Black Friday

The Black Friday ad for Walmart appeared on my desk mysteriously in my absence yesterday.

And, since its appearance, it has lain here tempting and touting.

EVENT 1 – 6 p.m. Thursday…while supplies last.

EVENT 2 – 8 p.m. Thursday…while supplies last.

EVENT 3 – 6 a.m. Friday…while supplies last.

1-HOUR GUARANTEE in-store only.

If it’s not claimed by the one who placed it there by turkey time today (1 p.m.) I’ll touch it for the first and only time.  And, then only to toss it into the recycle bin.

Black Friday sales do not move me.  And, Thanksgiving day sales certainly do not.

In fact, they put such a sour taste in my mouth that I truly give credence to the idea of spurning those stores that force their employees to work on Thanksgiving and taking my business to stores that honor the same values I do.

Values like – honesty, fairness, traditions, justice, life, freedom, family, faith….

Perhaps having 3 very important people in my life taken from our Thanksgiving celebration family gathering (because big business money grubbers see only the bottom line and not the souls and families of those who get them there) has put a hitch in my get-along.

And, perhaps I am able to see beyond the “gotta get it” mentality that drives some people. And, I’m certainly not going to allow someone who doesn’t know me or care about me to tell me what I want, need, can’t live without, should spend MY money on in THEIR store.

Open that sale paper?  Not a chance.  There’s nothing in it I want or need.  How do I know if I don’t look?  As I sit here and think…absolutely NOTHING comes to mind that I need or even want.  And, the same is true of what I know about those I love.

And, if you think about it…really think about it, the same is probably true of you as well.

What I want and need cannot be bought in a store.

Family.  Friends.  Faith.

Focus on relationships and forget everything else this holiday season.  Money can’t buy happiness, or family, or friends.

Give thanks for what you have.  It’s more than you think.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Little Red Pencil

“I need to clean out that drawer in the spare bedroom.  It’s full of…no idea what all is in it.”

Mom uttered those words two months ago and for two long month’s I’ve been saying, “When are WE going to clean out that drawer in the spare bedroom??”

The answer was always “not today.”  And, sometimes “maybe tomorrow” was added as an after thought.

Tomorrow came yesterday.

The drawer was carefully lifted from the chest of drawers and carried out to the patio and placed on the picnic table.  It was full…heavy…loaded with a wide variety of…

For the next 4 hours, Daughter and I joined Mom on a short walk down memory lane as she touched things she’d not seen in years and read notes and cards she’d tucked away for another day.

The last thing Mom paused over was a small, clear plastic bag containing several small memo pads.  As she leafed through them, I began the task of returning things to the drawer.

The memo pads were travel journals dating back 20 years or more.  She read some excerpts and elaborated for us.

And, then, she leaned over and looked down between her knees (she was seated at the picnic table, on the bench) as though searching for something.

“What are you looking for?” I asked.

“My little red pencil,” she said. “It fell and I can’t find it.”

A little red pencil…I’d not seen a little red pencil.  I looked at Daughter who sat across the table from her – she shrugged and shook her head.  Apparently she’d not seen one either.

I leaned over and looked down between the edge of the picnic table and the bench.  No red pencil there.  I stooped and looked under the bench upon which she sat.

“Are you certain you had a little red pencil? I asked Mom.

The look she gave me was indication enough that there was indeed a little red pencil somewhere and I’d better get on my hands and knees and find it.

To my knees I dropped and under the bench I crawled.  I questioned the existence of the little red pencil.  I’d not seen it.  She insisted it had fallen to the patio below her.  So, why wasn’t I seeing it??  The obvious reason came to mind and I asked again.

“Are you certain you had a little red pencil? Today? Right here? A little red pencil??”

And, the reply I received was “YES!”

I didn’t see one and I said so.

Then she said, “It’s tiny.  It’s a tiny, little red pencil with lead and it writes.”

A tiny little red pencil with lead…. Tiny red….

I adjusted my vision from macro to micro and began to look for the red needle in the haystack, so to speak.

And, there (THERE!) in the joint joining two sections of concrete partially hidden by a crumbled leaf was a TINY fleck of red.

I brushed the leaf away and there lay a perfect “tiny little red pencil with lead” – about two inches long and the width of a toothpick.

To see what was missing I had to adjust my vision and look for the unseen.  I had to see the possibilities. And, I had to accept what I thought impossible as…possible. Focus had to be centered.  I had to get down to the nitty-gritty.  I had to believe in what I could not see.

So great was my mother’s belief in the unseen that I could not help but believe myself – even if only for her sake, even when I was a skeptic, even when I thought it impossible.  Just because I didn’t see the little red pencil didn’t negate its existence.

It was there.  I just had to look until I found it.

We all have something we’re searching for – a tiny little red pencil of a thing that we’ve heard of, read about, hope for, need desperately to find.  That little red pencil is there – don’t give up the search.

Faith – the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Faith and Gardening

The Bible defines faith in this way:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  Hebrews 11:1

This past Saturday, I put faith into practice.  I planted God’s Garden #2.

Seeds that were dry…hard…dead went into an equally dry and barren ground.

Faith says that from these dry seeds life will spring forth.

And, not just life, but life-giving life.  These seeds will bear fruit that will sustain life.

Amazing, isn’t it?!?!

Here’s something even more amazing.

And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12:23, 24)

Does Entropy Disavow Evolution?

My understanding of “evolution” is this: a gradual process in which changes occur that produce a different, better, more complex organism, idea, product.

As a child, I refused to believe evolution – how could pond slime become…human, or anything else for that matter? It made no sense to me. I would wander my neighborhood in search of that which was evolving. But everything I found that was different from others like it proved to be less, not more – flawed, not better – weaker, not stronger.

The absurdity of evolution rankled me in high school as I was forced to learn and repeat for lessons and exams. Science…natural and biology…was my favorite subject, but I wondered about the intelligence of anyone who would truly embrace evolution.

And, I wondered about the seriousness and accuracy of science and scientific studies, of scientific laws and theories. And, as much as I wanted to trust the information and those providing it, and believe as fact what I was seeing, hearing and reading – I knew I couldn’t.

Too much “fact” was based on speculation.

I was a rock hound and a collector of fossils. Fossils, I was told, proved the reality of evolution and evolutionary ages. However, what I plainly saw in them was proof of a world wide catastrophic event.

The idea of looking at a fossil and declaring it so many millions of years old…a sliver of bone from the toe of a yet unknown dinosaur, was absurd to me.

Still is.

Enter entropy.

Entropy = chaos, disorder, deterioration, loss of information…a tendency for all matter and energy in the universe to evolve toward a state of inert uniformity*.

Live Science explains entropy in 200 words.  Here’s an excerpt:

Time only moves forward because a property of the universe called “entropy,” roughly defined as the level of disorder, only ever increases, and so one cannot reverse a rise in entropy after it has occurred. The fact that entropy persistently increases is a matter of logic: The possible disordered arrangements of particles far outnumber the possible ordered arrangements, and so as things change, they tend to fall into disarray. (Read more.)

Of course, for evolution to survive, someone must come up with an explanation for the exemption of living things from entropy’s chaos.

And, someone has.

In a study titled “Natural selection for least action” published in the Proceedings of The Royal Society A., Ville Kaila and Arto Annila of the University of Helsinki describe how the second law of thermodynamics can be written as an equation of motion to describe evolution, showing how natural selection and the principle of least action can be connected by expressing natural selection in terms of chemical thermodynamics. In this view, evolution explores possible paths to level differences in energy densities and so increase entropy most rapidly. Thus, an organism serves as an energy transfer mechanism, and beneficial mutations allow successive organisms to transfer more energy within their environment. (Read more.)

As I grow older, I find that my desire to rightly understand my environment and my place in it gives way to a greater desire to embrace my environment and find my place in it.

Perhaps…yes, perhaps I am growing…maturing…changing…(dare I say it?) evolving. It will be interesting to see what new emerges from this old…. Alas…I’ve not millions of years to await the fruition of my evolution.

Ah…it’s good that God has a better way – old to new instantly, changed in the twinkling of an eye. No need to wait eons or even generations.

Bye-bye science and good riddance evolution. I’ll put my faith in God. God says it and BOOM, it happens. Works for me.

Which, by faith, do you hold to be true? By faith? Yes…evolution is not observable, repeatable, or refutable and so does not qualify as a scientific fact or theory. If one holds evolution to be true…they do so by faith.


*(inert uniformity = unable to move, deficient in active properties, lacking a usual/anticipated chemical or biological action – in other words can’t act, interact or affect.)

Faith is a Verb

A friend of mine, who is not a pastor, preaches today.  The topic?


I read the final draft of the sermon last night.

It stirred me.

At first, I wasn’t sure why.

It wasn’t an emotional appeal to have faith, or to increase our faith. There would be no finger pointing and no Bible thumping during the sermon.

It stated simply and plainly what faith is and what it looks like when acted on – or activated.

Not only did the sermon stir me, it knocked the breath out of me as well.

It wasn’t until hours later that I realized why the sermon impacted me so.

Faith is a verb.

Faith = Action.

That’s one of the first things stated in the sermon.  In fact, I believe it was point #1.

There were no verses listed to back up that statement and no elaboration was made scripturally.

But, the point was made and it poked me – hard.  (Perhaps conviction IS the work of the Holy Spirit after all, and all the speaker needs to do is…speak simple truth.)

I searched scripture for verses to back up Faith = Action.

It didn’t take me long to find the first.  Others followed quickly.

The definition of faith given in the Bible is found in Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

If faith is action, as evidenced by the above scriptures, and faith is the assurance of things hoped for (as defined above)…where’s all the evidence of God’s promised kingdom and a better life?

As I look at the world around me, I think someones’ faith lacks something important – action.

Remember – if I point at you, I have three fingers pointing back at myself.

It’s said that we are the only Bible some people will ever read…the only sermon some will ever hear.

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (Romans 10:14 – ESV)

Do you have faith?  What is your faith doing?  Faith that is not active is dead.

We say God loves, God forgives, God cares, Jesus saves, the Kingdom of God, the Way of Jesus, and on and on….

We pray for and await the coming of God’s Kingdom.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)

The Heavenly Kingdom isn’t something that’s yet to come.

It’s here.  It’s now.

It’s faith in action.

It’s what draws others in to learn of him in whom they have never heard so they can believe in him in whom they have not believed.

Faith without works/action is dead.

What is your faith doing right now?