Thursday, May 31, 2007


No, this isn’t about some furry critter that lives in trees.

Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work.

In case you haven’t noticed, it has been a while since I have posted anything.

Well, last weekend’s message at church was about Sloth.
Sloth basically means “Lazy”. It sounded like a good idea, so I thought I’d try it out.

I could make a whole list of excuses as to why I haven’t blogged for awhile, but as a wise man once said, “Excuses only sound good to those who make them”.

Basically, like most people these days, I have been rather busy. I have learned a lot this past week. One thing I discovered is that you can be really, really busy – always on the go – and still be lazy.

Take these guys for example……

Apparently, they were so busy trying to get the job done that they were too lazy to make sure the job was done correctly. That’s sloth.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I started a particular task, got side-tracked, and didn’t complete the task. Oh I was busy, I just got so busy doing other things that I forgot all about the original task.

Laziness isn’t just sitting on the couch watching TV. I did some of that this week too.
Even though, I was busy spending time with my son. It rained a lot last weekend so I didn’t get to spend much time outside doing yard work. I actually enjoy taking care of my lawn and doing those “manly” things around the house. I like it when I can make things work properly or help God make things grow. Even the baby trees I planted a couple of months ago are beginning to grow branches and little leaves. When I first planted them, my wife said, “Honey, you just planted a stick”. Well, those sticks are alive and growing (well, most of them, anyway).

Oops, there I go getting off track again. Is that called sloth? I dunno. Maybe.

We can be lazy with our kids too. What we may determine to be unacceptable behavior one day may be allowed to slide another day simply because we are too tired to deal with it. That is being inconsistent. That is sloth.

“But I was busy!”

Ummmm….yeah. Sure.

I have a friend, whom I strongly admire, who has a t-shirt that says “Get Busy”. I like that. It reminds me that we should get off the couch and do something.
Stop talking and start doing.
Stop thinking about accomplishing great things and take action.
I think it was Ben Franklin who said, “Some people dream of great accomplishments, while others stay awake and do them”.

In other words - Don't be lazy!

Sometimes the busiest people are the ones who are actually the lazy ones. I guess it’s all in how we spend our time. People get so busy sometimes, but doing what? I’ve seen a lot of people make themselves too busy to accomplish a task they were really supposed to be doing in the first place. I’ve done this a lot myself. I’ve gotten so busy doing other things that I didn’t have time for the original task. Those other things weren’t very important, but they kept me busy enough to neglect the important things. That’s sloth, too.

I read recently about a woman who was charged with watching school children swim. Her job was that of a “swim teacher” and she was supposed to keep an eye on the kids while they were swimming. However, she was too busy doing other work to keep an eye on the kids. You can read more of the story here. So, is it an example of “lazy”, or “sloth”? Or both??

But, all that sidetracking because I have been lazy. No excuses, I just got busy doing other things. Of course, everything I do is extremely important because I really am that awesome.

So, here’s what’s been going on in the life of Alpha Dude…….

My darling wife Patch (Good Lord, she hates that name), is doing well. In eleven more days she will go back in for the surgery to have her eye reopened. She’s really looking forward to that. I must say that if it were me having my eye sewn shut, I would behave quite differently than she has been.
I wore contact lenses for over 25 years, and whenever one of them got dirty or my eye got annoyingly irritated, my disposition changed for the worse. But this is one of those things that makes Patch so wonderful. She has told me that her eye is irritated (it itched a lot while healing), she’s told me how annoying and frustrating it is not being able to see out of that eye. She feels self-conscious about how she looks and thinks everyone is staring at her. Yet all the while, she is sweet, kind and loving. She truly is amazing and pure joy to be around.

My son is loving it here. He gets bored sometimes, since he hasn’t had much time to meet people yet. He likes our church and has met most of our friends, and they all have enjoyed meeting him. He’s a great guy and a fine young man. He greeted each of my friends with a firm handshake and called them “sir”. You just don’t see that in many 19 year olds these days.
I do believe that his “give-a-crap” is healing nicely. He’s also thankful that he has a real bed to sleep in and it is in his own room and it is in the house.

This took me all day to write. I’ve been rather busy at work these days.
Not sure if that is lazy, or sloth. Or just an excuse.
Either way, I am tired so I think I'll just go home and sit on the couch in front of the TV.


Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.
Proverbs 10:4

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Alpha Dude Likes to…

Erin, over at Life Unscripted, has tagged EVERYONE with the following activity that would liven up an otherwise dull day.

Here’s how it works…
In Google, type your name and "likes to" in quotation marks (ex: "Alpha Dude likes to"). Then make a list of the first ten results to share.

I didn’t have much luck with “Alpha Dude likes to”, so I had to use my given name.
(I tried to give it back once, but they wouldn’t take it, so I had to keep it.)

Okay, I know I posted more than 10, but I got carried away and found a bunch more. I even tried jumping ahead by 10 and 20 pages, but it was just more stuff about fishing and golfing.

So, for those of you who really want to know,

Scott Likes to…

1. Scott likes to watch movies.
2. Scott likes to listen to music.
3. Scott likes to read books.
4. Scott likes to keep his expectations modest.
5. Scott likes to workout, play golf and go boating.
6. Scott likes to play.
7. Scott likes to go fishing and play golf in his spare time.
8. Scott likes to think of Aperture, iPhoto, Photoshop, LightRoom, and all the others as competitors that force each other to make better products.
9. Scott likes to tell a story……
10. Scott likes to travel.
11. Scott likes to pick above-average looking athletes, ahem.
12. Scott likes to display Random Acts of Kindness.
13. Scott likes to believe his work history demonstrates versatility and a broad skill set rather than an inability to focus.
14. Scott likes to meditate, watch movies, and indulge his passion for golf.
15. Scott likes to "ride" the line or swing the line from side to side.
16. Scott likes to experience the beauty of the North woods through canoeing, fly fishing and most of all surfing the Great Lakes.
17. Scott likes to take many photos.
18. Scott likes to sleep and sometimes eat.
19. Scott likes to remain active, whether it be pretending he can dribble a basketball, countless hours spent looking for his golf ball, ...
20. Scott likes to hear from his readers.

That’s it. The stuff I found really did say those things. I did have to skip a few, but only because, apparently, “Scott likes to fish” and “Scott likes to golf” came up quite a lot.

I didn’t click on the links and read about the details of each one, but most of them describe me rather well. And I don’t even know what #15 is referring to and probably don’t want to know.
My wife, however, would say that #18 is the only one that actually applies to me.

So there you have it. My first thought when I saw Erin’s post was “Scott Likes to avoid meme’s like crazy”. Mostly because I am quite modest. But then, it really is all about me (sorry Mr. Warren).

So try it if you want to. No pressure.
I found it to be rather entertaining and time well wasted.
As a wise man once said,

“If you can’t laugh at other people, who can you laugh at?”


Monday, May 21, 2007

I am Proud of Him....

A long, long time ago, I can still remember, how that music used to make me smile…..

Oops, sorry, got a little carried away there.
(Now I’ve got that song stuck in my head)

I can still remember so very long ago when my older brother, Putz, left home at the age of 17. Putz and mom didn’t get along. In fact, Putz didn’t get along with my step-dad either. By the age of 17, Putz was drinking, smoking dope and doing a lot of stupid things. He missed classes, did poorly in school, and just didn’t seem to care about anything at all.

He was my big brother, my protector, my friend, but there were times when he was my worst enemy. By the time he left home, I was afraid of him. I was only 13, and very small for my age. Our dad lived in Alaska and knew how much Putz hated living with us in Colorado. Too many rules I guess. Dad offered Putz a home and mom resisted letting him go for fear there would be no discipline at dad’s. (She was right).

The final straw for Putz came when we all returned from vacation to find that Putz had completely trashed our home. (He was too cool to go with us and was allowed to stay home). After a rather “intense” confrontation, Putz was packed and leaving for Alaska. We made the long drive to Denver, put him on a plane and saw him off. I didn’t see my brother for four years after that day. Putz never called or wrote. His mother had to call our dad to find out that he made it there okay. There was a lot of anger and bitterness between those two for a very long time.

I am reminded of this time in my life because my own son almost followed a similar path. In his last couple of years of high school, he missed classes, didn’t turn in assignments, and started doing stupid things. He was also disrespectful to his mother. In all the despicable things his mother has done, I always encouraged him to respect his mother, whether he felt she deserved it or not. He still respected authority, just not his mother. He started wearing baggy clothes and hung out with the “gansta” crowd. He also got into his share of trouble.

I spoke to his counselor at school and found that he got along well with his fellow students and the teachers and staff, and they all thought very highly of him. “He’s just a great guy, everybody likes him!”

So why did he stop trying? Why did he stop caring about things?
I believe it is because his “give-a-crap” was broken.
All he heard from his mother is how worthless he is and how he’ll never amount to anything. Never any words of encouragement, just complaints about what she didn’t like about him. (Sound familiar?) He had to listen to his mother go on about how much she hates his dad, and then hear her scream at him, “You’re just like your father!”
I can only imagine how that made him feel. No wonder his give-a-crap was broken.

I had always told my son that there is always a place for him here. He understood that there is no free ride. There are rules here. Nothing too strict, though. Just your basic
- Be considerate of others.
- Clean up after yourself.
- Respect your home and the others who live there too.
Each of those can be broken down into several different things, but you get the idea.

A few weeks ago, right after his 19th birthday, he had finally had enough. He called me and asked if the offer for the room was still good, of course it was.

I picked my son up from the airport last Wednesday. As we were driving out of the airport parking garage, my son was already on the phone with his mother and his little sister, letting them know he made it here safely. Before he hung up the phone, I heard him say, “I love you, mom”

My son came here to start a new life, to get a fresh start.
My son has a huge heart for God.
My son is a follower of Jesus, God’s Son.
My son is a good man.
My son is taller than me.
My son…..

I am so very Proud of him!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mad About You....

Have you ever gotten angry and lost your temper? Yeah, it has happened to me, too.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!─ Gal. 5:22-23
There was a man who had a son that had some serious anger issues. The young man was known to lose his temper and become angry several times per day. One day he approached his father and asked for help in learning to control his anger.

The man took his son outside and handed him a box of nails and a hammer. He told his son that whenever he lost his temper and became angry, that he is to drive a nail into the wooden fence post for each one.

The son thought this was a crazy idea, but he trusted his father enough to give it a try. So, whenever the son became angry, he would drive a nail into the fence. In the beginning, the son drove 20 to 30 nails per day into that fence. Driving all those nails took considerable time and effort, so over the next few weeks, the son decided to learn to control his anger and the number of nails driven per day began to decrease.

One day the son realized he hadn’t been allowing things to make him angry and had gone a few days without driving any nails into the fence. When he shared this news with his father, the man again took his son out to the fence where all those nails had been driven. He told his son that for every day he can go without getting angry, he is to pull out one nail. The son told his father that there are an awful lot of nails to pull and that it will take a very long time. The man insisted it is necessary so the son agreed.

Every day that the son controlled his anger, he pulled out one nail from the fence. After several months, the son returned to his father and told him that every last nail had been pulled from the fence. Again, the man took his son out to the fence. As they looked at the fence together, the man said to his son,

“I am proud of you, son. You have learned that you have control over your anger and you don’t have to let things get to you. But now, look at my fence. It is ruined. It is still full of holes where those nails had been. The fence will never be the same.

You see, son, when we allow our anger to get the best of us, and we lose our temper and lash out, someone always gets hurt by our actions. That’s when we drive the nails. Later, when we apologize or make amends, we pull out that hurtful nail.

But look at the fence, son. Even though the nails are now gone, and you’ve apologized for the hurt, the damage that has been done is still there and will always be there. People may forgive you, but they will never forget.

Don’t you think it is better to not even drive that first nail?”

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. ─ Gal. 5:24-25
The Bible tells us that God gets angry, and that Jesus was angry in the temple when he drove out the dishonest merchants. He was also angry when He told off the Pharisees. We also know that Jesus never sinned. The Bible tells us to not sin in our anger. Anger is not a sin. What we choose to do with it determines if it is a sin or not.

God gets mad. He got so mad that one time He sent a flood to wipe out everyone but Noah and his family.

God is also mad about you.

He is so mad about you that He sent His only Son to die in your place so you could spend eternity in paradise with Him.

Remember, one of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control. So go ahead and get mad, just be careful what you choose to do with it. I could very well be that man’s son in the story. I’ve ruined my share of fences. But I’ve learned that I have a choice as to how I react to things that would normally make me angry.

God has used some amazing people in my life to help me learn to control my anger and take each thought captive and give it all up to Christ.
It isn’t easy and some days it is a real struggle.

Two weeks ago today, my oldest child, my son, turned 19 years old.
He has had a pretty rough last couple of years and a lot of that is my fault.
I trusted that his mother would treat her children (our children) with the love and respect you would assume from a mother who cares about her children. For the last few years, my son has been hearing how much his mother hates his father (me). Then he hears angry words like, “You’re just like your father!” (Personally, I don’t think that is such a bad thing).

My son is rather intelligent and has no problem putting two and two together. So what do you think he’s hearing her really tell him? Needless to say, they don’t get along very well.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve received phone calls from him asking if he could come here to live with me. One time I could hear his mother screaming obscenities at him in the background, telling him to hurry up and get out. Each time, once she realized she would no longer get support payments for him, she’d talk him out of it or find other ways to force him to stay. Often holding his car or bank account for ransom until she got her way. After he graduated from High School and the courts emancipated him, she tossed him out. She made him sleep in the RV on the other side of the garage and would rarely allow him in the house.

They get under each other’s skin quite easily and quite often. This last time, his mother pulled the plug on the RV and shut off the water.

A few weeks ago, my son called me and asked if the spare room in my house is still available.

Of course it is, it always has been. It just needed to be his choice.

Right now, my son is on a plane heading for here. I will pick him up at the airport later tonight.

He is coming here by choice. His entire family out west has turned against him. He asked to come. He doesn’t smoke or drink or do drugs. He’s a good kid. He is a fine young man.

We’ve got some catching up to do, and there is a fence to be mended.

Even though he’s never been here before, I sincerely believe with my whole heart, that my son is coming home.

God is good. Christ is King. And my son is coming home.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

"I’ve Got Your Back…."

A very dear friend of mine approached me at church one night after I had finished up with the Alpha Sprouts. Alpha Dude was “fellowshipping” (that’s church talk for wasting time yakking it up) with some folks before heading home. That’s when my Christian brother approached me with, what appeared to be, a heavy heart. (We like to tell people that we are twins, even though he’s tall and slim and I’m….uh….not).

Have you ever had the Holy Spirit speak to you? I don’t mean that you hear voices in your head or think you are weirding out or anything, but sometimes I just know stuff. Stuff that I otherwise would not normally know. It’s a kind of a gift, I think. I can’t control it, I can’t read people’s minds or anything, but it just seems that God will give me what knowledge I need at the particular time I need it to do His will. I didn’t know it yet that night, but my friend had a heavy question on his heart and I was about to have his answer for him.

As I said, something was troubling him and he said he wanted my input on something that was really bugging him. He had just gotten back from working on the ministry team for a men’s retreat (we call it a Discipleship Walk) and he experienced something during that weekend that had him somewhat confused. I had worked the same retreat a couple of times in the past so I was pretty familiar with how things go there.

During these retreats (they do the same thing for the women too, just on a different weekend) there are a total of ten different talks, each given by a different team member, which build on each other leading up to an awesome connecting-with-God type experience by the end of the weekend. Each talk is about 20 minutes. During each talk, one or two team members will meet in the prayer room to pray for the speaker giving the talk, and pray for the guys (the Disciples) listening to it as well. My friend was in the prayer room with another fellow during one of the talks, and prayed the entire time for God’s blessings on the speaker and on the Disciples.

After the talk, the speaker came to the prayer room. My friend shared with him that while he was praying for this man, he had felt a peace and a gentleness of God. He described this overwhelmingly wonderful feeling of peace and love and joy, and feelings of God’s Grace. The other guy however, said he didn’t experience that at all and spoke of a demonic presence and feelings of evil and darkness and spent his time praying against the enemy’s attacks.

So my friend’s question was this: How can two guys, in the same room, praying for the same speaker, experience two completely different and opposite feelings? Which one is right? Was one of them doing something wrong or praying incorrectly?

Before he finished telling me his story, and before he could ask – I had his answer. He even asked me why I was smiling when he finished his questions.

I told him I was glad he asked me because the Holy Spirit had given me his answer.

What I said to my brother is simply this:

Why do you think that Jesus sent out the Disciples in pairs? He told them not to venture out alone, but to work together.

You see, the reason my brother was able to pray about feelings of peace and joy and love and grace, is because someone else was praying against the evil and dark forces that were out to destroy the good work God was doing.

“The other guy had your back. You were able to experience ‘the peace of God that transcends all understanding’, because someone else had your back. He fought against the enemy, so that you could pray for God’s grace and blessings. Soldiers travel in pairs, and when they stop to rest, they sit down and lean against each other, back to back, and watch out for each other. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do for each other anyway?"

His eyes opened wide, and he smiled as though a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders. “Dude! That is so obvious! I don’t know why I couldn't see that before! That makes so much sense! Thank you!” His excitement returned and seemed to have a renewed energy as he walked away.

This is one of the men that I am proud to call my friends. I had never known this kind friendship until I moved here and joined this church.

While working a Discipleship Walk about a year ago, on the first night there, we normally have a brief meet and greet share time with the new disciples. One of the new disciples pointed to a team member he had just met, and announced to the room full of men that this guy claimed that there are at least three guys in the room that he could call at 3 A.M. and they would come right away to help him, if he asked them to. To test this, the new disciple asked which of the men on the team would actually come to the aid of that man if he called them at 3 o’clock in the morning.

About fifteen of us stood up immediately.

My friends and I, we hold each other accountable, and we share with each other and we pray with and for each other. And we each know that any one of those men, at any given time, and without hesitation, will gladly tell any one of the others

“Dude, I’ve got your back.”

Monday, May 07, 2007

Breathing…..Is Life

I learned something this weekend. (Impressed?)

The Hebrew name for God, in the Old Testament, is Yahweh. At least, that’s how we say it in English.

The Hebrew people of that time considered the name of God to be too sacred, too holy, to be spoken out loud. In fact, the Hebrews used the four letters YHVH to represent the incommunicable name of God. YHVH was used in the Hebrew writings to refer only to the self existent, eternal, GOD.
In the King James and in other versions of the Bible, YHVH has been sometimes translated as “LORD”.

Think on that the next time you are reading the Old Testament!

Yahweh is just the English expression of the letters YHVH. Feel free to Google it up and learn more if you’d like, but I’d like to look at something in particular. When YHVH is expanded over time into what we now read as “Yahweh”, something rather interesting is revealed.

YHVH is more of a sound, than a name. When you break out each of the four letters, you get

Instead of just reading these words to yourself, whisper the words out loud.
It sounds like breathing doesn’t it?
Saying the name of God sounds like you are taking a breath!

“…the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)

Okay, now think about this. We, human beings, are created in the image of God. The Bible says we are made in His likeness.
When a child is born, before that baby can cry, it has to take in a breath. That means that the first thing every human being will do, before that child created in the image of Almighty God does anything, they speak the name of God. YHVH.

“The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33:4)

I remember the day my son was born 19 years ago. As the doctor held him up to me, my son looked at me with those big blue eyes, and he spoke the name of God.

And then, together, we both cried like babies.

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.
(Psalm 150:6)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

About Gluttony

We’re covering the Seven Deadly Sins at our church.
This weekend, the subject was Gluttony.

I suppose gluttony has become a way of life for a lot of people. Have you heard those radio commercials lately? At the drive up window, the guy orders a spare tire with a super sized side order of love handles? And his date orders the pa-donk-a-donk butt with a side of thunder thighs? And for dessert – they both go for the “double-chin”.
Now that’s truth in advertising!

Sure, it may sound funny, but what are we teaching our children? What sort of habits did our own parents instill in us?

I remember as a child growing up, we were always told to clean our plates at meal time. I can’t tell you how many times I heard about those starving children in Africa and how grateful they would be for that slop on my plate. I never could figure out how my not eating all the slop on my plate would help some kid on the other side of the world, but I was made to eat it anyway.

And it never once mattered that I was already full. I was a rather small kid and had a small stomach, but that never seemed to matter. (I was little, I didn’t need very much.)
So I was usually the last one at the table, eating food that had become cold and not very tasty. For that matter, maybe if it was tasty when it was warm, I may have eaten it in less time.

Now, I’m not saying my mother was a bad cook, she was actually a very good cook. She just chose to prepare things I didn’t care to eat. Remember beets? And spinach? (not the good leafy stuff from the garden, I’m talking about that stringy slimy stuff from the can).

And my step-dad didn’t help much either, pretending the spinach was a plate of worms and slurping them up and telling us how yummy they were. Or when he’d tell us that the secret ingredient in the meat-loaf came from the backyard (we had a dog).

But they made us eat it all anyway. The word “gluttony” was never used, but it apparently was just something we were taught to do.

“But I’m not hungry! I’m full!”

“There’s starving children in Africa, you know.”

Once I was full, all I wanted to do was go out and play.
In Southern California, there was always plenty of sunshine and warm weather, so after dinner, year round, we wanted to go out and play. “Not until you clean that plate”.
And no, she wasn’t asking me to do the dishes.

There is a nice restaurant my wife and I like to visit here occasionally. The price is reasonable and the portions are huge. The last time we ate there, I got just over halfway through the meal and started slowing down. My wife asked if I was okay, or if the food tasted alright.

“No, it’s good. I’m just feeling kind of full”

“Then why don’t you just stop eating?”

“Because……. I want to go out and play!

Some habits are hard to break I guess.

Something else worth noting: When I was growing up, those trips to the Golden Arches only happened once every couple of weeks or so. And it was a real treat to get to go. Nowadays it is almost a daily occurrence for a lot of families. So what does that tell you? What are we trying to teach our children?
Whether we like it or not, our children are going to learn what we show them, not what we tell them. But that’s another subject.

It should also be understood that gluttony isn’t just about eating too much food, it is about excess. Anything we do to excess, is gluttony. Excessive eating, drinking, watching TV, blogging, etc. (did he say “blogging”?)

I really feel sorry for those people who consider themselves “gluttons for punishment”.

I just wanna go out and play……

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Ellie, from The Cedar Chest mentioned that she isn't sure what religion I practice.

I don't practice any religion. I am a follower of Jesus Christ.

I go to church. I am a member of the local church body. I serve in my church in what ever capacity God calls me to do.

The following hangs in a frame above my desk. It is one of the first things anyone sees when they enter my office. I don't remember where I got it from, but I do my best to live it every day.


I’m a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His. I won’t look back, let up, slow down or back away. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap giving and dwarfed goals. I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer and labor by power. My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up or let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ.


I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own He will have no problem recognizing me – my banner will be clear.