Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Positive Life

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out” (John Wooden via Michelle Waldron).

I love to be around positive people – I feel better, I feel stronger and life looks better.

The practice of a positive life is simple, although it’s a lesson I learn a hundred times a day.

Positive life is a choice, a choice to remember: I am who God says I am, I have what God says I have, and I can do what God says I can do.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Positive Life Pledge: Today, I will make the best out of what happens. I will look for the good, and I will find it. I will trust God with the Spirit of Jesus inside of me helping me. Today, when fearfulness rises in my heart, I will turn form it and send it packing. When overwhelmed with burdens, I’ll lay them down at the foot of the cross and give them all to Jesus.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Stop, Look & Listen

In the third and fourth centuries, monasticism emerged in the deserts of Egypt, folks who sought God in the solitude of the sands, who practiced and struggled with the disciplines of prayer and reflection.

The desert fathers reminded one another: “Stay in your cell, and your cell with teach you everything.”

Here’s a lesson for me: be nowhere else but where I am.

Because God is there, and if I look, if I wait, if I honor God with patience and trust, God is likely to disclose Himself to me, right where I am.

God’s promise is profound: to be with us always, and to be at work in all things for good.

Who doesn’t wish to be somewhere else … but the ancients remind us: We don’t have to be anywhere else to find God finding us! Think small, think local, think within the confines of your life – be it a hospital bed, a nursing home, or a difficult job - there you will find God abundantly, if you but stop, look and listen! Jesus my LORD!

Faith, Hope and Love

Faith, hope and love.

Faith in God, the God and Father of our LORD Jesus, the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, the One who fashioned us out of the dirt of the earth and blew the breath of life into us.

Hope, indefatigable hope, because the One who created us is at work in all things for good, nudging all of us along the right road – the paths of righteousness.

Love, the consequence of the first two.

With our soul stabilized by faith, our spirit suffused with indefatigable hope, we’re free to love. Anxiety is the enemy of love; anxiety drives self-concern and a reduced awareness of others. But faith and hope set us free, free to give, free to live, and free to love.

Not a bad deal!

God be praised!

Interim Pastor Tom Eggebeen, fellow-traveler & explorer.

Rewrite the Past?

Who hasn’t wanted to re-write the past?

But like a hand imprint in cement, the past is there, unchanging and unchangeable. Like the scars of Jesus. The past can neither be undone nor entirely forgotten.

But if God is at work in ALL things for good, if God can take the cross and all the horror associated with it and channel its terrible energy into salvation for the world, then maybe the past isn’t so severe after all.

Which sets up life for the really good news: we can write our future.

There is always time for new decisions, new attitudes, new choices.

Like the scars of Jesus, our past is our past, but nothing is so terrible, nothing so powerful, that it’s beyond the handiwork of God to channel its energy, negative or worse, into something meaningful and good.

Remember, God is on your side … not merely to please and satisfy, but to make all things new, to use your scars as reminders that God was there, even in the worst of times, and God is with you now, opening doors that you couldn’t open, and creating doors in blank walls, some of which we have to open with faith, hope and love.

Have a good day writing your future and those opening new doors!


I’m having fun preparing this Sunday’s message. Who wouldn’t have fun with a message entitled, “Baloney”?

And that’s my interpretation of our LORD's response to the plea of the disciples: “Increase our faith.”


Because the plea for “more faith” arises out of the message of scarcity, a script from hell – a life of endless, competitive, joyless, questing for what is missing. It’s the original ploy of the snake in the grass – something is missing, God overlooked it, or worse, God cheated you, and it’s up to you to get it for yourself.

The message of scarcity“If only I had more …” (fill in the blank), “then I would …” (fill in the blank).

Jesus is clear: you can trust what resources you have, and you can trust who you are.

Start with the message of abundance: “I came that you might have life and have it abundantly,” says Jesus. Reminding us (with a paraphrase of something Joel Osteen says): “I am who God says I am, I have what God says I have, and I can do what God says I can do.”

Self- trust is the heart of praise. “LORD, thank you for me, for creating me the way you did, for giving me the talents and gifts I have, for shaping the character of my heart.”

Whatever comes your way, you’ll manage it. You have what you need, and you can do what’s needed.

And you’re not alone – maybe that’s the real piece of the puzzle: we have our community of faith, and with that, we have Jesus: “I am with you always!”

Trust yourself, and you will find yourself trusting God all the more!

Have a good day … take care, travel well and do good.

Remember Your Address

Thought for the Day, October 18, 2007


A simple word, a preposition. “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our LORD.

I live in SoCal … I live in a home on La Tijera Blvd … I believe in love, goodness and justice.

Do you catch the drift? “I believe in” points to values or ideas that I claim, but “I believe in,” like “I live in,” also point to a place where I live.

One of the great truths of the Bible, “we are in Christ” – a place, a destination, a location, our home – you and I are in Christ. He’s our address!

“I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you” (John 14:26).

Yesterday, I had lunch at In-N-Out Burger by LAX. When I left, I noticed some wall posters featuring scenes from the 60s – and a slogan … “Southern California.” I read it, and for a moment, read it as outsider, and than whammo, it hit me, “I live here. I live in SoCal.”

No longer an outsider.

Paul writes: “You are no longer foreigners, but fellow citizens, members of God’s household” (Ephesians 2:19

You are in Christ! That’s where you live.

Have a good and productive day … and remember your address!


Courage, the ability to keep doing what’s right in the face of terrible odds.

A man facing a painful death, yet refusing to give in to melancholy and self-pity, who remains upbeat with friends and family even as he’s thoroughly honest with them about the progress of his disease and it’s outcome.

A spouse caring for an ailing mate. Day-after-day, monitoring medications, making appointments, and offering love and kindness mostly unreturned. When the mate is in a nursing home – the faithful trip in the morning, the long hours at the bedside, and the lonely ride home in the evening.

A human resources manager ordered to terminate 300 employees from a profitable division, but just not profitable enough. So the man refuses to do so, and when upper management applies the heat, he resigns.

A pastor who challenged his southern congregation in the early sixties on race, bearing threats of harm to himself and his family, yet remaining steadfast until forced out of the pulpit by an amalgam of church politics and big money.

Parents caring for a challenged child … an inner-city teacher with a class too large and supplies too limited … and a thousand other tiny dramas wherein folks return kindness for rudeness, forgiveness rather than rebuttal and attack, faith when others are critical, and goodness when others only complain.

A Christian, steady in prayer, faithful in worship, humble in service and selfless in praise, willing to go the extra mile, with an open Bible and an open mind, lifting up the name of Jesus with grace and gentleness.

Moments of courage.

So Much More

In a recent article in “O” – four personality types: the feeler, the sensor, the thinker and the intuitor.

Nothing new here, and that’s what catches my attention – with a question, “If there’s nothing new here, are we stuck with the same old sixes and nines, fixed and determined, repackaged every ten years or so by pop-culture pundits?”

Consider cows and kangaroos. They, too, have personalities – some aggressive, some passive; some seemingly more intelligent, but fixed and determined!

The other day, on the pier, I watched a seagull pick up a barnacle, rise ten feet and then drop it – several times, until the shell was broken and dinner was served. Wonderful to watch, but fixed and determined!

Are we no different than animals? Are we locked into basic types and inescapable patterns of behavior? “I’m Irish, that’s why I have a temper.” “I’m German, that’s why I’m stubborn.” “I’m English, that’s why I can’t cook.” Fixed and determined?

For sure, we’re animals, flesh, blood and bone … we’re evolutionary descendants of who-knows-what and cousins to the chimp in the zoo. We have our personality types; we have our ways. But so do cows and chickens!

Is there any more?

His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Thus He has given us, through these things, His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4).

For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life (Ephesians 2:10).

You are so much more, neither fixed nor determined! And don’t let anyone tell ya’ different!