Saturday, January 29, 2022


Yesterday my oldest daughter celebrated her 18th birthday. I, on the other hand, spent my time mourning the loss of her childhood…as well my own.  As a gift, I purchased one of her favorite children’s books, the literary classic, Raindrop Plop, and gave it to her, along with gifts themed from the book; umbrella, raincoat, rain boots…but not the bright blue boat, that would have been out of the budget. I took some time and wrote a meaningful message on the inside of the front cover.  I closed the book, and then I sobbed.  I was fortunate to be the only one in the house at the time, except for the dog, but due to our strained relationship, all he did was smile and relish his kingship over me during my hour of grief. I sobbed uncontrollably as I reflected that now half of the humans in my home were now adults.  At this, my sobbing abruptly stopped. “She is an adult now…that means that she can begin to do adult jobs around the house…like plunging the toilet, rotating the tires…hmmm….I wonder how she is at doing taxes?” I thought.

It seems like it was just 18 years ago, yesterday, when Hannah was born.  I remember the day in such detail. In fact, I remember a great deal of the days and months leading up to day of her birth.  One of the most life changing moments of the gestational period was the moment that Nurse Denise placed the ultrasound paddle onto the belly of my wife and revealed the machine gun rapid fire of the unborn heartbeat cranking out a techno rave beat at 165 bpm.

That day reveals one of the greatest and most accurate pictures of true biblical hope that I have encountered. From the day that Sarah and I learned that we were “expecting” we began to …well…expect.  From that moment, a hope had been generated.  The hope of the day when this child would arrive had been promised.  Our lives went from, “I hope that we will have a child someday,” to the hope of the day “when our child will arrive.”

This is a picture of the hope of Jesus, as would be the engagement period of a young couple, or even the anticipation leading up to Christmas…they all point to a hope that is tangible.  God spoke of His redeeming work from the very beginning.  His promise was a promise of hope, a hope that was not an “if”, but rather a “would.”  Then, Jesus came! We continue in hope. Today we can have that same confident hope that Jesus IS coming back.  With that kind of hope, what else do we need…except maybe some help on my taxes?

Saturday, January 15, 2022

The Guarantee

“I guarantee it!” These were the words of the great Jets quarterback Joe Namath before Super Bowl III in 1969.  Though the odds were stacked against him, his guarantee was indeed fulfilled.

In the financial realm the guarantee ensures that there will be no loss of resources to the guaranteed party.  The implementation of a guarantee does not linger in just the financial institutions…but also among brothers and sisters of all ages. For instance, when a younger brother says to his older brother of 14 months, “Hey Ross, Mom says that she saved the last cookie for you,” the older brother may respond, “Sweet! Where?”

To which…you…being the younger brother may interject, “She left it in the Tupperware on the counter.”

“But the Tupperware is empty,” he might rebut.

“Yeah…I know.”

“Why is it empty?”

“Because, I ate it.”

“What! What do you mean you ate it? Why did you eat it? I thought you said mom saved it for me?”

“I said “Mom” saved it for you…I didn’t say that “I” saved it for you.”

It could be that at this time the younger brother should inform the older brother, how next time he should get a “guarantee” to ensure that he will indeed receive the cookie.  But since he did not…then he gets no cookie. This has perhaps been a wonderful learning opportunity for the older brother, and he will be a better person for having learned it.  So much so…that in some cases this said older brother happens to become much more financially secure that that of the deceptive younger brother.

It could also be at this time that the younger brother, in order to avoid older brother retaliation, should consider employing his own guarantee of sorts… “Mom! Ross just threatened to kick me in the throat!!”

There have been many life events where I too regretted not having employed the guarantee.

When Rory (the obstinate and obnoxious little brother of the imaginary family previously referred to), promised that he would NOT tell mother about the broken plate and his bleeding head…I soon learned that I should have pursued a guarantee…a paper shredder and his Barry Sanders rookie card would have worked nicely.

Recently, one of my own imaginary daughters asked me to purchase a set of ear buds from a shady black market website. 

“How do you know that this is a legitimate site?”

“Because dad…they have several positive reviews.”

“Anyone can write those reviews…they don’t mean anything.”

“Please Dad! I will pay for them!”

“Are you sure that this is what you want to spend your money on?”

“Yes Daddy! Please! Please!” (Note: eyes were imaginarily fluttering at this point).

“Fine…What is the website?”

“It is a place called They sell everything from ear buds to human kidneys…plus their website says “Satisfaction Guaranteed.”

I should have had her sign a guarantee.  I lost $42…didn’t get the ear buds…nor a kidney…and I never collected an imaginary dime from that imaginary daughter.

There are very few guarantees in life. We are not guaranteed another day of living, stock market success, illness or injury free bodies, job security, low gas, and grocery store prices, Caribou Coffee drinks being made correctly…the list is endless.

We are however, given a guarantee by Jesus Christ himself.  He promises that he WILL come again and he gives to us a guarantee, of that promise…he gives to us…His Spirit.  We may not know it but that is the best guarantee ever offered in the history of mankind.  Ephesians 1:13-14, tells us that this Spirit will mark the believers and is a “guarantee.” 

May we come to see that all followers of Christ can enjoy that guarantee!

Saturday, January 8, 2022


Teenagers are mythical creatures that often lurk for a time in the home of middle age couples. However, proof of their existence lingers only in rumors and the evidences that they leave behind; messy rooms, empty fuel tanks, dirty clothes, inexplicable odors, filthy dishes and sparse refrigerators.  If you ever come across a teenager, you should approach with caution.  Do not attempt to feed a teenager or bribe it with food.  If you offer a teenager a cookie…that teenager is likely to never leave your home again.  If you offer the teenager something “healthy” to eat, you will inevitably face a plethora of mocking cackles and confusing words that you have never heard before, or are used in a context that any normal person would find senseless, such as; “cap,” “lit,” “straight bussin,” and, perhaps, many others.  Please note: this IS, in fact, considered “normal” teenage behavior.  Teenage words will mean nothing to you; therefore when a conversation is engaged, avoid showing signs of fear and confusion.  Do not run, rather, wait patiently and smile.  There is no use trying to understand what was just said, perhaps just offer them a carrot. 

Teenagers can be very unpredictable and have been the cause of great stress for many adults.  It has been said that these mysterious beings can be moody and volatile.  I once heard of one man who came across 3 teenage girls living in his basement. He was completely caught off guard as all three simultaneously began giggling, laughing, cackling, singing, shouting, crying and blubbering...all in a matter of 30 seconds.  He was so shaken that he immediately fled the home to the safety and quiet of the local dog kennel. 

I met one woman who found a male teenager coming out of a room on the upper floor of her home.  She was convinced that the being was a zombie…as only something dead could cause the smell that was wafting out of the space behind him.  Even after the zombie left the home, the odor remained.  The woman entered the room and found a green sock stuffed inside a water bottle.  Her husband eventually found her passed out on the floor when he arrived home from work. When she revived, all she could say was…“It used to be white.” “It used to be white.”  To this day, no one knows exactly what she meant.

Perhaps the most dangerous situation that you may stumble upon is that of a sleeping teenager.  If you happen to find yourself living in a home with one or more teenagers here are 15 simple steps to rid yourself of a sleeping teenager.

Step 1: Counter the awakening. It is extremely beneficial if you can engage the teenager before they fall asleep in your home.  Prevention is 95% of the success. It may, at first glance, seem reasonable to not allow the teenager highly caffeinated drinks like coffee or Mountain Dew.  However, if you can keep the caffeine flowing, any sleep may not occur until the teenager is at school…in which case then, the sleeping teenager is someone else’s problem.

Step 2: Empower the teenager. If caffeine is not an option, I would suggest that you calmly, (note: teenagers can sense fear), suggest having the teenager set an alarm for themselves.  Caution: this may result in an irrational response from the teenager. “Ah! You always do this to me! You don’t know what it’s like! You just don’t understand what it is like to be a teenager! Why are you so mean to me?”

Step 3: Refrain from reacting: Do not attempt to rationalize with an irrational teenager. This will do nothing but raise your blood pressure, and you will potentially find yourself hospitalized for heart palpitations, eye twitches, or perhaps, even a broken tooth or filling caused from aggressive teeth grinding.

Step 4: Ask the teenager what time they need to be awake. You should record their answer, as you may need it when you are accused of wrong doing. (You will be accused of wrong doing).

Step 5: Affirm the teenager: State, “I will try and make sure you are up by then.” Note: if the time is 6:00…the wake up process should either begin 30 or more minutes before the necessary time, or 30 minutes after the suggested time, but never right at the time.  If you should choose the 30 minute early option go to step 6.  If you choose the 30 minutes after option…then this is not your first encounter with teenagers and you are likely trying to teach the teenager a lesson.  Decent idea, but it is not going to work…go to step 6.

Steps 6-12 should be performed at, roughly, 5 minute intervals.

Step 6: 30 minutes before the time of the awakening: Gently knock on the door and say, “Hannah, (the name is totally random and should not be thought to be referring to anyone in particular…especially not referring to my first born,) time to get up.”

Step 7: Gently open the door and say, “Hannah…you really need to get up now.”

Step 8: Open the door and speak loudly, “Hannah…get up!”

Step 9: Throw the door open, flip on the bright ceiling light and yell, “Get up!” At this point names are no longer necessary as anyone in the house should be aroused by the occurrences in the home.

Step 10: Approach the blob that is beneath the comforter and shake it, “Get up! You are going to be late”

Step 11: Jump on the blob.

Step 12:  Shake the blob. Jump on the blob. Then, rip the comforter free from the blob.

Step 13: 15 minutes AFTER the needed wake up time.  Throw the door open…again.  Turn on the light…again.  Shake the blob…again. Jump on the blob…again. Pull off the comforter…again.  Yell, “Get out of bed! You fell asleep again! You only have 15 minutes left to get ready.”

Step 14: Cold water. Nothing more needs to be said…except, “School starts in 5 minutes.”

Step 15: Endure the next 5 minutes and listen to the teenager’s inevitable words, “Dad! I am going to be late for school! Why didn’t you get me up!”

It is inevitable, that if you happen to have a teenager living in your home, you will likely need to engage in some steps to wake…and reawake them on at least one, if not every, school day morning. Let’s be honest with ourselves…we all follow similar patterns in our own lives.  We often ebb and flow in our choices, our commitments and in our relationships.  Sometimes we need to be “reawakened,” especially in our spiritual journeys. We need to be reawakened to the goodness of God.  We need to be reawakened to the beauty of His Gospel.  Thankfully He is standing near us…ready to help…and if necessary…He may have a bucket of cold water. 

Luke 13:6-9 gives us an amazing picture of a loving God, leading the way to reawaken our hearts toward Him.  He cares, He digs, He fertilizes.  He takes the initiative to reawaken us to bear fruit, to bear goodness, kindness, love, peace, joy, patience and self control.