A Slower Pace CHALLENGE.….

With the weekend upon us, I want to put out in front of you a CHALLENGE that I hope will be hard to accomplish but worthwhile. The intent is to slow you down, remove some noise in your life, and allow you to focus on replenishment and priorities.

Select your grade:

  • Sergeant – for the duration of the weekend (Saturday, July 19 and Sunday, July 20) elimination of ONE of the following:
    • television
    • computer
    • mobile device (tablet or cellphone – with the exception of your cellphone used for calls only, no app or internet usage)
  • Captain – for the duration of the weekend (Saturday, July 19 and Sunday, July 20) elimination of TWO of the following:
    • television
    • computer
    • mobile device (tablet or cellphone – with the exception of your cellphone used for calls only, no app or internet usage)
  • General – for the duration of the weekend (Saturday, July 19 and Sunday, July 20) elimination of ALL of the following:
    • television
    • computer
    • mobile device (tablet or cellphone – with the exception of your cellphone used for calls only, no app or internet usage)

I am committing to General. This is my blog and I need to lead by example. I am hoping to go canoeing again so I will have my cellphone with me, but I will pretend it is an old 90′s flip phone and will only use it for calls. Just so I don’t use any apps, I will bring along a separate digital camera.

Drop me a note in the comments and let me know what grade level you are selecting.

So what do you say? Are you with me?

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Hello again…..

It has been quite a while since I have posted. There are many reasons for my absence — work travel, family priorities, multiple ministry efforts, and general life. However, as I sit on the pool deck after soaking up a wonderful Father’s Day, watching my son build a bonfire, and my daughter catch a frog, I realize there are some slower pace things that need to be shared with others as well as improved upon personally. It is my intent to refocus this site onto what the domain name states –A Slower Pace.

Consequently, I will be intentional on posting consistently as well as intentional on posting topically. I am looking forward to sharing, learning, and improving. I am also looking forward to building a two way communication with those who read here and have similar mindsets on slowing down, soaking up our blessings, and enjoying this path called life.

Thanks for reading,

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Loving the fallen…..

This morning was my first Friday back after many weeks of non-routine events. Our family was in California for my wonderful father-in-law’s funeral and last week I was in prison all weekend doing ministry. So after two weeks of schedule disruption, it was nice to settle back into our family routine. And that included my normal Friday routine downtown.

Wayside was uneventful and I spent the time serving breakfast, greeting folks and catching up with Dr John (the other Friday morning volunteer there who is a fixture he has been there so long). And in front of the abortion clinic it was similar. I spoke with Donna, Dave and Ed and met Jonathan, Hannah, Brian and Keith — some younger folks who were there to join us. It is so nice to see younger people of faith get involved in issues and events outside of themselves. These youth are the next generation of mission workers, youth ministers and kingdom harvesters.

There is one clinic escort who is particularly interesting. She is older and “hardened”. She never bats an eye if I say good morning to her and she loathes anyone not in an orange vest or entering the clinic. From her behavior and her eyes, I see a lot of pain and bitterness. Consequently, I pray for her. I mostly pray for her heart to be softened. Note that I did not pray for her to be converted or for her to see the other side — just that her heart be softened. God can do a lot with that.

So this morning I prayed for that and had moved along in my prayers when I heard a commotion and opened my eyes. I did not see what happened but saw this older lady escort out on the sidewalk on her back. It appeared she had fallen. Several of those praying immediately rushed to her side and offered comfort and assistance. They held her head and put arms around her for support. After a minute or two they helped her to her feet. At one point she was an orange vest surrounded by 3 or 4 plain clothes people. The other orange vests didn’t really like that “the enemy” was loving on their co-worker so they engaged, sloughed off the offer of help and retreated her to the other side of the property line beyond the reach of any of us. One of the young men had run next door to A Woman’s Choice and retrieved a first aid kit. He offered it up and held it out which was flatly refused by one of the orange vests managing the old lady victim. I found it interesting that, in spite of the obvious need, they were willing to forgo aid because of the hand that was holding it. The young man then laid it on the clinic side of the property line where they then took it and opened it looking for helpful materials. I found the first aid kit scene reminiscent of a hiker wanting to feed a wild deer or squirrel holding out food, but the animal not taking it. Only when the food is laid down does the animal eat. While I understand the lack of trust the deer/squirrel/orange vest has for the one offering up something good for it, I have a higher expectation of those who have cognitive reasoning to put aside mistrust for their greater need. All I could think of is that there must be a lot of hate, bitterness, anger, and loathing to not take something that is offered up to fulfill a true need.

What I saw in that fall was unconditional love on a human being in need. The issues temporarily evaporated (but not for long) and folks of different and opposite viewpoints were just trying to love and help their neighbor — that is all. And isn’t that what we are called to do? Love our neighbor. Love our enemies.

I can only hope that through the pain of the fall and what she was going through that she felt the love of those she loathes. I pray a seed was planted and some day her heart will be softened.

It did get me wondering — what would happen if one of our old ladies fell and hurt themselves in front of them?

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Engaged fathers…..

This morning during my normal Friday routine at Wayside I observed something I don’t see that often there — a father that is present and engaged. Usually, the women and children eat breakfast on one side of the cafeteria and the men’s recovery group eats on the other. It is very rare to have a married couple at the shelter (where they can sit together on the family side) and even more rare for a father to be present with his wife and children. So when I saw a father with his wife and three kids walk through the line and sit down together, I felt that I needed to chat with him to give him encouragement – 1 because that is rare for a dad to be with his family in a homeless shelter and 2 because it is even more rare in the African-American community.

So when the dad stood up to clear his tray I made my way to him so I could take it from him and encourage him. I greeted him and found out his name was Freddy. There were about 20-25 women and children eating and I asked him to turn around and look at the scene. I asked him what was missing and then pointed out that he was the only father present with his family. I told him he was doing something right and that he was on the right path and to keep going. He then proceeded to introduce me to his wife Sheena, and his three beautiful kids, Anaiah, Koran and Ethan. He thanked me for the encouragement and they walked out.

Fast forward through the rest of serving breakfast and me leaving to go pray at the abortion clinic. However, on my drive there I saw Freddy and his family on the street. I was moved by the Holy Spirit to go around the block and help them beyond the breakfast I served them. I rolled down the window and pulled up to them so they could see who I was. I got out and handed Freddy some money and a Jesus card and asked him if he knew about Jesus. He said yes and I told him I had something for them in my trunk. You see, in addition to my roadside ministry preparations — tools, gloves, gas can, antifreeze, etc — I also have blessing bags that a friend gave to me for distribution. She made these bags to give out to needy folks and they have water, crackers, soap, tissue, fruit snacks, and many other little things that make life on the streets a little easier. I gave a bag to each of them. The kids immediately tore into the fruit snacks and I knew they would go to good use. Freddy told me he was working two jobs to provide for his family but that it was hard because he had been in prison. I then found out that Freddy was Muslim but that Sheena and the kids were Christian. He asked me where I worshiped and when I answered I also offered to take them to Sunday service at 9am. I asked if they could be ready for me to pick them up at the shelter at 8am. They agreed and I told them I would see them there at that time. Then their bus pulled up and I hurried off because I was blocking the bus stop.

WHAT did I just do? When I drove away the reality of what I just did hit me. You see, when the Holy Spirit is working God has a way of getting His way. However, now back in my car the logistics of a Sunday morning with two families hit me. The realization that I had to tell my wife that I would not GO with her to church, but instead meet them at church. It would throw off our Sunday family routine. And what would they look like or what would the kids act like with all those church people watching. And we don’t go to a small, everyone-knows-you, you-can-tell-the-story church.

All these doubts and fears began to take hold. However, I had made a commitment and was going to follow through — in spite of being way outside my comfort zone. I am being called to love on these folks and I know that God will provide as He always does. It is not easy and the fears are constantly there to remind me that this is disruptive, this is not normal, this is uncomfortable, and this is inconvenient.

Stay tuned.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Good morning…..

This was my view this morning. And below was my devotion. God made both and this morning they were hand in hand.

Psalm 19:1-6

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Revive our nation…..

While contemplating our nation’s 237th birthday, I continue to be awed at the wisdom of our founding fathers, the amazing growth of our God fearing nation, and the path of decline our nation is currently on. It has me very concerned because, while we are a great nation, most people I talk to also believe that we are on a downward slope.

So those thoughts got me thinking about what we need to do to restore our country to greatness.

  • Pray
  • Spend time as a family
  • Open Scripture
  • Turn off your TV
  • Get to know your neighbors
  • Eat dinner with your kids
  • Unplug your computer and video games
  • Stand up for what is right
  • Read more
  • Volunteer
  • Get outside and enjoy nature
  • Slow down
  • Pursue wisdom, not information

I’m sure there are more items for that list but if we each did all of those activities, we’d be off to a great start. And this effort starts in the heart. It begins with individuals and it begins with me. Our nation’s turnaround and revival will not be legislated or mandated. It will happen organically within individuals and bleed into families and homes. And once it is in the homes throughout America, we can begin the healing process and right this ship of ours.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

168 hours…..

The post below was half baked…..and then the pace of my very busy weekend swept me away like a tsunami and — poof — March was gone. The majority of March was an Emmaus blur — Men’s walk 141, Women’s walk 142 and REC prison walk 16. It is now April but I am posting this back on Feb 27 where I intended it to be:

I am about 72 hours into a very busy, non-stop week of constant activity. It started early Monday morning with a 6am visit to my local radio station WJIE for a stint answering the phones during their annual fundraiser Share-A-Thon. I have volunteered for a few years now and always find it fulfilling and fun. They are a great local ministry resource and I am humbled they let me get involved physically and financially. After doing that for 2 hours I had to hit my day job to pay the bills. That was exciting because there was still spillover elation from a product launch that occurred Friday. The FDA had approved a first in class product that is basically a smart bomb for breast cancer. It is pretty cool stuff and I was blessed enough to be on the launch team. Even better was that we, as a company, were able to get product down to a patient to be dosed at UCLA who opened on a Saturday for just that event!

Immediately after work I headed up to an evening formation meeting. The team I am a part of is preparing physically and spiritually for a prison ministry weekend at the end of March. Each week we gather to worship, pray, organize, preview talks and generally get the team ready for what God has in store for us in spreading the gospel behind bars. It is my first experience with this group and this type of ministry and, while intimidating, it has been a very inspiring and energetic process. I cannot wait to see what God has in store and what hearts will be touched.

That time was very well spent but it resulted in me getting home at 10:30pm — too late to see my family and it made for a long 17 hour day. Tuesday morning was a repeat of Monday — getting up early and out the door to make the 6am radio phone volunteer gig. Repeat the going to work without the excitement of a product launch — although every day is important when it means getting medicine to patients in need. Follow that with a weekly Scouts meeting and it made for another long follow up day to Monday. Luckily, I was home around 8:30pm when everyone was still awake so I enjoyed seeing my kids and wife.

Again, a half baked post, but that was the reality back then. And zippo posts for March, even though it was VERY rich spiritually.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net