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Lost in Wonder  

It is a strange moment.

As I write this, my wife and I are on our way to meet a new family member.  Our grandson.

He has been alive for eight hours.  But we have not met him.  Do not know him.  We’re desperate to see him, grab him, love him.  But it hasn’t happened yet.

Strange.  His fingerprints bear my DNA...there is something of ME in him...somewhere.   Yet I really don't know him. 

Lord willing, we will look back years from now and talk—together--about “when he was a teeny tiny baby.”  There will be shared experiences and funny sayings and laughable moments.   That is all before us.  But right now, I've never held him, never touched him. Never heard his voice.  Never even laid eyes on him...other than the two photos our daughter texted.  Like I say, it is a strange moment.

I am drawn to the mystery captured in David's prayer in Psalms 139:


Psa 139:13  You are the one who put me together inside my mother's body,

Psa 139:14  and I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no doubt.

Psa 139:15  Nothing about me is hidden from you! I was secretly woven together deep in the earth below,

Psa 139:16  but with your own eyes you saw my body being formed. Even before I was born, you had written in your book everything I would do.

Psa 139:17  Your thoughts are far beyond my understanding, much more than I could ever imagine.


There are times in life when writers like me are unable to write.  Unable to find words that paint the pictures in my heart.  I can only see them.  Sense them.  Ponder them.

As I say...it is a strange moment.

I am thoroughly…totally…lost in wonder.

Why Facebook is so Shallow  

When it comes to Facebook, I'm a latecomer. 

While most ten year olds can run rings around my Facebook skills, I'm convinced my disconnect to this point has given me a perspective that seasoned Facebookers lost a long time ago.

For one thing, I want to know why so much of the Facebook world amounts to so little. 

Why is it acceptable to post to the public a message that only applies to one or two out of the earth's  7.5  billion people?

And why is so much of the content —dare I say a convincing majority—void of any real substance? 

  • “Changed the oil in the car last night.”
  • “Can't believe I missed the season finale of”  (insert name of TV show here).

Minutia and mundane are the main fare.

Now we're not all called to write like Ernest Hemingway and I’m not suggesting every Facebook poke needs to be profound.  But surely we can do better than total self-absorption.

It’s as if we've forgotten to ask before clicking the mouse, “Does anybody really care about this—and honestly, should they?”

I’ve arrived at a theory—and please try not to be too offended.  My theory is that most people write shallow things on their Facebook pages because that's precisely the kind of life they're living: shallow. 

Could it be that shallow living compels a shallow people to share shallow things in the vain hope of finding significance?   I honestly wonder if all the “spare-me-please” postings on Facebook, are a sick attempt at finding some sort of personal significance.

Yet insignificance is exactly the byproduct of a person—or a culture—that has jettisoned God.  Worse, we babble foolishness—dare I say, like much of Facebook.  I'm drawn to the observation Paul made in Romans 1:22:  “Professing themselves to be wise, they became foolish.”

Wondering if there’s a connection between Facebook…and the Good Book...

When Lifestyle Evangelism is Non-Evangelism  

Years ago, an older brother in the faith took me aside and discipled me in something called lifestyle evangelism.   The concept is something of a reaction to older forms of evangelism.  Like preaching on a street corner.  Or shoving a gospel tract into somebody’s hands.  Incidentally, I’m not suggesting that either of those is wrong—or even bad. 

But the idea behind lifestyle evangelism is that we—quote—“earn the right to be heard” by virtue of the life that we live.  And there’s something to that.  When it comes to sharing Christ with my neighbors, I’ve worked hard at first being a good neighbor—as in loaning them tools, or helping take in their trash cans.  No point in sharing Jesus if I won’t share my stuff. 

Lifestyle evangelism underscores that making disciples is a process. Conversion is rarely instant.  So far so good. 

My problem with lifestyle evangelism is that there is now statistical evidence that many of us end our witness with good deeds.  But that’s only the starting point.  Those good deeds are intended to lead to conversations.  Conversations about Christ. 

Yet George Barna can show us reams of surveys that show most of us never get to the talk.  Maybe it’s because we’re scared.  Or maybe it’s because we’re ashamed.  Or maybe we’ve forgotten that despite the manicured lawn and shared interest in the Chicago Bears, that neighbor over the fence—apart from a saving relationship with Jesus—really will spend eternity burning in hell.

At some point it comes down to words.  Bible words.  It has to.  Or it’s not really evangelism.  Could I challenge you?  Keep on doing those nice things for your neighbors.  But don’t forget the kindest act of all: sharing Jesus verbally. To ignore that is to be the worst kind of neighbor.

Busy Being Busy  

With flu season approaching, lots of folks are thinking about getting immunized. I just got the flu shot myself. It's only too bad that you and I couldn't also get immunized from busy-ness.  You say, “What do you mean by that?”   In my observation, busy-ness has moved beyond the status of a cultural norm to become part of who we are.

Think for a minute how the conversation went the last time you asked a friend “How are things going?”    Chances are she or he said, “I'm busy.  Really busy”   And I don't doubt that a lot of us are.  We work longer hours....we own more things...we book more social events...we have more single parents.  Many of us are busier.  But the problem is two-fold.  First, some of us are just plain doing too much—so much we have very limited time for personal ministry...or going to prayer meeting...or teaching Sunday School.   

Second—and this is truly insidious--those of us that AREN'T quite as busy, feel absolutely compelled to claim we are.    We wear our busy-ness like a second skin.  Without it we feel naked. It is as if we now define worth by a sense of busy-ness.   That is, if we're busy—the assumption is we're contributing to our church, or to society as a whole.  And conversely, if we're NOT busy, we somehow deserve less sympathy...or we possess less value as persons.

But is that the Jesus way?  Absolutely not.  1 John 2 reminds us “whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.”  And how did Jesus walk?   For the most part, leisurely.  With time for friends.  Time for small talk.  Time for ministry.  Time for playing with little kids—and blessing them.

The only way Jesus COULD have had all that time was by not jamming up His schedule ahead of time. 

How unlike you and me.

You know, Jesus will not hand out rewards based on crowded calendars.  It's time to unplug.  Time to get un-busy.


Scowls are in.

Smiles are out.

Have you noticed?

Take a look at most any current Christian artist album cover or website with a photo. Chances are he or she isn’t smiling.

As we have in so many other ways, the Christian subculture has mimicked secular culture. 

Not many bother to ask why do the recording artists on secular albums scowl?  Sure, there’s a certain “coolness” factor.  It’s hip to look unhappy—go figure.  But there are other reasons as well.  Secular artists scowl because they have little to smile about.  It’s a culture of hopelessness and materialism that never satisfies.  That--and a growing gruesome preoccupation with death.

So again I ask, why must popular Christian artists—brothers and sisters who are following Christ—follow the world in their facial expressions?

I’m not suggesting every Christian needs to run around with a goofy grin 24 hours a day.  But shouldn’t the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit affect even the look on our face?

Proverbs 15:13 A glad heart makes a cheerful face. 

Consider that objective research has shown again and again that people think better of you—are more open to your message—if you smile.  Think of it!  They’d be more likely to be more interested in the gospel if we share that gospel wear a smile—or at least a pleasant look. 

So us average every-day Christian folks—we need to relearn to smile.  As for all you recording artists and wannabees out there: Leave the business of “glum” to the world.  Go ahead.  Crack a smile.

Again, I’m not advocating a shallow silliness or plastic pleasantry.  But would it really kill album or online sales if artists just looked into the camera and smiled?

As someone much bolder than I once said, “If you have Jesus in your heart…kindly notify your face.”

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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