I have recently discovered that there is hope for those of us who have consistently started and then stopped things for no apparent reason (like this blog of mine) other than a lack of conviction or purpose, or willingness, or laziness, or … you fill in the blank! It all started with a conversation, well actually several conversations, with my wife about the idea of retraining your brain.   The conversations and my thoughts around the subject continued to nag at me, especially in the area of diet & exercise.  It wasn’t limited to that but that was the place I wanted to start.  One of the key points of discussion in this process was the idea that 60 consecutive days of consistent action becomes a habit that is harder to stop than to keep doing.

The journey began with a conversation about exercise routines, weight loss, and goals/time frames with my favorite personal trainer … my son in law Grant.  He gave me 3 sets of 4 week schedules for daily workouts to do, as well as videos of him doing the exercises.  I think he did the video taping so I could not have any excuses for not doing them (I mean who knows what a tree chop or a Paloff Press is anyway)!  I started just after the new year and really worked at thinking through this by focusing on each days decision to get up and do it.  While I was mindful of the “60 day” rule I really just tried to capture the thoughts for each day and set them right.

Along with this I began tracking food intake, what, when, and how much, utilizing the great technology at our finger tips.  My preferred app is My Fitness Pal, which is pretty easy to use.

I am now sitting well beyond the 60 days and can say that my brain is pretty well retrained in this area.  I have lost 25 pounds, and have increased my balance, strength, and discovered that I do have a core, and it is getting stronger as well.  I have also found that there is joy in getting up and working out.  Along the way I experienced the reality that we can retrain our brain to accomplish things that we have failed at before.  While my end goal was a desire to lose 100 pounds when I started, the journey so far has taught that the important thing is to pay more and deeper attention to the steps toward the goal, than the goal itself.  In fact the goal has now become not just about weight loss, but physical health and longevity.  It is more about the overall enjoyment and excitement of living healthy, and I am truly enjoying the process.

If you are going to try this it helps to have an encourager alongside to walk/talk/text you through the times when the old wiring tries to gain control.  I am very thankful to Grant for his willingness to share this journey, and to my wife Bev for celebrating, encouraging, and loving me in this process.  Another key activity is to share your experiences with others as it helps to drive us forward, and hold us accountable.

I am now beginning to look at other areas of my  life that are in need of some brain retraining. For those of you interested in my journey I will keep you posted as I go.  For those of you who might want to learn more I would simply encourage you to give me shout.

Blessings friends!



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Hey … Where did my little boy go?

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In just 8 days I will have the honor and privilege of performing the wedding ceremony for my son, David, and his best friend, Megan.  My journey with David started  26 years ago when we found out that we were pregnant.  As I sit on the edge of having to finally release him I cannot help but reflect on that journey.  It has been fun and frustrating (for both of us), and sacred and sometimes scary. There has been rebellion and restoration, and just about as much love as one can contain!

This last year has been difficult due to our move to Kansas and leaving our kids in South Bend.  You can read about that part of the journey here,

A year of reflection has eased the loss somewhat but I still occasionally wonder … Where did my little boy go?  When I look at David now I see a reflection of his mothers passion for those in need, compassion for those who are hurting, and a willingness to get involved.  In his laughter and joy for living I see some of me. Looking back over the years I have come to realize that a parent does the best they can, learns and adapts as their children growth, considers each as an individual, models Jesus, and then … let’s them go!

I am so very proud of the man of God David has become.  I see Christ’s love flowing through him as he loves and cares for Megan.  I see him going about his life with stewardship and thoughtfulness.  I am so glad that God has answered the prayers of a mother and father, who did not know how to parent starting out so long ago but just wanted to follow the Lord.

The Lord calls us to trust Him daily, walk in His ways hour by hour, and seek His will with every decision.  This look back has revealed to me that God is in control, that He can use even our failed efforts to glorify Himself.  I am learning that letting go does not have to mean loss and sadness, in fact, as I look toward David and Meg’s future my heart swells with joy and anticipation because God holds that future and their hearts are His.  I love the memories of that little boy, and I will cherish them forever, but I am super stoked to see the new memories that are going to be made!


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Dear Salvation Army, Leading Through Grace Or Fear?

Great thoughts on Leadership!

Pastor's Ponderings

Recently I wrote on the topic of being a leader or a manager
Click link here to read: Are You A Leader Or A Manager?

Today I wanted to expound on this topic. 
Just because we are modeled after the military doesn’t mean we are now equipped to bark orders.
If we look hard at our mission and the purpose for which we were created, we would recognize that our mission is about grace and love to those we can reach.  I wonder sometimes if we forget our purpose from time to time.  Sometimes when power and authority is given to a person it can taint that person, make them “too big for their britches” (as my Grandmother used to say).  Power and authority, if not handled correctly, can cause more harm than good.  An added measure of humility is needed, as well as the constant reminder that the Holy…

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Humility and Laughter – the benchmark of a healthy soul.

The old adage “If you can’t laugh at yourself, you should not be laughing at others” came to mind last week as I read my copy of The Kansas City Star.  The story was about a fellow who is suing ESPN, Major League Baseball, the New York Yankees, and the individual announcers who, in the mind of this fellow, all conspired to humiliate him and disparage his character.  The lawsuit centers around a game between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox that was being covered nationally by ESPN. It seems that the fellow fell asleep during the game and a savvy camera man (no doubt a part of the conspiracy) caught him in the act.  He was not just dozing politely but was slumped over to the side sawing some logs!  I wish I would have been witness to the broadcast to hear the announcers make comment on what was arguably one of the funniest things you can see at a live sporting event, especially when you consider the cost of a ticket!  As often happens with ESPN, the video and resulting comments became a national hit on Sportscenter, and eventually to news outlets around the world.  In the words of a different announcer “C’mon Man!”

I have tried a few times to put myself in the aggrieved man’s position, but try as I might all I can do is laugh … even if it was me they caught sleeping!  The issue really points to a deeper problem in our “me first,- me always, what’s in it for me” society. Our self valuing system is based on whether we look good in the eyes of others, and any negative perceptions from others causes us great embarrassment and a loss of value. This “loss of value” causes us to take ourselves way too seriously.  In fact, as a Christ follower, I am instructed to think more highly of others than I do myself, and to put the needs of others before my own.  Jesus set the pace for us in this when He willingly gave Himself up for each of us.  How can I do any less?

The second thing that this faulty self valuing does is cause us to compare ourselves to others. We feel good about ourselves when we think we are better than others, whether it is morally or materially.  We are constantly looking to make sure we look good, are “respected”, or have more than someone else.  It really is foolishness and it robs us of the ability to laugh at ourselves.  Instead of looking around and comparing we ought to be looking inward to see how we are doing, using Jesus as our model.  Two of the most important verses, at least to me, in determining my value are found in the Gospel of John.

16  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
John 3:16-17 (ESV)

These verses remind me that no matter how I am doing, good or not so good, God loves me!  The freedom that comes from this helps me to not take myself too seriously.  It also makes it quite easy to laugh at myself in life’s embarrassing moments.  More importantly it allows me to keep my focus on what really matters, and that is imaging Jesus as best I can. 

Oh, and one more thing … DUDE! Drop the lawsuit, watch the highlight clip with some friends and have a good laugh … you will feel better about yourself!

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Decisions … Decisions


Decisions … decisions!

We make so many decisions everyday.  Some seem inconsequential, what socks to wear, what to eat for breakfast.  Some are made without any conscious thought given to them, what order to get ready in the morning, how many minutes you brush your teeth, and even which way to go to work.  There is no negative impact to these choices, unless you count bad breath or mismatched socks as a negative!

There are, however, some choices that require thought and definitely have a profound impact on our lives. Two of the most important decisions I have made are imaged in the picture above.  The first was to trust Jesus Christ, and the second was to ask Beverly Keeler to marry me. (thankfully she said yes or the results would have been devastatingly different!)

The first decision came about after many years of selfish choosing and self absorbed decision making.  Those self centered decisions led me down a broken road in which every consequence was a negative.  As I look back over those years I see that each negative decision led to another, and then another, until I reached a point where the ability to make decisions for the positive seemed impossible. It was at this low point that I met Jesus through the living example of some of His followers.  I saw something in them that was missing in me. They seemed to be able to make more positive than negative decisions, and even when a bad decision was made they were able to move through it in a positive way.  It was in these folks that I discovered the grace and forgiveness of Jesus. The Bible pictured represents His story of my redemption.  While I still make some negative decisions I know the way through them to a positive result.

The second decision is represented by my wedding ring, and it’s inscription “One Love One Lifetime” in the inside.  When I made the decision to ask Bev to marry me I thought I knew what it all meant.  I thought I knew what marriage was.  As I sit 25 years later I sure know a whole lot more than I did then. (I know that brushing your teeth for at least 3 minutes is important for kissing’s sake)  What I did not know was the give and take that a good marriage requires.  I did not know that modeling Jesus was the most important decision a husband and father could make.  I have discovered that decisions are a shared responsibility, and that there is joy in the sharing.

As I sit in my new living room, in a new state, and with a new ministry, I am so glad that the constant in my decision making is an absolute trust in the Lord and in my wife.  I have the confidence that comes from knowing that no matter what they are going to give me wisdom and help me make the right decisions

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The Mysteries of Ministry

Life’s lessons are often learned in the simplest way … digging for worms in a garden! Thanks Libby!

The Kroc Effect


I attended church Sunday.  Not that this is such a unique occurrence, but I attended church at the Kroc Center, which is unusual for me.  I don’t typically like to worship where I work.  I tend to be intensely private about my spirituality.  But this was special…

June 22 was Farewell Sunday in The Salvation Army.  Many officers said goodbye to their current corps and began a journey to new assignments.  Two of our own were faced with this task.  Majors Tim and Bev Best are moving to Kansas City, Kansas.  I know this has been a difficult transition looming over them for the past month.  (You can read more about this journey here at Major Tim’s blog.)

So I attended the Farewell Service and reception.  Listening to Major Tim review the story of Esther during his sermon, I was transported to a day almost 2 years ago when I stormed into his…

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Life Changes … Never Easy Saying Goodbye!


I have two of the most amazing children in the world!  I say “children” but they are actually adults now.  They are living their lives, going to college, making new friends, and experiencing exciting “grown up” life stuff!  I really have enjoyed experiencing these things with them up close … but that is about to change.  The Salvation Army has made the decision to transfer us to Kansas City Kansas. My first action upon hearing the news was to look up how far away from South Bend I was going …. 9 hours! “No”, my heart screamed, “My babies need me!” 

As the reality of this move has settled in my heart my confidence in God, and in my kids ability to live grown up lives, has quieted the screaming in my head.  My kids played a very big part in pushing me into this new reality.  We had a family meeting to discuss the move and we asked them if they were ready for us to move, or if they needed us to stay close.  David, who is 23 now, leaned into me and said,”Dad, this isn’t about us needing you, we will be fine.  It is really about you needing us, and you letting go, and you will need to figure that one out yourself.”  Betsy, who is 20, echoed the same thought!  It is a powerful thing when your adult children minister to you in adult ways.  It is every Christian parents hope that their kids will develop, exercise, and walk in their own faith … I witnessed our hope fulfilled that afternoon.

As our understanding and knowledge of the place we are going grows we are really beginning to sense God’s hand in this move.  We can see how many of our past experiences and lessons learned have shaped us especially for this ministry task.  We are excited about what lies ahead and trust that God will continue to lead us.  But it really has been the way that our children have ministered to us that has settled our hearts and pointed us in the right direction.

I will still miss the personal proximity of my wonderful kids … the way they look when they laugh, the hand on the shoulder and the kiss on the head at bedtime … the stovetop popcorn and watching a movie.  But I know they are going to be okay. Their faith will guide them, their love for the Lord and for others will endear them to people, and their joy in Jesus will be their strength …. and I am only a quick flight away!


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Hey Dads – some of my life lessons

Thought I would share this again …nothing has changed … I am still eternally grateful for the fathers in my life.


As Father’s Day approaches I have been thinking about the men who influenced me as a father.  I have been blessed to have a father, a step-father, and a father in law, and each one has contributed to who I am today. Each one has helped me to become the father I am today, and I wanted to honor them by sharing their influence.

As I sit here thinking about my father, Jack Best, I am reminded of his zest for living.  Even though we were separated by divorce I spent a lot of time with him.  Every other weekend and long times in the summer.  Our summers were spent enjoying the out of doors, like the camping trip to Canada, or the ball park in Pontiac.  Dad has an easy smile and a good laugh that draws laughter out of even the saddest situations.  I believe that the fun I…

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The Kroc Effect

The Kroc Effect

After finally settling on a title for these posts, I am endeavoring to discover exactly what it means.  To me, to you, to the community…

South Bend Kroc Center

First, a little bit of history about our grand establishment.

San Diego’s Kroc Center was the first to be built with a generous donation from Joan Kroc in 2002.  Since then, these awesome community centers have blossomed in many different communities, from Coeur d’Alene,  Idaho, to Chicago, Illinois, to Memphis, Tennessee.  Each center is started with funds from the Kroc endowment, and then grows to support itself by reaching out to the community.

The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in South Bend recently celebrated its 2nd birthday.  On January 29, 2014 to be exact.  It is currently one of 27 Kroc Centers across the country.  Offering fitness, enrichment, social services, and a myriad of…

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Seeing Jesus in the Everyday

I was recently called upon to visit a member of my church in the hospital. He had suffered a slight stroke and was being admitted for who knew how long.  On the first visit I did the usual “ministerial” things like praying, holding his hand, and reading Psalm 121 which seems to be the “right” Scripture for such occasions. All went well and I felt like I had contributed to bringing him some comfort.

Perhaps now is when I should confess that these types of visits are not easy for me … as if it is my comfort that I should be paying attention to. On numerous occasions I have had an inner desire to quickly flee, or to ask my wife to go instead!  We stopped in again this morning to check on our friend and something happened during this visit.  As I was sitting in the chair I pulled up beside the bed, reading Psalm 103, I happened to glance up from my bible app and realized that my friend was looking at me with a profound clarity in his eyes.  This was amazing because it went against the effects that had caused him to be confused and made his communication hesitant and jumbled. It was as if he was recalling the verses from memory!  I continued reading and the smile on his face grew as the Holy Spirit reminded him of the truth of God’s Word.

The power of God’s Word, hidden in our hearts, can bring calmness and clarity to even the most confusing situations.  When we cannot seem to remember our way through even the simple things of life God’s Word provides a light for us.  That visit this morning ministered to me in a way that has not happened before … and to think …. he used something I don’t feel competent at, or comfortable doing!  Isn’t that the story of the Bible?  God meeting with ordinary individuals at their point of weakness, to reveal His glory.  I think I will stop in tomorrow and see my friend again … who knows what God has in store for us!

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