Play in the Gray

Right. Wrong. Black. White. True. False. All of those words represent two opposites. At least they used to. Nowadays words seem to mean whatever you want them to mean regardless (notice I didn’t say “irregardless”) of what the Dictionary tells us. How do you define “marriage?”

When you mix black and white together you get gray. Gray is a shade that isn’t black or white. It’s just a mix that changes the appearance of what you see. The absolute of black and white are lost when you mix them together. 

When absolutes are lost you are doomed to be lost wandering around in gray areas that don’t define reality as it is. For example, should a man and woman have sex with one another and they aren’t married, that used to be called “sin.” Today, it’s just “having fun”and it doesn’t really mean anything. Pornography was once thought of as exploiting women and degrading their worth but today it’s just another way to make money. To quote others, “Besides, what we called porn 20 years ago is on TV now so what does it matter? Times change so right and wrong has to change, too. Absolutes are a thing of the past.” Tell that to gravity.

We are being bombarded by our country’s leaders with this idea that gray is where to play because there are no absolutes in gray and you can do whatever you think is right. As a side note, they also know that as long as they are in power and encourage you to do whatever feels true to you, they make all the money. Yes, they will pay you $15 an hour as long as it makes them a hundred times that much. And when it comes time to pay the bill for trillions of debt, you should learn Mandarin now and be prepared for a new lifestyle. Our leaders? They will pay someone off and continue to live in their mansions. If you disagree and are someone who believes in absolutes, like Christians, Moslems and such, you are likely to be ostracized, put down, deemed mentally challenged or just sick. 

I believe in absolutes. And, I believe, the rejection of absolutes is what is causing America to sink like a ship with a small hole below the waterline. It takes a while, but once the water comes above the deck, there’s no way to make a repair–the boat is going down. I’ve been in one that did that. We have the opportunity to patch the hole today and even tomorrow. But how long we have before the water floods over the deck and we go down–I don’t know. I would encourage everyone who may read this to buy a life jacket today.

I’ve read parts of the Quran, Buddhist teachings, Hindu teachings, Sikh teachings and all of them have some absolutes worth giving heed to. But the one Absolute that I have read a whole lot of times is the Bible and it’s the real deal. If you want to quit playing in the gray and find the correct way, ask Jesus to come into your life and read and absorb what He teaches in the New Testament. Those absolutes will give you life now and eternal life later on when you check out of earth time.

How do you patch a hole below the waterline? Not easily. Before the election that would see our political leaders being elected and booted out, Jackie and I prayed for God’s will to be done in our soon-coming future. Now that the future is here and the election is over, sort of, we still pray for God’s will to be done. It’s our hope that God will once again raise this nation up to be a blessing to all the others, to be a source of light. Today, that light is growing dimmer. The decline of Christianity in the U.S. is steady and frightening. When a nation turns its back on God…bad stuff happens. We can turn that around by praying, embracing the absolutes that Jesus taught and by sharing His light with others. Are you with us? I hope so.

Vote for Who?

When Jesus ascended into heaven He left with an agenda to return one day. The things that will take place so that we know when He is coming is way past my understanding so that’s not what I want to talk about. 

I want to talk to you about this in light of the election that will soon take place from what Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar. It’s Daniel 2:20 – 22…

20 “May God’s name be blessed from now on and forever, for wisdom and understanding belong to Him. 

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80"><strong>21  He changes times and seasons; He appoints kings and removes them; He gives wisdom to the wise and insight to those who have skill.</strong>21  He changes times and seasons; He appoints kings and removes them; He gives wisdom to the wise and insight to those who have skill.

22 He reveals deep and hidden things, and He knows what is in the darkness and the light is with Him. 

That sets up for us Daniel’s interpretation of some upcoming events that will lead to Jesus’ birth. King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and he was perplexed as to its meaning. Daniel came in and told him exactly what it meant and it would happen over the next 600 years or so. Here’s how it goes:

  • Nebuchadnezzar was the head of gold, the head of a great empire
  • After him an inferior king arose and ruled, probably the Persian Empire
  • Then another king arose and ruled, probably Alexander the Great
  • Then a 4th kingdom as strong as iron rules and that was the Roman Empire
  • Then a stone strikes the feet of the Roman empire and it is taken down to the ground and blows away like the dust
  • The stone became a great mountain and filled the whole earth, which is the Kingdom of God, the Church.

That took about 600 years to happen, but everything that happened went according to God’s plan. There were no setbacks, no hiccups, no timing errors and no surprises–it came off perfectly. Jesus was born according to God’s plan through the “Yes” Mary said to the angel when she was asked to give birth to Jesus. He grew in stature and wisdom and was introduced to the world at His Baptism by John when the Dove landed on Jesus and a voice from heaven announced, “This is my son.”  He lived a sinless life, submitted to crucifixion so we could be forgiven and saved, died, was buried but on the third day rose again. He spent some time with His disciples and gave them instructions and then He ascended into heaven saying He would be back. 

Each succeeding kingdom in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream forwarded God’s plan of salvation for mankind. Today, God’s planned return is also going forward and there will be no surprises with that either. Each world leader rules his/her nation. Some do it well and others not so well. Some people thrive and others don’t. There are billions of pieces in the puzzle and God knows where each one goes and how it will bring about that “His Kingdom comes and His will is done on earth as it is in heaven.”

When you read the Old Testament something very redundant happens with Israel’s kings. After Solomon, Israel split with the 10 tribes in the north getting mostly bad kings and becoming idol worshippers. In the south, they had a mix of idol worshippers and good kings. When there was a good king in power, the people were happy. When they returned to idol worship, the people became sad and eventually both the north and south went into captivity. In spite of the kings, God kept His plan going forward, so it seems to me we would be far better off with a good king going forward than with a bad king going forward.

Next month we go to the polls and we cast our vote for the man we think would make the best President of the U.S. We should be in prayer about that vote because the next President will rule this nation and I believe he will either bring God’s blessing or God’s judgement. Timothy 2:1-2 says this: “…pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. Since the Bible tells us God “appoints kings and removes them,“ then the next President will be put into power to further God’s plan for the 2nd coming of Jesus. It’s best you are praying and in tune with God’s agenda and we get a president that makes the nation happy instead of sad.

Who should you vote for? Vote for Jesus. You can look at Jesus’ life in the Bible and easily realize what He would be in favor of. When you read the Bible, it’s also quite clear about what exalts a nation and what tears it down. Sadly for us, Jesus isn’t running for President, but you do have the Bible so I encourage you to pray and then in light of what it teaches, figure out which man promotes what the Bible teaches more than the other.

Merry Christmas

PiecoverChrist is born, come and worship Him. Somebody way wiser than me said, “You become what you worship,” and that’s very true and wise. In the second chapter of Luke you find that worshipping was the natural response to those who traveled to see the newborn Christ, whether a king or a shepherd.

So why not become more and more like God? What a better world it would be if we did. He loves unconditionally, He is way more patient than I’ll ever understand, He accepted me just like I was and even said He loved me, He forgave me for all the dumb stuff I did and even keeps on forgiving me for the things I do. Just think if we all behaved that way.


Bob and Jackie on an Adventure

Since we are dreaming, how about I change it to a prayer for you, the reader. Father, whoever is reading this, it’s my prayer that you bless them with all the goodness you can deal out without them exploding; that you grant them great peace in this chaotic and weird time we find ourselves living in; You meet their every need–physical and spiritual; You cause them to abound in good works; You gather them up to your side and walk with them every moment from now until we step into eternity with You.

Family and friends, God is with us. Regardless of how you feel or what you believe, God is with us. I’ll say it again: God is with us. If you are poor or if you are rich, God is with you. If you are sick, God is with you. If you are lonely, God is with you. If you are discouraged, depressed, God is with you. If you don’t believe He exists, God is with you. If you think He doesn’t care, God is with you. He is everywhere present and longs to be with you. You should sit down, relax a bit, and call out to Him and say, “I need you,” then simply talk about your life and invite Him to come be a part of it. You will find that He soon becomes your all and He is really all you ever wanted for Christmas.

EXTRA CREDIT: If you are wondering where the painting came from, I’ll tell you. Back in my history, around 1981 or so, I was working at New Wine Magazine, a Christian magazine. The Art Director, Mr. Mark Pie’, was asked to come up with a cover for the Christmas issue and this is it. I’ve always loved it and hope you enjoy it too. wave




Back in the “good old days,” when you drank a coke you took the bottle back to the store and they would give you two cents. That was called “redeeming the bottle.” You give them something used up and empty and they give you money. Sounds kind of like God: I was definitely empty when He redeemed me.  I want to tell you a great story, actually three stories, about prayer and redemption.

Blake will probably find waves in heaven

A very good friend of mine, Blake, was buried a couple of days ago because he died of cancer. Me and 100s of others prayed for a miracle but without a miracle happening. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life,” so says the Bible. Blake didn’t live and we will all die one day, but his life was remarkable and his journey continues in heaven. That sounds pretty good to me.

Blake and I came to Christ after being surf buddies in the “Jesus Movement” out in California and when we moved back to Florida we were on the streets telling people about what God had done for us and what He could do for them. That was way back in 1972. I don’t recall the exact timeline, but months after that, Blake’s girlfriend decided she was done with the relationship. Blake was hurt and turned back to the world of drugs we’d escaped from.

For the next 15 or so years, Blake was a mess and I never even saw him. After that 15 years passed, now into the 80s, I saw him one day at our old surfing hangout, Deerfield Pier in Florida, and I asked him if he had gotten things together with Christ again. He said he had and that was about all that was said. Jackie and I were living in Deerfield  and he was living in the Melbourne area so we didn’t really connect. About 6 years ago we caught up with each other and he told me his return to the Lord story and his involvement with his amazing Catholic church. My oh my. After attending his funeral, I now know what he meant by an “amazing” Catholic church. God gave him a lovely wife, Sharon, a church where they grew together and lives that made a difference in the world.  That is redemption.

I believe God hears our prayers and answers them, too. I started praying for Blake when he went his own way and continued praying the whole time he was missing in action. When I heard his story I was so blessed because I knew God’s love had recaptured Blake’s heart, and He did it because that’s what He does and because me and others prayed for him. Never give up on your friends or family regardless of how it may appear on the outside. Jesus came to “seek and save those who were lost” and He has never stopped doing that. We get to help by praying. Have you got time to help God out?

My friend Alan

At Blake’s funeral I ran into another old high school surf friend named Alan. We reconnected after at least 40 years had gone by at the Deerfield Pier reunion Blake put together in 2013. We talked and remembered some of the fun stuff and when the reunion packed up I headed home. A short time later I heard Alan had 3 months to live with stage 4 cancer. I couldn’t believe it but I started praying for him. I always have an ongoing prayer sheet on my computer and every morning I pray for everyone on it. I don’t spend hours doing it, but God hears my reminders. About 18 months went by and I hadn’t heard a thing and then out of the blue I heard Alan was still alive, so I kept on praying. At Blake’s funeral I saw Alan again and I asked him how he was doing. He said he was fine and then told me his story of redemption. He was supposed to be dead but chemo and a lot of prayers from all of us old surf pals pulled him through it. Do you have a friend in an impossible spot that needs your prayers? Just because the doctor says there is no hope it’s no reason to not pray. Yes, Blake died. Yes, Alan didn’t. We don’t choose who lives or dies–we pray for God’s will to be done and give thanks in every circumstance because God is a redeemer.

Rick and I were surfing together in Deerfield from around 1966

Rick on the right, Ed in the center.

until July of 2017 when we were out at a break called Beacons in Leucadia, CA. A lot of water flowed under the bridge between those two times out surfing, and Rick’s story is quite a miraculous story of redemption. In late 1971 or so, when I came to Christ, we were living in CA.  I came home from a prayer meeting at Ed’s house and told Rick and Bruce (another story) about my encounter with God. (A detour: Ed’s still in the house, 48+ years later, where I came to Christ and we are at his house in this photo after surfing together.) Bruce and Rick told me I was nuts and they went back to FL a bit later and I stayed in Encinitas and grew in my faith. Rick’s path took him through a hazardous amount of drugs. I prayed for Rick, a lot, a really lot. He was like a brother to me  and my heart hurt for him. I recall seeing him one time in FL while he was still strung out and thought, “He won’t live another 6 months if something doesn’t change.”

Rick’s book. Available on Amazon

Something did change. After about 20 years of praying I was out with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) on adventures and heard Rick had given his life to Christ on Easter day at Calvary Chapel. I was so thrilled. But it even got better. Rick got in touch with us and inquired about coming to join us in Richardson Springs, California, where Jackie and I were the Discipleship Training School leaders for YWAM. He raised the finances needed for the five-month school and came. Rick was, as they say, “A diamond in the rough,” but he endured in a setting that was alien to his life-style and way out of his comfort zone. He did the three-month classroom time and then we went on a two-month outreach where he succeeded, graduated and headed off on new adventures.

That was in 1992 and since then he’s had 5-6 heart attacks (who’s counting?) but just keeps on going. His inspiration is seeing people, any and all people, learn about God’s love for them and how they can share in His life now on earth and later in heaven. He’s still in CA, has written a children’s book (never been married or had a kid) and also turned it into a gospel tract. When he’s not in the hospital recovering from a heart attack, you will most often find him at a park or pier telling people how much God loves them. Actually, all the doctors and nurses have heard too.

God is the Master of redemption and the author of

redeemed lives. His story includes all of us if we are willing to let Him write it. God uses redemption to take something really bad and then turns it into a blessing. Blessings are not always that easy to recognize in the moment, but as time passes by clarity comes and we see His redemptive hand manipulating our circumstances to serve us rather than kill us.

If you are in a place where you would like to have a friend praying for you, let us know. Jackie and I love to pray and watch with our friends. You aren’t alone. Even if you are that guy stranded on a remote island, God is with you. There is no place where He isn’t. How do I know? Because I’ve been to a lot of places and God has always been there awaiting my arrival. I don’t know how He does it–I’m just glad He said, “I will never leave you.” Don’t leave Him.

45th Wedding Anniversary


Jackie came with a horse. This is before we were married, 1971.

Sometime around October of 1971, I was in our Sunday School class preparing for the day and in walks Jackie. I took one look and thought, “There’s my wife.” Earlier, she woke up and said to God that she had to meet Him, so she walked to the nearest church, which was where our Sunday School class was.

From then on we went to Bible studies together, church and about any kind of


November 22, 1972.

Christian event I could find in order to bring her. I had a car, she didn’t. Can you imagine the shock when I found out she was 15? One day we were driving somewhere and she asked, “Are you a junior?”  I said, “Nope.” “Are you a senior”? “Nope.” She was afraid to ask any more questions about my age—I was 22. 

What did her parents think? They mostly liked me but told us she was going to finish high school before any marriage plans should ever be considered. I understood that. No problem.

Months later, Jackie found herself in the wrong place at school and a black girl punched her. Back then,  school integration was going on but it wasn’t a very smooth process. Jackie’s mom heard about the incident and said, “You are done with high school. Marry Bob.” We were both thrilled. She finished high school by going at night and I just kept on working for my dad at Robbie Tire.


Seven months pregnant


Jackie discovered cold weather wasn’t a lot of fun with a baby. North Carolina, 1975.

Her dad told us before our marriage there was a condition: “You are going to have to buy a house before you can marry my daughter. I’m not going to have a son-in-law moving in with us.”

I’d been stashing money in my clothes drawer for months and when I counted it up, along with a small loan from my dad, I had enough for a down payment to buy a house. The cost was $18,000 and it was a beautiful old wooden house that had no record of being built. It was old.

That’s how our married lives together started. We were married November 22nd of 1972. I was 23 and she was 16. Yes, there were a few who said it would never last, but we knew something that perhaps they didn’t know: We both loved God and our love for Him drew us closer and closer to each other.


From the mountains to the pool. This is in Mobile, Alabama, about 1979. We were in our 3rd house since getting married. We like adventures and traveling and Jackie is my number one adventure girl.

When the pastor said, “Until death do you part” at our wedding, we embraced it with all our heart. We continue to embrace it and we continue to love each other and God our Father.

Jackie was 16 when we got married, 17 when she got pregnant and 18 when our first child, Leah, was born. It was a whirlwind of a start and it has not slowed down even today.

We have served our God through church and Youth With A Mission


On our way surfing. I paddle out and she enjoys the beach with a book or friend. This was in Mobile, 1981 or so. 

all our married lives and that has taken us to living in Hong Kong and Thailand for 6 years, working in the Philippines, Taiwan, Macau, China, Costa Rica, Brazil, India, Canada, and Mexico.

Our lives have been filled with tragedies that could have easily crippled us and joy that has lifted us above them all. Gods faithfulness has kept us secure in so many insecure circumstances that it baffles me, but then who can really figure God out anyway?

I could write 100s of pages about my wife and all she means to me, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll just end the writing and let you enjoy the photos.  She is an amazing woman and I  married so far over my head I can’t believe it. I can only say, “Thank you, Jesus, for bringing her into my life and thank you, Jackie, for putting up with me.


Disco Jackie, Deerfield, FL, 1985.


In Hong Kong, sometimes “happy Jackie” wasn’t, 1991.






That new guy in the middle is our son, Nathan. This is in Hong Kong around 1991.



This is outreach hairstyle. Anytime we took a team to another country, Jackie got ready for sleeping on floors and hot weather, 1994.













No, this isn’t angry Jackie. This is in Thailand applying for a work permit. No smiling allowed, 2003.








Before they were grown up, these 3 boys spent a lot of time with Grammy, Saint Augustine, 2006 ish.





























Driving a motorcycle is not on Jackie’s “do” list, but in Thailand she loved riding on the back. Here we were down south near Phuket exploring during summer break, 2006.













Jackie has always taught pre-school or dance. This is at the AIDS/HIV orphanage where she worked in Thailand, 2006-2007.












Jackie’s boss at the Buddhist Kindergarten built her a dance studio. Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2004.


Jackie loves elephants and playing with them in Thailand was a highlight of our four-and-a-half years we lived there. We went a few times and really loved to wash and ride them, Thailand 2005.



We lived on a rice paddy in Thailand and snakes were common, from Cobras to we aren’t sure what. One time I came home from work to find out Jackie had caught a snake in the house and thrown it over the fence back into the paddy. Nothing like this one turned up.






















Grammy Jackie with Nathan’s 1st born, Cadence. About 2013


Our youngest grandchild, Percie, 2017


Jackie and all who must obey…2017.


45 years after we were married, one heart attack, a knee replacement and other assorted aches and pains, we are still on an adventure with Youth With A Mission San Diego/Baja. Six months left here and then…?













George King, Blake Ostrosser and me on a later trip in my 1956 Bel Air station wagon


Have you ever thought, “If only I’d known this when I was twenty?” or something like that? I did. I was walking to work and wondering if it had really been nearly fifty years ago George King and I were making plans for our trip to Encinitas, CA to go surfing. We were both 18, not doing anything of dire importance, but always had the desire to find a better wave than the one we were currently riding at the moment.



I didn’t expect to find Jesus on my surf trip

George came by my house, we loaded my baggage in his car and my surfboard on the roof of his, I think, 1963 VW bug with an engine that made it go really fast. And that began a journey that a few days later transplanted us in California for our first surf adventure. There would be many more of those that followed that involved other friends to other even more exotic places. The insatiable pull to surf and explore that seemed stronger than the gravity holding me to the ground, led me down a road that eventually brought me into the very presence of God. It took a few years to get there, but that’s what I was doing 50 years ago.



Have I learned anything? Sure. Made mistakes? Gotten lost? Who hasn’t? I suppose that’s what life is all about. The most relevant truth I found in all my meandering around the world has been that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. His plans for me, and even you, are good and to be diligently sought out, and above all He is a redeemer of mistakes and missed turns on the road to eternal life.

Today, I’m in California again and have been here for almost a year.  Jackie and I have reunited with Youth With A Mission (YWAM), which sounds like a misnomer, but we are in with the youth and doing all we can to see that God’s love is extended as far as we can corporately push with our “Y” brothers and sisters.

Sent out from Christ the King Anglican Church in Saint Augustine, we are YWAM volunteers now living in Chula Vista, which is about 7 miles from the Mexican border where most of the ministry takes place. We build houses down there, about 420 this year. I don’t build them, but we have had the privilege of building two. The rest of our days are spent in the office keeping up with the details of running a multi-million-dollar ministry. Sound like fun? More than I can tell you.

People ask how we do it—live as volunteers (no salary) in California. YWAM knows the challenge of living in this area—it’s quite expensive—so they provide our housing for the $250 monthly staff fees we pay to serve. I have social security, which isn’t much, and we receive donations from a few friends. So far, we’ve met all our financial challenges and only gone into the red (spent more than earned) two months out of the first twelve.  Sometimes I wonder if we need more support, but then I simply laugh at myself because I have to give those kinds of thoughts to God and ask Him. He knows what I’m going to pray before my lips begin to move, so I’m confident He knows my need for “Daily Bread” before the bill comes to our mailbox or the car breaks down (that happened twice, thus the shortage one month).

Our journey begins its second year in YWAM in a couple of weeks, and after that year flies by we have to decide what the next step is. But that isn’t a worry now. We have always found God to be faithful, our lives sprinkled with uncertainty (other than the eternal aspects of life) yet we remain confidently aware that wherever we venture it will be where we are supposed to be. “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Pr 16:9).

I could take another couple of paragraphs to describe the ministry we are involved in, but I think I’ll give you a link to our website (YWAMs) that will give you so many photos and stories you won’t have time to see them all. And if you are feeling like, “Hey, I will send the Robinsons a bunch of money to keep them above their expenses,” you can do that there, too. God bless!wave




Then There Were Four

4family.jpgOn Wednesday, I received a call from Nathan, my son, and he was in Arizona to pick up his baby girl from the hospital. When he walked in and talked to the nurse, she said he could not pick her up, and he could not even see her. “Jackie, pack up, we are driving to Phoenix in the morning.”

We got up the next morning at 4:00 AM, we ate and prayed and got in our car and started heading east. Going through the mountains was cool and beautiful, but once Mr. Sun came up we were in the desert and looking straight at it. Outside it was 108 degrees. I’m so thankful our broken air conditioner started working again. Blinded, I continued until we pulled up to the house where we’d stay for the next 6 days to begin a fight—along with our kids—against Child Protective Services (CPS).

I’ve seen stupid plenty of times, but this took the cake. Nathan and Becka had applied for anpercie4Becka.jpg adoption, went through the background checks, and proved they weren’t ax murderers convincingly. So convincingly, the lawyer handling the adoption simply told them it was a done deal and they could go get their baby. No one knew that one single CPS agent with some sort of vendetta could cause so much trouble. At first, I didn’t know what to think because none of it made sense. Nathan told me what was going on. “Really. They think you are going to adopt this baby and sneak it back into Arizona and give it to the homeless parents who gave birth?” That’s what the agent thought.

Nathan has friends. Friends in high places and one got hold of the Attorney General in AZ and told him what was going on. “I’ll give ‘em a call.”  And he did. They ignored his wishes. There were more friends in the Senate so he gave‘em a call. They ignored him, too. They go to a court hearing on Friday and the judge says to CPS, “You need to get out of the way of this adoption.”

Percie2Jackie.jpgThey not only ignore him, they were overheard saying they would ignore him out in the hall by the lawyer representing the birth mom trying to keep her child out of foster care. She knew she couldn’t raise baby Percy but wanted our family to.


By now, CPS knows there is pressure so they had relented in forbidding Nathan and Becka from seeing and holding the baby. Three lawyers, the Attorney General, a judge and a senator, all on our side, were making headway against this one agent.  Saturday, as we are driving to the hospital, I hear Nathan through the blue tooth radio talking to his lawyer who is giving us good news. By Sunday we should have an answer to what is going to happen. Sunday comes along and we find out we are down to one more court hearing on Monday and it should be over. Baby Percy has some Native American blood so the Reservation also has to give their blessing to the adoption, which is more of a gesture than a legal roadblock.

We all drive over to the hospital Monday and our lawyer is driving up to Flagstaff, 250 miles north, for the hearing. From 9:00 AM – 8:15 PM makes for a long day sitting in the hospital waiting room, but Jackiepercy.jpg and I weren’t budging. I am thrilled that I finally see Tom, the lawyer, walking in and giving us the authority to take the baby home. The nurses, the hospital social worker, all are happy that this comes to an end. The CPS agent? God only knows what was going through her head to want to put Percy into foster care when there’s an approved family waiting to bring her home. God have mercy on her.

I thought about driving home early Tuesday morning so we could be

Percie6Bubs.jpgback to work by 1:00 PM, but Percy was just too cute and Jackie too unhappy to leave her, so I opted for driving home on Wednesday, giving another day of Percy time. I don’t anticipate we’ll be back in Florida for another 13 months—YWAM keeps up plenty busy—so by the time we see her again she’ll be up and walking around. I’m sad about that and Jackie is, too. But we are thankful that this adoption has been finalized and we have a granddaughter. Leah, 3 boys; Nathan & Becka, one boy, one girl; Glen and Boom, one boy and one girl. Are we done?  wave


Keep Climbing

Philippians 3:12-14 has this to say:  “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,  I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

I remember a number of Blues’ Singers repeating this line: “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.”  That’s pretty sad.  But sometimes life seems to be that way. We’ve all lost friends to the wages of sin: Death. Kids with cancer, old people with dementia, life just seems, or maybe it is, more challenging.



We all start somewhere

There’s a story of a young boy living in a slum who was out in the marketplace where all the vendors had their carts out with food and other wares to sell. Typically, it was hot, dusty, and dirty.  He was sitting in the dirt playing some made-up game and noticed people would stop, look over his head and just kind of moan and walk away.

He heard one man mumble, “I just wish I could get there.”  So he looked behind him and there were the mountains, with the highest ones still having snow at the top. He had heard the stories of the “place” in the mountains where life was beautiful, bountiful and brimming with blessings. He stared at it for a minute or so and thought, “I can never get up there, out of this dirt and dust.” And at the end of that thought was another one, “Why not? If I stay here in the dirt for 3 days and don’t go, in 3 days I’ll still be in the dirt. If I start walking now, in 3 days I will be safely up to that place in the mountains.

So the boy started walking and thought, “Even to fail in the attempt would be infinitely


The path might be scary

more preferable than this existence in the dirt and misery.” He only had a little bit of food to bring, but water was abundant so he wasn’t worried.  After a few days he realized that this place in the mountains was much further than it looked from the dusty village, but all along the way he had found berries to eat and other plants that he knew were safe to consume. There were steep cliffs with deep dropoffs, boulders, wild animals and the things that he imagined were even worse. But he continued.

After many years had passed, he had grown into a young man, strong, knowledgeable and wise about the way to the bountiful place ahead. Every day he had what he needed to live upon–food and water to meet his needs, shelter to sleep in at night and even those things that he had imagined and scared him in the beginning had now become tame and his friends.

The young man grew older and feebler until at last he was barely able to put one foot in front of the other. He would never go back–he’d rather die climbing to the place than to roll down the mountain and back into the dirt.  Early that morning he was certain that this would be his last sunrise, but then saw another traveler coming down the path and asked, “Sir, where are you going.” Much to his surprise, the man called him by his name and said, “I’ve come down to carry you the rest of the way.” Falling into the kind man’s arms, he was carried to the place, the place that was beautiful, bountiful and brimming with blessings.


The path might be steep

What seemed like but a few seconds, he was there, and there in front of him were people for as far as he could see, all bowing down to the man carrying him. The kind man sat him down, and his strength, health and youth were instantly restored and all the people came around to welcome him. He asked, “Who is this man who has carried me,” and they told him, “He is our King.”

We who follow Christ Jesus were all like this young boy, sitting in the dirt playing made-up games. Then one day, like the boy, we realized there was a better place, a better way to live, so we started climbing up our own mountains.  Along the way the foothills grew steeper, the valleys much deeper, the boulders blocking our way abundant, and we noticed that many who had begun the journey with us were nowhere to be found. But we still carry with us our desire to be free, free from violence and hatred, free from our fears, free from rejection, betrayal and free to be with the One Who truly loves and cares for us. We will get there, but it will require that we put one foot in front of the other


day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year, always keeping our eyes on the King Who will one day scoop us up into His arms and carry us home.

I began my climb to the bountiful place in an Eastern Temple where Paramahansa Yogananda was the founder. It’s just up the road from where I now live.

I found these cuties on my path

He was not a Christian, but he did say this and I think it’s worth repeating:

  “Those who take up the path for its glamor, expecting only blissful visions and a


They come with thorns

comfortable, mossy trail strewn with rose blossoms of divine consolation, become discouraged when they find how often God neglects the moss and roses in favor of thorns.


          For those, however, who cling to their purpose with devotion, taking the path calmly one day at a time, no test is ever too great. Obstructions are seen, then, as blessings, for they provide the strength one needs to reach the heights.”

Many of my long-ago friends gave up and no longer climb. I pray you won’t. I pray you will see that the trials of the trip are far outweighed by the beautiful, bountiful and brimming blessings that come from our Father in heaven. If you are feeling beaten down, you know how to find us–let’s talk, or better yet, let’s pray.  He’s waiting for you…  wave





Got Wounds?


“Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.”We’ve probably all heard that either in a song or conversation, right?

heaven.jpgAs I continue to climb up the age tree, I’m finding more and more about life.  Many of my friends have died climbing this tree and there are many that have forgotten they are even climbing because their minds are shutting down before their bodies do.  It might be funny to say those folks make new friends every day because everyone they meet is new to them, but the truth is—it’s not funny at all.IMG_9757.jpg

So am I trying to depress you?  Nope.  What I’m going to do is share with you some things that are going on in my life you may be able to relate to.  For example, there is a huge bruise on my right forearm from showing a kid how to receive a serve in volleyball.  My wrist is swollen and really hurts.  I didn’t even do anything but let the ball come into my arms and pop it up!  I did this for hours when I used to play a few years back and didn’t even get sore.  I went for a 3-mile walk yesterday and my knees felt like they were sliding around in circles inside my leg, threatening to give out.  I walk or ride or surf a lot—that knee thing is just a new reality my body is talking to me about.  I even run now and then and, yes, I can.  But when I’m finished the pain is so real it can’t be ignored.  I’ve even created a new rub I call “Bobathol,” which is a rich mixture of menthol crystals and essential oils. Jackie uses it every day on her back and hips.  Desperation has driven me to become an inventor!  No, I don’t sell it.  But you have pains, too, and you don’t even have Bobathol.  But enough about my pain.

Last Sunday our Priest shared from Isaiah 53 where it says, “By His wounds we are healed.”  In the olden days when I would hear that verse quoted it was usually mentioned to precede a healing service or showcase some “evangelist’s” power to perform miracles.  In the context we heard from our Priest, it was about the martyrs in Egypt in the Coptic church.  They are being wounded and martyred and the healing that is coming out of their persecution, through their wounds, is the miracle of forgiveness they are showing their persecutors and the effect it is making on the Islamic majority that has been doing the persecuting.  It is culturally correct that in Egypt if you are hurt you hurt back. But the Copts are offering forgiveness and it’s having an impact for good. Their churches are filling up more than ever before; the Islamic majority is looking on with wonder.  Who knows, they may even put down their swords.

“By His wounds” is powerful medicine, but have you ever thought what those wounds did to Jesus?  He allowed men to torture and crucify Him in order to get them.  His body hurt just like mine—it hurt when the nails were driven into His hands and feet or the whip ripped His back apart—a lot.  Those wounds killed Him.  Should we expect less from the wounds we pick up from time to time?

My Coptic brothers and sisters, along with their children, suffered a lot more wounding than I can ever imagine and they, in turn, extended forgiveness and love so that their persecutors might come to know Christ.  You have been beaten up a time or two, I’m sure. Are you letting your wounds bring healing or hurt? Unforgiveness brings anger, depression, sickness, gossip and can even sap what energy you have right out of you, so go ahead, forgive that person or even church who hurt you.  Let your wounds bring healing to even those who would do you harm.

My scratches don’t compare to what the Copts are going through and they are forgiving.  I’d rather they not be persecuted, so I pray for them and the rest of the Church that is being persecuted in other parts of the world, and for the children who are being made into soldiers by mad men.  The atrocities and evil that exist around our planet scream for Christians to intercede and bring healing.  One day, I think/hope/and pray, our wounds will bring about the return of Christ and we’ll see the salvation and redemption we all long for. And, if you are wondering, of course I pray for physical healing and good health. If you are hurting and ask me to pray, I will pray for you until you get better or die and even then I’ll pray for a safe journey into eternity! I pray for many of you daily and I pray for my wife and I simply pray for what God brings to my mind.  Please join me.

So, my friends, whatever stage of life you are in, serve God, love your neighbor and when you get that last wound you go to heaven.  If your life is pain-free, great.  If it hurts–you get wounded–that’ OK, too.  Your wounds might come through someone’s verbal abuse or they might come by some nutcase with a gun and his agenda to change the world through violence. No matter how they come, allow the wounds you suffer to bring healing to your neighbor.  It worked for Jesus.  


What Are You Doing?

My Life in the Cave

Have you ever wondered why Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians to the church in Corinth about the importance of each person in the Body of Christ?   Here’s what he said:  But in fact, God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be (1Cor 12:18) We are where we are, doing what we are doing because God placed us right where He wanted us most.  We all have roles to act out and they are all essential. 

Along My Walking/Biking/Running Path

As one who is getting closer and closer to the state of not living on earth, I’ve noticed that my life has gone through different stages.  Let me go back in time a bit.  I worked at my dad’s tire store from the time I could get there under my own power (motorcycle at 14 years of age) until I left for the last time at age 37.  I started by cleaning bathrooms and sweeping up.  As I got older I learned all about that business and how to do most anything needed tire related.  I did those tasks without giving any of them much thought—I could just do the stuff I needed to do.

When I came into Youth With A Mission in 1987 (37 years of age), I started all over again.  After the 1st year, I could lead schools and take teams into foreign countries like I had been doing it forever.  I could keep up with 40 passports, kids, staff and my own family of four without too much thinking. I lived in Hong Kong and it was no big deal—I could just do stuff and it came intuitively.  Those were the years before we used the word “multi-tasking,” and when I did it well.

Jackie Inside Her Cage

Today, not too much multi-tasking going on.  I’m working in the office at YWAM doing logistical work so that those who are younger, more energetic and able to keep a number of tasks (multi-tasking) flowing along at the same time—like building a 400 Sq ft house in a day and a half with teams coming from all over the world to work—can do what they are able to do.  Sure, I miss all that excitement and at times wondered why I’m sitting on the sidelines observing.  Then I noticed that the word “observing” has a very important part of it:  “Serving.” 

“Let Me Out”

We who work in Chula Vista—just south of San Diego near the border—are serving those builders and other workers in Mexico so that they can do what they need to be doing.  And what did Jesus have to say:  “Be like the Son of Man. He did not come to be served. Instead, He came to serve others.”  That is so easy to say, right?  Now try and do it!  In the middle of what I do, that’s the new lesson I’m learning and the new stage of my life I’m in.  It’s slower for sure, but God places us in His body, no matter what stage we may be living in, and He does it to accomplish the good work of caring for the people on earth.  So I am stoked that I don’t have to measure if I’m doing enough—I only have to look at our Lord Jesus and say, “Your will being done in my life is what I want.” 

So how is the work we serve doing?  Pretty good.  Last year we had a few over 5,000   people come through here to build houses for the poor in Mexico and another 1000 or so kids, (entire youth groups), go on Mission Adventures and even a few of them built houses.  We also take care of refugees

and red light district kids at risk and their moms and skaters and surfers and had 200 and something come through our schools and built a bit more than 400 houses in 10 countries–most in Mexico.  So, yes, it’s one of the craziest and busiest places I’ve ever worked in YWAM, but we are putt-putting along and serving as we can. 

 There’s a bonus gift we received coming out here to YWAM/San Diego/Baja: Jackie and I are part of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, St. Anthony’s, and blessed way beyond what we deserve by the life of Christ we receive every time we walk through the doors.  It is an amazing place for us to be.  What’s an Antiochian, you wonder?  You can read about it here: Acts 13:1  In the church at Antioch…While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit spoke. “Set apart Barnabas and Saul for me,” He said.  Yep, it’s that church, the one you read about in Acts.  They have ’em all over the world.  Check one out.