Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Dad and the Sawmill

He eased the old pickup into the driveway, the tires scrunching to a halt on the gravel. Switching off the ignition he just sat for a moment, his body still feeling the vibration of the rutted road that led from the lumberyard in town seven miles up the hill to his farm.

He rolled up the window, pulled the door handle and swung his legs out to the driveway. The summer breeze felt almost cold against his back where he had sweated through his shirt. He shoved the door shut and leaned against the truck. Removing his battered straw hat, he mopped his brow with his sleeve. His thinning hair, damp from the day's work, was molded to his head, and his gold-rimmed glasses were flecked with sawdust and dried sweat.

Working at the sawmill hadn’t been his first choice. A lot about the last few years hadn’t turned out the way he had hoped.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Dad and the Murdered Calf

Our culture has changed dramatically since I was a boy. One place I notice change is in parenting. Our culture challenges fathers in ways it never challenged me when I was a young dad. Young men today hear strident voices telling them they are responsible for all of society’s ills. Toxic masculinity, inherent male chauvinism, clueless gender roles, are a few of the grenades lobbed their way. I know the young dads today are up to the challenge. But as I remember my own father, I can't help but think that the current generation might learn a bit from him. So I’ve decided to do a few blog posts about him. This first one I posted in slightly different form some years ago

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Three Habits to Prevent "Out of Sight, Out of Mind"

You’re familiar with the phrase, “out of sight, out of mind,” right? It summarizes a danger we all face - if friends moves away, will we just forget them? That does happen.

Or what about the challenges military families experience during deployments?  If a spouse is going to be gone for three months, or six months, or longer, how do the families at home keep those deployed close to their hearts when they’re not present physically? Marriages  have been wrecked when out of sight led to out of mind.

But the statement “out of sight, out of mind,” is not an inevitability, but only a danger. I have a dear friend I’ve known for over 40 years. In the last 20 years, he’s been “in sight” exactly three times, for only a week at a time. But we work hard to stay “in mind” through weekly phone calls and even more frequent emails and texts.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Impatience and a 40 MPH Speed Limit

I guess you’d say I’m an impatient person. Sometimes I yell at the microwave: Come on! One minute – are you KIDDING me!

I realize this is not one of my finer qualities. I like to excuse myself by saying, well, I just want to get things done. I don’t have time to dawdle. (How annoying is that, with the undercurrent of ugly pride? Okay, you got me.)

Anyhow I’m trying. I know patience is not only a virtue but a fruit of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in me. Although some of the spiritual fruit seem to be developing awfully slowly. (Come ON! Oh, oops…)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A New Book

I'm happy to announce I have a new book out - Leaning into the Wind - a collection of stories about Jesus and about family, with some humor and a little fiction mixed in.

From the back of the book

From a birthday paragliding adventure to a meditation on the death of a beloved pet, Leaning into the Wind reflects on the grace of God through all the seasons of life. Steeped in the love of family and a deep reverence for the sovereignty of God, Jim Carpenter tells stories about God's grace shining through our brokenness and pain.

You will find a laugh or two (Exploding Dog Food, My First Colonoscopy), some inspiring stories about the greatness of Jesus (Miracles Before Time Began, How God Healed My Son), and some overall encouragement for your own journey of faith (Don't Pull the Wagon Over Yet, Thanking Yourself Out of a Bad Mood).

Hope you like it. You can find it on Amazon. (Just paperback for now, but Kindle's coming.)

Monday, July 30, 2018

Don’t Spike the Ball before You Reach the End Zone: A Reflection on Finishing Well

Winning early is not the same as finishing well. Everyone has a story about some hotshot who wowed his company/school/coach and then flamed out before ever reaching the finishing line. The Bible has stories about such people, too.

I want to learn from those whose early success was marred (or erased) by a later implosion of professional or personal failure.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Another Reason to Look Forward to Heaven

The main reason to look forward to heaven is the presence of Christ. When Jesus prayed for "His sheep," He emphasized that the highest blessing the Father could bestow on them is to bring them into His glorious presence forever: Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).

Anyone who truly loves Christ needs no other motivation to long for heaven. Like the Psalmist said, “Whom have I in heaven but you?” (Psalm 73:25a)

Yet there are other reasons to look forward to heaven.