“Be Well”

What is going on at Walgreens?  I’ve always thought of it as just another giant corporate chain store choice, but they are frequently feeling a lot more “family.”

WalgreensI recently bought some batteries at my local Walgreens.  My local store is not in a great part of town on North Broadway.  I’m sure they don’t deal with the most wonderful of customers all day.  After paying for my batteries, they checker looked me in the eyes and said, “Be well.”

I took a couple steps away from the counter and then looked back to see if I maybe knew the checker.  Nope.  What a wonderful salutation.  I was blessed.  “Thank you,” I said from near the door.

And now Walgreens is doing a “Get a Shot, Give a Shot” campaign.  Check it out by clicking here.  Walgreens is partnering with the United Nations Shot@Life Campaign to provide live-saving vaccines to kids in need.

Nice work, Walgreens.


Monday Plans

IMG_20150817_204808We are all busy making our weekend plans, but I want you to make your Monday plans.  Don’t spend all of your “Entertainment:Dining” budget this weekend because you’ll want to save some for Monday…though you won’t need much.

Monday you have to visit The Hub in Tacoma.  You see, The Hub has the entire menu half-price on Mondays.  Everything, all day.  Lunch and/or dinner.  Drinks and/or eats.  It’s all half-off.  And this isn’t some kind of scaled-down, happy hour menu.  It’s half off on their entire, regular, on-the-daily menu.  Don’t miss it.

If you read, livelifeontherutledge, you know I’ve had some not so good experiences with brew pub food. The Hub is known for craft beer and thin-crust, artisan style pizzas and Mediterranean flavors.  This brewery actually doesn’t forget about the kitchen side of the house.  It’s good.  I personally had the blackened salmon.  Risky at a brew pub, right?  It was moist, seasoned well (not insanely spicy, as can happen) and good.  A friend got the Quinoa and Kale salad…it did not look good, because it’s quinoa and kale, but if you are into that kind of thing.  Her husband went the other direction with steak and prawns, which, although not the best cut of 12 oz. of meat, looked tasty.  Here’s the kicker, it was only for $10 for steak and prawns.  Ten bucks.

Check out The Hub on a Monday night.  Not in Tacoma, it’s worth the drive.  First, it’s the City of Destiny and second, you’ll send just as much on gas as you would eating locally for full-price.

Grand Slam of Life

18572178-standardWisdom.  Righteousness.  Sanctification.  Redemption.  Those are the four bases of life in Christ.  Just like the four bases in a baseball diamond, they build.

Redemption at home plate has a double meaning.  It’s wear we start.  It’s wear we step into the box and settle in for the pitch.  It’s also wear we want to cross after rounding the bases to tally a run.  It is first and only, but gets it’s depth in relation to the other bases, just as you don’t tally a run until you’ve crossed the other bases.

The first base is Wisdom, this is the understanding of all that God had done for us.  It is the awakening to our human state and God’s miraculous work.  From this understanding we organize our inner and outer life.  It’s submitting ourselves to God’s teaching.  From this state will can be lead into the greatest lessons of life, lessons that are lost on most people.

As we round first, we see second base, which is Righteousness.  It is in righteousness that we dwell in God’s favor and presence.  As it is described in Colossians 3, we are draped in the clothes of Christ.

Then their is the hot corner, third base – Sanctification.  It is in the process of sanctification that we experience God’s power to make us holly — spirit, soul and body.  Just like you never want to be thrown out at third, God won’t give up on you at third.  The work of Sanctification continues until completion (Phil. 1.6).

All of us should seek to score a run, cross home plate…Redemption.  Step into Redemption, get into the game by grasping Wisdom, receive Righteousness and embrace the process of Sanctification.

For those that are in Christ, each and everyone of us will.  It just depends if you’ll cross now or in the waning moments at the end of life, when you finally surrender and fall into “Home.”

…you may need to take some time

I shared this with our Young Life staff in Western Washington yesterday, and I thought you all may find it helpful, even with the inside references and attempt at humor…

Whose ready for some rain? (I’ll live to regret those words).  This feels like the longest summer ever.  First, I think our first day in the 90s was in May…way too early.  And now, Labor Day is literally as late as it can get.  I feel like this summer is just dragging on and on and on.  I told Brenda, I’m chomping at the bit, I can’t just wait to get started on the year.  She, in all her wisdom, reminded me that the school year (and the rain) will be here before I know it and with it the push, pull, strain and struggle of all that happens at the start of a school year.  “Enjoy this season,” she said.

I want to encourage you in the same, as I have already done a couple times in this eRegion.  We are all back from camp.  At the end of the month, we should all be out of debt.  All of your budgets and camp requests are done.  Hopefully you have had time to meet with leaders.  Camp follow up is planned and being implemented.  Now take some time.

Just as Jeff Foxworthy helps us know if you are a red neck, here is some help with if you need to take some time…untitled (19)

  • If your desk is a mess…you may need to take some time
  • If you have not had a day away…you may need to take some time
  • If you are still living out of your Mountain Hardware duffle…you may need to take some time
  • If you confuse your kids name with program characters…you may need to take some time
  • If your cell phone memory is full of summer pictures and videos…you may need to take some time
  • If you’ve yet to take a vacation…you may need take some time
  • If you start every meal at home with entry music and stand at the table clapping…you may need to take some time
  • If you are still sleeping outside after your Beyond trip…you may need to take some time
  • If you still smell like the inlet or the back of an overheated bus…you may need to take some time
  • If you have a pile of paperwork in your office that needs to be filed…you may need to take some time
  • If you have dessert after every lunch…you may need to take some time
  • If your only source of entertainment is Alpha videos…you may need to take some time
  • If you have over 300 emails in your inbox…you may need to take some time
  • If you are tired, weary, brokenhearted, hungry, angry or just plain lonely…take some time.

I love you all and can’t wait until the school year…but make sure you take some time now.

Ready for the “New Year”

computer_beachThere are couple of marks in the year that we all get a fresh start.  There is, of course, New Year’s Day.  The other is the first day of school.

When kids return to school, the summer, while it may still be warm and listed as summer by the weather man, is over.  We are all back to work.  Everyone returns from vacation.  The phone and email get busy again and so do we.

Kids in many part of the country have already returned to school.  The rest will be back in school by Labor Day, just a couple weeks away.  So, how can you prepare for this “New Year?”

As Labor Day approaches, here are some tasks that you should get done now to prepare for the “New Year”:

  • Clean your office.
  • Ensure that your hard drive is backed-up.
  • Empty your email inbox.
  • Clean out the email or text inbox on your phone.
  • Check to see if your contacts lists are correct.
  • Organize the files on your computer.  Delete anything you don’t need.
  • Organize the files in your office.
  • Take a day away to pray and plan for the new year.
  • Spend an extended amount of time with a friend or family member who needs it.

It’s been a fantastic summer.  Now prepare for a fantastic school year.

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

INothing Ventured, Nothing Gained followed this truck into Seattle this morning.  If you can’t read the tailgate, it says, “Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained.”

Where do I need to venture?  What needs to be tackled?  Where do you need to venture?  What do you need to tackle?  Let’s do it today.  Let’s do it this morning.

Tomorrow, behind the same tailgate, we’ll remiss about all that was gained by the ventures we took today.

Your “Sub-Three Minute” Goal

Madison-Sophmore-e1439921983225-300x191Last week we dropped off our daughter, Madison, for her sophomore year at Washington State University.

I love biking in the Palouse and it is also a valuable time to process and decompress from the emotions of dropping off your kid at college.  During the return portion of my regular out-and-back bike ride to Moscow, I had a tail wind.  I knew that I was going strong, I had the emotions of dropping off my daughter, so I put my head down and pumped hard.

To begin with, I thought that I would give it 110% just for the duration of the song I was listening to… it was “Come on Eileen,” the 1982 hit for Dexy’s Midnight Runners.  I covered that 110% mile in 2 minutes and 51 seconds (my usual mile is 3:53).  The beat gave me my pace, dropping off my daughter at school gave me the personal dissonance and the breeze gave me my confidence.

From this personal perfect storm in my bike saddle, I thought, “I can continue this pace for the remainder of this song.”  Little did I know this was version of the song was some kind of live reunion, extended mix of Dexy’s wondrous one hit.  The song continued on and on and soon the second mile was covered (2:56).  I continued going pedaling with the pace, but the song ended before I completed my third mile.  Since I had covered most of the mile, I pounded through to complete it in under three minutes, just barely (2:59).

Having completed three miles at under three minutes, I thought, “Why not try a fourth mile?”  2:47.  And then, “One more?  Probably not possible, but I’ll try.” 2:51.  And finally, “I’m almost to town. Can’t do it…but maybe.” 2:33.  I may have even had another sub-three minute mile, but I was back in Pullman with stop signs, traffic and cars.

As you look at this coming school year, what is ahead of you?  Is there a place that you, your family, your ministry, your classroom, your church, you business, your life needs to push through to new levels?

These are personal or professional places of “pounding” that may not seem possible or sustainable but points of emphasis where you feel a drive within in you, the dissonance to give it a go and the movement of God’s spirit.  Ephesians 3:20 says that God has more for you than you could ever think or imagine.

“Pound” this coming school year and just see what you may be able to accomplish.  This could be your “sub-three minute” year.

“Let’s Go” Young American Males

The young U.S. male has been the source of much criticism over the last decade.  It’s said that they ain’t what they used to be… that the American male is uncommitted, lacking vision, unconnected, goalless, playing Xbox in their parents’ basement into their late 20’s.

So when six young men step up and deviate from that standard operating procedure, let’s celebrate.

American HeroesThis week, six young American males gave or risked their very lives for the safety and well being of others.  Late this week, three young men lost their lives fighting a fire in Washington State and one of their partners is still fighting in a Seattle hospital.  Then yesterday, three young guys from the U.S. traveling in Europe risked their lives by storming a shooting gunman on a crowded French train.

These kinds of heroic actions are never normal, that is why they are called heroic.  In this day in age, in light of what many of their friends are doing (or not doing), these actions are simply astonishing.  There aren’t many young people saying, “Let’s go,” “Get him” or encouraging their friends, “Spencer, go!”  These guys are to be celebrated.

There is also something to be said for our civil servants.  I’m thankful that we have these kinds of people working for our federal government.  These guys have all been described as “big, brave, strong guys.” Whether their shirt size said it or not, their actions certainly measured up to that description.

Thank you for stepping up.  Thank you for reminding us of the greatness that lies in the center of every young American male.  Thank you for being a model to my two boys.  Thanks for being heroes.  We need more guys like you.

  • U.S. Forest Service Firefighter Richard Wheeler, 31
  • U.S. Forest Service Firefighter Andrew Zajac, 26
  • U.S. Forest Service Firefighter and Whitman College student Tom Zbyszewski, 20
  • Oregon National Guardsman and Costco employee Alek Skarlatos,
  • U.S. Air Force Airmen First Class Spencer Stone
  • Anthony Sadler, Sac State Univ. senior
Way to go, boys!

Who Influenced You?

A couple years ago, I reached out to a college advisor who had impacted me while I was in college.  During my college years, he was a relatable Christian man and a principally-based leader.  I watched him work, lead a difficult team and raise his family.  While this was at Washington State University, he asked me questions about my life and faith and challenging questions about how I was living out both during my college years.  That wasn’t his job, but, none the less, he went there.

Fraternity PresidentThis advisor was Dr. Jack Burns.  At the time, he was just “Jack.”  He was the Greek Life Advisor in Residence Life and was working on his Ph.D. at Washington State University.  I was on the Interfraternity Council.  Today, Dr. Burns is the Coordinator and professor for the Leadership Studies at Whitworth University.

For one year of my college career, I had weekly meetings with Jack.  There had been challenges in the Greek system and that required weekly meetings with individual leaders, including me.  We’d meet on Tuesday mornings and I’d sit in a chair against a brick wall to the left of his desk.

I can remember one specific meeting around the holidays where Jack mentioned church.  I’d said, “I grew up in church.”  He quickly lashed out, as if he’d been waiting for the opportunity, “Then why are you f-ing around with booze?  Why are you f-ing around with girls?  And why are you f-ing around with your life?”  He had me…and even used my language.

We continued to meet for a year, every week.  Jack never again asked those questions or used that language.  Though he didn’t ask the questions, every time I sat in that chair in front of that brick wall, those questions rung through my head.  What am I doing?

There were a number of things going on in my life at this time, but it was that meeting and those three questions that led me over the next few years to get my life on the right track.

A few years ago I wrote to Dr. Burns at Whitworth and thanked him for those meetings and specifically those three questions.  He responded kindly but said, “I don’t remember the meeting and I don’t remember the questions.  I really don’t remember having a vision for helping you get your life on track.”

He didn’t need to remember.  He’d done it.  It was even more lovely and more of Jesus, that he didn’t remember or have a strategy or plan.

Today’s entry in Oswald Chambers’ classic devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, asks, “Which are the people who have included us most?  Not the ones who thought they did, but those who had not the remotest notion that they were influencing us?…the implicit is never conscious; if it is conscious it ceases to have the unaffected loveliness of the touch of Jesus.”

So who are the folks who may impacted you?  They may not have even had a plan to do it, but they did it.  In the same way, who are the folks in your life today that you may be impacting?  They aren’t part of some strategy, it’s just before you and happening.  Embrace each of them.

The Dirt Streets of Life

IMG_20150617_080612-300x169This spring and summer, we lived on a dirt street.  We haven’t always lived on a dirt street but for five months or so our street corner was dirt and dust.

Our city is in the midst of a $10.2 million replacement of the storm water and sewer system.  It means that our little street corner has been a mix of crevasses, concrete, trucks and tools for the last five months.  It’s critical construction to handle a lot of crap (going for the alliteration, but also true).

When you live on a dirt street and the weather is dry, it means there is a lot of dust.  Our cars are filthy.  We have to keep the windows closed at all times.  Plants are covered in dust.  And you leave a bum print when you sit on the lawn furniture.

There are seasons of construction in our lives.  Sometimes it is around our home and other times it is in our homes and still other times it is in our lives.  It means digging, working and the kicking up a lot of dust.  It’s messy work.

If you are in a “Construction Zone,” the first step is to recognize the fact the messiness of the work.  One of the key pieces of the construction process is simple the recognition that it will take time and will cause unrest.

Second, let’s be prepared.  This will be a season of dust, rerouted roads, digging, heavy lifting and whatever else that may mean in your life.  What does it mean for you to be prepared to get a little dirty?  Are there any windows you should close, lawn furniture that needs to be cleared off?

Finally, recognize that this is a season.  The dust will settle.  There will be an end to this process.  We won’t live on these dirt streets forever…you simply can’t.

We lived on dirt streets for a few months.  It was a time to get our systems, sewer and street water, in order.  You may be in a season of dirt street kind of work in your own life.  It’s messy work, so be prepared to do the work and remember that it is just a season.  There is a future of pavement, curves and lawns, it will just take some work to get to that finished point.