Archive for April, 2014


Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

download (1)A while ago, a guy rolled through a stop sign almost hitting me. He obviously knew it was there because he did slow down. When I blew my horn, he flipped me off. There is a lesson here. The thing about stop signs is, they are all saying the same thing — “stop”!  What is interesting about them is that we usually rationalize before we run them.  As we near the intersection, our brains instantly calculate the necessity of stopping along with the likelihood of getting caught and then we either stop or we do not. If we choose not to stop, then we cruise past the sign into the realm of “it is OK for ME to do this because that sign is for the rest of humanity, but certainly not ME”.  That is exactly the same process that I use when I choose to commit a sin and, like it or not, you do the same thing. When I choose to barrel thought a stop sign, it is because I really don’t give a flip about the meaning of “Stop” because I’m John Gouldener.

Every one of God’s stop signs that I’ve rolled through has been because, at the time at least, I didn’t give a flip about what God said. In essence, I give him the same hand signal, the guy gave me. I find that to be a sobering thought.

Something to think about



Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

inspiration-light-bulbI suppose that all of recorded history back to the days of Abraham and Moses is replete with folks who were either afraid to try or tempted to give up too soon. Certainly I’ve missed out on opportunities because I was afraid that I couldn’t do something perfectly or that I would look silly or bring up the rear.  Like when I was in high school, I loved football but  didn’t play because I thought I was too small. Later at the University of Tennessee I dropped Speech 101 because I didn’t think I could master public speaking. Several years ago when I first started riding a bicycle, I pushed my bike to the top of the first really tough hill because I didn’t think I could pedal to the top. Those are just a few of mine off the top of my head.

 A while back I took part in a spur of the moment 40 mile bicycle ride with a few friends but mostly with folks I didn’t know. It was a near perfect day along a new route and very enjoyable. More importantly I saw the most amazing person I’ve ever seen atop a bicycle. This young man was visiting the area from another state and had learned of our ride online. Without knowing anyone else or having any idea what the course would be like, he decided to ride with fifty or so strangers.

I’m positive that if I had been in his shoes I would not have demonstrated that degree of bravery. Once, as we were going down a steep hill on a rough road, I especially worried about him because it was all I could do to maintain control myself. What made this particular rider so amazing was that he had only one arm.  Maintaining your balance on a bicycle using only one hand is a challenge. Try it sometime. Wonder if that man has any idea what an inspiration he was to the rest of us?  Probably not.  I have no doubt that God sends people like the one armed man into our lives for a reason. I hope I never forget him. Perhaps you shouldn’t either.


Monday, April 7th, 2014

Very few things really surprise me any more, but last week I got a quantum shocker.  I was at the Bellevue Y, alone in the steam room, when another guy came in.  I never looked up and neither of us said a word. I seldom talk in there because for me it’s a great place to reflect and unwind. This day I was reflecting on the blessings in my life when out of the vaporous tranquility of the hissing steam a cell phone rang. I am not kidding; the guy had a phone in his trunks — in the steam bath! I felt violated.

I saw in the USA Today that people talking on a cell in public is the number one pet peeve in our country. I’m not all too sure what that says about our country if that is number one; but from my perspective bringing a cell phone into a steam bath is a little much. So what is the take away from this steamy story? I think it is this: We are both blessed and cursed to live in an age of constant communication.  I went to our farm house, which my insurance agent referred to as a double wide, for a few days back in the winter.  My job duties didn’t skip a beat. I had my cell and my laptop.  I was in the boondocks, but not out of touch for even a minute. I communicated with several people and nobody had a clue that I wasn’t in my church office unless I told them. That is the way it is in the wireless age.  We never have to be out of touch, unless we choose to be.  The rub is more and more, we seem to not to be making that choice.  How long has it been since you just sat there undisturbed to reflect on life, or God or your kids or your spouse or you?  How long has it been?  Have you ever?

I’d be surprised if God intended us to live in a state of constant connectedness.  He didn’t plan for us to live life with a smart phone in our hand. In fact, He gave us the example of the most important person in history. There are plenty of instances in the Bible where Jesus got away from it all to spend time alone, to reflect or to pray or to just gather himself.  I’m pretty sure he would have never taken a cell phone into a steam bath.

Something to Think About

Scooting Through Life

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

I’m typing this from my home office as I look out the window at the guys putting a new roof on the two story house across the street. Those fearless fellows showed up this morning and hit that roof like a swarm of ants. In no time they had stripped the old shingles off and are now well on their way to having the new roof installed.  It is quite a sight to see! What is amazing is the way they confidently walk around upright on that roof. Right now one is standing on a 30 foot peak holding one of those orange Igloo coolers up over his head as he squirts water into his mouth. I don’t think I could do that if I were standing on the ground.

I do my best to stay away from roofs. Whenever I have to go up on one, instead of walking like those guys, I kind of scoot around on my butt.  None of those guys are scooters. That is why they are making such progress. Sadly, many people settle for kind of scooting along through life never enjoying the freedom of standing tall or achieving their potential.  We scoot because of fear. We fear that if folks really knew us then they would not like us. We fear if we ever admitted that we are not perfect or didn’t have it all together then people might think less of us.  We fear sharing our feelings out of a fear of rejection. We fear going for our dreams because of the chance that we might fail. We have many reasons for scooting.  Most of them are not very good.

 Something to Think About