Tuesday, November 27, 2007

How did Jesus do it?

How did he love the woman at the well?

How did he reach out to Matthew?

How did he show grace to Zaccheus?

He didn't overlook their sin - he did it by looking past their sin.

Jesus looked past their sin and their suffering and loved them.

He spoke tender words of forgiveness, he sat down and ate with them and he said, "Walk with me."

While Jesus hated sin, he loved sinners; he loved sinners enough to die for them - for us.

And we are called to do the same - that includes, alcoholics, fornicators, I.V. drug abusers, and homosexuals.

“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

We love that verse – that separates the wheat from the chaff doesn’t it? But it’s the next verse we ignore.

“And - such - were - some - of - you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” - 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Yes, we should hate sin, all sin, but we have no room to despise the sinner, because we have sinned just as much as they.

But Jesus Christ gave us a reprieve so that we could produce fruit.

“His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." - John 9

We have to do the works of the one who sent him while it is day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope your holiday is filled with the warm
fellowship of family or friends.

And don’t forget to give thanks!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Professor’s Farewell

This past September Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, gave his last lecture, telling the audience that he would soon die of pancreatic cancer. But those may not be his last public words after all.

This is his home page http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~pausch/

The link to his lecture is above in the title... Take the time to watch it... it's a little over an hour long.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Problems and Opportunities....

One of the platitudes that I hate is: "Problems are just opportunities in work clothes."

I don't know - it just sounds a bit hokey to me.

While we were in VT making some decisions about the cabin I noticed that a planned deck off the master bedroom seemed to be a potential problem. The deck is at the confluence of two roofs and there is a valley that directs the run off from the roof right onto the deck that is over the dining room.

Having spent more than a couple of winters in New England and Cleveland I know the power of water freezing and thawing. It looked to me like there was a real problem with the deck. I spoke with the contractor and he agreed - but that was what the plans showed and he built it just the way the plans showed. All well and good.

Now I had looked at the plans again and again and had seen the location of the deck and never thought a thing of it - until I was standing on it and looking at the roof. Then I saw the problem. The builder saw the problem. So what were we going to do?

A deck in Vermont has limited usefulness. You can't use it much in May or June because the black flies will eat you alive. In July the mosquitoes are pretty bad too. Your best time of year for the deck are the lazy warm days of August when the flies are practically all gone and the 'skeeters don't come out till after dark.

So I looked at my builder and asked if we could extend the roof over the deck and make it a screened porch off the master bedroom. This would give us more useable outdoor space and would allow the rain, snow and ice to fall straight to the ground. He and the rest of the carpenters thought I was on to something and they did some calculations and well... Voilà!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

We have been given a message of reconciliation

In trying to understand ourselves it is important to ask questions and to be excruciatingly honest in our answers. Otherwise we are just fooling ourselves.

Why do I do … what I do?

What experiences have shaped me?

And what fears haunt/drive me?

When my parents divorced and my father left I felt:

A sense of loss – the divorce meant we lost not only our home, but our whole way of life on the farm.
Angry at my father for his alcoholism and for leaving
Rejected by my father and insecure.

Those experiences helped shape my adult feelings of:

Fear – fear of rejection and abandonment
Undeserving of what I want or get
Fear of being judged
Insecure and defensive

And then I remember that, “We have been given a ministry of reconciliation.”

And that God is not like my father, He is a father who runs to us when we are still a long ways off.

There is someone in your life that doesn’t know this, but needs to.

Maybe it’s you.

So look for common ground.

Forgive over … and over … and over again.

Treat others as we want to be treated in everything.

We have been given a message of reconciliation.

We are… reconcilers, peacemakers.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Clevelander wins Food Network title

I have met Mike a few times and he is a nice guy. I have been to Lolita's and Lola's and the food is always great. Cleveland has an unusual number of talented chef's and great restaurants and Mike's success only serves to raise Cleveland's food profile.

CLEVELAND -- Two of Northeast Ohio's most popular restaurants -- Lola and Lolita -- just got a lot more popular last night when their owner won the Food Network's ''The Next Iron Chef'' of America.

The top-rated food contest selected Northeast Ohio's celebrity chef Michael Symon of Cleveland as Americas' ''Nest Iron Chef.'' Symon has been competing in the past few months against top chefs where they create theme dishes under contest conditions. Yesterday, Symon beat out John Besh of New Orleans to win the title.

Renowned in the culinary world and adored in his hometown, Symon is the chef and owner at the critically acclaimed Lola and Lolita restaurants in Cleveland. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Michael's pedigree includes being included as one of the Ten Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine (1998), a memorable performance as an Iron Chef contestant (2005), and hosting Food Network's popular Melting Pot series.

Former host of Food Network's Melting Pot series, Symon has also appeared on ''Sara's Secrets with Sara Moulton, Ready, Set, Cook'' and FoodNation with Bobby Flay. Symon has been seen as a frequent guest on ''Village Live'' on NBC, and on ''Monday's with Michael'' on the WKYC Cleveland. Symon has been featured in national magazines such as Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Saveur, Food Arts, Esquire and O, The Oprah Magazine. Symon has also worked with Vita-Mix as a spokesperson and is a brand ambassador for Calphalon.

Michael has garnered a host of awards, including Restaurant Hospitality magazine's national 'rising star' (1997), Northern Ohio Live magazine's Best Restaurant and Chef in Northeast Ohio (1998) and one of Food & Wine magazine's Ten Best New Chefs in America (1998). Cleveland Magazine selected Lola as its Best New Restaurant in 2007, also naming Michael as Best Local Chef for Lola and Lolita.

He was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef Great Lakes (2006). Michael likes to unwind from his frenetic schedule with a zip on either of his dual vintage Harleys along the back streets of Cleveland.

Lola is in downtown Cleveland's East Fourth Street entertainment district and Lolita is in Tremont.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Bob Ross was a much caricatured painter on PBS when I was growing up. You might remember him painting a "happy little flower."

When Bob began a new canvas, he would first lay down several broad strokes of color. You often would see no meaning whatsoever from these beginning brush strokes.

But as Bob worked carefully to blend the colors and to introduce an occasional new one from his palette - what had originally seemed to be meaningless began to emerge into a beautiful mountain painting.

The workings of our Father are sometimes the same.

It might appear that in a given instance there is no possible good that could come from a situation.

Then, as a skillful artist, he brings first this and then another influence to bear until something purposeful begins to emerge and some good work is done to his glory.

This is the providence of God.

God is at work on the canvas of human history.

We should not presume to know what he is attempting to achieve in a particular set of circumstances.

We are not wise enough to be critical of his methods. His workings in our lives are beyond our ability to discern (he is God and we are not), and we may not understand until, with time, we are able to look back from a distance. Like stepping ten steps back from a painting on the wall!

Beauty from chaos, victory from defeat, and life from death!

God has a track record of doing it time and again.

So don’t despair that you cannot see a resolution to your present crisis. Just continue to be trustworthy in whatever situation you find yourself. Make the best possible use of it any way you can.

Trust God to put all the pieces together in his own good time for his holy purposes.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Back From VT

Home after 3 days of hard work... the downstairs windows and doors are in and the place is completely sheathed up. A roofer has been secured, and an electrician & plumber are both close to being selected.

The devil is in the details.

It was a pivotal trip because it allowed me to really see the fall/winter mornings and how the sun moves across the building. Some windows were moved to provide additional morning sunlight and a better view.

The upstairs deck off the bedroom is now going to be a roofed screened porch - hopefully avoiding future snow and ice build up over the dining room. It was a decision that could only have been made at that juncture before the complete roof went on. So another good reason to be there.

The crew doing the building is first rate. All four are excellent carpenters and really care about doing the job the right way.

The front porch and deck

The view from the front porch and deck

The guest rooms and bath side...

Looking from the road...

Looking at the garage and entrance porch...