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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Living in the book of Acts...

Sometimes you get to part of a miracle.

Miracles aren't always seen in the glistening limelight of the spectacular or the spectacle. They more often than not are captured in the ordinary rhythms and textures of a lazy day. They aren't always evoked through prayer and fasting, toil and sweat. No, they can self-start without your penitence and indulgences. I find that they elude the ones who chase after them, demand them. Miracles are meant to do more than meet needs. They are sent to awaken need.

Any time that I've witnessed miracles in my life, I didn't expect them. And almost every time I've needed a miracle, prayed for a miracle, groveled and clawed and convulsed and turned my heart inside out in desperation, I've been left with lots of wind, lots of dust, but no rain. No rain for the parched heart.

But seemingly out of nowhere, sometimes God wants to display his mad skills.

I feel like this is what has been happening in our church the last three weeks. We couldn't have been in a worse position financially three weeks ago. We were on the brink of disaster. We were in discussions about who's gonna get laid off. We were batting around the wilting conversation of scarcity and the dry and arid landscape of church planting. You could cut the attrition with a knife. My stomach was twisted in knots like a wild vine in a cramped back ally. On certain days, my brain would crowd with conflicting thoughts and emotions and I would literally "trip out" for a couple minutes like my cerebral wiring was shorting out. I'm not sure how to describe it. I'm sure you've been there.

I wrote the church a letter yesterday and I thought I'd post a piece of it to give you a peek at how God has touched down like a tornado in our midst...

Four weeks ago, we were experiencing a financial hemorrhage the likes of which we’ve yet to face. The bleeding wasn’t stopping and the infrastructural vitality of our body was weakening by the week. For whatever reason, numbers went down for 6 straight weeks from the end of May through the month of June leading into the first weekend of July, which was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Our offering on the first weekend of July was less that $7,500 which is nearly $5,000 less that our weekly need. The 5 weeks prior to that were averaging a paltry $9,200 each week, which was slowly draining all of our cash reserves. Each week we were praying for a reversal in the trend, but each week we were seeing an increased drop off in attendance and tithing. After the first week of July and the backbreaking $5,000 shortfall, we had several emergency meetings with leadership teams seeking counsel from each other as well as wisdom from God. We fasted and prayed and sought the face of God on what he would have us do. Through our times in the Word, in prayer and with each other, God was revealing his heart to us for the weeks to come.

In fact, one evening I was sitting all alone in my living room literally sick to my stomach with anxiety and pressure wondering aloud to God, “I don’t know what to do and I’m not sure I’m equal to the task in front of me.” As I was sitting there looking out the window I sensed God speak into my heart, “Just tell the people the need and let them give.” It was almost so simple that it felt stupid, but the minute I sensed Him press that into my heart, a peace came over me instantaneously that released my stomach of knots and my head of clutter. God very clearly was afoot.

I look back now in amazement at the unfolding miracle of God in the last 3 weeks. We have averaged almost 14,500 dollars a week in tithes and the sacrificial offering in the first two weeks has been $46,525! This is nothing short of a modern day miracle! Typically we have about 70-80 giving units a week, but this past week we had 116 which shows the amount of new people putting skin in the game and tithing, which for some is probably the first time in their life they’ve ever tithed! It is this kind of radical obedience berthed by the Holy Spirit recently that has left us speechlessly humbled!

This is all the more extraordinary when you consider that July is cyclically the worst month of the year for giving and attendance, and yet our attendance has gone up nearly 25% and our tithing nearly 100% when it should be going down! And all this happening while we’re talking about the single most unpopular subjects known to mankind, “Tithing and Sacrifice”. Did you get that? The worst season of the year + the most unpopular topic = the best month we’ve had in the history of our church financially speaking. This is worth celebrating as a supernatural act of God Himself. Only he could do such a thing is such a time as this. We know this with all our heart.


This may not mean much to you, but this is drop dead, jaw dropping power in my opinion! People have been living out the rabid early church practices of selling possessions, land, and vehicles...tapping into their 401k's, retirement and savings...and coming up with the most crazy fund raisers your could ever imagine in your wildest dreams. Suffice it to say that it's been like living in the book of Acts.

Now I know why Acts is one of my favorite books in the Bible.

Miracles don't happen all the time, but when they do, they are nothing if they aren't life-saving.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

the joy of writing...

I love this piece on writing by a guy named Billy Collins. I've edited it due to its length and lewdness...but this is brilliant. For you artists and writers out there, drink this in.


My favorite time to write is in the late afternoon,

weekdays, particularly Wednesdays.

This is how I go about it:

I take a fresh pot of tea into my study and close the door.

Then I remove my clothes and leave them in a pile

as if I had melted to death and my legacy consisted of only

a white shirt, a pair of pants, and a pot of cold tea.

Then I remove my flesh and hang it over a chair.

I slide it off my bones like a silken garment.

I do this so that what I write will be pure,

Completely rinsed of the carnal,

uncontaminated by the preoccupations of the body.

Finally I remove each of my organs and arrange them

on a small table near the window.

I do not want to hear their ancient rhythms

when I am trying to tap out my own drumbeat.

Now I sit down at the desk, ready to begin.

I am entirely pure: nothing but a skeleton at a typewriter.

In this condition I write extraordinary love poems.

I am concentration itself: I exist in a universe

where there is nothing but thinking and typewriting.

I am all skull and bones typing into the afternoon.

Just the absolute essentials, no flounces.

Now I write only about the most classical of themes

in language light as the air between my ribs.

Afterward, I reward myself by going for a drive at sunset.

I replace my organs and slip back into my flesh

And clothes. Then I back the car out of the garage

And speed through woods on winding country roads,

Passing stone walls, farmhouses, and frozen ponds,

All perfectly arranged like words in a famous sonnet.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Celebrating Understanding..."Boring Preaching Part 2"

After writing the blog "Boring Preaching", a good friend sent me a response with a verse that followed that passage. It's so cool what happens when a preacher/prophet handles the Word with considerable care, making it clear and giving it meaning. Check this out...

Ne 8:12 - "Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them. ..."

I heard someone say one time, you shouldn't leave church fed, you should leave church hungrier. That is so say, if you've truly been fed, it should result in hunger pangs, not a post-Thanksgiving-meal-nap-inducing sedative. I remember another person saying, "I know when I've encountered God in a message when I can't remember the message, but I want to get home and read the Word." I've never forgotten these comments for some reason. I think it's because it flies in the face of what usually occurs.

People take notes and remember points. They fill in the blanks as thee follow linear thought. They crack open their Bibles and nonchalantly follow along to humor the pastor. Or they just read the lyrics off the screen that are miraculously provided for them by a computer somewhere in the back. When asked what the message was about, their 9 hour short term memory kicks in and they rattle off a couple tips or techniques they learned like: The greatest commandment is #1. Love the Lord Your God. #2. Love your neighbor as yourself. There, I did it, I remembered something, I answered your questions. Or--and this is most common--people don't remember a lick about the Word, they just remember the illustrations and stories that were shared to support the text being explained. When asked what the illustration was trying to drive home, they stand there trying to make the connection to no avail. The story becomes the end-all, instead of the means to the end.

But after these people heard the word spoken in their vernacular with meaning and clarity, they "celebrated with great joy". They threw a party, eating and drinking, sending food to other people in need, dancing and carrying on like Italians at a wedding reception! It was a festive occasion filled with mirth and merriment! Why? Because they understood the Word of God. They took the time to throw a party over probably one of the most overlooked wonders of modern time. God's mind can be known. God's heart is accessible to the common man. God's dreams aren't lofty and ineffable, they can be touched with the tactile hands of an uneducated peasant.

People were starving to know the Word of God and the God of the Word. But there was one copy of the Scriptures and a select few with the education and authority to interpret them. They were tethered to the personality and passion, the imagination and illumination, the mind and the mouth of the middleman, the preacher. Their experience of the Word could be dry and didactic, or wet and weighty.

I just heard the other day that when people pray to God for potatoes, He typically give them a hoe. Why? Because we have to work for them. He doesn't just give us what we want. No, he puts the hoe in someone's hands and says, "Cultivate, work the ground, fertilize, weed, nurture and gather." He sends the rain, He provides the light, but we are responsible for the work.

Preaching is work. Hard work. You work the ground until you're buckling in a sweaty faint. And rightly so, you're unpacking the heart of God so that people can understand what's crowding God's head on any given day.

And make no mistake, 'understanding" has to remain the crowned jewel, the shining achievement of the preacher. We cannot take joy in clever tricks of the trade or polished storytelling or silver-tongued articulation or theological, we must gauge success on the basis of people's understanding leading to party-throwing celebrations. What kind of party is thrown, even if it's inside the heart of the hearer, when the gospel is spoken. Are people going home excited because they've been invited into "knowing" and "understanding" God more personally, more palpably? Or do they just know more stuff.

I long to share the Word in a way that people come salivating and leave celebrating. That they come hungry and leave hungrier. I realize that I can only bring human illustration and God brings holy illumination, so this is and always will be a tandem effort. But I can't shirk my responsibility to unleash clarity and meaning leading to understanding. Then, and only then, will people go home to eat and drink and celebrate understanding God...maybe for the first time!

Some more thoughts on Preaching with Power.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Boring Preaching...

Nehemiah 8:5-8 -

5 Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. 6 Ezra praised the LORD, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, "Amen! Amen!" Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.

7 The Levites—Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan and Pelaiah—instructed the people in the Law while the people were standing there.

8 They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read.


The Word of God. The News of God. The History of God. The Journal Entries of God. The Letters of God. The Poetry of God. The Songs of God. This is what we read when we read the Bible. This is what we are handling with our hands and hearts. This is the precious ground on which we tread.

I sometimes wish we didn't all possess a copy.

I wish we would have to convene in some field two states from us to have it read by a Levite. He would stand on a wood-hewn platform high above and we would listen like little ants way down below. We would know that something special was happening, something that we don't get a chance to do or hear whenever we want. Something unique enough to caravan with others to see. It was hallowed--this public reading of the Law. It was sacred.

The people would bow and flail and yell and weep. They would shout one moment and be silenced the next by the sentences and paragraphs of God story. With bated breath they would await the honey dripping off Levitical lips. Like a long awaited sirloin steak, vacation or time with friends, they would gather around this hand-crafted wooden platform digging out the wax in their ears so as to not miss a single syllable.

Sounds like our churches on Sunday morning doesn't it?

People come dying for the Word of God don't they? Starving for truth. Hungering for every jot and tittle that spills from the preacher's tongue. They fall on their faces in joy and repentance. The minute the WORD is opened and spoken, people rise to their feet in holy fear at the sound of Scripture, don't they. As the words trickle from the mouth of the messenger and cascade over the rock of people's hearts, people can't help but respond with, "Amen and Amen...meaning..It is true, It is true!"

Thank God "the Word won't return void" as it says in Isaiah 55.

And yet, it does, ladies and gentlemen. It does week after week in church after church in town after town. Void is precisely what happens when the Scriptures are read and heard. What is wrong?

I was struck with lightning when I read verse 8. The lights when on. The angels started singing. The dead started rising in me. It finally made sense.

I've been taught that when you "Preach the Word", it "won't return void" and frankly have always been baffled by that because, for all practical purposes, I've witnessed the exact opposite a good many Sundays of my life. No excitement unless it was extracted by the pastor like a impacted molar. No anticipation for sermons, only a watch-watching congregation wondering when the preacher would land the plane so they could go home. No spontaneous responses of wonderment, only an "I-told-you-so, that's-what-I-thought, what's-the-big-deal, tell-me-something-I-didn't-already-know" facial expression that spoke of boredom mixed with bemusement.

So to be brutally honest, I've witnessed the Word returning void more than it returning vital, which has caused pause in my heart and made me question the interpretation of that verse over the years. I think we want to think that we can just "get the word out", "preach the word", and be done with it. Let go and let God, so to speak. It is an easy escape hatch for the person that doesn't want to include themselves in the equation. Escapist language is often cloaked in humility. "It's not me, it's God." "I'm just the messenger." I even heard a guy in prayer a couple weeks ago say, "God, take me out of the equation. Do your thing." It sounds so fundamentally sound, so theologically correct. And to be sure, it has its place.

But here's the thing...if God just wanted us to "Preach his Word" without being a part of the equation or interjecting our own commentary, then why don't preachers just take the pure truth and read the text without interpretation, explanation and application? Why don't we leave ourselves out of the whole transaction?

Well, here's why. Because of verses like Nehemiah 8:8 which says, "They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read."

You can't abdicate your responsibility so easily. Yes, you must read from the Book, but you must also put yourself into it. You have the terrible and terrific responsibility of "making is clear" and even more importantly "giving it meaning". Why? So the people can understand for crying out loud!

It must be said that if you're not applying yourself as much to clarity and meaning as to Biblical soundness, you will watch the Word return void your whole ministry and woefully only be a "legend in your own mind" as you spin doctor your ineffectiveness with resignations like "people just aren't as hungry for truth as they used to be" or "we are quite obviously in the last days" or "it does say that all men will hate you because of me" or "the road is narrow for real Christians and few there be that find it". What a clever dodging of the probable truth...namely, that the preacher is boring and the people are bored. The Word is being preached, but the Word is not being preached with clarity and meaning.

A preacher must labor over clarity and meaning like they are birthing a child. They can't blame the boredom on the congregation week after week. Come on! That's denial!

And here's why this is important, because the longer leaders misdirect their problem solving and trouble shooting toward the people and not themselves, the longer truth will be communicated in unclear and irrelevant forms. As leaders, we must take the responsibility for relevant communication seriously. Relevance isn't Cultural, it's Biblical. In every age, prophets have had to learn the language of culture, the stories of culture, the wineskins of culture and do everything in their power to convert truth into those terms. Until truth is converted people won't be. It's that simple. You can try to convert people with yelling verses all day long, but until people say, "Wow, that makes sense and feels important", we will stand in front of humanity making fools of ourselves all the while thinking them the fools. Sad.

This verse clearly says that we read the Scriptures with two objectives: 1. Make it clear. 2. Give it meaning. And the reason is all-important....because people have got to understand! You may say, "Well, the Lord brings illumination." I understand. He opens the eyes of their heart, but I think we have the responsibility of opening the eyes of their mind. We have to entice them, woo them, tease them, and lure them. We must bedazzle the word until people are bewitched with longing. We must be "workman who need not be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth". Yes. Workman.

I simply had to put this into words. Preachers must wake up. We have an awesome responsibility. We cannot shirk that responsibility with blame shifting. God's Word is relevant, we cannot make it more so. But I assure you, we can make it less.

The Word. Clarity. Meaning. Understanding.


Thursday, July 08, 2010

Carving Pillars to Adorn a Palace...parenting daughters.

Psalm 144: 12 - Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace.


I stumbled upon this verse yesterday accidently, providentially.

I have three daughters (Kami - 11, Aly - 9, Taylor - 6) and I spend a great deal of mental energy mulling over scenarios in my mind, trying to anticipate the future rather than being left crying over spilt milk, playing Monday morning quarterback, and enjoying 20/20 hindsight for the rest of my days.

I long for 20/20 foresight in parenting my daughter's hearts. They can't afford to be Guinea pigs, lab rats for my parental experiments. My treatment must be more exacting, thorough, and customized. Preemptive parenting seems to produce healthier humans according to my unofficial research. The forethought and foresight that I'm talking about is addressed in this obscure passage found in Psalm 144.

David starts the chapter asking God to "train his hands for war and his fingers for battle". I love this big ask. He knows what he's up against. He knows that in many ways he hasn't been trained from his parents and that he needs God's mentoring, his sage-like wisdom, his careful training. I feel this a lot as a parent and I had great parents. I feel like my hands are anything but trained to handle the battle of life. And my fingers...heck, they dangle palsy-like awaiting a therapist's strength training regimen. So yeah, I stand in need of training, big-time.

Until I'm trained, I can't train. Until I'm parented, I can't parent. Until I'm shaped, I can't shape. You don't need the wisdom of Shakespeare to deduce this.

So back to my girls.

They are beautiful through and through. Their hearts are tender to the touch right now. And yet, they are waiting to be hewn with the careful strokes of the sculptures chisel. They are rough, knotty, and unshapely. Potential lies beneath the bark that covers their lively core. Ring upon rings of life have grown over the years. They are constantly growing from the inside out. They are getting stronger. But are they getting stronger character or stronger bad habits, stronger predispositions? This is the question.

Parenting girls is like carving. It takes patience. It takes a plan. You can't just start chiseling off random chips of wood, you have to know what you want the life to look like, or it will turn out to be a 'hack job'. Having a blueprint inside your head provided by the "trainer" that you have apprenticed under is essential. The way he trained your hands makes all the difference in the word. What does sage-God say about this little pillar I'm working on? What kind of chisel should I use to carve this unique design? What kind of wood am I carving and what kind of tool do I need? Every piece of wood is different. I have to keep consulting my master-carver and my master-plan. If I don't, a 'hack job baby' is inevitable. Which is not much better than a "crack baby".

Carving is delicate, deliberate. You sand a rough edge and blow off the residue left behind. You shuck violently sometimes, and shave tenderly at others. You create depth of dimension. Your hands shake because what is taken off cannot be put back on. (There is wood glue, but the integrity of the product is compromised.) It's not like hair, it doesn't grow back once you lop it off. Thus, you have to make sure your deliberate strokes are stable and sure. "He trains our hands."

I love that this verse turns stereotypes upside-down. You would think young guys would be the strong pillars and the youthful girls would be plants in need of nurture. But the Psalmist pulls a fast one. He applies strength to the young woman. He switches the customary metaphor around and compares a little girl to a "pillar", an object of strength and fortification.

A pillar is foundational. It holds things up, it holds things together. It must stand tall; it must stand strong. When the pillar is weak, the whole superstructure is weak. When the pillar is strong, the building is lasting, almost everlasting.

These daughters that I'm carving aren't spindles or chair legs or banisters or crown molding. They aren't nonessential fixtures. They are in every way prominent and powerful. They mustn't be trifled with or given the scraps of my efforts. How they turn out will be front and center. Front in the sense that they are the first thing you see, center in the sense that every thing else will be build around them.

I am carving columns in the colosseum. I'm handling the wood that will hold the weight of the world. I must remember this when I feel prone to write off their value.

But I'm not just carving pillars for mere utilitarian purposes, I'm working on beauty. These pillars are meant to adorn, not just support. They are meant to beautify and astound. They are meant to stop people dead in their tracks, give people goosebumps, make others cry in reverence at the sight of such bewitching beauty.

And there is little else that strikes at the core of a woman's desire more than the desire for "adornment". They love to be adored. They loved to be doted on. They want to be beautiful as well as powerful. They don't want to just fill the role of holding things together, they want to dazzle and bedazzle. They start to feel used when everyone leans on them and they are carrying the work load. They want to be dressed up, made up, dolled up.

This is what I love about seeing old structures from Rome. They didn't just throw up pillars; they worked on making them beautiful. It wasn't just about creating something useful, it was about creating something meaningful. Something that would move people when they looked upon it. You would see it and just know, "They didn't have to do that, but someone cared enough to adorn it with the detail of a carver's creative love." I can tell when parents have loved their daughters well. They go the extra mile. They aren't just providing for basic needs, they are aiming for something higher than that. They want to create something beautiful.

I want to adorn my daughters.

It makes logical sense that this verse would end with the word 'palace'. Castles and palaces are written into the little girls heart. Most of the early years in a budding females life are spent pretending and dreaming about living in castles with a king and a kingdom. They watch movies about it. These are their toys. This is what they make believe about. All three of mine have...and they still do.

We are carving a column to be placed in a beautiful castle.

Something palatial. Something adorable. Something powerful. Something careful. Something that takes the careful hands of a carver. A sculptor. A parent who's hands have been trained.

Have I been "carving" or "complacent"?

Do I see my daughters as "pillars" and "powderpuffs"?

Have I been "adoring" my daughters so that they "adorn" life around them?

Have I been creating a "palace" for them to live or just a "place" for them to live?

I love being a father to daughters. This verse uncovered a word picture that brought my heart to life. I hope it does so for others.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Kayaking the River as the Crow flies...

Last week I went kayaking on the Grand River. It was the stretch in between Saranac and Lowell. I grossly underestimated the distance as well as the pace of the river. It was low and the current was moving along at a snail's pace. My wife dropped me off and according to my unintelligent estimation I put myself on the banks of Lowell in about 2 and a half hours. I should have known better than to base my calculations on how the crow flies and the rivers speed at the apex of a spring thaw.

The river twists about like a serpentine maze and due to the drought of the last couple weeks, there were certain places where the river would widen and I might as well have been in a country pond, stagnant and unstirred.

It didn't take me long to realize that if I was going to make Lowell by nightfall, I would have to paddle my way there with the brute strength of an Olympic rower. My shoulders were about to fall off a quarter of the way into the trip. The sun was beating down on me, the horse flies were seizing the opportunity to get at the one guy who was floating down stream like a piece a raw meat, and I couldn't get the small of my back to find a place of comfort in the little plastic seat it would call home for the forthcoming hours.

I also came to another realization about an hour into the trip. I had no landmarks with which to gauge my progress. I didn't know whether I was half way, three quarters of the way, or 10 hours from my destination. For some reason I thought I'd be able to see Rt. 21 that parallels the river off to the right, but I couldn't make heads or tails of where I was even when I could hear the clamoring traffic. The further I went, the more I feared that I wasn't moving fast enough to get to Lowell by dusk. This wasn't good because I planned on meeting my wife at the 3 hour mark. When she called to see how much further I had to go, I couldn't give her a straight answer. "Um, yeah, about that. Uh, I don't know where I am in relation to where I want to be so I'm not sure when I'll be floatin' into town." She had to find that mildly ridiculous, but it was true. "I'll give you a call when I see the bridge by Keisers." That could be in the next 15 minutes or the next 15 years for all I know." She chuckled and said she was taking the girls to get their nails done and would await my call.

When she hung up, a small yet persistent panic set in that I wasn't even close to Lowell and that in order for me to get there by sunset, I would have to quicken my pace and paddle like a banchi (whatever that is). I fortified my resolved, set my gaze, girded up my loins, and paddled like I was being chased by a tribe of headhunting Indians. My shoulders were cramping, but I didn't let up.

As I rounded a corner, I spooked a massive bald eagle out of a tree and watched it soar over my head and upriver. It was majestic and magic all at the same time. Not 10 minutes later, I saw a deer with her little fawns nibbling on some green grass at the river's edge. They stared at me like I was a freak of nature, the kind of stare you would give an alien that climbed through your window and into your bedroom while you were putting on your pajamas. I smiled in delight.

About three hours into the trip, I picked up a sight for sore eyes...the bridge by Keisers. The relief that set into my muscles was palpable and I breathed a sigh of joy. As I forded the ravine and tucked under the bridge, there was another train bridge just ahead. Atop the bridge was a huge nest made out of large twigs and mud. It was an eagle's nest. The most fantastical part of it all was that a little baby eagle was perched in the nest looking down at me as if to say, "Ahoy mate! How are your shoulders?" I talked to it like you would talk to a newborn baby, for that is what it was. It was a beautiful things to behold. I love seeing creatures in their natural habitat.

In a matter of minutes I came to where the Flat River flows into the Grand and the current picked up quite a bit at that point. It was then that I realized why my calculations were so dreadfully wrong as to the pace of the river. The part of the river I always see when I'm crossing the bridge as I head out of Lowell on Rt. 50 isn't characteristic of the river as a whole. Its current is heavily influenced by the conjoining current of the Flat River 500 ft. upriver. It was all making sense to me now. I wasn't as stupid as I felt for the last 3 hours. This still doesn't explain why I was gauging the distance with a "crow's flight patterns", but I'm a novice at this kayaking deal.

As I ran my vessel into shore, I threw out my water bottle, my bible and a couple other belongings. I then braced myself and threw my leg out of the side ever so slowly so as to not disturb the equilibrium of this glorified canoe. When I did, my phone, that was firmly grasped by my left hand, somehow slipped out and was quickly submerged in about two feet of water. I reacted so quickly that I forgot about my balance and quickly joined my phone in its baptism. I quickly drew the phone out of the water, wiped it off with my shirt, watched as the screen slowly faded to black, and then took the battery out of the back to see if I could give it some CPR. I wasn't ready to call a "time of death" quite yet.

I placed it on the shore in the full sunlight hoping it would dry out and regain consciousness. About an hour later, I placed the battery back into the phone and it worked. Not without a couple glitches in the first day, but amazingly it made a fully recovery.

I write all this to say, life is full of twists and turns, and I love it.