I have thought about this for a long time, and over the last several years, these thoughts have grown more profound and concerning for me. Finally, it has come down to the simple question of, “what is going on in this country?” What has happened to the world in which I grew up? Of course, there has always been good and evil, fair and unfair, just and unjust. But the darker side of things seems to be growing at an exponential rate. Why is that? Is this the cyclical nature of humanity? Is it the repeated pattern of the dissolution of great nations over thousands of years of world history? Or is it attributed to the adage, “nothing good can last forever?”

At what point do we say, “enough is enough”? Enough for you, enough for me, enough for our country. When do we finally stand up and declare, “enough is enough”! Well, I’m going to say it right now, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

The five greatest empires that ever existed, before The United States of America, didn’t last forever; The Arab Empire, the Persian Empire, the Mongol Empire, the Roman Empire, and the British Empire. At varying times throughout history, these Empires lasted for hundreds of years, and several controlled over a quarter of the world’s population at the height of their power. Yet, none of them could make it last. None of them could hold their Empires together. In looking at all of the collapses and failures of these “great” nations, the pervasive reasons and similar circumstances for the ultimate deterioration and final destruction has been attributed to three things; bad politics, poor administration, and corrupt leadership. Oh, and one more attribute that was lacking, or missing altogether, in these great empires, was the presence of God.

Now, if you don’t believe in God, the discussion could end there. We could chalk up their overall demise to all of the issues mentioned earlier. Nevertheless, I do believe in God. I believe that He is the creator of all things. He sees all, He knows all, and He is all. Without God, nothing will stand, not even great Empires.

So, where do we stand as The United States of America? How are our politicians, our administrators, and our leaders doing? Where is God in all of this? Our country was founded, after all, upon a strong belief in God. Millions of people had left their homes and their countries of birth just to come to this new land and be able to worship God freely and have a chance to lead their own families without interference from the Government. Our forefathers put this great nation together, with the Providence of God being an essential cornerstone.

If you know our Country’s history, you know mistakes were made. Our politicians, administrators, and leaders were not perfect, far from it. However, the Early American’s knit God into the very fabric of our Country from day one, and that means that we had something that none of the other great empires had – Hope.

The following are excerpts from The Declaration of Independence and from the speech that George Washington gave at his first inaugural address:

July 4, 1776, The Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

George Washington’s first inaugural address:

“Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station; it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that ALMIGHTY BEING who rules over the universe, who resides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the united states…”

God has blessed us with this Country. He has always been here for us. But, have we been there for Him? Have we acknowledged Him? Thanked Him? Called out to Him? Have we even remembered Him? Do we believe that we have built this country all on our own? Do we think that it was our blood, sweat, and tears that got us to where we are today? Have we made idols out of our homes, our jobs, our bank accounts? Is everything that we have because of our doing and not God’s? I think not. And I think that enough is enough. It is time to turn back to God. History has shown us that God will only stand for so much.

In the book of Isaiah, the prophet Isaiah warns Israel about the judgment that was coming their way. God would deal with their sin because they turned from depending on Him to depending on things of this world to meet their needs – Idols. This disobedience and pride ended up tearing Israel apart and sending a once-thriving country into captivity. I would suggest to everyone that they read the book of Isaiah, and while reading it, think about our Country, our family, and our life today. Here are some verses that stand out to me.

Isaiah 1:23 – Your rulers are rebels, companions of thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts

Isaiah 2:22 – Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?

Isaiah 5:20 – Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

Isaiah 10:1 – Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees.

I have said before I know that my days are numbered. In Psalm 39:5, “In fact, you have made my days just inches long, and my life span is as nothing to you. Yes, every human being stands as only a vapor. Selah” If this country is to stand, we cannot wait any longer. We must act now. We must each look into our souls and ask ourselves what we will stand for as individuals and a nation. One nation, under God, is indivisible.

As a man of God, I am standing up, and I have made changes in my life. I am stepping out of my comfort zone and asking God to lead me. I once thought that being an empty-nester was going to be the easiest part of my life. I thought I would be settling down by now. I thought raising my kids and going through all the hormonal stages of their lives would be the most challenging time of my life. Little did I know that as I drew closer to God and He to me, I would be in for the most amazing and most challenging time of my life! My prayer is that we would change our ways and bring God back into our hearts, lives, and Country. I, for one, do not want to wait until God says, “Enough is Enough.”

Joshua 24:15 – But if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served, which were beyond the Euphrates River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

God bless you all and God bless America,


Whitewashed Tombs

Matthew 23:27-28 – “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside, you appear to people as righteous, but on the inside, you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

Jesus condemned the Pharisees and religious leaders for outwardly appearing saintly and holy but inwardly remaining full of corruption and greed. These were the people who were supposed to be leading Israel. They were to teach the people God’s laws. Instead, they made new laws to add to God’s laws and added burdens to God’s people.

From the Old Testament to the New Testament, God speaks about the leaders. They had a special responsibility to the people they were leading. God warns that they will be held accountable for this unique and essential task.

God calls for honest men and women to be the leaders of our great nation still, making ethical and appropriate decisions for ALL people. He charges them to not think about what is suitable for themselves or the very few, but to think about what is ideal for everyone. In Isaiah 10:1, He warns: “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees.” And Proverbs 29:2 says: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”

Leadership is not an easy endeavor, and not everyone will be called to be a leader. Those called into leading our government in some way, shape, or form are very few indeed. But that calling does come with great responsibility. It carries a duty and an obligation to the people to be just, honest, and forthright. To be able to put the interests of others before your own. God demands more from His leaders. In the Book of Luke 12:48, Jesus says this: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

It does not matter whether our leaders are red or blue, Republican or Democrat or whether they lean to the left or lean to the right. It does not matter whether they are black, white or brown, man or woman. Our leaders are called to do one thing, to lead and to lead well.

During our country’s government formation, our leaders had many different thoughts and ideas on leadership and what type of individual should be in a leadership position. How would we pick these people? How should they be paid? Should they be paid? That seems like an odd question today, but it was a hotly debated one 250 years ago.

In an excerpt from the book “The 5000 Year Leap,” this chapter’s topic is “Making Public Office an Honor Rather Than a Position of Profit.” It states this: “As Benjamin Franklin traveled in Europe, he noted that there was a violent struggle for appointments to public offices because they paid so well. He felt this was a severe mistake.

In the United States’ early history, Community Offices were looked upon as stations of honor granted to the recipients by an admiring community, state, or nation. These offices were therefore often filled by those who performed their services with little or no compensation.

While in Europe in 1777, Franklin explained to a friend the widespread support for the American attitude concerning public service: ‘In America, salaries, where indispensable, are extremely low; but much of public business is done gratis. The honor of serving the public ably and faithfully is deemed sufficient. Public spirit really exists there, and has great effects.'”

This statement does not mean our political leaders today should not be fairly compensated. They should be, of course. But we need to go back to the premise that public office should first and foremost be an honor and not a position for profit.

I believe in God and His son, my Lord Jesus Christ. I want to think that the majority of our political leaders do as well. For those who do believe, I would leave them with this verse from Isaiah 3:13-15: “The Lord takes his place in court; he rises to judge the people. The Lord enters into judgment against the elders and leaders of his people: It is you who have ruined my vineyard; the plunder from the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the faces of the poor?”

Because they were unjust, Isaiah said the leaders would be the first to receive God’s judgment. Leaders will be held accountable for how they lead this country. They will be held responsible for the decisions they make. From both sides of the aisle, all of our leaders would do well to remember these words. And remember this as well; whitewash only covers up so much. It is usually pretty easy to see what lies underneath.

God bless you all, and God bless America!

God Bless America

“O beautiful for spacious skies,

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain!

America! America!

God shed His grace on thee

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea!”

This is the first verse from the song, America the Beautiful. What a beautiful song it is. So vivid in its description of our great country. Spacious skies, amber waves of grain, purple mountain majesties above the fruited plains. How expressive a picture and to know that God did shed His grace on thee. He made America long before anyone was here and then filled it with brotherhood from sea to shining sea. A brotherhood of people from every race, creed, and religion. From beliefs and differences as varied as each amber wave of grain.

We are kidding ourselves if we think we created this country on our own. As if we are somehow responsible for all of the work, ingenuity, and creativity that built America. God has been here with us the whole time. Whether we choose to acknowledge Him or not, He has never left our side. That is something that we need to remember, recognize, admit, and accept. God will not stand for us forgetting Him forever. At some point, He will make it very clear to us who He is, the One and only God. In the Bible, in the book of Isaiah, God made it very clear to the Israelites who He was and how much He loved them, but they would not listen to His warnings, so He gave them over to their desires. They were on their own. And they wound up in captivity for 70 years.  Then because He loves unconditionally, He brought them back.

Many empires have risen and fallen and even vanished entirely since the beginning of mankind.  Their downfall was not something that happened by chance or for no particular reason. It happened because of greed, hatred, apathy, or other vices. But the most pronounced and noticeable reason is that people would not acknowledge God at all, or they tried to serve both God and the world at the same time.

In George Washington’s first inaugural address in 1789, he stated, without equivocation, that this country was only allowed to become a nation because of God Himself. George Washington knew that God was the reason for this beautiful country.

A lot has happened in this country over the last year or so. Most of it not so good. What God had intended for brotherhood has been split into many factions. Factions that have separated us as a people as we have never seen or experienced before. Brother against brother. Neighbor against neighbor. Parents against children. We have chosen sides to the detriment of others. This is not what God wants for us.  This is not what He had intended for His children.

It is not too late for us, America. God loves us unconditionally and wants the best for us. He will always accept us back into His arms, but we need to reach out to Him. He will not force us to love Him. We need to want to return to Him on our own. This decision must be our choice, to seek Him out today and put our worldly matters aside.  He is there waiting for us all, and we will be better for it, our families will be better for it, and America will be better for it.

The same grace that God shed on us, must be accepted and then extended to others, for we are not perfect people since we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.  His grace is not to be horded. It needs to be freely given to others as God has freely given it to us.

2 Chronicles 7:14 – if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

God bless you all, and God bless America!


Do You Know This Man?

With everything going on in our country and world today, I have been thinking a lot about one man in particular. After hearing and reading intriguing words about him and feeling compelled to write it all down, here are my thoughts.

Who? What? Why?

Who was this man, and what had he done? Why did people go after him with such vitriol and hatred? Are we that perfect ourselves that we can so easily pass judgment on someone else?  What did he do to deserve such scorn, such bitterness, such torment? Especially from those who are in authority and power. They threw insults at him and demonized him, and acted as if their lives were perfect. As if they did no wrong. They used their social status and connections to try and trip him up continuously. They wanted to get him kicked out, and they wanted to humiliate him every chance they got. They told lies about him, made up stories about him, and got others to do the same. They plotted terrible things behind his back. They paid people to betray him.

Who are these people? These are leaders of the community. The people in charge. The ones who were put into their positions to watch out for other’s best interests. These are supposed to be the people who set the example for everyone else. They are supposed to lead, and to care for, and to love their fellow man. Why were they so afraid of this one man? What had he done to be able to put such fear into them? What were they afraid of losing? What were they afraid he would reveal if he stuck around? How could this one man have attained so much power over them? As he went about his everyday life, they were going in circles trying to get him OUT!

When you stop and think about it, it is unfathomable to try and understand how people could have such hatred for just one person—a man who did not have them in his audience.

Then his time came to an abrupt end, and they were finally able to get rid of him, but even in his last days, they couldn’t help themselves. They had to continue to ridicule him, and make up lies about him. They wanted TO CRUCIFY HIM. And they wouldn’t stop until they destroyed him and those who were following him!

I love this man! I love everything about him. I don’t understand everything he talked about while he was around. Nevertheless, I will follow him, and I am ready to act and do what he calls me to do.

I have learned one thing from all of this: the Pharisees and the Sadducees hated Jesus. They couldn’t have someone around with that much power; this someone took the spotlight away from them, and he spoke the truth to the people.  These leaders needed all of the glory, all of the status, and all of the power. Driven by a greed for power, they were relentless. Now this one man was showing others a different way, a better way. He was exposing the lies, deceit, and corruption, and they wouldn’t stand for it.

How we decide to treat our fellow man is a direct reflection of us as individuals and society as a whole. If we are going to follow in Christ’s footsteps, and of course we are called to do so, we must see every other human being as a child of God and treat them accordingly, as Jesus would. Sadly, we don’t always do this. Why we don’t do this is a question that we have been asking ourselves since the beginning of mankind. Is it pride, or greed, or selfishness? Is it our ego, or bitterness, or self-loathing? Whatever it is, we need to take a hard look inwardly. Into our hearts and souls,  and then ask ourselves how we would like to be treated, and start treating others the same. 

I will leave you with this, one of the most-read pieces of scripture on how to treat our fellow human beings.

 Jesus was speaking to the religious leaders and said this in Mark 12:30-31:

“’ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this:’ Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

God bless,


Truth Be Told

Have you ever wanted to say something to someone but were hesitant or afraid? Maybe to a relative, or a friend, or a co-worker? How about to your spouse, or a sibling, or even your boss? Why be hesitant or afraid? Why not say what is on your mind and be done with it? If it were only that simple. The fact is, when you say something to someone else, it usually elicits a response. If not a verbal response, then a non-verbal response. Perhaps a particular look, or a gesture, or even complete silence. Which, by the way, is a response.

Often before we say something to someone else, we try to imagine what the answer might be. Sometimes, we can overthink it so much that we end up not saying anything at all. Why is that? How did we get to that place? I do this all the time. I try to replay in my head what the outcome might be if I were to have a particular discussion or conversation with someone. My dear wife, Janet, catches me at this all the time.  She will notice when I am overthinking my thoughts. Which is usually about a conversation or meeting I am about to have with someone else. Janet is right about this, as she is always good for me. She usually tells me to pray, relax, breathe, and, most importantly, speak from the depth of my soul. In other words:  “Lighten up, Francis, be honest, be thoughtful, and use your words!”

I have realized for so long now that I have been doing the same thing when I write. I have crumpled up and thrown away a lot of paper over the years (I write the old fashioned way, on a yellow legal pad). I write something down, an actual thought that I had, and then analyze the heck out of it. What if these words offend this person or that person? What if it offends this group or that group? What if I offend my third cousin’s wife’s friend’s mother-in-law? WOW! Way too much, overthinking!

Well, I have been so convicted by God that I have decided I will allow Him to work this out in me this year. I will spend much more time searching for my soul’s words and a lot less time searching my brain for the possible outcomes. Do you remember the movie Jerry Maguire? It’s about a very successful sports agent who works for one of the country’s top Sports Management firms. Jerry has everything going for him. And then, for a brief moment, he decides to listen to his heart. He writes down what he calls a “mission statement.” He writes about truth and honesty and all of the ways that one should care about other people. He writes about putting other’s concerns and needs before your own or the companies. He writes down what others in his firm are thinking and know to be accurate but are afraid to say. He distributes this mission statement to everyone in the company, and then what happens? He gets fired. Speaking from the heart is not always easy. We do not always get the response for which we hope. Being honest and truthful can have consequences.

In 1 John 2:20, John speaks to the believers, and he says to all of them: “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.”

 After going through 2020 and looking back over what a crazy year it was, I realized one fundamental truth. God never left my side. He was with me all the way. Through the frustrations, the disappointments, the anger. Through the joy and laughter, and the good times as well. He was always there. And so I know that whatever situation comes up, whatever conversation I need to have, whatever thoughts and ideas that I will be writing down, that I need to remember to pray and search my soul, which is where my Lord resides. He will always give me the right words to speak. After all, His truth is the only truth, and His will be done.

God bless!


…and His Will be Done

It’s nice to be able to get away once in a while. When I go away, I like to have time to think; time to contemplate; time to clear my head. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to do that over the holidays, and how refreshing it has been. Janet and I decided to close The Shoe Repair Shop down for Christmas and New Years’ and take a road trip to Texas to visit our son and daughter-in-law. We were able to celebrate Christmas with our daughter and son-in-law and our two grandkids in Michigan the weekend before, and then we hit the road and headed south.

During this year of turmoil, grief, uncertainty, and despair, I find my family to be a true comfort. I know that not everyone has the chance or the opportunity to do this, but for me, being able to hug my children and grandchildren is a gift from God. Christmas brings a lot of that together for me. I see Christmas as a time for hope; as a time for family; and, as a time to celebrate the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. I am pushing 62 years of age and only have so many opportunities to celebrate this time of year with those I love, and I want to make the most of every one of these special days.

This part of the year also allows a lot of time for reflection. And I like to reflect. I can reflect, or daydream, on just about anything. I can reflect on my childhood or on events that are taking place in the world today. I also like to start my day off with a walk. At home, I do this on the treadmill, but here in Texas, where it was 72 degrees at 10 o’clock this morning, I like to take a long walk around the neighborhood. I have a routine for my walk. As I start my walk, I start my talk with God. The first thing I do is thank Him for giving me one more day. Then I start my conversation with Him. Why is this happening? Why is that happening? What is it that I should be doing? When I get stuck or need to re-focus myself, which happens a lot, I recite a phrase that I have been using for most of this year. It starts with the first verse of Psalm 23: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.” I love Psalm 23. It was one of the first pieces of scripture that I committed to memory after I became a Christian. I usually recite all of Psalm 23 as I start to re-focus, and then just the first verse over and over again with one added phrase, “…and His will be done.”

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want, and His will be done.”

 That is a huge reminder for me. It is not my will that needs to be done, but His will. No matter what is going on in the world today. Whether it be politics, racial division, China, Russia, or Covid 19, I have to remind myself that it is His will that will be done, not mine. In the book of Matthew, chapter 6, Jesus is teaching the disciples how to pray. It starts like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, YOUR WILL BE DONE, on earth as it is in heaven.” No matter what I think about the goings-on in this world, it is never my will but His will that will be done. As long as I continue to remind myself of that, then everything that happens in this world is put into its proper perspective.

It doesn’t matter if I am a Democrat, Republican, conservative, liberal, or my race. God is in charge and it is His will for all of us. We may not understand the reasons for much of what is going on in this world. We may not even agree with much of what is going on in this world. That doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we understand that God is in total control of everything. Our time here is a gift from Him. A gift that we should be thankful for every minute of every day. The more often that I remind myself of that, the more often that I realize that I need to be doing something with that gift.

Hopefully today, you will be reminded to thank God for this day and to give thanks that it is His will that will be done, and not ours.

Happy New Year to you all!

God bless,


My Walk on the Water

As I mentioned last week, during a storm, God can do wondrous things. 2020 has been the year of the storms.  It has been a year that many of us will not soon forget. Certain dates in history always seem to stick with us: December 7, 1941 – Pearl Harbor; September 11, 2001 – The Twin Towers. And now there’s 2020 – Covid-19; shutdowns; racial unrest; an election, etc. When will this storm end? How will it end? Will it ever end? Will any of us ever forget 2020?

I referenced in my blog last week the book of Matthew and the passage where Jesus calls Peter to step out of the boat and to walk on water. During a storm, Peter does what Jesus asks. Peter steps out, walks a little way, begins to sink, and is saved by the hand of Jesus. There was a time this past summer when I asked Jesus to call me out of the boat. Jesus did that in a way that was beyond me and anything that I could have imagined.

Around June of this year, I was struggling. The business that Janet and I had worked so hard to build up over the last 10 years had just been shut down for close to three months. We were beginning to open up again but running at about 30% of the previous year. There was civil unrest throughout the country. Homes and businesses were being burned down and there was a racial divide that was separating cities, neighborhoods, and families. There was no end in sight and I was frustrated. I was angry, bitter, and judgmental. I had all of these thoughts and opinions but no answers.

I have been part of a men’s group for about five years now and for the first three weeks of June, this was all that we could talk about. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? What needs to be done? How can we solve these problems (what egos, huh)? I just kept looking for answers but God kept laying something else on my heart. For those of you who don’t know me that well I will share with you that I am a creature of habit. I like things to stay the same. I don’t like to change. I get into a comfortable routine and don’t like to veer off track. That is not, however, what God had in store for me. He grabbed me by the heart and drew me out of the boat.

I was sitting at home one evening around this time just thinking about all of this when God laid a person on my heart. A man that I had met at a church function about five years earlier. He spoke briefly at this event but it was his energy, conviction, and deep love for God’s people that stuck with me. I decided to reach out to him. Maybe he could help me with some of these questions that I had. I sent him a quick email and within minutes he responded to me. We set up a meeting for a few days later. I asked for 15-20 minutes of his time. We ended up talking for over an hour. We didn’t solve any of the world’s problems at that hour, but it was the beginning of an incredible journey.

I have never considered myself to be racist in any way. I love people. I love all people. Yet, if that is true, why all the anger and judgment? As a 61-year-old man, I realized that I also had never had a real conversation in my life with a black man. Yes, I have had the usual surface conversations but not the type of conversations I have with my group of brothers I meet with each week. It made me ask the question, “Lord, am I part of the storm, or part of the calm?”

As you may have guessed by now, Pastor Lorenzo is a Black man. I could have just gone home that day, back to my cozy house in the suburbs, and checked off the box for “racial outreach”. But if I was going to follow what Jesus was calling me to do, getting out of the boat was my only option.

Janet and I decided to attend service that upcoming Sunday at Pastor Lorenzo’s church. The church is in Detroit. Next to a methadone clinic. Near a red light district. WAY OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE. Jesus is not about my comfort but my character. I must reflect on Him. After that first service, Janet and I were awestruck. We had never been to a service with such passion in every aspect of the church. We had never seen or felt that much emotional energy in a church setting. We both said to each other on the way home that day, “the Holy Spirit was truly present in the entire congregation today.” We have attended every Sunday since and it is now our new church home.

I have since gotten to know many people at church. And as I get to know them, who they are, what they do, what are their likes and dislikes, I realize something quite simple. We are in the same boat with the same questions. We are wondering what to do in this storm. We don’t want to be judged by the color of our skin. We are ordinary people with families and jobs, successes, and failures. We have our ups and downs and we are trying to do our best to make it through this world the best we can. And like me, some are asking Jesus to call them out on the water. We are part of a family where color doesn’t matter.

We have been able to participate in community outreach and to share meals. God continues to stretch and bless me every week. I get to meet new people and we share our lives. We have different stories and different journeys, but with the same end goal; To be part of God’s family and to love one another as He loves us.

I did learn that God truly has a great sense of humor. The new church He brought us to is called 180 Church Detroit! Here I was looking for answers, and God had a complete change of direction for my life. I told you it was something I never would have chosen for myself. I am so grateful that my thoughts are not His thoughts nor are my ways His ways. His plan is always the best!

Stepping out of the boat is not an easy undertaking. It can be very uncomfortable for me. There are plenty of times when I have begun to sink. Sometimes, down to my knees, my waist, or my elbows. But I always try to remember that Jesus is standing right there next to me. His outstretched hand ready to pull me back up. I just need to admit, Lord, I cannot do this on my own.

God bless!


Stepping Out of the Boat

Matthew 14:25-33

During the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it is You,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to You on the water.”

“Come,” He said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and, came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?”

And when they climbed into the boat the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

This was the passage from the Gospel of Matthew that was taught this past Sunday at the church to which Janet and I belong. An awesome passage that I have read, or heard spoken, many times. But this time it seemed to resonate more deeply into my soul.

What does it mean to step out of the boat? Why, if life is going along smoothly, would anyone ever think of stepping out of the boat? What if life is not going along smoothly? Wouldn’t it then make even more sense to stay in the boat? To stay securely seated, dry, and comfortable. Why would anyone, then, ever think of stepping out of the boat. As I pondered all of this, the answer came to me: my life is not about me.

I have been given the gift of life from God. And the purpose of my life is to bring Him glory. Playing it safe, sitting at home in my comfort zone, and blaming other people, does not bring God glory.

So like Peter, I asked Jesus to call me. In the midst of a storm, in the midst of a dark valley, in the midst of 2020 and in the midst of Covid-19, Jesus did call me. And I chose to step out of the boat. What God called me into, I would have never imagined for myself…

Talk to you next week.




I attended two different reunions this past weekend. We had our 40 year high school class reunion on Saturday, and our 81st family reunion (on my mothers side) on Sunday. They both took place in my hometown of Saginaw, Michigan.


I like reunions. I like them because they make me think. They make me remember. They make me relive and understand better where it is I have come from. That’s not always a great picture, but it is a real picture. I truly believe that the person that I am today, right now, at this very moment, is the culmination of every event, interaction, and person that God has placed in my life, from the moment of inception until now.

Nothing happens by chance. God knew from the very beginning of time what family I was going to be born into. He knew who my friends and classmates were going to be. He knew Janet before I did, and brought us both together at just the right time. He knows every breath that I am ever going to take, and He certainly knows the last breath that I will ever draw.

reunion-inviteReunions are a way of remembering how our lives are sewn together. A patchwork of different people all thrown into the mix. It’s about cousins and Aunts and Uncles getting reacquainted with each other, and remembering those who are no longer with us. It’s about re-telling old stories and looking at all of the tattered photographs from years gone by. It’s about how it all began on some old farm that existed long ago.

Reunions are about walking into a room and seeing a bunch of your old classmates and immediately going back in time. The giggling, the laughing, and sometimes the blushing, at memories from way back when. It’s about how each person has touched your life in some way, shape, or form. From your best friend, to the classmate you barely knew, each interaction adding to the outcome of your life.

We all have the tendency to slide off of the path from time to time and to get full of ourselves. To think that we are where we are because of who we are. Because of what we have done. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are who we are, and have done what we have done, because God has allowed it to happen. He has molded, shaped, and designed us to be exactly who we are.

There are 7 billion people on this planet for a reason. We are not meant to be alone. Reunions remind me of that. They remind me that God has infused people into my life, just as He has extracted people out of my life. Each having varying degrees of impact as to who I am. This also reminds me, and in no subtle way, that every interaction that I have with someone else, however large or small, has an impact on their life as well.

family_hug.jpgMy hope is that as I reunited with some of my cousins and Aunts and Uncles and old high school classmates this past weekend, that I was able to interact with them in a way that was God honoring. That I was able to get out of the way of myself and to show them the love, and the respect, and the kindness that they all deserve.

Reunions are one of Gods ways of reminding us of where we have come from. They are also His way of letting us know where we should be headed.


What a great weekend it was! God bless all of you!

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WHEW! That was quite an experience! Nothing like having a few hundred volts of electricity sent coursing through your heart to bring your purpose, or actually God’s purpose for you, clearly back into focus.

I am a stubborn man by nature, as my wife, Janet, has all too often had to point out to me, and of which I cannot deny. This became very clear back in the early part of March. I will not bore you with all of the details, but let’s just say that I woke up one morning with a little heart fluctuation issue. Now most people, after an hour or so of this, would probably call a doctor or go to the hospital. Me being the manly man that I am (stubborn), thought I would tough it out for a bit and it would eventually just go away.

THREE DAYS LATER (very stubborn, and not that bright), Janet and our daughter insisted on taking me to the emergency room. I was so exhausted that I could no longer conceal what was going on. I walked into the emergency room and told the very nice lady at the check in desk that I was having a heart fluctuation issue. She right away directed me into a room where there was a nurse waiting to check my vitals. She sat me down and calmly began to take my pulse. The next thing I know, she is on the phone calling what sounded like the medical equivalent of the swat team.

She walked me directly across the hall and opened a door to a room with no less than ten medical professionals just waiting for me. They of course laid me down on a table, started putting in I.V.’s, and began strapping electrodes all over my chest. The doctor asked how long my heart had been racing like this. It was now Wednesday afternoon, and I told him that it had been beating like this since Monday morning. Everyone in the room just kind of stopped and looked at each other. Then they all turned and looked directly at me.

Me, trying to lighten the tension in the room, said, “what seems to be the problem, doctor?” He, the doctor, was apparently not a lighthearted kind of guy. He quite directly and matter of factly told me that my heart rate was at 206, and had been in that range for the past three days. They had to get me out of that rhythm as quickly as possible. They started by injecting me a couple of times with a drug that was supposed to bring my heart rate back down to normal. That did not work. That is when they decided they needed to shock me back into normalcy. That did the trick.


I ended up spending the night in the hospital for observation. They conducted some more tests and concluded that there was no damage to my heart. One of the attending medical professionals mentioned that I should have been wearing one of those fit bit’s. He said that it probably would have measured that I had run the equivalent of over ten marathons (I guess I can now check running a marathon off of my “bucket list”). All of the medical professionals that I did see during my stay did say the same thing: “Don’t be so stubborn and wait so long if this ever happens again”.

This was not one of my better moments and I realize now the risk that I was taking by doing nothing. Being stubborn is not one of my finer qualities and never has much of an upside to it. It also made me realize, once again, how fragile life is and that tomorrow is not promised to us.

This experience started to bring things back into focus for me. What is God’s purpose for me? Even if I don’t know exactly what that purpose is, I do know that doing nothing is not an option anymore. No more waiting. No more procrastinating. No more doing nothing. In James 2:17 it says: “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”


I’m not going to continue to spend my days having faith and not doing anything about it. God has blessed me with a passion for writing. A passion for sharing my thoughts, my ideas, and my journey, with others. It gives me the chance to be an open book and to share my faith in a way that I might not be able to do otherwise. I stopped writing because I got “busy” with other things. Other things that I now know were not that important, but were just my way of putting off what God had been whispering in my ear for such a long time to do. I may just shine shoes for a living, but that does not define who I am. God has intended and created all of us to be more than what our day jobs are. He has created us and given us the opportunity to have faith and to take action that reflects that faith.

I am sharing all of this with you now for a couple of reasons. One is so that you will continue to know a little more about me and who I am. The other reason is so that you will help me to be held accountable. Accountable to take an action. We were not meant to take this journey by ourselves. I certainly know that I cannot do it alone. I need others to come alongside and help me on this rocky road we call life. Holding each other accountable is part of that journey.

God touched my heart in a very special way back in early March. Even if it did take a few hundred volts of electricity for me to really feel it.

God bless all of you and the actions you take today!

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