The Fellow Who Started Fast and Fell On His Nose

When I was a little tyke I heard a story that I loved—the race between the tortoise and the hare (that’s a turtle and a rabbit if you’re not too literary).

I think they even did a Bugs Bunny cartoon about it.

The rabbit explodes off the starting line leaving the poor old turtle struggling along in a dust cloud.

Old Bugs gets so far ahead that he knows he’s got plenty of time to finish so he decides a little siesta is in order.While he’s putting up zzzzzzzzzzzz’s the turtle rumbles slowly by and wins the race. The rabbit awakes just in time to realize his mistake, but even though he streaks to the finish line, the steady turtle still beats him.

I never liked turtles.

My favorite football team played a game like that recently. Way ahead at the half, they must have decided to take the second half off, because the other team played like my team wasn’t there and eked out a win. My heart was broken.

Speedy King

I even saw a speedy king in the Bible who won his race but was staggering at the end.

Few other kings in the Bible started out like Hezekiah. He also finished with a report card that few others could match. Continue reading

How To Stop the Ugly Spiral and Get Better Looking

We preached for a couple of churches in the North of France this weekend. They were together having an outing, so after putting some sausages and fries into the ministry, I settled into a reasonably comfortable spot in the shade to watch the soccer game.

At church outings, there is a mandatory sporting event so that the men can strut their stuff. My stuff is mostly strutted out because of a gimpy knee (and 65 years of walking on it). In some countries the sport is softball or touch football, maybe even volleyball.

In France of course it’s soccer.

I must admit that I was impressed by some of the middle-aged guys. They were no longer young, their belts were stretching to try to hold in the extra pounds around their middle and their aging heads were full of graying, gray, or disappearing hair.

They started out well and at times amazed me with their abilities. 

The game was divided into three parts for the older players:  first twenty minutes or so–“flashes from the past,” you could imagine that at one time they weren’t bad as they rumbled around shooting and passing and telling themselves that they still had it; second twenty minutes—“reminders of the present,” here the match slows down considerably and reality sets in; third twenty minutes—“flashes from the old folks home,” a vision of the future.

“Is it time for desert yet?”

Another twenty minutes and we could have called the undertaker for some of them. I imagine there was quite of chorus of, “I told you!” from their wives on Monday morning.

Folks, whether we like it or not, this thing isn’t heading in a good direction.

The tiny baby makes us smile. (Notice, I didn’t say “beautiful baby.” Look at the kid! No hair, no teeth, all red and wailing. Everyone says he’s the spitting image of his daddy). I will admit that he is kind of sweet.

This little guy becomes the cute kid and she then morphs into the eye-catching teenager.

Somewhere though, gray hairs begin to sprout like green grass in Spring and hairdressers get rich making blonds out of grays. Pounds pile on, cholesterol shoots up and you look up the road a couple of years at the people a bit older than you and realize that it’s not going to get better.

We’re all going to seed.

It’s actually worse than that. One day I was reflecting and I realized something. I loved my grandparents but it’s almost like you have to cash them in to get your children.

Then you trade your parents for your grandchildren.

Then came a sobering thought: One of these days my grandkids are going to trade me in too! “C’mon guys, no! I’m papa, remember those ice-cream cones?” Continue reading

How To Defeat Grouch-itis

I got to see a couple of professional grouches up close recently and I was impressed. They were good.

I had been at the clinic to get a test done and there was this old couple there. He griped at her and she griped at him. I mean they managed to make each other feel bad and make those around them uneasy.

Actually, I wasn’t uneasy. I thought they were funny but I figured that if they griped at each other that much in public, they must be terrors in private.

The same day there was this other old lady. She was a whiner. She whined to the secretary about something or other. Her high pitiful voice was designed to elicit sympathy. I almost felt sorry for her but I had the feeling that the whine was more or less permanent.

It wasn’t pretty. Continue reading

Five Steps To Reclaiming Your Dream

You probably know by now that I like to talk about dreams

The other morning my wife came into my office talking about this weird dream she had had the night before. She told a disjointed story that would have crossed a statues eyes with its strangeness.

Then I told her about a dream that I had had which had something to do about bombing a city. With others I had debated whether it was right, because many civilians would be killed. Then the scene fast forwarded and I was flying above the city. I say, “I”, because I wasn’t in an airplane.

I was flying.

Down below I saw a one of our soldiers running trying to get away and an enemy chasing him. So I positioned myself in flight and was going to try to spit on the head of the bad guy so as to distract him and give my friend an advantage. It was going to take a big spit.

Rough night.


There is a kind of dream, though, that can motivate your life. We also call them visions, hopes, goals, etc. You’re never too young to dream. Young Jeremiah protested God’s dream for his life. “Hold it , Master God! Look at me. I don’t know anything. I’m only a boy!” (Jeremiah 1, The Message).

God used him anyway.

Old man Moses creaked around on 80-year old joints at the back side of the desert. When God gave him the dream of leading Israel out of Egypt he responded sincerely, “Send someone else!”

All the same, the dream eventually inspired the octogenarian to do exploits for God.

Those great “theologians” Simon and Garfunkle once sang a song about two old friends, sitting on a park bench. Sad music accompanied words that sang of being surprised at being 70 years old now and all they had left was their memories.

Made me want to cry. Is that all there is to look forward to? Paul Simon was 27, I think, when he wrote that song.

Someone said that old age begins when your memories take the place of your dreams. Honestly, though, some young people have gotten “old” because bitterness or disappointment or doubt or fear or all kinds of things have taken the place of their hopes—their dreams.

How do you get your dream back? Eat a lot of pizza at 11 p.m.? Nah, try this.

*Start looking to the Lord. Get your eyes on Him and not on your hurts, problems or memories. Nehemiah the wall builder inspired some tired, dirty people with his words: “I looked [them over] and rose up and said to the nobles and officials and the other people, Do not be afraid of the enemy; [earnestly] remember the Lord and imprint Him [on your minds], great and terrible, and [take from Him courage to] fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” (Nehemiah 4:14, Amplified version)

*Don’t limit your dream because of age—too young, too old—or because of whatever you perceive would stop you. If your dream really comes from God, He delights in providing what you need to accomplish it. Read His Word to refresh His promises in your heart, then act on that faith.

*Find others to help you accomplish it. It’s rare that a God dream happens to one person alone. God-sized dreams often span generations and involve many people. Don’t be afraid to let others share your dream. Don’t use and manipulate them to accomplish your dream. Inspire them to have a part in the dream God has given you.

*If you don’t have a dream God might want you to enter someone else’s dream and help him accomplish it. The dream is God’s, whoever has it. When we enter it, it becomes ours, too. You need a dream. Find God’s dream for you.

*Hang out with dreamers and be a person who “infects” others with dreams instead of sourness and doubt. Listen to what I received recently from some motivated friends, all over 60 years old: “Hey, Dave! Dream big, because our God is even bigger and He can help you accomplish even more.” H. and K. And, “The point of it all, Dave, is to finish well.  May that be said of both of us.” M.

God-dreams … or memories, disappointments and self-pitying tears? What film plays in the theater of your mind? What motivates you?

Just a thought. Paul Simon who wrote, “Old Friends,” turns 70 this year. I wonder if he’s dreaming or remembering. And I wonder if those 70-year old friends on the park bench seem as old to him now as they did when he was 27.


“There is a huge storm coming, Israel. Get out of the way.” Thomas Friedman writing in the New York Times.