Producing Good Shade and Shelter…it is About What is Inside You! Character Matters!

Paul instructed that what was important was inside and not on the surface of a person. What is down deep inside a person is much more important than what you see on the outside. Most will decide about a person based on looks rather than waiting to see what comes from within. As a Harley Davidson motorcycle enthusiast, I often will travel dressed in black leather, boots and a facial mask if in the winter. Sights some associate with the “one percenters”, the outlaw bikers, but we 99 percenters are a much different breed. My wife and I were sitting on a brick wall at the Harley dealership in Hot Springs, Arkansas, viewing a sea of Harleys and their riders gathered for the Arkansas HOG Rally [HOG = Harley Owners Group]. I think it was the first time my wife found herself around hundreds of bikers; we watched the people. Soon 3 bikes backed up in front of us and their riders disembarked loosening their gear, it was obvious they had travel far to find this parking spot. A middle-aged lady soon revealed herself out from under all her riding gear and with the manner of some lost relative just started visiting with us. They had traveled north from Beaumont, Texas to join the Hot Springs biker rally; my wife was amazed how friendly everyone was. We walked through the sea of motorcycles, many draped by their rider’s expensive leather jackets. No one touched anything. Looking at these $400 to $800 dollar jackets just laying there, I wondered how long a leather jacket of this quality would last in a shopping mall parking lot in Oklahoma City. You won’t find any group anywhere that is more friendly, more honest, more hard working, more caring, more patriotic and more fun than HOG people. Yes, the tie is the Harley, their iron horse, but more importantly it is what is inside these modern day cowboys and cowgirls.

Using architecture as a metaphor:

Architects & Owners look to spend the money on what is seen in their buildings; it is their expression, their presentation. Obviously, it is much more fun to think about the “glitz”; often this is what is rewarded in the architectural design award circles. An architect is praised by what you see and not how well the architecture looks over time, or how well it keeps the water out, or how low the maintenance costs are, or how well it functions for the user, or how little waste of resources is created. The difference can be the small details around the windows, the doors, the roofing membranes, the various coatings, the waterproofing, and the sealants; this is what really counts. Oh, I believe in the importance of good timeless design, but it is what is behind the visible surfaces that really matters to fine architecture. A person is just the same; it is what is behind visible treatments that really matters. Furthermore, architecture will not have integrity and vitality unless the “form-giver”, the “life-giver” [the architect] also has integrity. With no vitality, the so-called architecture is only going to be “a building”…just sitting there with no life in it, and it won’t stand the test of time.

Ken Pate wrote an article for the Harley Owners Group’s magazine, “Enthusiast”, entitled “Worth the Ride”. He told of how his wife was so mad when he bought his Harley in 2003 and that she didn’t talk to him for weeks and that she would never ride on it. One day in 2004 she was told she had colon cancer and wanted to go for a ride…on his bike. Soon they were riding all the time, she even got her own trike; they ended up a HOG meeting where they met many wonderful people. Ken said of that meeting, that it was the best thing they did together in 46 years of marriage. Later his wife was diagnosed with lung cancer. The HOG Chapter rallied to help the couple in many ways over the years. When Ken’s wife passed away in 2010, the funeral planned by Ken and his wife included their Harley family leading the funeral procession…maybe 25 bikes they thought. On the day of the funeral, a police escort and 74 bikes led the way! What is a true family anyway, I ask? I would say these folks were producing very good “shelter & shade” benefits by having proper roots and good nourishment. It didn’t matter about politics, money, position, or anything else; it was about caring for one another as a family of humanity.

Reflecting on Chaos – Part 3

As I reflect more about our world, our culture, I see a complete breakdown in structure. Our great country was established with 3 equal branches of government; there were checks and balances. We now have a president who openly says he is going to go around congress. He unilaterally changes written law and a blind congress cheers him on! We have half the country wanting government to do everything for them; what will we have in another 5 years? Friends this is an extreme chaotic situation. All structure has become burry and fuzzy! Where is truth anymore in the dark abyss of relativism?

Published today, a great thinker of our day, Thomas Sowell wrote in his last paragraph on “Random Thoughts”:
“Once, when I was teaching at an institution that bent over backward for foreign students, I was asked in class one day: “What is your policy toward foreign students?” My reply was: “To me, all students are the same. I treat them all the same and hold them all to the same standards.” The next semester there was an organized boycott of my classes by foreign students. When people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment seems like discrimination.”

With words better than mine, Dr. Sowell has painted a perfect picture of chaos. Everyone wants preferential treatment; how can that possibly have a chance of succeeding? Where is common sense? Where is balance? Where is forgiveness and grace? In a world such as what we are currently building at breakneck speed, we can only end up in destruction. SO…this begs the question…what can we do about it? It is obvious to me; we have to put back what we took out. And, what did we take out? The main structure of the universe, the Creator of you and me, the God who loves you so much He sent His only Son to come, show you how to live, and to give you a new start by taking your sins away. You have been redeemed, but salvation requires your action, you have to turn toward Him, have faith and believe in Jesus. Friends, we must put God back in our lives! Give Jesus Christ the preeminence in your life and you will see the dark chaos removed from your life. It will be such Good News that you will want to tell somebody else, and then somebody else, and then somebody else…and so it goes! It is our only salvation from chaos!

Reflecting on Chaos – Part 2

What is chaos? One Webster definition is that chaos is “a state of utter confusion.” In the United States, we are living in a state of utter confusion. With some 300 million people in the United States, driven by “extreme multi-culturalism,” and “political correctness”, we have constructed a country whereby not one single person can be offended. This is an impossible confusing construct that can not survive; it tears itself apart. A recent example, one of hundreds, in Fort Collins Colorado, a school cancelled a United States Day celebration for our own citizens because school administrators thought people not of the U.S. would be offended. This type of confusion is also re-structuring and redefining our country’s foundational principles that have allowed this country to be a great force of goodness in the world. As we descend into a deeper and deeper chaotic abyss, how are we to continue to help others beyond our shores as we always have…being the most giving nation in the world?

This state of chaos has driven away balance and common sense. “Zero tolerance” only tells our children that adults are unable to think and consider what proper justice should be. This chaos has also made us a less free nation. The Index of Economic Freedom now has the United States at the number 12 position, dropping from number 6 only five years ago. Is anybody looking at the bottom of the hill on this downward slide? As we take God out of our nation, we open the door for Satan to come in for there are only those two options. We need to turn back and put God back on top, if not…more chaos to follow.

When I am 64…the Beatles’ Question

You remember the questions don’t you? Will you still need me? Will you still feed me, when I am 64? I turned 64 on January 9th; I don’t feel old, though some non-visonaries would say that I am. I don’t have to ask the questions from the Beatles because I am surrounded by people who love me…my wife, two daughters, and three grandsons. Further, I know that my LORD Jesus is always with me; I am never alone.

We have just come through another Christmas time when the real meaning of Christmas is mocked and demeaned; a time when maybe the majority of the people celebrate a jolly old fat man dressed in red and white, rather than celebrate the birth of the Savior, the Redeemer of the world. By the way, I never understood why athetists attack Christians; if we are wrong as they say we are, why not just let us flounder in our own mess? Anyway, the attacks happen and Jesus told us that the world would hate us, but take heart for the world hated Him first (John 17). Back to the jolly old fat man…St. Nick, a giving man to all people; this is not a bad image, is it? We should be giving people and look to help others; what is better than to see the joy in the face of a child? I think we need to strive for balance…balance! Jesus loved being surrounded by the children and I’m sure He laughted as they laughted. You’ve got to love a God like that. We can feed the hungry, present toys to children in hospitals, spend time with the elderly, etc. Balance, don’t over do all the gift buying, give yourself and be there for others; but above all, be thankful that your personal Savior came into the world to show you how to live and love.

How about we all take ourselves less seriously, spend some time laughting and let the wind blow our hair around without thinking I just had it fixed. Be a kid again! Laugh out loud at a cartoon as my grandson did this morning watching Micky Mouse. Be a kid again and enjoy each day of your life as a blessing from God. Be a kid again even if you are 64 or 94.

When I am 64…the Beatles' Question

You remember the questions don’t you? Will you still need me? Will you still feed me, when I am 64? I turned 64 on January 9th; I don’t feel old, though some non-visonaries would say that I am. I don’t have to ask the questions from the Beatles because I am surrounded by people who love me…my wife, two daughters, and three grandsons. Further, I know that my LORD Jesus is always with me; I am never alone.

We have just come through another Christmas time when the real meaning of Christmas is mocked and demeaned; a time when maybe the majority of the people celebrate a jolly old fat man dressed in red and white, rather than celebrate the birth of the Savior, the Redeemer of the world. By the way, I never understood why athetists attack Christians; if we are wrong as they say we are, why not just let us flounder in our own mess? Anyway, the attacks happen and Jesus told us that the world would hate us, but take heart for the world hated Him first (John 17). Back to the jolly old fat man…St. Nick, a giving man to all people; this is not a bad image, is it? We should be giving people and look to help others; what is better than to see the joy in the face of a child? I think we need to strive for balance…balance! Jesus loved being surrounded by the children and I’m sure He laughted as they laughted. You’ve got to love a God like that. We can feed the hungry, present toys to children in hospitals, spend time with the elderly, etc. Balance, don’t over do all the gift buying, give yourself and be there for others; but above all, be thankful that your personal Savior came into the world to show you how to live and love.

How about we all take ourselves less seriously, spend some time laughting and let the wind blow our hair around without thinking I just had it fixed. Be a kid again! Laugh out loud at a cartoon as my grandson did this morning watching Micky Mouse. Be a kid again and enjoy each day of your life as a blessing from God. Be a kid again even if you are 64 or 94.