Thursday, September 24, 2009


Mary Elizabeth is a kindergartner now. Still hard to believe as I watch her little pigtails bob walking to class holding hands with a friend each morning when I drop her off. She loves it. She's thriving.

John Mark, however, has a new experience too: Lots of time alone with Mama & Daddy. As one of three that time may have been limited before, but he's embraced it in his linebacker way. He loves it. He's thriving.

He came up - unsolicited - and put his arms around his Mama this week & said, "Ah luh yew veyree much, Mama."

"Thank you. I love you too," Melanie replied while giving him a hug.

He pulled away a bit, then pulled in tight patting her on the back & said, "Ah luh yew 'gehn."

I love you... again.

John Mark never stopped loving his Mama. He simply said it again.

How often do I need a love that never stopped?

How refreshing is it when that love is spoken... again?

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1

Again. And again. And again.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Light a Fire

Poems. Lyrics. Books. They have origin stories.

I just learned the origin of my favorite hymn...

On the evening before Easter in 433AD on the Hill of Slane in County Meath, Ireland a former slave lit a fire. He lit a fire & sang a hymn. He defied a royal decree.

Lighting a fire any other day was, well, normal. Expected. Necessary. But this evening before Easter & the Spring Equinox was exceptional. High King Logaire of Tara had ordered that he alone was to light the first fire that night beginning the Druid spring festival. Lighting that fire before the King was equivalent to declaring war on the Druids & the rulers of Ireland.

The former slave was born Scottish. Captured by pirates at 14. Enslaved in Ireland. Escaped years later. Committed his life to Christ's service. Returned at 30 to lead the Irish people to the One who had captured his heart. Lit a fire & sang a hymn.

High King Logaire is said to have been so impressed with the former slave's arrogance that he let him continue his missionary work. By the end of his life, the former slave saw over 2000 churches started & more than 100,000 Irish people come to faith in Christ. The former slave changed Ireland forever.

The hymn he'd composed & sung, translated into English verse in 1905 by Eleanor H. Hull: Be Thou My Vision.

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art:
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping Thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom and Thou my true word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord:
Thou my great Father, I , Thy true son,
Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one.

Riches I heed not nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance now and always:
Thou and thou only first in my heart,
High King of heaven my treasure Thou are.

High King of heaven my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart whatever befall,
Still be my vision O Ruler of all.

Saint Patrick, the former slave of an Irish person became a slave to Christ for the Irish people. With a great vision set & a small fire lit, Saint Patrick changed history.

Though I am free & belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible... I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share its blessings.
1 Corinthians 9:19, 22b-23.

How am I enslaved?

What is my vision?

What fire should I light?

(Hear Glad sing Be Thou My Vision here. Disc 2, Track 3.)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dat Be Cool

Our John Mark is talking. Like a crazy man. All the time. In his own language.

His current fav phrase is, "Dat be Cool."

We don't much say "That'll be cool." We don't often utter a plain ol' "cool." Don't know where the boy got it from, but got it he has.

"Dat be cool, Mama," as he joins his Mama at work in the kitchen even though she didn't ask & really would do better without his help.

"Dat be cool, Seffee," as he invades his brother's room becoming the ultimate destructive force in Seth's Star Wars universe.

"Dat be cool, Mehnee," as he removes a baby doll from his sister's arms to cuddle her more than Mary Elizabeth.

"Dat be cool, Dahdee," as he plunks himself into my lap to read a book even though I was already reading the paper.

A self-affirming mantra. Not mean or ugly, "you do it my way because I'm a stubborn toddler or else." But kind & enthusiastic, "even though I didn't ask to join you, watch out here I come because I want to & l love you."

It's more than assumption. It's as if he is certain of the outcome.

It's more than expectancy. It's as if he knows it will happen.

It's more than hope. It's as if he is confident it will be.

Not yet three year old or three foot tall John Mark has got the sort of faith the Lord Jesus welcomes.

Jesus said in John 14:13, "I will do whatever you ask in my name."

Paul writes in Ephesians 3:20 that Jesus, "is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine."

What do you need, friends?

Then pray. Jesus' will. And pray BIG.

Dat be cool.