the Mozart Easter Story

Heard a great sermon on XM Radio’s family talk channel. The preacher shared on Mozart, who was quoted in his life to say…The secret to life, is accepting death“. (my paraphrase)

The story goes, that Mozart attributed his amazing life of musical genius and prolific creativity to the understanding that he would die, could die at anytime and that he was completely surrendered to that. He was excited to squeeze the life out of every second of every day that he had, without fear or doubt. He had settled the issue of his passing long before it came up.

Recent controversy with Pastor Rob Bell’s book… “Love Wins” has riled up the talking heads and the blogosphere with accusations of heresy, name calling and polarizing posturing from many Christian camps. His book explores the reality of what the Bible says specifically about Hell, Heaven and life after we die. I’m not here to comment on that other than to say.. I’m more concerned for this blog, in how I live this life, right now.

His understanding of death, released Mozart to live a most remarkable life.

As a believer in Christ, I have theoretically the same belief, that my death will only lead to life. But do I live that waySpecifically…not in the great beyond, or in the great eternity of the unknown…but here and now. Today. Am I living with a clear understanding of the truth behind those words ?

Jesus said, I am come that they might have life…and have it to the fullest. I don’t believe that he was just commenting for us on an inconceivable endless heaven after earth reality. I believe it means life for us here, now. When we surrender our need to be in control of our destiny, we find life. When we let go of our preferences, our endless fears for our kids, the mortgage or the test results just in from the doctor…. we renew our days with something extra-ordinary, a “Jesus” kind of perspective to our day that has the intensity of true and vibrant life in it.

Our kids are watching us as we live, we can teach and preach and do devotions until we’re blue in the face. We can drag them to church every Sunday, youth groups, missions trips or summer camps…but in the end they are watching US to determine what they are going to really believe.

When we live from the reality that we have already”died” to ourselves and to our preferences, we can embrace whatever God directs us towards… determined to live  fearlessly in the face of whatever comes. I believe that kind of life speaks louder than any other effort we can intellectually make to win their trust and hope and belief in Jesus. Our day-to-day understanding of the precious and priceless gift of life that has been given to us in Jesus, provide us with a remarkable weapon of Hope and Healing and Help. We become life-givers to those who are literally and metaphorically dying… Son Rise Cross

So this Easterlet go, allow your own stuff to die. The baggage of worry, fear and frustration that keeps us bound from really living…Please, know that until you surrender the stubborn parts of you that insist on being “right”, or “getting your way”…you’re not really dead yet. So go ahead and die to all of you…So that your and your family can really enthusiastically LIVE.

Fellow Parents,…It’s worth the struggle, and it’s worth the freedom to push through this Easter and not settle for anything less than real life. It’s time to consider a Mozart Easter tradition to begin in your home.

A life of really living… a life with hope and renewed vibrancy…in the beauty of TODAY. After all, we have something and someone truly remarkable to be living for.

Peace out my friends, “Keeping it on the road and in between the lines of Life”


Broken but beautiful….

Easter is an amazing time of year. We as Christians celebrate the Holy Week as the apex of our calendar year, our “Superbowl” of faith! The moment each year we re-imagine the truth behind our iconic Cross and the core of our beliefs. Jesus… alive and full of power, the beauty,splendor and vibrancy of new life.

So…. in our minds, Easter Sunday should be full of all kinds of fresh hope, personal new beginnings and “growing to bursting” fresh faith in our hearts!

Right ?

As much as we all want to feel the fullness of hope and newness, our lives actually seem to be about the same.

We wake up and really want to sleep in, we struggle with our day. Not feeling as healthy as we could and already tired before we even get moving. The day dawns and sets, we go to church… repeat the parts we’re supposed, smile at the right times and hug everyone around us. But deep down… we’re un-affected.

What’s wrong with us ?

It seems everyone else is sporting a perky and “full of life” attitude, while we’re struggling to figure out if we can dig dinner out of the fridge tonight and if we have enough clean clothes to get us through the week. We’re supposed to be FULL OF LIFE, EXUBERANT in our HOLIDAY of DIVINE TRIUMPH and JOY!

But if we’re honest… we’re not.

Somewhere deep inside of us… our spark is dimming. We’re suffering and silent. Tired and tormented by a weary mind and heart. We’re so afraid to hope again, to really trust.

The truth is, we’re all broken inside. No one get’s to dodge this truth, rich or poor… successful or serial failure… we’re busted up inside. Broken into pieces and it’s not easy to keep pretending otherwise. The culture of Christian faith pushes us to live in denial of our feelings, to ignore our hearts and minds and simply extend ourselves forever on the belief that “All things work together for the good”… but the truth is… all things are NOT good.

The promise for us in the “here and now” is redemption… NOT perfection!

Perfection comes at Christ’s return, and not a second before. In the meantime… we have “broken” and when we invite Christ into our “broken” He makes it “beautiful”. The crushing despair and discouragement comes when we start to believe that the goal of our lives is to avoid pain or difficulties.

Instead of avoiding those moments, God recycles them from simply being the painful by-products of our sin and foolishness into the character building events of our lives. Moments that forever shape and strengthen our character. In the middle of the messy in-between, Jesus draws nearer and comforts us in the worst pain we could ever imagine… bringing us into a deeper and permanent intimacy with our heavenly Father.

The Christians goal is to become like Christ. That means a difficult season or two is surely ahead, but be of good cheer… Christ has overcome the world we live in. That means no matter how difficult, no matter how discouraging your may feel… or things may actually be. God will redeem it all if you let Him. He’s been making broken things beautiful since the garden of Eden. He’s REALLY REALLY good at it!

John 16: 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world

Peace and Grace to you all… from one broken believer to another.

Pastor B.




Ressurection Sunday always leads to “reality” Monday

John 20:27-28Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe. ” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” (E

Easter celebrations often eclipse our real lives. The surge of home life, family…friends, kids all gathering over huge meals and attending church services in their sunday best, focused on the ritual celebration of new life, resurrection and hope that Christ brings to dearly held traditions of faith and family. We want everything to be just right… new dresses, easter egg hunts in full bloom and exquisite sunday brunch after the service leads to full and sleepy afternoons. By the time monday morning shows up, we’re weary and bleary,  sluggish from the rush of the weekends events and extra visitors in our lives.

School, work and routine resume their “normal” status in our lives again and we rush off to complete our duties as responsible citizens in an effort to maintain the status quo of our life. Only this Easter its different…

It may be that we are longing for something more, something profound?

Hopeful that somewhere down deep in our hearts… we can find the joy of  Easter Sunday and the promise of  resurrection lingering on into our monday? But it doesn’t seem to work that way for us…it doesn’t FEEL that way today. We feel empty, tired… worn out and doubting if anything in our lives can or will ever change.

Be encouraged, God is still God. His resurrection is still a reality regardless of how we feel or don’t feel. Sunday worship has subsided, but it has not evaporated, its impact is still resonating in your heart of hearts. God is with us, with you. He has not left or withdrawn from your monday anymore than he made an extra visit on sunday, He is constant, sure, relentless in His heroic love.

Today’s daily reading was waiting in my inbox and it was perfect….I posted it on the top of this blog. It reminded me of the truth of Easter, Christ is coming for each of us. Thomas didn’t see or “feel” the resurrection power of Christ on the third day, and when the other excited and emotional disciples gushed on Thomas about their own faith and hope being restored in Jesus as the Messiah… Thomas had that familiar cynic’s “wait and see” attitude. Something most of us can readily appreciate.

Literally. Thomas wanted to “See” it for himself…

That’s o.k., no problem… Christ did come for Thomas… twice according the Gospels. He was determined to show Thomas the truth in ways that Thomas couldn’t refute, ignore or escape. Not to provoke Thomas, but to persuade Him. Jesus was relentless in sharing His resurrection reality with Thomas in the weeks following His miraculous recovery from death to life.

The Incredulity of St. Thomas." Benjamin West, c.a. 1790. Leeds, UK

Christ is coming for you, for us. He wants to “show you” His love, His power to overcome any obstacle in our lives, any pain, any loss that has caused you to shrink back from the risk of trusting Him again. You’re in great company…

The famous “Doubting” Thomas went on to become an amazing effective and active Apostle to the Asian continent and shared his refound Faith and Hope  for decades as an ambassador and ultimately a martyr for this resurrected King Jesus. His personal struggle of faith didn’t disqualify him in God’s eyes… and rest assured, neither will yours.

Look for Christ’s touch in your circumstances on this monday after Easter… and look for Him in all the Mondays to follow. His reality is ours to share. We just have to reach out and “touch it”….

Peace out,


Providence…do you know what it means?

My kids will tell you, I’m a big believer in “looking things up” when you’re not sure what they mean. I challenged my kids to do just that whenever homework or a book assignment forced them to ask about as specific word or meaning or place. Sometimes they would and sometimes they would whine a bit and say “Daaaaaaaad, just tell me!”

Looking at Easter and our upcoming celebration of Good Friday, I was praying – asking God to help me renew my appreciation of this Holy Day and I felt He led me to consider the word and concept of “Providence”. Ironically, my Heavenly father was telling me to “look it up” to be exact 🙂 , just like I had with my kids… Here is what I found;


   /ˈprɒvɪdəns/ [prov-i-duhns – “God, especially when conceived as omnisciently directing the universe and the affairs of humankind with wise benevolence.” ( -source) so to be extra clear… here is what omniscient means – having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things.

Ok, now that’s starting to make more sense… Easter is the time of year we Christians are supposed to stop and appreciate the majesty and power of God Almighty to redeem and restore us (mankind) from all that has been and all that will ever be. We have the modern luxury of having a 20/20 perspective of those historical events. We already know how the story really turns out, but for those disciples and followers of Jesus in the moment, it was NOT a good place or time…things were not turning out well for them in the short-term…

After three years of personal almost one on one times with Jesus, the twelve disciples had their lives flipped upside down and 180 from where they thought they were with Christ. Their Messiah (it seemed) had turned out to be totally human, capable of being deceived and politically manipulated into being a scapegoat and just another statistic of the Roman occupation of Israel. It appeared that Jesus was not who he claimed to be and that they (the disciples) had put their faith in a very sincere and dynamic Holy man, but in the end…just a man. Their disappointment, their frustration, confusion and their fear must have overwhelmed them. We know it did for Peter and Thomas, and with Judas betraying not only Jesus, but the other eleven…morale really could not have been much lower. Things were not turning out well…

Into this haze of disillusionment and fear, comes the reality of the Resurrection.

Jesus it turns out is in fact the Christ, He is the Messiah. His triumphant reunion with the disciples is well documented in the gospels, it is very specific, very intentional in the ways that He appears to them, addressing their individual doubts and fear and shame. He restores them all, touching and helping and encouraging them to pick up where they left off… more convinced than ever that Jesus is exactly who they thought, although His methods and manner is so different from any other King in History that it still puzzles them.

So what’s this got to do with… Providence?

Simply this… whatever your going through, whatever your feeling, whatever “seems” to be off the rails in your life, is still under the divine principle of Providence. God has not abandoned you, He has not walked away and left you to lie in a pile of your own poo, He is alive, living, active and working to restore and renew the things that have been broken in your life. He’s all about resurrecting the bones of our past failures into the new life and new hope of a redeemed future. It’s more than a metaphor.

So this Easter, take a moment and reflect on the divine “Providence” of God in your life to date, remember how He has intervened in your life time after time to take care of you, to protect, provide and encourage you. He is constantly at work in our lives, healing our hurts and lifting our burdens, it’s just so hard sometimes to see those events from the prism of HOPE when we’re stuck in a life that has yet to be fully completed.

We can easily jump to the conclusion that because the things we want or have prayed for have yet to appear in our lives…(like the disciples after Jesus is killed) that God somehow has shrunk out of sight…that He just doesn’t have a role to play or won’t play in our lives. Nada, Nope, Not True… He’s there for you, behind the scenes, doing far more than we could ever ask or think in fact.

Let’s all make the effort this week to remember the WHOLE story of Easter. Remember the true nature of God and His divine “Providence” of life and truth as we consider the reality of who Jesus Christ is…one more time… only this year lets be sure to do so with Hope that comes from seeing the story within the story…with new eyes 🙂

No matter how difficult, tired or frustrated you may be… Easter is coming and it’s message is eternal and life-giving…a message of Divine Providence for you.

Peace out and Happy Easter from RTP!


Ash Wednesday…? Why should it matter

“Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the Lent season.  It’s important that we observe the inauguration of the Lenten season as we  join ourselves (fellow Christian believers all over the globe) together, placing ashes on our foreheads and praying prayers of repentance. 

Courtesy of Somersault Group

The purpose of Lent at a macro level is to remind us of the cost of sin.  We no longer have animal sacrifices to remind us as in days of old and it’s easy to just throw a prayer asking Jesus’ forgiveness skyward and move on.  Lent is a Christian season that guides us toward Good Friday and ultimately shows us what our redemption cost. 

On a micro level we often give up something for Lent.  The tradition is that you give up chocolate or coffee etc.  Although a cute tradition, it’s a little misguided.  During the forty days of Lent we invite the Holy Spirit to reveal to us what has fallen out of alignment.  We ask that we be given eyes to see what has come between us and God.  Not all things in our lives are bad, but when they come between us and Jesus we are oriented to them rather than God.  We then choose to give them up for a season so that Christ can re-integrate them into our lives appropriately. ” 

—–(Quote above – From Father Brian Hardin of Four Winds Anglican Mission ) —

Ash Wednesday is a time to reconsider, to reassess who we are and how we are living… as the popular Christian rock/pop band Switchfoot says in one of their great lyrics… “Are We Who We wanna BE?” Not in the negative context per say… but in the contemplative and open to hear God tell us anything kind of way… are we?

So let me encourage you to consider taking a moment today to consider Ash Wednesday as more than a catholic event, or more than an “old” church experience, maybe it’s time to consider observing this time-honored Christian tradition of faith. Maybe even include your kids, your family and your friends in this process? Who knows… there are a lot of Wednesday night bible studies and prayer groups out there in the Christian expanse of faith and family who just might find this opportunity life-giving. I know I sure have.

As families, it might be fun to consider together what you might need to “re-align” in your home in preparation of Easter. Less media, more sun, or less pizza and more veggies… this doesn’t need to become a “religious” exercise, keep it real. Honest and authentic… in forty days, let me/us know what happened?

I can guarantee you, God will speak if you take the time to get quiet enough to hear.

Peace out RTP.