Archives for July 2008

Going Prepared

Last week on our little getaway, we found ourselves attending a ballgame. No little league or T-ball this time. No sirree. We made it to the big-time. Well, at least the minor league big time. Kristin and Shawn took us to see the Northwest Arkansas Naturals play the Tulsa Drillers. Talk about summer fun!

We had great seats. Third row behind the dugout on the third base side. And Shawn went prepared. If a foul ball came our way, he had his new ball glove ready to make the catch. That’s our son-in-law for you. Prepared, organized, ready to tackle the situation at hand. And more importantly, ready to have fun :)

Sorry to say, Shawn didn’t get to make his catch that night, but he did have fun. We all did. It’s hard to beat the atmosphere — traditional ballpark music and food, vocal die hard fans, the mascot’s silly antics, between inning contests and events, and of course, the game. The plays that happened, or as in Shawn’s case, the plays that didn’t happen. But I don’t think that dampened his enthusiasm. He’ll go prepared next time, too. (By the way, Kristin tells me he may have been a boy scout — isn’t their motto “Be prepared”??)

We should all be so prepared in our spiritual lives as well. The apostle Paul exhorted Timothy to “…be prepared in season and out of season…” (2 Timothy 4:2). In other words, be ready all the time. Ready to share God’s Word, ready to encourage or correct, ready to do what God calls us to do. The apostle Peter encouraged believers to “…Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…” (1 Peter 3:15). Again, be ready. Ready to witness for the Lord.

Look once more at Shawn’s example. He went to the place where he might catch a foul ball, he took his glove, and he stayed alert. What do we need to do to be spiritually prepared? Are we going to the right places, arming ourselves with the necessary tools, and being alert to opportunities? Will we be ready for the foul balls that come our way? May the Father be able to say, “That’s my son (or daughter) for you.”

**FYI – I have changed the comment options for the blog. You don’t have to be “registered” with a password now (unless you want to) in order to leave a comment. Under the “choose an identity” section, you can simply click “Name/Url” and just leave your name. This should make it easier for those of you who don’t want to set up an account. So go ahead — comment away! :)

Prayer that Permeates

Since I’m just getting back from a few days away from home, I thought I would share some thoughts from Oswald Chambers and C.S. Lewis on talking with and listening to the Lord. I pray they will be just the words you need to hear today. Be blessed!

“Get into the habit of dealing with God about everything. Unless in the first waking moment of the day you learn to fling the door wide back and let God in, you will work on a wrong level all day; but…pray to your Father in secret, and every public thing will be stamped with the presence of God.” –Oswald Chambers

“…all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; listening to that other Voice, taking in that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind. We can only do it for moments at first. But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system; because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us. It is the difference between paint, which is merely laid on the surface, and a dye or stain which soaks right through…” –C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

What are our lives stamped with? Have we allowed the Lord’s life, love, and words to permeate our lives — to soak through us?

“…they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13b

*Flickr photo by kelsey_lovefusionphoto


It’s time for the Barkers to get out of town for a few days so I need to keep this short today. To be honest, I just wasted a lot of time looking for a picture for this post. Didn’t have any luck. Don’t you hate it when things like that happen? Forgive me for this pictureless post :)

We’re not traveling far. Just going to spend some time with family. No regular vacation for us this year since we already had one little getaway for our family reunion in May. Even though it won’t be for long and we’re not going anywhere exotic, it will be good to get out of town for a bit.

Everyone enjoys a change of pace and scenery every now and then. Jesus knew it was good to get away from time to time. At one point He said to his disciples, “‘Come away with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.'” (Mark 6:31b) Sometimes our vacations may not seem very restful, but I think there’s rest for our spirits in just getting away from our regular routines.

Do you have a getaway planned? Have you already had one? Leave a comment and let’s see where everyone has been this summer! We’re headed to Arkansas and then Missouri (good old Silver Dollar City!). How about you?

From Prison to Pleasure

Canyon Man (see May 21st post) has turned into Paint Man — and he’s not thrilled about the new persona. You see, Don hates to paint. But since he knows he needs to take advantage of the break between summer school and fall semester, he’s doing what needs to be done.

To make the task a little more bearable, he split it up. Last summer he did the trim work so this summer the rest of the task awaited him. I’m not sure why he dislikes painting so much. I think maybe it just bores him. The other day he told me, “I hate to paint. A slug can paint.” Maybe he thinks a guy like him — a Canyon Man — shouldn’t have to trade in his pack and hiking boots for a can of paint :)

Yesterday as he started his fourth day of painting, his complaints got a little more dramatic. “I feel like I’m in prison… I ought to be wearing black and white…” he grumbled. Sticking with the prison analogy, later in the day he told me he was a “lifer”. Said he’d probably be painting in heaven one day — painting the pearly gates. Of course, I’ve been responding with “good griefs” to most of his silliness, but with this last one, I told him if he ends up painting in heaven, somehow he will like it there :)

We all have certain things we don’t like to do, don’t we? Sometimes it’s just a routine task we grow weary of doing all the time, but other times it’s an out of the ordinary thing — like Don’s painting. It might not even be work related. It might just be attending a social function or an event of some sort. And how about those dreaded dentist and doctor appointments? I don’t know if anyone likes those.

People in Bible times also had to do tasks they didn’t want to do. Slavery was a fact of life then, and the apostle Paul actually addressed some of his exhortations in Colossians to slaves — a group of people who must have been continually faced with this problem. Paul told them “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” (Col. 3:23). Excellent advice for anyone, isn’t it?

So here’s the challenge to us all. Next time we dread doing something — and it can be something as simple as grocery shopping or as difficult as being kind to an enemy — let’s remember Paul’s words and decide to do it as if we’re doing it for the Lord. Puts a whole new spin on it, doesn’t it? It might even transform Don’s painting from prison to pleasure :) Anything need a new spin in your life?

Following in the Footsteps

Brothers, ball, and bunny ears. Don’t know if you can see it real well in this shot, but both Cody and Gavin, our nephews, gave each other bunny ears at the same moment last night when I wanted a picture of them after Gavin’s game. Totally their own idea, totally spur of the moment. Brothers being brothers. I just happened to snap a picture at the right time. Or the wrong time, depending how you look at it :)

From putting up bunny ears to playing ball, Gavin is busy following in big brother’s footsteps. Up until now, Gavin has been the spectator (or the guy playing in the dirt) at Cody’s games, but this summer he made his own foray into the world of sports.

We, of course, had to travel to T-town to cheer him on, just like we do for Cody. It’s been a few years since we’ve seen kids play T-ball, and we’d forgotten all the silly things that can happen. One little shortstop got tired at one point and decided to lie down in the infield. Another boy fought with one of his own teammates over the ball — actually wrestled with him, pushed his head into the ground, and then cried tears of remorse after the coach had a little talk with him. And then instead of trying to throw runners out at the bases, those fielding the balls just tried to chase the runners down and tag them out. My sister Carolyn said they actually have a better chance of getting someone out that way since no one can catch a ball yet :)

Gavin, however, seemed to be one of the better players. Now, I’m not bragging. Just stating the facts. He hit well, threw well, and ran the bases like he knew what he was doing — well, except for that one time when he overran second and then couldn’t seem to stay on the base :) Dave and Carolyn tell me that he seems to have a better understanding of the game than most of the other boys. The reason? He’s been watching big brother’s games. In between playing in the dirt and eating candy, he’s absorbed many of the rules and basics of the game.

Simply put, Gavin’s following in his big brother’s footsteps. He’s picking up a love for baseball and who knows what else. As a matter of fact, someone had to teach him to flash bunny ears, and I’m guessing it was Cody :) I’m sure Gavin will be watching Cody for many years to come, trying to imitate his behavior — just like every other little brother (or sister) out there. That kind of puts some responsibility on Cody’s shoulders, doesn’t it?

Who do you suppose is following in our footsteps? Some of the answers are obvious, but I wonder how many follow our example when we’re not even aware of it? Both of those questions should make us stop and think. Kind of puts some responsibility on our shoulders, doesn’t it?

Several times in the New Testament, Paul urged fellow believers to imitate him. How could he be so bold? The answer is found in his words recorded in 1 Corinthians 11:1. “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” And there it is. The key to being a good example. Let’s be careful whose footsteps we follow. Remember — someone will be following ours.