Assault on the St. Charles Streetcar

I’m not sure what possessed us to take our kids to New Orleans for Spring Break.  It was a spur of the moment decision.  We were hanging out in the living room after our family time of devotion and prayer when the phone rang.  It was our friend, Steve.

“You got plans?”

“Nope.”

“Want to join us and spend a few days in the Big Easy?” Continue reading

Happy Easter, Fellow Outlaws

Quick thoughts as we get ready to pack up and head home from New Orleans.

A friend recently commented, “I just saw the new Prius commercial, and I have to wonder, who is the target audience?”

As we move toward Easter, I’m reminded that it’s me.  And you.

Easter confirms that we are all scofflaw rebels when we align our hearts with the ultimate outlaw who couldn’t be imprisoned by the rules of spiritual slavery.

Happy Easter, my friends.

Mobile post.  From the road.  On the run.

With the rebel, Jesus.

Addiction and Evolution at the DMV

The text messages went something like this:

Me:  “Stuck at the DMV.  I may not make it out of here any time soon.  You might need a backup plan for this morning.”

Alex:  “Who waits to renew their license until the day before it expires?  Other than me, of course.”

dmvWhat could I say?  I’m a moron.  I often put myself in these impossible situations.  I knew I wouldn’t get out of the DMV in time for our group (Alex and I lead a weekly Bible study with teens going through an addiction recovery program).  Maybe it’s stupidity, but I sometimes find myself giving hope a chance to prove my inner-realist wrong.  Possibly I just like to put myself in a position where I can once more smother life out of that starry-eyed youngster in my soul:  “What the heck were you thinking, you freaking idiot?!” Continue reading

The Rise and Fall of Marriage

A friend recently shared Daniel Carrillo’s tweet and I had to laugh.

marriage tweet

 

From @DanielRCarrillo on Twitter.

 

In fact, I laughed until I cried.  Literally.  And the two were only moments apart.

The laughter because of the hilarious accuracy; the tears because of the bitter truth.

My marriage often feels empty, like two distant people simply occupying the same address.  And don’t even get me started on grocery lists!

Laura and I have been married for over 26 years, and this relationship isn’t what I once thought it was going to be.  For those that know us, some of these admissions will come as a shock (after all, we’re the perfect match, together since the 10th grade, voted “Cutest Couple” as seniors in high school); but here’s the brutal truth of our perfect marriage:

The “D” word has been brought up more than a few times.  Thoughts of betrayal have invaded our marriage, along with accusation, jealousy, rage, and hurt.  Deep depression has sucked the life out of our home Continue reading

Breaking Rules with Jesus

(Excerpt from a larger work)

[…] Do you see the slippery slope of rule-keeping?  I know a lot of people who are poster-child Christians (when the congregation is watching), but they are among the biggest sinners I know; sinners because they deny the free heart of a living God within them.  Rest assured, they know the stories, the history, and the liturgy, but they are gloomy cynics with painted on smiles, secretly filled with disdain, regret, and reproach.  They are trapped in a miserable existence living under the tyrannical supernatural master who they say loves them infinitely, but yet, they are drowning in a sad life of judgmental rule-following.  And that, friends, is sin at its very best—and worst.  I know, because I grew up in church and I’ve been this person for too many years.

To simplify, allow me to list some things that are definite sins:  Continue reading

Starting Over. Again.

Change is scary.  I’ve certainly avoided it many times in my life.  But it’s often for the better.

I once read a book (Creating Magic, I believe) by a former Disney executive who said that most leaders fail because they are afraid of change.  They’re terrified of making the wrong decision, so they linger, making no decision at all.  Eventually, they fall behind and fade away.  Disney, on the other hand, has a different policy.  They start with a simple question:  “Is this decision reversible?”  In other words, if it doesn’t work out, can we go back?  If the answer is yes, then they go for it.  You risk some disruption and annoyance, but the reward … oh, the reward!

That’s not a bad policy to follow.  In business or life.

As we are revamping our website (Empty Stone Ministry) and our blogs, it’s become necessary to just start over in some areas.  We’ll be dismantling our old blog site and building new, personal sites to give these writings a more personal flavor and less formal style.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you find what you’re looking for, my friends.

-Bert