Healing and Forgiveness

I suppose what I really mean is that healing is forgiveness. The past week I was in the prison with the fellas and we were discussing the idea of God healing us physically. The question was posed “Does God still heal people?” After much discussion we heard a story of a man who struggled with renal failure. He had a transplant, but it was not successful and he spent the next 25 years going to dialysis treatments every week. The man’s perspective was that God healed his by giving him eternal security, but that he was still allowed to suffer here on earth.

One of our students was moved by this story and perspective. He is back inside serving another long term. During previous stretches he has lost family members, including his mother. Before this current sentence his father told his that he needed to stay out of prison because he didn’t think he would live long enough to see his son come back home. That projection has been found to be true. The man in our class talked about how he had seen so many “good Christian people” in his life not get saved from health issues long enough for him to have a reunion after a particular release. This drove a wedge between him and God. He was angry with God for taking these people that he saw as righteous, while leaving him here in his criminal thinking and sin.

With tears in his eyes and in his voice he spoke about a freedom that he was receiving after being able to change his perspective on what healing really was. The other men in class also had tears in their eyes as they listened to him pour out his heart.

We’ve all carried around burdens that we thought we had to bear. Hopefully we have also come to the understanding that we serve a loving God who has our best interests at heart. For my student, it took a story and a shift of perspective to get him to let go of his weight. What will it take for you to let go and…

–Rise Up!!

A New Name

Our newest grandson was born last week. As you might expect, it was a joyous occasion for all of us. It was a long (25 hour) labor, but in the end Mom and baby were both great. The only real issue around his birth was that his parents couldn’t decide on a name right away, so he was just “Baby” or “Him”.

In our lives we go around with names that are temporary. They are just arbitrary things that people call us because they don’t know our names. It might be “Addict”. It might be “Felon”. It might be “Drunk”. It might be “Loser”. There are so many things that I have been called because people give me a name that described something they observed about me. If they did that with my grandson it might well turn out to be “Sleep” or “Poop”!

But it’s not the world that gets to name us, it’s our parents. My Father calls me Blessed, Highly Favored, and Redeemed. My Father knows my name, because He gave it to me. God not only knows me, but He knows my name! And he knows yours too. So don’t let people call you something other than what God calls you.

Oh, by the way, after several days they decided on Oliver. Now go out there and…

–Rise Up!!

Not Yet

Late last night I got a sweet picture of my youngest daughter in a hospital gown. She was sitting in the bed with a bullet shaped baby bump sticking way out. That’s exciting news. It wasn’t on the day I have in the family baby pool, but still, our little man was on his way!

Then we waited…

and waited…

and waited some more…

then she went home.

It turns out that she was ready for this little guy to be born, and we were ready for his arrival, but her body had not yet made all of the necessary decisions, so they sent her home.

Sometimes we feel ready for something. Everything points us in that direction. But until the time is right, the time isn’t right. Until then, we just press on (not push!) and…

–Rise Up!!

Crowded House

I got into my local Starbucks earlier than usual this morning. Normally this means that there are plenty of seats. Not today. The place is quite crowded. Most of the seats are taken. More specifically, my seat is occupied by someone who looks nothing like me! The nerve of some people…

Life isn’t always what we expect. You might go to bed which means you wake up early which means you get to Starbucks early which means your seat is taken by a stranger! If you give a mouse a cookie…

The key to recovery and the key to life is to be able to roll with the punches as they come in. Right now I’m sitting in a different spot, but the coffee is fresh, the wifi is working, and the blog is getting written. Deep breaths, dropping my preconceived expectations, and a smile on my face let me get through it all. I just had to find a seat and…

–Rise Up!!

May Day!

I remember as a kid we used to play all sorts of a games that had disaster scenarios. We might be marooned on an island. We might be stuck under an avalanche. We might be crashing on a plane. Whatever it was that we dreamed up, someone would grab an imaginary microphone and start calling out “Mayday! Mayday!”

As I write this it is May 1st. Literally May Day.

In recovery, it doesn’t really matter what the calendar says, we always have a path for rescue. We can always call out to our sponsor or accountability partners and get help. They key is to not be afraid or too proud to reach out. When we were kids there was no shame in screaming Mayday or SOS. It was almost a badge of honor to be the one with that very important job.

I don’t know where you are today, but give it a try on May Day. Reach out and…

–Rise Up!!

14 Hours

I got up early on Monday morning. 5 am, to be exact. This is not a time that I tend to have my eyes open, but today I was headed out on a road trip.

14 hours of driving time got me from Southern California to Portland, Oregon.

I spend most of those hours focusing on the road and listening to various voices. There were podcasts. There were phone calls. There was even a two hour stretch on the phone with customer service with my mobile phone company.

There’s always a voice to be heard in life. The key is to know which ones to listen too, and which ones to tune out. Find the ones that help you to…

–Rise Up!!


Sunday was a day that’s been three years in the making. When my mother in law passed during COVID lockdown we were not able to have a traditional memorial service. Now that she has been reunited with her groom of over 70 years we were able to do a combined service for them both.

There were many things said today, but the one that really stuck with me was from my middle daughter who said “what a legacy…to be missed”.

She’s right. the lasting legacy of Betty and Wayne is that we will all miss them. I can safely say that I have far more enemies than they had combined. One lady has written two negative reviews of my new book and it’s only been out for a few days!

I hope that when I’m in the other side of the service that my family will reflect on a life well lived. Until then, I’ll just stay focused and…

—Rise Up!!

Jim Croce

I used to listen to Jim Croce a lot. One of his most famous songs was Photographs and Memories. It’s s pretty song about looking back on a past relationship.

This past week has been spent going through the things that my in-laws left behind. There are clothes, dishes, several containers of odd nuts and bolts. There are also photographs. It’s been interesting to watch as each of my family members comes by the house to collect whatever keepsake or memento that they might want. Each piece tells a story to that person. To someone else, it’s just junk, but to the one who holds it dear, there’s a story in the item.

One nephew wanted some of Grandpa’s tools. Another was interested in a shirt. My great-niece really wanted the Bible that has Grandma and Grandpa’s names on the cover. Stories and memories out of “stuff”. It’s not so much the thing that has value as it is the memory that it holds. The things that we leave behind will help our memory to live on and help those who remember to…

–Rise Up


I use the word good without really thinking about it very much. This week is Easter Week, which means we have Good Friday. That always caused my brain to hurt as a kid. We see all of the drama of the Passion leading in to the crucifixion of Jesus. As a child I couldn’t figure out how this was “good”. Nothing seemed all that good about it to my eyes.

Fast forward to this past weekend (forward back?) and I found my family saying goodbye to the patriarch of the family. And indeed, it was good. Having lived a very full life, we can find joy in allowing him to go home.

There will be losses in life. That’s just the way it goes. It becomes imperative to roll with the punches. This week, especially, I have seen how something perceived as a loss can help me to…

—Rise Up!!


This week I’m doing a blitz of Hope Events for Prison Fellowship. We will be visiting three different prisons this week sharing the hope of Christ. It is an amazing thing to see grown men, tattooed from head to toe, openly crying.

Jesus is an awesome God to follow. He has lead me to so many different victories over the years. Being in the prisons adds steroids to the mix. If you’ve never done it, I cannot recommend it enough.

Sometimes we need to get behind bars in order to…

—Rise Up!!