So I have this app on my phone that allows me to flip through the day’s news headlines and then click on a headline if I want to read the story.  So I was scanning the headlines the other day and here is a sampling of some of the headlines for September 14, 2010:

  • Tropical Storm Karl Forms in Caribbean
  • Italy Seizes Billions in Suspected Mafia Goods
  • Egg Farm Knew of Salmonella Investigators Say
  • American Freed by Iran Arrives in Oman
  • Eiffel Tower Reopens After Bomb Threat
  • 30 Insurgents Killed in Afghanistan Ahead of Vote
  • Starbucks to Put 12-OZ Tall Drinks Back on Drive-Through Menus

Do you notice anything out of place there?  We have major national and international news including bomb threats, freed hostages, killings, storms, a possible cover-up, and then there is this headline focused on drive-through coffee menus?  Now I know Starbucks is a pretty big deal, but I just had to laugh when I came to that last headline.  I could see having a Starbucks as a news headline if ownership changed hands, or if there was a major change in the corporate philosophy, but we are just talking about their menu board.  I find that a little ridiculous for such a minor point to be considered such a big deal that it becomes a headline.  When you take a moment to consider the impact of putting 12-oz tall drinks back on the drive-through menus compared to a bomb threat and insurgents killed and a tropical storm, the Starbuck’s drink menu just seems to pale in comparison.

But as I was thinking about that, I realized that we have a tendency to do the same thing in Church at times.  We take minor things and give them a major emphasis.  Like for instance, one of the things that the church became known for over the last 15 years was their “worship wars.”  This was because many churches went through a transition from one style of music to another.   The transition is fine, but the fact that in many cases it became a war is a great example of how we major in minor things too often. 

I don’t want to step on toes here, but the kind of music we use to worship God is not as important as the number of people in our community who need us to “be the church.”  Too often we spend more time talking about the kind of carpeting to put in the new sanctuary, the kind of food to serve at our next banquet, the kind of coffee to have at our fellowship time, and even the kind of book to study at our next group meeting than we do on the kind of lives we need to live to glorify God in our community. 

I want to challenge us to not get caught up in the minors.  That doesn’t mean we let things fall through the cracks, or that we ignore details.  I believe we are to do what we do with excellence, but let’s not become so focused on eternally insignifcant details that we miss out on what God is calling us to focus on.

Canned Peaches

Have you ever eaten a canned peach?  They’re pretty good right?  My kids enjoy them so much that they even fight over the left over juice.  Canned peaches come in very handy during the colder months, when a variety of fresh fruit is much harder to come by.

I like canned peaches, but the other day I was peeling a fresh peach for my daughter and I was thinking about canned peaches.  Have you ever thought about the difference?  Canned peaches and fresh peaches don’t even seem like the same thing.  They have very different flavors.  I am sure it has to do with the canning procedure, but whatever the reason, it changes the flavor and makes them different.

But not only are they different, they also just aren’t as good.  There is something really wonderful about eating a big, juicy, fresh peach, with the juice running down your face.  You know what I’m talking about!  Canned peaches are pretty good, but they pale in comparison to the real thing.

Imagine if all you ever knew was canned peaches in your life and then all of a sudden you get your first taste of a fresh peach.  Wow, what a difference!  And you are thinking to yourself, where has this freshness been all my life?  Why have I settled for canned peaches, when fresh peaches are so great? 

So while I was standing there peeling that fresh peach for my daughter and thinking about canned peaches, another thought came to me.  How often do we settle for canned peaches in our spiritual lives?  I think that happens alot.  We are satisfied with our relationship with God being pretty good.  We read our Bible, we pray, and we go to church and participate in worship.  Everything is pretty good.  And we are satisfied with pretty good.  But is that all there is?

I want to challenge you today, to take some time and consider if your relationship with God is more like canned peaches or fresh?  Does God have more in store for you that you are not enjoying simply because you are satisfied with your spiritual life being just pretty good?  Consider David, who in Psalm 42 says, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.”  Does that sound like a man who is looking forward to some canned peaches?

This Sunday, I will be talking about a new way of looking at prayer.  It fits in well with this idea of canned peaches compared to fresh.  I don’t want to ever be satisfied with canned peaches, when there is freshness available to me.


My wife Julie was diagnosed with pneumonia last Friday.  The doctor told her that she had to go home and go to bed.  She was told to treat it as if she was in the hospital even though she was at home.  I know that many people have been praying for her and thankfully she has begun to feel a little better.  The fever finally broke and while the cough is still prevalent, at least some of the pain has subsided. 

Now of course, when mommy is laid up the rest of the home is put in a tough position as well.  The kids still need to be taken care of, the house still needs to be cleaned, the laundry needs to be done, and of course everyone still needs to eat.  We have four children, ages 2-10 and so you can imagine that while Julie has been recuperating, my life has been kind of out of whack.  I have been trying to be both mommy and daddy for the last few days as well as taking care of a sick wife. 

Thankfully my work is flexible and I have been able to do a lot of work from home so that the kids are still okay.  I also can multi-task, at least to some extent, which means that I can get laundry and other household tasks done while also working on my sermon and even writing this blog. 

But one of the reasons these last few days have gone so well is because of the ministry of hospitality provided to us by our River Church family.  Julie’s parents live nearby, but they were on their way out of town when Julie was diagnosed.  Julie’s mom offered to postpone our trip, but I told her to go ahead and go, because while it would be convenient to have her here, we also have a church family here with us and they have really stepped up. 

We have had a few people volunteer to take the kids for a time so that I could get work done or run errands.  And we have had several families that have brought us meals so that I did not have to think about cooking dinner.  What a blessing everyone has been.

This is part of what it means to “be the church.”  We are called to show hospitality to one another.  We are supposed to care for one another.  It isn’t always easy.  It isn’t always convenient.  But we do it because we are called to “be the church.”  I am so thankful to our church family for the blessing they have been during this time of need.  Thanks church!

Leadership Summit

So this past week I was at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit Simulcast in Bloomington.  It was a great conference featuring speakers like Bill Hybels, Jim Collins, Tony Dungy, Andy Stanley, and TD Jakes among others.  The Summit is a nice blend of men and women who approach leadership from different perspectives.  Topics included change, endurance, mentoring, tension, and motivation, again, among others.  Several of the names on the docket for this conference were ones that I recognized, but there were a few that I had never heard of before.  And suprisingly it was some of those that impacted me the most.

One of my favorite sessions happened to be an interview with Terri Kelly, the CEO of W.L. Gore & Associates (Gore-Tex).   I actually ran out of space trying to taking notes from some of the points she was making.  The interesting thing is that she was not coming at this from a church leadership viewpoint, but rather from one that was purely business.  But so much of what she was saying fits with the church as well.

For instance, she pointed out that a good leader doesn’t simply tell people what to do, but rather provides influence about what is important.   That is so true of my job as pastor and the leadership of the church.  We need to provide influence about what is important.  We need to be listening to the Lord and seeing where He is at work and what He wants us to do, and bring that to the church so that we can follow the Lord together.  In order for that to happen we need to have a common foundation, which is the Lord, and a common set of values.  We talk often about our vision and purpose and the reason is because we all need to be on the same page so that we have a framework for making decisions about what we are going to do and not do.

Another great presentation was an interview with Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric and author of the book, “Winning.”  He said that it is the leaders’ job to energize people, not through cheerleading or hyping something up, but by getting them to feel the vision. 

What a great concept that is.  Do you feel the vision?  I hope so.  We, at The River, believe we are called to “be the church.”  That is who we are.  We are committed to bringing maximum glory to God through knowing Christ and making Him known to every man, woman and child in the community of Chaska and to the regions beyond.  We will do that through authentic community, intentional discipleship, Spirit-filled worship, Kingdom praying, and missional living.  I hope you feel the vision.  Let’s be the church!

Another great presentation was with Blake Mykoskie, the founder of Tom’s Shoes Inc.  He made a great point about asking people to do audacious things.  I really liked that.  Tom’s Shoes gives away a pair of shoes for every pair of shoes that is bought.  That is pretty audacious.  I want us, as a church, to step up and do audacious things.  Obviously, it needs to be in line with what God is calling us to do, but I believe we sometimes miss out on big things because we are afraid to step out of the boat and trust God to help us walk on water. 

All in all, this was a great conference.  I am really glad that I had an opportunity to be there.  I pray that God will help me to be the leader He has called me to be and that He will use me to lead the church in becoming the church that He is calling us to be.

Garden of God’s

So my family and I recently got back from vacation in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  We were out there for about 10 days visiting family.  If you have never been to Colorado Springs, it is one of the most beautiful places in the country.  It is nestled right at the base of Pikes Peak in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  One of the main attractions in the area is Garden of the Gods Park.  It is a registered National Natural Landmark and is known for it’s breathtaking red rock formations.  You can check it out at http://www.gardenofgods.com/home/index.cfm

Colorado Springs is the city where my wife and I were married and since my family still live there we get back to visit every couple of years.  One of the traditions that my son and I have established is that every time we get back for a visit, we go for a hike at Garden of the Gods. 

Now if you have ever been to Garden of the Gods you know that there are several rock formations that are tourist favorites like “The Kissing Camels”, or “Balanced Rock.”  But for Jacob and I, our favorite place to visit is the “Siamese Twins.”  It is a little bit off the beaten path, and if you didn’t know it was there  you might easily miss it.  But each time we visit, that is one of the places we like to go.  I believe it offers the most wonderful view in the park.  There are two giant rock towers that are connected together in such a way as to form a window right in the middle that allows you to look through the formation and see Pike’s Peak off in the distance.  It is an amazing view that I marvel at everytime I visit the “Twins.”

This year Jacob and I took the entire family back to our special place.  It is not a long hike and not too difficult.  Our 2-year old, Makenna, even made the hike holding on to my hand.  But while it is not a hard hike it is still not a place that is visited by many.  Actually I have never been there when there have been more than 2 or three other families visiting it at the same time.  And many times Jacob and I have been there all by ourselves.  Maybe that is part of the reason I like it so much.  It is quiter and less distracting than some of the other overcrowded areas in the park.  Which gives you an opportunity to stop and really enjoy the beauty that surrounds you.

I love this park, and I look forward to visiting everytime we get back to Colorado Springs, but one thing that I have always struggled with is the name.  You see, I know that there are not many gods, but only One.  And this park is not a playground for man-made gods to roam, it is a testament to the One True God, the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth.

We are reminded in Deuteronomy 4:39, “Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below.  There is no other.”

Garden of the Gods Park should more accurately be called Garden of God’s, because there is only One God and He made that amazing park with all of it’s breathtaking views as well as the rest of this incredible universe in which we live. 

If you ever get out to visit Colorado Springs I encourage you to visit this Garden of God’s and hike back up to the Siamese Twins, take a moment and gaze through the window of the towers at the beautiful Peak in the background and I trust that you, like me, will be reminded of the awesome, amazing, infinite power of our Creator!

World Cup (unfair and me screaming at the TV)

So I am sitting here watching the World Cup match between USA and Algeria as I write this blog.  For those of you who are not familiar with World Cup, it is possibly the biggest sporting event in the world.  Here in the U.S. it is not a big deal, but many countries live and breathe this soccer (futbol as it is called everywhere else) tournament every 4 years.  For instance, France was just recently eliminated and the headline back home was “The End of the World.”

Anyway, there are 32 teams in this tournament, and they are divided into 8 different groups.  Each country will play the other 3 teams in their group and receive 3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie and 0 for a loss.  The 2 teams with the most points from each group advance to the next round. 

The United States tied their first two matches (in soccer they call them matches, not games) and so now they need a win against Algeria to advance to the next round.  In the first half the United States came up with a big goal to take the lead, but it was called back because of offsides.  I am not even going to try and describe offsides to you here, but in replay it was obvious that the U.S. player was not offsides and the goal should have been allowed. 

The game continued on and the U.S. had some great opportunties.  They had many great plays and hit a couple of shots off the posts and goalie, but never quite got the ball into the back of the net.   It was a difficult and frustrating game to watch, but the most frustrating thing was knowing that the U.S. should have been playing from ahead for the whole game after their early goal was disallowed. 

I don’t know about you, but one of the things that I find most frustrating is unfairness.  I always have.  I can’t stand seeing someone wrongly accused or someone treated unfairly.   If you were with me while watching this match you would have heard me screaming at the television quite often.   Nothing inappropriate, but I was definitely quite vocal about the unfairness I was watching.

But that got me thinking about Jesus.  I know that watching soccer may not usually cause you to think about Jesus, but let me explain.  You see, Jesus endured the most unfair event ever.  He was wrongfully accused, arrested, tried, beaten and murdered on a cross.  But Jesus didn’t yell or scream, he endured it all in silence.  Isaiah 53:7 prophesied about this event saying, “he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”  Jesus endured all of that outrage, humility, pain and suffering and death for us, and he did it without every raising His voice in His own defense. 

There is something that I should learn from that.  I can get pretty worked up about unfair things that are miniscule in comparison to what Jesus endured.  Jesus’ example is excellent for me to remember when I am faced with something that I consider to be unfair.

But beyond that, because of His silent sacrifice, we receive a great victory.  Eternity with Him in Heaven.  What an amazing outcome out of what was a terribly unfair event.  Jesus silently endured a terribly unfair event and turned it into the greatest  victory of all time.   A victory that I should celebrate everyday of my life.

By the way, while I was writing this blog, the U.S. game came down to the final minutes.  Actually, regulation time had run out and the game was into it’s final 4 minutes of what is called “stoppage” time.  And with less than 4 minutes left, the U.S. made a great charge down the field and scored the winning goal.  With that outcome, combined with the result of the other game in their group (between England and Slovenia), the U.S. not only advanced to the next round, but won their group.  After enduring an unfair event (with me screaming at the television), the U.S. team came away with a wonderful victory.  Obviously nothing compared to what Jesus accomplished, but still I was jumping up and down and screaming at the television once again, only this time in a much different way than I had before.  Go U.S.A.!

Open Wide Your Mouth

Today in my devotions I came across Psalm 81:10, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt.  Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.”  That is a beautiful and powerful verse.  When I think of it, I get the picture of a nest of baby birds with their mouths wide open toward the sky waiting for their mother to feed them.  They have their mouths so wide open that you can’t even see their face.  They are hungry and they know that food is coming.  So they are straining with every ounce of muscle they have to be ready to receive that food.

Today I had a conversation with a woman whose husband has been out of work for several months and they are not able to pay for this month’s rent.  She has been trusting God and knowing that He has a plan, but she is tired.  She is ready for this to be over.  She is ready for God to come swooping in and give them what they need.  She is waiting and wondering where God is in the midst of this.

And I don’t blame her.  I understand how she feels.  How do those two pictures go together?  God says “open wide your mouth and I will fill it.”  So what’s the deal?  Is her mouth not wide open enough?  Where is the filling?

Have you ever felt like that?  Have you ever wondered where God is in the midst of what you are going through?  Have you ever wondered what God is doing and when He is going to come along and provide what you are hungry for and in need of?  Those are tough times, are they not?  So how do we wait for feeding time?  How do we hang on for God?

Let’s consider this verse from Psalm 81 a little closer.  Notice that first we see a reminder of who God is.  That God is faithful and more than capable of providing for our every need.  We have seen God at work over and over again and we can know that He is able to care for our needs today just like He did for the Israelites so many years ago.

So the first place we need to start is with trust.  We need to trust God.  He knows our needs and actually knows even better than we do what is best for us.  And He is fully capable of meeting those needs.  He has proved Himself faithful time and again and we can trust in Him.  But I believe the second part of that verse carries this concept to a whole new level.  Opening wide our mouths is an action for us to take.  It is us saying that we know that God is powerful, and faithful, and that He will provide, and us actively putting ourselves in the position for God to pour out whatever we need from Him.

Now along with that goes an understanding that we are vulnerable in that position.  Think of the birds for a moment.  They opened their mouths so wide that they couldn’t possibly see what was coming.  They trusted their mother to not only feed them, but to give them what would be good for them.  The mother bird could put anything into their mouths at that moment and they wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.  Opening our mouths wide in expectation puts us in a position of vulnerability before the Lord.  And I believe that vulnerability is key.

When we are in that position we are saying to God, fill me Lord, I trust in you to give me whatever you choose to give me.  When we get to that position we are abandoning our plans and putting ourselves completely in His hands, trusting that whatever He gives us will be exactly what we need. 

Many times we want God to feed us or help us, but only as long as His plan comes into line with what we want for ourselves.  We want Him to feed us, but we want to choose the menu.  But God wants us in this position we see in Psalm 81:10, with our mouths so far wide open that we are completely trusting Him to give us what we need.

I know some of you out there are hurting and hungry.  I want to invite you to open wide your mouths to the Lord.  Remember His faithfulness and power, and trust Him to give you exactly what you need.  Open wide your mouth to the Lord and let Him fill it.

Tebow or not Tebow, That Is The Question!

So this weekend was the NFL Draft.  I am a Redskins fan and I also root for the Colts and the Vikings (based on where I used to live and where I live now).  So I followed all three of those teams along with some of my favorite college players to see what happened.

If you are unfamliar with the NFL Draft, here is how it works.  Each NFL team gets assigned a draft number based on how they did in the previous season.  The worst teams pick first and the better teams pick later.  Then the draft is divided into rounds and each team, one at a time, selects a player from the college ranks to join their team. 

The teams make their picks based on a number of criteria.  Obviously, they have watched how those players did in their college careers.  They also have an event, called the NFL Combine, each year before the draft where the players get measured and weighed and then perform a number of drills that are meant to measure their speed and strength and other physical factors.  There are also other criteria like IQ tests and personal interviews that go into the mix and eventually each team ranks the players available based on how they have interpreted all those criteria.

Going into the draft the player that caused the most debate was QB Tim Tebow from Florida.  First of all let me just say that I have always liked Tebow.  He is a strong Christian man with excellent character.  There was a phenomenal interview with him in ESPN the magazine back in the fall of 2009, where he basically shared the plan of salvation and they included it in the article.  

The reason there was so much debate about Tebow before the draft was because although he is considered one of the greatest college football players to have ever played the game, some question whether or not he will be able to transfer that success into the NFL.  His detractors question his size, his physical ability, his throwing style, and the offense that he played in during college.

The highlight of the NFL Draft this weekend was the selection of Tim Tebow by the Denver Broncos with the 25th pick of the first round.  Immediately the debate raged on by the announcers who said that he didn’t have what it takes to be a great NFL quarterback.  But the Broncos chose not to focus on his physical qualities, and his throwing motion and instead focused on his leadership ability, his strong work ethic, his character, and his passion and commitment for the game.  And for that reason, they chose him earlier than most experts had him going.

It remains to be seen as to whether Tebow ends up having a great NFL career or not, but this got me thinking about something the Bible tells us about how God looks at man.  In the book of I Samuel, chapter 16, we see that God has told Samuel to go and annoint a new king for Israel.  He sends him to Bethlehem to the home of Jesse.  When Samuel arrives Jesse has his sons parade in front of him one at a time.  The first son comes up and he is a great physical specimen, and Samuel assumes that this is who the Lord wants him to anoint, but God tells Samuel this in verse 7, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.  The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

God then leads Samuel to pass on all of Jesse’s sons until he arrives at David, who is the youngest brother and God chooses him to be the king of Israel.  And of course David turns out to be, “a man after God’s own heart” and a great king of Israel. 

I am not saying that the Broncos measured Tebow the way that God measured David, but I do appreciate they way they focused more on his heart and character, than on his physical characteristics.  Maybe if we had more teams focusing on heart and character when drafting players we might have less issues like what we see happening with Ben Roethlisburger, and so many other professional athletes these days.

The Happy Ending

I like to read.  I read non-fiction books to help with my ministry, leadership, spiritual development, and other things and then in my spare time I also enjoy reading fiction.  Lately I have been enjoying some of Clive Cussler’s novels. 

Today as I was reading, I was getting drawn into the suspense and intrigue of the story and I was wondering how it was all going to work out.  There were a lot of twists and turns and a few times the story began heading in a direction that seemed to lead to an outcome I would not be pleased with.  But then I realized that regardless of what new development came up in the story, everything was eventually going to work out in the end.  

In Cussler’s novels the good guys always win, the storyline always gets resolved, everything eventually works out for the best.  Actually, most fiction is like that.  Not all, but the majority of fiction novels eventually wind up with things working out in the end.  That is one of the nice things about reading.  It means that you can enjoy reading the book, you can experience the adventure and the intrigue and yet all the while you can know that everything will work out in the end. 

As I was thinking about that, I realized that in reality that is true with our life in Christ as well.  Life is filled with ups and downs.  Things don’t always go our way.  We have our share of hardships and difficulties along with our joys and triumphs.  Life is an adventure, it is filled with intriguing possibilities.  We may not enjoy everything that happens along the way, but ultimately, if we are in Christ, we can be assured that everything will work out in the end. 

We already know how things are going to turn out.  One day the Lord will return to usher in His Kingdom. Life as we know it will come to an end, but there will be a new Heaven and a new earth and we will spend eternity with our Lord.  We can be assured of that good ending if we are in Christ. 

That amazing fact allows us to look at life here on earth in a different way.  We can approach this life with peace, knowing that no matter what happens, God’s victory is secure.  Everything will come together at the end of the story.  So I encourage you with those words.

Underlines Revisited

Back in January, I wrote about how I am reading through the Bible this year in my devotions and for each chapter I read, I am choosing one verse to underline.  I thought it might be good for me to revisit that thought by sharing a few of the verses that I am choosing to underline.  So here it goes…

Understand, today is Wednesday so I have underlined a total of 12 verses this week from Numbers 19-30.  I will share with you just 4 of those 12 verses. 

On Sunday I underlined Numbers 19:22, “Anything that an unclean person touches becomes unclean, and anyone who touches it becomes unclean till evening.”  That is not a verse that I would normally have underlined, but since I was choosing to underline one verse from each chapter, this is the one that I chose from chapter 19.  The reason I chose it is because it reminds me of the holiness of God.  In order for us to understand God’s grace and love we also need to understand His holiness and justice.  We need to grasp the concept that our sin, and anything that is unclean, separate us from a holy God.  It is only when we grasp that separation that we can understand our need for the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 

On Monday I underlined Numbers 22:18, “But, Balaam answered them, ‘Even if Balak gave me his palace filled with silver and gold, I could not do anything great or small to go beyond the command of the Lord my God.'”  If you were at The River on Super Bowl Sunday, you would have heard me preach on the story of Balaam.  But I focused on Nubmers 23:19 and not on this verse.  But this verse is a great reminder to us as well.  In a world that is all about compromise, this is the attitude we need to take.  All the time we get opportunities to compromise in our faith.  But we need to take a stand.  We need to recognize that nothing is worth turning away from what God has called us to do.  That means being true to God first in our workplace, being men of integrity in our marriages, and being bold with our testimony.  We need to be willing to do and say only what God commands of us.  We need to be right in the center of His will at all times.

On Tuesday, one of the verses I underlined was Numbers 25:13, “He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood, because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites.”  This is an interesting verse with an interesting context.  In Numbers 25 we see Israel is being seduced by Moab.  The men are falling into sexual immorality with the Moabite women and that is leading them to idolatry as well.  And we see that God is angry with this and sends a plague against Israel.  At one point we see an Israelite man blatantly falling into sexual immorality with a Midianite woman right in front of the whole assembly and Phinehas the grandson of Aaron the priest, grabs a spear and drives the spear through both the man and the woman and the plague that was against the Israelites stopped.  Then the Lord commends Phinehas and we see in verse 13 that God commends him for being zealous for the honor of his God.  How often are we zealous for God?  How often do we stand up for God?  People all around us blaspheme God.  I am obviously not saying that we should pick up a spear and drive it through them, but how often do we ever even simply stand up for God?  Where’s the zeal?

Then finally, today one of the verses that I underlined was Numbers 30:2, “When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.”  That is a great challenge for us.  We treat our word so casually.  How often do we keep our promises.  When we say something, we should be willing to stand by it, or we shouldn’t say it.  I know the term is overused, but we really should be “promise keepers.”

So that is a little taste of some of the verses that I have underlined this past week.  I will plan to do more of this in the weeks ahead.  I would commit to blogging everday about one of the verses that I chose to underline that day, for those who would like to follow along, but then I would probably find myself not keeping my word and that would not be good.