Category Archives: Thinking Outloud

My Beautiful Running Shoes

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring glad tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7      

My running shoes look pretty good sitting over there in the middle of the floor. My wife doesn’t think they look good there, but I do. They’re white with some blue and silver accents…and that familiar swish.

I like everything about them…the nylon mesh, the thick round laces that hang off the sides all nonchalant and laid-back. I even love the way the toe turns up…in my mind’s eye I can see my foot rolling along the sole and off the toe with every stride. You can tell just by looking at them that they were made for running. They look like the “want” to run.

They have reminders of their purpose written on them in case I forget. The word “RUNNING” is printed on them in three different places. On the internet, putting words in all caps is the same as yelling. As I write this I can hear my sneakers yelling, “RUNNING!” at me from across the room. The word “RUN” is even printed on the neon orange in-sole as a final reminder when I put them on, “hey, buddy, once you lace us up we’re taking off whether you want to or not.” Everything about them says, “GO!”

I’ve been away from blogging for the last two weeks because we’ve been at a music camp in the northwest New Jersey. Yes, believe it or not you can have a camp in New Jersey. This one is in a little ‘burg called Bloomingdale. It’s in the foothills of the Appalachians…nestled quietly in the part where Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania meet.

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The Red Dot Story

“I have revealed You to those whom You gave Me out of the world. They were yours; You gave them to Me and they have obeyed Your word.” John 17:6

It was my favorite night of the week. Saturday night. Every week. It meant a special trip. Always to the same place, but always special. For five years it was an unbroken tradition. The expectancy carried me from one week to the next. Six days always led to that Saturday. My preschool heart would ache as Sunday slowly melted into Monday and then Tuesday. Wednesday was always an eternity away and Thursday never came soon enough. Friday came too late with Saturday on my mind.Have I frustrated you yet? Can you feel the anticipation of a five year old? 

To Sadler’s! Yep, that bustling center of Buffalo, NY retail activity. Every Saturday night, from 1965 – 1970, the Bassett’s would go to Sadlers. Just mom, dad and me! (I didn’t have any brothers or sisters yet.)

“Big deal”, you say, sarcastically.

It was a big deal! Every week, to Sadler’s. For what? To buy a new “Matchbox” car. For five years, fifty Saturdays a year (minus two for vacations), two hundred fifty of ’em, every time a new “Matchbox”. It was more than tradition, it was a ritual!

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Wake Up…and Stay Awake!

“I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up!” Revelation 3:1-2How many of us think that our past deeds make us alive? We rest on our laurels shouting, “Look what I’ve done!” But it’s not what we’ve done that matters, all of that is as dirty rags, it’s what we’re doing that has life. I’m proud of the twenty years of experience I have, but where I’m going it doesn’t count for anything. What I’ve done to get here isn’t going to take me where I’m going.

Where am I going? I’m going to the future. No matter how hard I try, I can’t go to my past. God and time make it a matter of physics that I constantly move toward the future. And a living faith is about the future, not the past or victories gone by.

Yes, it is true that traditions are a foundation for building, but a foundation all by itself is useless. As good a job as the builders did on the foundation of my house, we couldn’t live on the foundation alone. We wouldn’t have been safe from storms or the scorching sun. We wouldn’t have been able to entertain guests. In short, we can’t live on a foundation alone.

And if we didn’t live in the house we wouldn’t have been able to comfort a young man having an epileptic seizure on the sidewalk. We don’t keep a clean floor so that it would be free from danger as he thrashed about, but it was ready for him. We don’t have carpeting so that he wouldn’t have to lay on cold cement during the seizure, but he’s glad it was there when he needed it. We didn’t have phones installed so that we could call an ambulance for him, but he may not have survived without it. When we moved our couch into the house we had no idea it would be needed as a place for him to rest comfortably after the seizure had passed, but he appreciated it.

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