his book, "three cups of tea". these are people that inspire, teach and bring hope to the world. these are people that are just like you and me. the difference is they do where most don't. i am hoping that this trip to haiti in a few weeks will be my stepping off from the don'ts to the do's.
i booked my flights last night and i am getting ready. i am a little scared but that seems to subside moment by moment. if i trust in God, He will see me through.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


haiti is difficult to comprehend and i haven't even been there yet. all that will change the week after easter when i make my first overseas, short-term missions trip. if you have read rick warren's "purpose driven life", he encourages you to take on a missions experience and i am finally going for it. for over a year now, my wife and i have sponsored a young girl in haiti through compassion international and i have the desire to go visit her and her family. yesterday i received an email from compassion that the meeting date and time had been confirmed. i am going to haiti in just four weeks! if you don't know anything about haiti, it is no surprise. this little portion of an island shared with the dominican republic is pretty obscure. seems like not much attention is paid to it. you only hear about it when the government is in turmoil. but it is right here in our own backyard and i have not seen a place more in need this close to the united states. poverty and hopelessness seem to encompass it. i have been thinking, talking and praying about this and God has spoken. i think He is saying, "time to step up, chuck"! i am hoping to bring some words and photos to this blog that might open people to this little big need. people need hope and while i don't presume to be any savior, it is my hope that this is what God is calling me to. to maybe bring a glimmer of hope, first to this little girl, then her family and from there only God knows. i don't ask this very often, but pray for me, for our compassion child edwide and that the love and hope of our Lord Jesus Christ will shine through me.

Friday, March 13, 2009


as i am writing this morning i can not quit thinking about the term, "economic stimulus". do you find it a bit scary that in this time of huge deficit, the way out is to spend more money. more of yours and mine. so they want to spend more in bailouts (from where?) but give me a tax credit so that i can spend more - how does that work? you have people who need to pay off debt but they want you to do more shopping. i understand the ripple effect of business layoffs, shutdowns, followed by home foreclosures and dwindling city tax bases thereby causing less services and more layoffs and.... i get the picture. but why do i/we have to bail out companies that made bad loans or decisions? i don't want anyone to lose their home, but we need a reality check here before going forward and one of those might include smacking the crap out of some of these fat cats who have made these bad decisions and get to keep their jobs and bonuses and pensions while others lose everything. john boy and billy, have a nice day.

simple statements

in second corinthians chapter one verse 10b, paul makes this statement, "on Him we have set our hope". a simple statement but it stopped me in my morning readings today. in whom do i/you/we put our hope? i would say many are putting their hope in our new president. and while i hope that president obama is doing the right things, my hope is in God. my hope is that we will all, as the p.o.d. song says, "sing a new song". in this part of the first chapter of second corinthians, paul is telling those who will listen that God is our comforter. i know personally through my financial mismanagement - tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt - a few years ago that the first thing that God gave me was a peace about things so that i could see the big picture. he comforted me, even though i did not deserve it, and said that this can be fixed. before i allowed God control over the situation, i could not get past the anxieties of the mess i had made to even know what to do. but He washed a peace over me and while i did not hear Him audibly, i sensed that He was telling me to set my hope in Him for the trouble i was in was earthly and He has much greater things for me to focus on. i have told people that the peace He gave me put in to action my new life. the debt did not disappear, but i received a new perspective that allowed me to follow Him and i still do today. over a period of time, i erased the debt and do not carry a credit card to this day. i can not describe the overwhelming joy and weight lifted off me when i became credit card debt free. i could not have done it without Him leading the way. whatever you are faced with today in these uncertain economic times, set your hope in Him. it is free to all that seek Him and He will set you free. simple - set your hope on Him.