Surprise Party


I love surprise parties because it’s the one time in our culture when it’s socially acceptable to lie to your friends.  As long it keeps the subject of the party in the dark, anything goes.

“No, Jim, I can’t go out to dinner on your birthday, I have um, surgery . . . on my, uh, gizzard.  Yeah, that’s it.  Gizzard surgery.”

The whole process is also helpful because it reveals which of the people in your life are the best liars.  This tells you who to watch out for in the future.   Some of the sweetest, most innocent people I know have displayed skills of deception that are downright disturbing.

Continue reading

Holy Hotspots

I saw two elderly gentlemen today hunched over a table at a coffee shop.  They would have looked right at home playing chess in Central Park.  Only instead of a chess board, an iPad rested on the table between them.  The older guy had to be in his eighties, the younger one maybe seventy-five.

“Is this the first one you’ve actually seen?” the younger guy asked.

“Yeah,” the older man replied.  “I’ve read plenty about them, but this is the first one I’ve seen.”

“It’s all connected through the wi-fi here, you know.”

The older man, his eyes keen and alert, nodded.  “I know about wi-fi.”

Kind of interesting, I thought, watching two guys who remember when TV was invented, talking tech.  I hope if I live to be their age, I have the same kind of appetite to keep learning and exploring new things.

I keep thinking about the older man and the fact that he knew wi-fi existed but had never actually connected to it himself.  It reminded me of what a guy named Job said after he encountered God face-to-face, “My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you.”

Most of us have heard about God.   Churches and God stuff are everywhere.  But many of us have never had the chance or the motivation to connect with God ourselves.  We’re too busy or bored or burned out.  Or maybe we’ve been turned off from God by the people we’ve seen on TV who claim to represent Him.

For most of my life I got the idea of God, but, like the octogenarian in the coffee shop, I hadn’t yet really connected.  I hadn’t yet discovered the “hot spots” where I could plug in to the wonder and delight of God any time I chose.

The Bible invites us to “taste and see that the Lord is good,” to connect with God ourselves instead of taking someone else’s word for what God is like.

If you’re looking for wi-fi, the signs are everywhere, restaurants, coffee shops, even places like Home Depot and Sam’s Club.  Businesses love to advertise their free access to prospective customers.  But where do we go to connect with God?  Is that just a church thing or what?

If you have a wi-fi device, like an iPod or iPhone, it’s surprising sometimes the places you can get a signal.  You may be sitting in a parking lot and suddenly, wi-fi signals start popping up on your phone out of nowhere.

The truth is that the opportunity for divine downloads are all around us.  All it takes is asking God to show Himself to us and then paying attention.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning once wrote, “Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God; and only he who sees, take off his shoes; the rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.”

Or as the biblical Jacob put it, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”

I’m all for church, but God has never limited His presence to a building.  He’d much rather connect with people every moment of every day.

So, good ahead, ask Him to show Himself to you today, then pay attention.  I dare you to try it every day for a week.  Watch for the “coincidences” and the weird intersections of people, quotes, songs and Scripture that He will put in your path.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you’ve been or what you’ve done.  There’s a God who loves you, and He’s just dying to connect.  Go into each day expecting God to show up, and then don’t be surprised when He does.

Can You Hear Me Now?

My wife grew up in the suburbs.  I grew up in the country.  That means that every once in a while, when I casually mention a detail of my childhood, she’ll give me that “what planet are you from?” look.

She never got her water from a cistern, never had to put underpinning on her trailer to keep her pipes from freezing and never ever got to discover the magic of the party line.  What’s that, you say?  You don’t know about the party line either?   You see, this is what I’m talking about.  City slickers.

Continue reading