Silly Band


A single silly band.

Generally observed on the forearms of children as clingy colorful incongruous groups.

Yet this is MY silly band.  And I am an adult.  Most of the time.

Furthermore, this is a special silly band.  Shaped like Cowboy Woody.  The pull-string hero from the Toy Story trilogy.  A “gift” from my youngest.  Fun loving four year old.  JM the rough houser.  He got it at Christmas in a 20 pack.

Cousins Christmas crazy.  Aunts & Uncles laughing.  This special silly band fell at my feet as the rough houser ripped into the package.

“JM, can I have this one?”

“No, it’s mine.”

“But, buddy, you’ve got 19 more.  Right there.  This one is Woody.  I like Woody.”

“It’s my Woody.  Give it to me.”

“JM, Daddy can have just this one.  You can share.”

Before we could further debate, my sharp Bride, his sweet Mama, saved me by giving him another present.

You’re thinking: You kept it?  You wear it?

You’re right.  I kept it.  Wear it every day. 


In the late Christmas night quiet, readying for bed, I discovered it still on my arm.  And the Holy Spirit spoke. It was as if God said to me...

Now you know how I feel.

You gave your son 20 silly bands & he wouldn't give you just one back.

Everything that you call yours is a gift from me.

Yet you live in pride as if it's all your own creation.  You say you know me, follow me, & trust me, yet you deny me by your actions & attitudes.

When I ask for a tithe.  A tenth.  A tenth of your time, talents, & treasures.  Remember the silly band.

You love your son.  You gave him silly bands.  

I love you.  I give you everything.

'Tis the Season

‘Tis the season of giving.  Opportunities are everywhere.  Bell-ringers at storefronts.  Charities year-end needs in your mailbox.  Special offerings at your church.  ‘Tis the season we can be otherish in our love. 

Otherish love is God-powered, self-sacrificing, & other-centered.  Otherish love is God’s love.  “God so loved the world that he gave his one & only son,” says John 3:16 (italics added).

But with so many choices, what's a person to do?  Wouldn't it be nice as a follower of Christ to make Spirit-led choices?  Guilty-conscience choices can dominate your mind & rob your joy.

Your time.  Your talents.  Your treasures.  Each of these resources have limits.

How can you make good choices with your resources?

  • Know your heart.  What are you passionate about?  There will be many appeals to you, but which appeal best fits your God honoring, personal passion?
  • Know your budget.  Have you ever got into financial trouble through giving too much?  Not sure?  Think back to recall previous January’s credit card bills.  Give generously, Brothers & Sisters, but not at the expense of your financial obligations or into debt.
  • Know your God.  God is a giver.  He has blessed you with time, talents, & treasures to give.  Ask Him where He would have you give each of them & obey.
  • “No” what doesn’t fit.  If any request to give doesn’t fit the three “knows” above, then kindly say, “No, thank you,” with no regret.  You give as God calls.

I pray that you become more deeply aware of who God has called you to be & how He desires you to serve Him & others.

I pray that you give generously as you share God’s otherish love by word & deed as God calls.

I pray that you know God's abiding joy as you give this Christmas.

God so loved.

So He gave.

You so love.

'Tis the season.

To give.

Finished Furnished

What you see here is a dream come true.  (Some dreams change as you age, Friends, so gimme a break.)  This is a picture of our new basement bathroom.  So new the sticker is still on the toilet that had never been used & there is still clean-up & decorating to do.

Our basement - near five years in our imaginations, over four years in a savings account, near two years in pay-as-we-go construction -  is almost finished.  Can I get an, "amen"?

Carpet will be installed next week.  Got to paint the trim before then.  Paint the doors as soon as possible within the next weeks too.  I need that, "amen," again.

Yet, one problem.  Small one.  We've spent the savings we had to finish it so well, that we do not have enough left to fully furnish it.

I'm hearing a story.  A parable.  Jesus speaking.  Consider the cost before building a tower.  I know its a parable of discipleship, but its a building analogy & I've got building going on, Friends.  And there is a lesson for Christ following disciples in my post today too.  Back to my basement...

It is not fancy finish, but a good one.  Quality construction.  Materials that will last.  Surfaces that look nice & hopefully endure better.  We do have three rambunctious kids remember.

So, here we are at the place where we can say, "finished," and the basement built by faith is now challenging our flesh.  Good stewardship is being challenged by good salesmanship.  The challenge is our potential indebtedness in order that our fully finished basement might be a fully furnished basement.

It will be fully finished soon.  It sure would be nice if it was fully furnished too.

The furnishing are not upstairs already.  Upstairs is furnished.  Upstairs has none to spare.  These furnishing would be all new to us.  We are, as my wiser-than-the-average wife said, "basically furnishing a whole other house except for the kitchen" downstairs.  There's some sobering perspective for you.  Two complete bedrooms.  One larger than our master.  Plus a new den as large as our living room upstairs.

So we could do 12 or maybe 18 months "same as cash." One local furniture store has even "Gone Bananas" (their sale name) with 48 month financing.  We can get what we want now & pay along the way.  However, here we find another problem.  There is only so much cash in our monthly budget for all the that great "same as cash" stuff we'd like to have.

We got more ways to spend that we got means to pay.

(Terrible English, I know, but memorable I hope.)

As Americans we are regularly tempted to buy now & pay later.  It sounds good, but it is a temptation because we still have to pay & it may be for things we really don't need.

But Melanie & I are choosing faith, good stewardship, & prudent budgeting.  We won't have all the furniture we want right away, but we won't have the stress of paying for it either.

We pray that you'll join us in the practice of good, biblical stewardship.  While you are at it, feel free to stop by & join us for a seat on our unfurnished yet fully carpeted basement floor too.


Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you or forsake you."  Hebrews 13:5