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February 2018

the missing people choir (tuneful tuesday #8)

A somber tune for a tremendous effort...

In 2017, a group of people formed a choir comprised of individuals whose loved ones have gone missing, or individuals who support the work of the group.

The choir is not only a support group. It is also a public conduit which keeps such tragedies in people's attention in the hope that maybe someone might know something and be able to help these grieving families find closure.

In some respects, we are all lost - we have left our Heavenly Father and wandered off on our own way. Like the prodigal's father (Luke 15:11-32), our Heavenly Father is awaiting our return, ready to welcome us home and forgive us all of our trespasses.

this is me (tuneful tuesday #7)

It's an unconventional musical to say the least.

P.T. Barnum. Freaks. Circus. Rich. Poor. Prejudice. Dreams. Happiness. Commitment. The Greatest Showman seems to have a little bit of everything. But most of all it has music -- at times tender, at times powerful. It may not be historically accurate - after all it IS a musical - but it is a good story and it's a good time at the movies. Some hated the movie. I thought it was well done.

"This Is Me" is features Barnum's collection of special people. They attempt to enter a room full of high society snobs during the reception of Barnum's newest "show" - the European opera singer, Jenny Lind. But he prevents them from entering on the pretense they have a show they must get ready for, attempting to cover his embarrassment of their presence during his finest entertainment moment. So he sends away the ones who gained for him his new found success; you can almost taste the disappointment. Societal station trumps friendship - and the angry entertainers leave the theater and march back to their circus proclaiming loudly and proudly that they are not ashamed of who they are.


the death of a character

It's never easy when a character is killed in the course of a story. (WARNING: Possible spoilers...)

Sherlock Holmes tumbling off Reichenbach Falls. Hedwig falls after a killing curse intended for Harry strikes her. Cooper, the main character's canine companion is struck by a car. Obi Wan falls to his death with the sweep of Darth Vader's light saber in full view of Luke Skywalker.

They are never easy. Authors of fiction explain them as necessary for the development of their story. Non-fiction authors explain them as part of life.

And if they aren't expected, they can be devastating. I remember reading a book as a teenager when I turned the page and a beloved character is struck by a car and killed. I threw the book down, tears ran down my cheeks, and it was several days before I could pick the book back up and complete the story.

One of my favorite TV programs has killed off one of their main characters. I sat there stunned; I couldn't believe what had just happened.

I remember when I was writing Benjamin Sunday and the Warrior's Companion that I toyed with the idea of killing one of my characters. Thankfully, a good friend told me not to do it. Indeed there are deaths in the book, but this character was central to the plot of the book. It was good wisdom, and I'm glad I heeded his encouragement.

But now that I'm writing the second Benjamin Sunday adventure, I am once again faced with the death of a character - and this time it must be done -- and I'm finding it hard to write. Even though it's just words on a page, writing them into existence is special, and they become not just a part of the story; they are members of my literary family. Even if they are only part of my imagination, a writer has to know the character to write about the character.


WorshipWorship should be the desire of every believer's heart and the duty of every believer's mind. I've long thought of the importance of worship - how it is not something we switch on and switch off on one day a week, but how it is something that should be as natural and as responsive as breathing or eating.

And it is a response, as this quote says. It is not just an occasion or an event that one attends. It is what we do when the Spirit impresses upon our spirit the beauty, the wonder, and the richness of the person of God and the reminders of what we have and who we are which are the result of God's love and care.

Thoughts of His strength and His might - worship.

Thoughts of His concern and His willingness to guide us - worship.

Thoughts of His majesty in the beauty of a sunrise, or the tapestry of His making as the sun sets - worship.

Every sigh we make, every tear that falls, every song that is sung in response to His presence in our lives - worship.

Oh heavenly Father - may your people love You and live for you in an attitude of worship. An attitude that is a natural response and a desired response with every breath we take, every thought we have, every act we perform. As your Word proclaims: "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)

people of the cross (tuneful tuesday #6)

I was standing by the toaster oven preparing some breakfast when this song came across the radio:

It's a wonderful hymn, and some great words. But the final line of the bridge started me thinking:

"Jesus we will be faithful till You meet us
Give us Your courage as we finish
We want to hear well done"

And the thought entered into my mind - "What if I don't hear Jesus say to me 'Well done'?"

So I went looking for an answer, and found it at Got Questions, one of my favorite Bible study sites. Essentially it is a matter of doing the things that God has asked me to do - being faithful in the little; making them daily chores, and doing them with delight in order to glorify Him.

I have much to do. a bottle...made of "bricks"

When I first saw the Lego modeler's original concept of a ship in a bottle, I was fascinated and hoped this guy's submission to Lego would become a set. 

But when Lego decided to produce the set, it was very different from the original concept.  The bottle design was a little better but the ship inside the bottle looked as though it had been smashed to fit inside the bottle design.

I bought the set anyway.

There are difficulties with any set, but this one had its own particular type of problems. The clear pieces were difficult to sort, so I had to find a higher magnification pair of glasses and sort the pieces by type.  (Even then, I came up 8 pieces short, so I had to improvise.) Then the side pieces of the bottom were not very cooperative when it came to assembly, and there were a couple of intense moments when the base of the bottle would snap apart when trying to get them in place.  The ship itself "felt" a little flimsy; some modelers turn the ship's sails side ways, but I preferred the ship's sails to be straight.

Attaching the ship to the base constructed inside the bottle was clever. "Pouring" in the "water" bricks was cool. But I thought it was pretty unfair that the original modelers initials were not used on the bottle's "seal"; Lego opted to put the Lego Master Builder's initials on the seal.

Was it worth it? Well, once constructed it looks OK, but I still would have preferred the original design.


Majesty and Glory (repost)

Moon The clear, crisp night sky. The stars shimmering like diamonds. The grass had a frosty crunch and sparkled as the lights from the house fell on the ground. It was one of those cold nights that transforms the world into crystal. I would wake the next morning with this song in my head - which I still cannot shake - and this image in my head. I still remember waking up. and hearing the song, and seeing this last image in my dream.


Continue reading "Majesty and Glory (repost)" »

three lessons

There are three lessons I would write, Heart
Three words, as with a burning pen,
In tracings of eternal light,
Upon the hearts of men.

Have Hope. Though clouds environ round,
And gladness hides her face in scorn,
Put off the shadow from thy brow:
No night but hath its morn.

Have Faith. Where'er thy bark is driven -
The calm's disport, the tempest's mirth -
Know this: God rules the hosts of heaven,
The inhabitants of earth.

Have Love. Not love alone for one,
But man, as man, thy brother call;
And scatter, like a circling sun,
Thy charities on all.

-Frederich von Schiller

remember me that way (tuneful tuesday #5)

Casper, the Friendly Ghost. One of my favorite cartoons as a kid. I'd watch those cartoons and think, "It would be so wonderful having a friend like Casper."

When they produce a live-action film of Casper in 1995, it was a real treat to see him come to the big screen. And it had a beautiful song that captured Casper's desire to be a friend...and to be remembered.


The Depths of Woe (Psalm 130 - Luther style)

Tim Challies featured a hymn written by Luther and called it "The Best Worship Song You Don't Sing." 

And he's right... These are the types of hymns I love -- words that drip with meaning and cause a worshiper to ponder about the truths they present. But sadly, hymns such as this are rarely if ever sung in contemporary church settings.

Continue reading "The Depths of Woe (Psalm 130 - Luther style)" »