Thursday, December 29, 2011

Facing a New Year

I've been reviewing old blogs and I’ve been thinking for some time now about this blog at the doorstep of 2012 and I want it to be memorable, yet not resort to the typical thoughts I've already been receiving in my inbox.

So, here is what is on my mind.

I will endeavor to travel these paths in 2012. 

-I will honor God in my living, in my thinking, in my acting.

-I will find ways to add value to my wife. 

-I will continue reading good and wholesome stuff – books, magazines, internet content

-I will model integrity in thought, word and deed.

-I will write to the best of my abilities.

-I will treat my fellow man with respect, cordiality and kindness.

-I will do a better job of honoring my body and bring balance and health to a higher level.

Do you notice that all of these center on making good choices? 


That’s it.  One word that now becomes the focus for my life this year.

I Choose – every day, every moment, every circumstance.

Will you join me in pursuit of good choices this year?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Wins Again

I offer you an abridged version of a story told by Stanley Weintraub in his book Silent Night.

On Christmas Eve, 1914, in the beginning days of WWI, a Christmas truce was called for.  At midnight on Christmas morning, all guns were to be silenced for one hour.

On this particular battle field, an entrenched squad of German soldiers faced an entrenched squad of US soldiers. 

Moments before, each side had been shooting at anything that moved on the enemy’s side, but for this moment in time, all guns fell silent.

As midnight approached, the night became still.  Snow was softly falling. 

Listen to the stillness.  Take in the beauty of snow covering a barren landscape, and hiding all the ills of war.

As we listen, we hear we hear

Could it be?  It sounds like …


“Si…  Ho…”  I can’t quite make it out. 

Listen.  Did you hear that?

And then with clarity, one lone German voice sang out “Stille Nacht.” 

The melody lingered in the air, and soon, from the American side you could hear an echo. 

“Silent Night, Holy Night.”

Cautiously, slowly, one lone German soldier ventured out of his trench and made his way to common ground - the middle of the battle field.  And then an American soldier joined him at center point.  

Soon others came crawling out of their fox holes and trenches. 

For this moment in time, these men of the human race chose to put down their weapons and open up their hearts, all because of Christmas.

Before you could say “Jack Rabbit” some food was produced, and drinks were passed around. 

And grown men, formerly sworn enemies, were enjoying a moment of friendship and celebration with fellow members of the human race. 

They were singing and making merry, offering hugs of acceptance and celebration, showing photos of loved ones back home, and communicating as best they could, all because of Christmas.

Rumor has it that the high command from both sides of this battle field did everything in their power to establish decorum of war-like conditions, but their commands and warnings went largely unheeded. 

Christmas broke out on a field of battle. 

Christmas and all it represents.

     Peace on earth, good will to all men.

               Joy to the World!

                         Hope has come.

On both sides, the conversations ran like this:  
     “Wish we could go home.”
     “Wish we weren’t enemies.”
     “Wish we could live in peace and harmony.”

As the cold Christmas day wore on, the soldiers moved back across their lines of battle, back to their lonely fox holes and muddy trenches, but with a warm glow of Christmas on their hearts and in their minds. 

It is said that later, on Christmas day, ranking officers on both sides continued issuing commands to resume fire, and the firing of weapons did eventually begin again.

But for a period of a few days, the bullets zoomed high above the heads of the enemies on the other side of the field.  High on purpose. 

For how could they fire upon someone they now considered “friend”?

You see, Christmas revealed itself to those soldiers that day on that particular battle field. 

Christmas came to war, and Christmas won.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hope Is Coming

Hope was promised in the ancient scriptures.  Isaiah 7:14 said it this way.

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

And in Isaiah 9:6 we read:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.

And then, then it happened.

Luke 2:1-20 “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)

And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and they were terrified.

But the angel said to them ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today, in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What the Bells Say

(The 2nd in a series of Christmas Blogs)

Perhaps you need a word of hope this Christmas season.  If you do, keep reading.

From the Christmas carol I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, we find this phrase.

Sit with that for a few minutes.

Some in our world might sing to us a doomsday song.

Some might paint a bleak picture.
Debt on every hand.
Dissonance at every turn.

However …

However, these words ring out loud and clear.


What a comfort.

What a hope. 

God is still on duty 24/7.  How about that?

Is the world going to hell in a hand-basket?
Not on His watch.

God is very much real, alive and in control.  He doesn’t even take Sunday afternoon naps.

Simple message?

You bet.

Take heart.

God is watching over you!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What Child Indeed

A Christmas Blog - Part One of Four
(Today we begin a four-week Christmas series in these blogs.  
 Wishing you a season of hope, joy and wonder.)

It is interesting to ponder the baby who became a King.  He was brought into the world into such humble settings.  His place of birth was less than wonderful.  His first swaddling left much to be desired.  His first visitors were farm animals, and then came shepherds fresh from the fields. 

Not a very exciting way to welcome THE KING, was it? 

His birth surprised the establishment of the day as well.  They were looking for a deliverer. 

               Instead they got a baby.

They were looking for a warrior to lead the charge against their enemies and oppressors. 

               Instead they got a baby.

They were looking for a hero.

               Instead they got a baby.

But most of all they got love.

Ponder the child in the manger. 

Love expressed in the most wholesome, beautiful way.

Love expressed in innocence.

Love expressed in cries 
in the night,
just like the sounds
any normal baby
would offer.

Love expressed through a lifestyle of peace,
compassion, caring, passion. 

Never before had the world seen
such a life, nor would we ever see it
again in such a pure state.

This baby, this little one named Jesus grew to become

Well, what do you need this Christ Child to be in your world?

Do you need
A friend?                      He is.
    A healer?                      He is.
        A savior?                      He is.
           A comforter?                He is.
    A model of integrity?    He is.
  A pathfinder?               He is.
A protector?                He is.

What child is this?

Indeed, what child is this!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Saw Thanksgiving Today

It’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  Carolyn and I made a trip to this great Whole Foods Store in the Roosevelt district of Seattle. 

There were throngs, gobs and myriads of people in there already at 9:45 A.M. 


Yet, in the traffic jam of grocery carts and shoppers, I saw, rather sensed Thanksgiving.  People were hurrying and scurrying to find just the right ingredients for some yet-to-be-baked dish, all with the thought of giving to family, loved ones, friends, in the spirit of thankfulness. 

I saw it in the smiles rather than the curses of hundreds of shoppers jammed into narrow aisles and being forced to allow others to take their time and stand a bit too long in front of that item they themselves were searching for. 

I narrowly avoided three cart crashes, and each time was greeted with a smile, a “sorry” and a “Have a great Thanksgiving.”

Not one – not one discouraging word was uttered. 
Not one – not one frown crept across the faces of any of the shoppers today. 

Instead I saw smiles, grins as big as the sun, Thanksgiving greetings, happy kids, kind and gentle parents. 

That, my friend is Thanksgiving. 

I am thankful –

     Thankful for peace
          Thankful for love from above
               Thankful for love here on earth
          Thankful for good things that have come our way
                  this year in abundance
     Thankful for guidance through the trials this year

Happy Thanksgiving!

Michael and Carolyn Biggs

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Cracked Pot

(This is a re-telling of a story from Brennan Manning’s book Ruthless Trust.)

“Once upon a time there was a water bearer who had two large pots.  Each hung on opposite ends of a pole that he carried across his neck. 

“One of the pots was perfect. 
"The other had a crack in it.

“The perfect pot always delivered a full measure of water to their master’s table, while the cracked pot leaked and arrived with only half a measure.  Needless to say, the cracked pot was discouraged.  He was ashamed of his performance because of his crack. 

“One day, the cracked pot spoke to the water-bearer.  “I am ashamed of myself.  I only deliver a portion of what you expect of me each trip to the well.  You see, I have a crack and I lose most of my measure of water all the way back home.”

“The water-bearer smiled and replied, “My poor cracked pot.  As we walk home today I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”

“And sure enough, there were dozens and hundreds of beautiful and colorful flowers on his side, all along the path home.

“The water-bearer pointed out, “Did you notice that there were flowers only along your side of the path and not on the side of the perfect pot?  I know about your flaw.  Every day for two years, as we walk this path, you have been watering the seeds on your side and they have grown into beautiful flowers.  Without you being just the way you are we would be looking at brown dirt, not graceful beauty.”

Have you had some less than stellar days in your life?

Have you performed at less than your best?

Have you given what you thought was your best, yet no one remarked on your efforts, gave you praise, or fell at your feet in a faint at the wisdom, knowledge, good deeds, or great words offered?

In other words, have you ever felt you had cracks and sometimes you leak? 

Maybe your life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

I’ve had those kinds of days.  Some weeks I write a blog that I feel surely will be heard round the world – and nothing much happens.  A few respond but where are the masses?

Other weeks I write and choose a blog that I feel has less impact that last week's, and yet there is a word, a phrase, a thought in there that really resonants with my readers.  On those days I offered water to someone who was thirsty and they drank.

How amazing is that?

Thoreau once said, “I do not want to die without having lived.” 

My mission, my motto, my life statement is this: 

That is my way of wanting to live before I die. 

What about you?

Let’s remember these thoughts from this week’s blog.

The pot’s weakness 
became its strength.


Our weakness becomes our strength, if we let it.  
That is another way of living our lives before we die.

Brennan Manning offers this insight in Ruthless Trust

With all your cracks and fissures,
you are capable of greatness
in God’s kingdom.”

You do see, don’t you, that God uses cracked pots, disabled people, broken human beings, disappointing individuals, and those with broken dreams and weak knees. 

Can’t you hear this re-wording of Matthew 11:28?
“Come unto me, all you cracked pots, disheveled, smelly, unfocused, lost and dreamless ones.  I’ll take you.

And, oh yeah, you perfect ones, you come too.  I’ll find a place for you too.”

I love perfect people.

I relate to cracked pots.

For at times, more times than I sometimes want to admit, I am one too.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Just for Today There Is Enough

Every year, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, our church in Seattle feeds any homeless person who will come.  We put on the whole Thanksgiving course, complete with turkey, dressing, and a variety of vegetables, bread, and more desserts than a person should eat in a lifetime. 

I read my journal entry recently about one of those Sundays.  A man in his fifties walked by me, and his plate was absolutely piled high with food.  It was heaped up and overflowing.  It was bulging with food. 

What a sight.  My journal comments for that day ran like this:  “That is great my friend.  Dig in.  Heap it on.  There is plenty.  I know that you may not know where your meal for tomorrow will come from, but for today, there is enough.”

For today, there is enough.

Amazing, isn’t it?

How many times in our lives have we experienced this?  For today, there is enough.

Have you ever had life heap it on you?  I mean full and running over, spilling onto the floor, the stuff just kept coming.  Good stuff.  Some people call them blessings, some call it abundance.  Whatever it is you call it, it just came and kept on coming. 

Have you ever experienced that?

And then, at other times …

We wonder.

          We question.

                    We ponder.

                              We fret.

We don’t see it yet, but maybe … just maybe.

And some days, at the very last moment, the 11th hour, the miracle happens. 


We get what we’ve needed and longed for.

For today, there is enough.

You can call it karma, goodness, mercy, a handout, goodwill, or a hundred other names.

I call it “daily bread for daily needs.”

I also call it GOD!

In God’s economy there IS Enough. 

And it comes from the hand of a God 
who loves us …

Regardless of                 how we smell
Regardless of                 what we do 
                                      or don’t do
Regardless of                 our ethnicity
Regardless of                 our language
Regardless of                 our accent
Regardless of                 our sexual orientation
Regardless of                 our lifestyle choice
Regardless of                 our church attendance
Regardless of                 our bank account 
                                     or lack thereof
So, regardless of your circumstances in life,

               Just for today, 
                      there is enough – for you

Enough       love
Enough       grace
Enough       forgiveness
Enough       mercy
Enough       peace
Enough       rest
Enough       knowledge
Enough       food
Enough       warmth
Enough       shelter for the night

This “enough” that I’m talking about comes wrapped a dozen different ways

Through      the hands of a stranger
Through      a kindly church
Through      a woman handing a bag 
                   of food out a car window
Through      loose change dropped in a tin cup
Through      a sales clerk buying a meal 
                   for a street person
Through      a bed at the Salvation Army
Through      a cup of soup in a coffee shop
Through      a sack of groceries left anonymously
Through      an anonymous envelope with cash
Through      a team of “saints” serving hot food 
                   faithfully every Thursday evening
Through      a friend who cares
Through      a minister who becomes 
                   the hands of God
Through      a singer offering the only gift 
                   she can – her voice

Do you wonder sometimes if you’ll run out of stuff?

Take heart. 

Whatever you lack, whatever you need, when you least expect it …

Just for today ... 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How Does God Think?

Do you think much about God?

Have you ever wondered how God thinks?

I have.

One thing I know for sure – the Bible reminds us that “no man can know the mind of God, nor understand his ways, his reasoning and his love.”

So, off we go.  Let’s imagine for a few moments how God’s mind works.

What irritates God?
What makes him mad?

What makes him jealous?
What pushes his buttons?

What makes him stop and say “Aha.  I caught you, you low-down dirty rat.  Now I’ve got you where I want you and you’re going to pay.  Shame, shame, shame!”

What if Hitler offered some kind of miraculous death-bed confession and nobody every told us about it?  Would God forgive him right on the spot?

Will Hugh Hefner be in heaven?

In war, which side is God really on? 

Is God an American?

Is he Baptist?

So, how does God really think? 

What are some of his thoughts toward us?

I think God loves us way more than we can ever understand.

-He invites us to crawl upon his lap and just have some quiet moments.
-He wants face time with each one of us.  He just wants us in his presence.
-He loves all people equally.

-He watches over us moment by moment.
-He notices even a sparrow that falls to the ground.
-He clothes the lilies.

-He reaches for the down-and-out with a redemptive heart of compassion.
-He is looking for more ways to get us home to heaven than for ways to keep us out.

-He is a forgiving God.
-He never remembers past sins.
-He dances for joy over us.
-He runs to us when we turn back to Him.

He loves Ethiopians as much as he loves Americans.
He will never take away our free will for making choices. 

So how does God think?

With a heart full of love greater than anything we could ever imagine,
     Regardless of whom we are,
          What we are,
               Where we are,
Or in whatever condition we might find ourselves at the present moment. 

God Is Love. 

That is how God thinks.

God is offering love.  Now, receive it!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

God Is a BIG Idea!

I have often grappled with the concept of “hearing God’s voice,” and relating to a diety called God.  What does that mean and what does God’s voice sound like?

I never hear an audible voice.  It is an impression on my mind and heart at best. 

Maybe we put limitations on the idea of God because we have barely scratched the surface of truly understanding him….yet I say confidently …

What a ponderous thought. 

I don’t want to box him in.  I don’t want to misunderstand Him or mislabel Him.  I want to free God to be big and large in my life. 

And so, I offer you these thoughts on the God that I am coming to know.

He is the God of …

He is the God of …

He is the God of …

He is the God of …
Bald Men
Skinny Women
Fat Men

He is the God of …
-Hungry Children
-The Homeless
-The Aged
-Drug Addicts

He is the God of …
And all other religious interests

He is the God of …
--University Professors
--High School teachers
--Band Directors

He is the God of …
   The Crippled
      The Blind
         The Deaf
            The Injured

He is the God of …
Smart people
The D Student
The Dropout
The Nobel Prize Winners

He is the God of you and me!

God Is … therefore I believe in HIM!

You can’t   deny him
You can’t   ignore him
You can’t   abuse him
You can’t   hide from him
You can’t   out-do him
You can’t   beat him in arm wrestling
You can’t   outfox him
You can’t   outrun him
You can’t   out-think him
You can’t   out-maneuver him
You can’t   outsmart him
You can’t   live without him
You can’t   run away from his love
You can’t   avoid him
You can’t   put a lock on him
You can’t   hoard him for yourself

I guess the only thing one can do is refuse to accept His love.

And yet …

And yet, His love still reaches out for you and me in a thousand ways.

So, what is God all about?

He is love to the max.  There is nothing you can do that would ever stop God from loving you.

I can relate to that kind of God.

So again I ask … What is God all about?

God is a BIG IDEA.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Person behind the Label

“You’re fat!”
     “You’re ugly!”
          “You don’t belong!”
              “Hey homo!”
                    “Who dropped you on your head, 

The labels we wear in life.  Don’t you just hate them?

I do. 

I’ve had a few labels attached to me down through the years.  Want to hear a few?

“You’re an accident waiting to happen.”  Ouch.  That was said to me over thirty years ago.

“Get away from that thing, boy.  You don’t know ‘nothin about machinery.”

I was given a tee-shirt once with this on it:  “I must hurry and catch up with the others, for I am their leader.” 

Yes, we laugh, but don’t you see that there might just be a bit of sting to these caustic remarks?

What labels have you worn?  

What labels do you still bear?

I was once called “knot-head.” 

I am seeking to redeem every ill label anyone has ever cast my way and your way.  What we must always remember is this:

Do we internalize our labels? 
Do we dwell on them? 
Do we become what our labels imply? 

Well, that is up to how we decide to respond to the labels in our lives.

Me?  They are distant memories, and I am choosing to move past all of these labels.  I am choosing to see myself as I choose to become.

I am choosing to become one whole, complete, happy, and well-adjusted human being. 

I am full of goodness.
I am competent.
I can successfully lead a quality life.
I love people and people love me in return.

And so can you become all of these and more.

Make the choice!

What are you choosing?

Interesting words – “choice” and “choosing”.

Are you choosing your responses to these negative and hurtful labels that have been levied toward you during your lifetime?

Nothing of detriment clings to me.
No labels are visible.
The essence that I give off is good, wholesome, positive and getting better.

They are only words. 
               They only have power 
if we allow them to.

I have since learned how to handle these sharp barbs thrown my way.  Today, I am a successful leader.  I have proven that people will follow.

I have been successful in a multitude of activities and career choices. 

So, do labels linger?

Only if we allow them to. 

Only if we allow them to.

There is a person behind every label mankind can level against one.  Step around those labels.  Become better than the label.  Become the best you that you can become.

I see you; a respectable, wholesome, care-giving and thoughtful individual with more good traits than anyone could possibly deny.

Let your label read “Happy, Fulfilled, and Moving toward Better”.

There is a person behind those labels, and you are a becommer!