Crazy Halloween starting early…..

Today my conference finally ended after a long week. I am amazed at how tired you can get just sitting in a conference room. Anyone else with me on that?

So after lunch today I took advantage of an open afternoon and hit a few of the museums around my hotel. This is important because I don’t like museums — well not normally anyway. Because usually I am with the wife and kids. And they view museums as fast food whereas I view a museum as a nice seven course dinner to be slowly consumed, absorbed and enjoyed. They are usually finished with an entire exhibit before I am done reading the first display. So when I am able to go to a museum alone, it is a special thing. I can take my time. I can read every single display card. I can absorb the atmosphere.

The first museum on my hit list was the Cartoon Art Museum. While I was expecting “cartoons”, a la Bugs Bunny, they mostly had comics. Errr, that would make it the COMIC Art Museum, genius! But, my seven bucks already spent, I meandered through the exhibits. To be fair, they did have some cels and animation from Disney, Hanna Barbara, Warner Brothers and others but there was only one animation exhibit. All in all, it was worthwhile of my coinage and my time.

Across the street and down a bit, the California Historical Society museum caught my eye. I walked in hesitant, but was more than willing to put down my three bucks for entry. More than that and I would have departed. It offered different glipses of my previous home, the Golden State. From it’s Gold Rush roots to the development of rail and highway transportation to the motion picture industry, there were many cool displays that covered the gamut of topics — all with the California thread woven into them.

My last museum target was the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. And guess who I saw out in front of the museum. You guessed it — Reggie. He came up and shook my hand like I was an old college buddy. I said “hi” and asked how he was doing for a Friday. That was about it and I headed in.

Luckily, my work has a membership and my ID badge gained my free access because there is no way on this earth I would have paid the $18 to gain entry. For starters, I am not a fan of modern art. I view art as someone doing something that I can’t do. That can be paint, draw, photograph, play an instrument, etc. It does NOT mean four pieces of packing tape splattered with colored laquer and hung on a wall. Sorry. And don’t try to pass me any of that crap that the artist “felt” his work and was exposing his soul in some sort of esoteric monologue to the 18th century. I don’t buy it. Face it — they pulled it out of their butt, framed it or arranged it, called it “modern art” and people go ga-ga over it. Give me Ansel Adams or Michelangelo any time.

So needless to say, the Modern Art Museum didn’t take me much time to go through, even though it was much bigger and had more displays. Speaking of which, I think I’ll put my “modern work of art” up some time soon. It will be titled, “Crap That Is In My Hotel Room”.

After my museum escapades, I received a call from an old friend who made his way down from Sacramento. Of course, we hit our old favorite In ‘N’ Out Burger and caught up with each other since we haven’t seen each other since May. It was nice to catch up and we walked around the Fisherman’s Wharf area gawking at all the craziness and wackiness that goes on down there. I am never disappointed when I go down there. Beggars now have signs soliciting “Give $1 for weed”. And there was more than one — seems it must be profitable. Streetshow Keith was there with his unique juggle flaming sticks comedy act. He cracked me up and was also talented at not burning himself. Further down was crazy spray paint guy painting psychodelic pictures of made up space scenery. And, of course, there was “Bush Man”. I warned my buddy about him. He is a homeless guy who takes these plant branches and conceals himself up crouching against a trash can. As an unsuspecting tourist passes by (not paying attention), he leaps out yelling and usually scares the crap out of them. Subsequently he then expects a tip or reward. That part I do not get and I am surprised he hasn’t gotten clobbered by a big biker guy or had a drink thrown at him from a lady. And “Trash Guy” was a varient of that. Some guy squeezed himself into one of the city garbage containers and would reach out and grab unsuspecting passers by. Again, so surprised that guy hasn’t been turned over like a frat house port-a-potty.

We also headed to Ghiradelli Square to get some famous chocolate. I skipped it because it wasn’t any cheaper at the factory store than what I could get back home and I was sure that it would melt or be damaged on the plane ride home. However, I did snap this lame, blurry cellphone picture to send to my wife.

On our way back to my hotel, we were driving up one of the many one way streets when we were stopped at a red light. Up ahead we could see the light cycle but no traffic moving. A car made a U-turn and another. Soon enough we were close enough to see bicycle after bicycle after bicycle. As we got closer, we noticed all the bikers had costumes on. It was a bike costume parade. And it went on and on and on and on. Once we realized we were trapped and could go nowhere, we sat back and enjoyed it pointing out all the funny and crazy costumes. There was the Tin Man, the old Evel Knevel, the wicked witch of the west, several tandem bikes, glow in the dark spiky helmet guy, a large unicycle and naked man to name a few. My buddy and I couldn’t figure out if naked man was really naked man or if he had a body suit on. Probably the former because, after all, this IS San Francisco. Either way —-eeewwwwww!!!!

Finally, after about 5-10 minutes of alternating funny and painful moments waiting and laughing, the last biker rolled by and traffic tried to resume to normal. A little while later we were within a stone’s throw of my hotel and I hopped out so he didn’t have to circumnavigate the crazy one way streets just to get me to the entrance.

The rest of the evening was quite mundane as I packed my stuff and prepared for my pre-dawn exit from the hotel and oh-dark-hundred tomorrow morning. Signing off and going to bed. So long Frisco.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Struggle…..

I am in downtown San Francisco on business travel attending a organizational unit forum for my company. This evening some dinner plans were rearranged by the forum team due to the World Series. It moved back dinner to a very late time of 8pm – which is 11pm my east coast body time. So I declined and instead enjoyed a much earlier dinner with my boss.

After a nice meal and conversation, she headed home to her family and I took the opportunity, because it was still early, to walk over to the Apple store. Now I am not necessarily an Apple fan, although I can appreciate the design and simplified interfaces. And because it is tech, I have a natural inclination towards anything tech. So my quick stroll over there brought me in front of the store and into its innards to explore the tech offerings inside.

I mostly wanted to see the iPad. I played around with it for 20 minutes and thoroughly enjoyed what it could do and its interface. I even thought about surprising my wife with one – something we could use at night in bed for surfing, email, simple reading and video watching. I think it would outperform the laptop we currently share now. However, I ultimately declined and moved on to look at other things – mainly because I could not justify the high price for such a gimmicky toy, which is really what it is.

After another 10 minutes walking around gawking at the tech toys, I exited the store and proceeded on my short 2 city block walk back to the hotel. While at a corner, waiting for the light to turn, a bum, homeless man, beggar – you choose your particular term – walked up to me and asked for a handout. I politely declined. He said “Hey, come on man. The Giants won and I want to get something to eat”. I declined again and told him that I didn’t give out money. However, if he was truly hungry, that I would share a meal with him. I suggested Subway which was within sight. He agreed and we began walking towards our dining destination.

I introduced myself and he replied and said his name was Reggie. He was from New Orleans but left after Katrina ravaged the area. I thought I heard him say he was with the merchant marine there but the traffic drowned out our conversation. I did find out that he was in San Francisco because he wanted to get far away from his two ex-wives.

Reggie’s physical condition was one of unemployment but it did not look like he was living on the streets. I say this because I have seen guys in his same circumstance much dirtier and more aeromatic than he was. He sported some newish sneakers and his courderoy pants were not frayed or stained. His Army jacket conveyed some weathering but he seemed to be better off inside – mentally and emotionally – than his direct, first glance appearance let off.

We arrived at Subway and he proceeded to order his sandwich. I grabbed a lemon iced tea and then watched him grab a bottled soda and a bag of chips. He ordered a foot long pastrami and cheese and then got my money’s worth by piling all sort of the veggies and condiments on it. At checkout, he added two cookies to the list along with an empty cup and asked for a bag so he could take it to go. I paid the cashier, grabbed one of my business cards and told Reggie that I wanted him to have my business card. He took it and gave it a quick glance. I didn’t think he realized exactly what it was or said – he just said something about calling me tomorrow for another meal. At that, we began to exit the store. He abruptly turned to the drink bar to maximize his cup while I was exiting the store.

So now to the blog post title subject – what I struggle with.

I struggle with do I define boundaries on my giving or just meet someone’s physical need. My perspective was that Reggie found himself a “free lunch” and was taking advantage of that. Do I let that happen or do I restrict it or hold him accountable? It became apparent that this meal would not make or break me or Reggie. I obviously could afford it. But he treated it just like another gullible city folk free lunch. I do not think it really impacted either one of us. I felt like I felt back when I had Jamba Juice with Aaron that there might have been a slight need, but it was more of an “angle” or scam rather than a true need. I struggle with differentiating between scam and need. And that is a huge challenge in a city like San Francisco where homeless folks are littered all over like trash, and also ignored and stepped over like trash as well. Is it better for me to find a homeless person to share a meal rather than the hustler homeless person finding me?

And I ask these questions because I hope, you the reader, might have some insights that can be shared via comment or email.

Again, I don’t pretend to have all (or any) of the answers. However, I do know that I am called to be obedient and to serve Christ and that I do not have to have the answer to the problem to be a small part of the solution.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

End times prophecy…..

A fellow at work and I had an interesting conversation that caused me to take a step back, pause and think about an issue within the church. It relates around end times prophecy.

There are many who preach on end times prophecy. It is a popular topic that tends to garner lots of attention. From Nostradamus to the book series “Left Behind” to the movie “2012”, there are many opinions of how, what, and when the world will end as well as many different people preaching many different things. Some are based on scripture, others not so much. But it seems that no matter what perspective you are taking – Biblical or secular – we all want to know the future and what is going to happen in the end.

Now some of these answers are, indeed, in scripture. The book of Revelation is probably the most common resource people look to for answers. And because of its figurative and metaphorical writing, it is very challenging to get a clear picture on the end times. However, there are a few other books in the Bible that hint at future occurrences. The books of Daniel and Ezekiel, for example, have a few nuggets that point to some possible end times events. The Gospel of Mark in chapter 24 also has some insight. But overall, there are as many interpretations of the end times, as there are translations of the Bible.

But I am here to pose a totally different “end times” prophecy perspective. IT DOESN’T MATTER!!!!! Matthew 24:36 says “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

Because even Jesus doesn’t know when He will return, any time spent by us trying to figure that out is in vain. Additionally, in Mark 12:29-31, Jesus boiled down all the commandments, in essence the entire Old Testament, to two orders – love God and love your neighbor. Done! Simple, easy, effective.

We should not be wasting our time “preparing for the end”. We should be loving, praising and worshiping God and then we should be loving our neighbor – serving, helping, giving and sacrificing ourselves for others. In fact, if we are doing all that, we will, indeed, be preparing for the end times!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Welcome home…..

A big welcome home to the women of Emmaus walk 130 – pilgrims and team members. All daughters, wives, mothers, sisters and friends. Send off, Candlelight, and Closing were all awesome. Some spectacular worship, praise and lifting of voices in song.

And now this post is done. Gotta use the 10 hours my ship is passing in the night with my wife (who worked the walk). She returned home from the long weekend this evening, but I depart first flight out tomorrow until Saturday.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

A sign from God…..#116

Early Accountability group this morning, followed by helping a friend with a tile job, have given me to the temptation of a Saturday afternoon nap before church service this evening followed by the Emmaus Women’s Walk #130 Candlelight.

But on the way home this afternoon, I saw the church sign below.

“Get right
or get left”

Pretty straightforward, I’ll say.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

A sister serving Christ…..

As many of you know, it is my discipleship responsibility and calling to look for opportunities to serve Christ. And I have been torn between blogging about it to give others ideas and keeping it between me and God. So lately, I have not been blogging about it as much, even though I have been distributing my “business cards” liberally.

However, I always want to celebrate the victories my fellow brothers and sisters have in serving Christ. I will deliberately and persistently lift them up and share their experiences so others get ideas and are inspired.

Below is one of those stories from a fellow sister in Christ in her own words.

Ok, so for a very long time I have wanted to do something in the lines of helping troubled kids; kids who come from a hard walk, teen moms, kids who feel like there’s no hope or that anyone cares, a group home, detention center, something along those lines. Unfortunately I’ve allowed my own fear to hold me back. However, it’s been very heavy on my heart, so I’ve been praying about it a lot.

The other day I prayed and asked God to lead me where I’m needed. I don’t know where that is, but I trust that he does. I got in my car with no set destination and said “Ok God, you do the driving. Take me where you want me to be, where I can be the hands and feet of you.”

I ended up in Lyndon at the Kentucky Children’s Housing, the Kentucky Juvenille Justice. I had no idea what it was or where to go. I got out of my car, walked up to a door that was locked. I waited for someone to open it and explained that I was wanting to volunteer and give back to my community. I didn’t know what they did there or what was needed but that God brought me there.

The 1st gentleman wasn’t sure what to say or where to direct me. He asked another gentleman to come over. I introduced myself and explained the same thing. He looked at me and said “Wow, you want to volunteer? We don’t have people just showing up wanting to do that.”

He walked me into the director of the school. I explained myself again and we spoke for a little bit. He handed me some paper work to fill out and explained to me where I was; that they have the school which buses kids in, troubled kids that is, a resident facility which is a level 3, and a group home.

Instead of mailing back my paper work, I drove it there the next day but instead walked into the front door of the residential facility. I was asked if I wanted a job instead of volunteering! I spoke with one of the counselors, the drug and alcohol counselor. I asked a lot of questions about what they do there, what outside programs come in, are they in need of some volunteers. The director of that facility then walked out to get someone who was there for an interview and they introduced me to her. She walked me back asked some questions. I explained why I was there and she said she’d love to spend some time talking with me.

After that, I left and if God wants me there I will be.

She just called me to schedule some time on the 26th to come in and talk with her. We’ll see where it goes. I’m not necessarily looking for a job; I’m looking to give back.

There you have it summed up!!

I am so proud of my sister in Christ and how God has used her so far…..and will continue to use her to further His kingdom.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

3:16…..

Almost all of us know the popular passage from scripture, John 3:16. — “For God so loved the world that he gaves his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Well, during one of my recent devotionals, I came across a passage from 1 John 3:16. It, too, was very impactful — “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”

Pretty cool, huh? Well, I thought – “I wonder how many other inspirational verses are at chapter 3 verse 16 in the other books of the New Testament”. Below are ones from my research.

MATTHEW
“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God.”

MARK
“These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter)”

LUKE
“John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

ACTS
“By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.”

ROMANS (this one doesn’t fit the 3:16 mold)
“ruin and misery mark their ways”

1 CORINTHIANS
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”

2 CORINTHIANS
“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.”

GALATIANS
“The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds”, meaning many people, but “and to your seed”, meaning one person, who is Christ.”

EPHESIANS
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.”

PHILIPPIANS
“Only let us live up to what we have already attained.”

COLOSSIANS
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”

1 THESSALONIANS (no 3:16)

2 THESSALONIANS
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.”

1 TIMOTHY
“Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great:
He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.”

2 TIMOTHY
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”

TITUS (no 3:16)

PHILEMON (no 3:16)

HEBREWS
“Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt?”

JAMES
“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”

1 PETER
“keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

2 PETER
“He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.”

1 JOHN
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”

2 JOHN (no 3:16)

3 JOHN (no 3:16)

JUDE (no 3:16)

REVELATION
“So because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

So there you have it. Wasn’t that pretty cool? I think there is something to the 3:16′s in the New Testament. They are impactful, inspirational and applicable to the narrow path we are choosing for our life.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Two Houses lyrics…..

I was blessed enough to take my daughters to a Matthew West and Josh Wilson concert tonight. I have more to blog about but I wanted to immediately post lyrics to an impactful song Matthew West played called “Two Houses”. It is about divorce from a child’s perspective. Any couples thinking about that as an option for them need to hear this song first.

Two Houses
Matthew West

Well mom found her a new place to live
and dad found him a new girlfriend
looks like everybody’s moving on

and it’s hey look on the bright side kid
now you’ve got two Christmases
and it’s every other weekend from now on

Yeah, but all i want
is the way it was


when love would always last forever
and families stayed together
back to the day before two houses
when you held my hands when i was little
before i got caught in the middle
somewhere in between two houses
cause these two houses
sure don’t feel like home

Wide eyed wonder grows up fast
trust is shy and nothing lasts
and im thinking maybe it was all my fault

And will i ever get back to
The innocence that ionce knew
Before that summer turned into the fall

But when i close my eyes
I go back in time

When love would always last forever
And families stayed together
Back to the day before two houses
When they held my hands and i was little
Before I got caught in the middle
Somewhere in between two houses
Cause these two houses
Sure don’t feel like home

I heard about love that never leaves
So I’m asking you to show me
And talkin to you down here on my knees
Feels like you’ve always known me

When love would always last forever
And families stayed together
Back to the day before two houses
When you held my hands when i was little
Before I got caught in the middle
Somewhere in between two houses
These two houses
These two houses

But tonight my heart has finally found a home

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Jesus Loves You…..

Yesterday was a wonderful day. The Men’s Emmaus walk 129 started yesterday evening and I am blessed enough to be able to sponsor a pilgrim on his spiritual journey this weekend. This friend is a great disciple of Christ and will be forged into an even greater servant, husband, father and man of God. I am excited to see his transformation on Sunday afternoon.

One of the items of personal improvement I added to my short term “to do” list was to add markers along my route to and from work. These markers would remind me to be in prayer during my commute. It is consistent with recent sermons that have highlighted being a prayerful church and being in constant prayer. This was reminded to me last night at Emmaus send off and it was my intent to identify those markers on the way in to work this morning.

I had pulled into the right lane and slowed my car down deliberately so I could begin to mentally identify markers and link a specific ongoing prayer to each one (obedience, family guidance, blessings on our church, protection for our soldiers, etc). Within 10-15 seconds I spotted something up ahead on the side of the road. However, it wasn’t a marker but a pulled over vehicle. As I passed it, I noticed a woman inside and a left front flat tire. Now for me, that is a meatball softball pitch — a no-brainer chance for a home run. I try to pay special attention to women and old folks pulled over on the side of the road. While there are a lot of people that need help, I imagine my wife, my daughter or my mom along the side of the road needing help and try to do for others what I would like someone to do for them. That is not to say that there aren’t guys out there on the side of the road that need help. It just means that I try to focus on where I think the need might be greater.

So after I passed the vehicle, I pulled over and went back to see if I could help. The lady, indeed, had a left front flat tire which I offered to help change. She had a spare in the back along with the jack. She asked if she could help and the only thing I requested was for her to stand at the back corner of the car, look back towards traffic, and warn me if there were any inattentive, texting or drunk drivers veering our way. She agreed and set up position while I knelt down to jack the car up. As I raised the vehicle I said a prayer for safety, service and that the lady get to where she was going safely. It seemed like a while with all the cars and semi-trucks whizzing past us but in about 5 minutes I had the tire changed and the jack removed. Unfortunately, the spare wasn’t as inflated as it should be. I asked her where she was headed and she said she worked downtown. Not thinking the spare would survive that trip, I offered to take her to work. She balked knowing how far out of the way it was and asked “Are you sure?”. With it being Friday and my only meeting starting at 12:00pm, I confirmed the suggestion and knew it was the right thing for me to be doing.

We ushered her vehicle down to the next off ramp and secured it in a local strip mall where she could pick it up later after work. She then jumped in and headed downtown. I introduced myself and she said her name was Jenny. I gave her one of my business cards to let her know the reason I was helping her out today. She worked at a large bank building downtown and had just dropped off her daughter at school. She has lived in the Louisville area her whole life but grew up across town. We talked about the beautiful morning that was around us along with a few other conversational things. The traffic was surprisingly light into downtown and even made me ponder the tolerability of the commute if I had a job down there (as opposed to some other downtowns like LA, Frisco, Chicago or NY). Soon enough we were in front of her tall building and I pulled over to the side to drop her off. I offered to give her my cellphone number in case she needed a ride home from work. However, she was confident that she could secure a return trip home. At that Jenny said thank you and exited the vehicle only about 20 minutes late for work.

I continue to be amazed at how God can use a broken vessel like me to love others. I am happy I was able to “close the loop” and that she knows that Jesus loves her by my actions and by the card I gave her. I still need to get back to my original mission of identifying markers along my work commute. But now I know that sometimes God provides temporary and mobile markers for prayer and his glory as well.

Please pray for the men on Emmaus walk 129 throughout this weekend.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net