I’ve had a small problem all of my life: I’m a complainer. Well, not really a complainer as much as someone who gets very agitated when things don’t go as planned or when people – other than me of course – don’t do what they’re supposed to do when they’re supposed to do them.

I’m a planner.

But I am a planner in transition. As a matter of fact, several years ago I used to be teased about being overly planned in my ministry, now I get criticized for not being planned enough. I’m learning – in big ways and small – to allow God to be Lord of my life and stop telling other people that they all have to met my schedule and time table in order to be in good favor.

The reason for the change, you ask? The place I’m sitting now; the hospital.

Three years ago, when our first daughter was born, things didn’t go well for me. I was agitated by being stuck in the hospital room for 5 days; When I went home one day to take a shower, I got there and discovered that I had left my keys in the hospital; and Malia had to stay in the hospital an extra day because she was jaundiced. All of that doesn’t begin to mention the cost of “living” as a well person in the hospital; parking, meals, drinks, etc. As I look back on how much I complained and fussed I am embarrassed. I behaved that way because until that point in my life I thought that a good life consisted of making a plan and working the plan. I was wrong!

That episode may seem kind of silly to you, but it was powerfully formative for me.

The fact – which I can clearly see now – is that I was complaining in the hospital, yet I was there for a joyous reason, and very few people get to celebrate in a hospital. Just a few floors up from where I was then and where I am now, someone is in a coma, a man is slowly dying from the effects of a stroke, a daughter and son are letting go of their mother who is passing away from breast cancer, a child is suffering from some horrid disability and disease that no child should have to face, and a young parent is saying goodbye to a spouse and children. That’s what happens in hospitals; people suffer and people die.

How in the world could I then complain because the servers, nurses and doctors did not bow to my family’s desires and needs?

I think hospitals are good places to find perspective, to celebrate life and meaning, and honor and grieve the dying. It’s been a blessing for me to be here this week, not just because we are welcoming Katharine McKenna into our family, but because her father is being reminded about life.

May you find life somewhere this week!


By the way, if you’re wondering how to find a little bit of perspective in the hospital, think about this. When I asked Rochelle’s nurse when her dinner was coming, she said, “They always serve us last, (maternity) because no one here is sick.”

A Great Day!

We did it! Well, my wife Rochelle did most of the work, but I was there by George! That’s right. This morning, my wife gave birth to a 7lbs 7 ounce baby girl; our second of the finer gender. Her name is Katharine (noble, pure) McKenna Palmer and she – just like her older sister – is special beyond compare.

We’ll spend the next few weeks adjusting to life with a 3-year-old and a newborn, so I may be posting less frequently. Be assured, sleeping comes before blogging. Anyway, I wanted to let you all know of our entrance to the second round of one of God’s greatest journeys; loving and raising children.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers!

More on Plagiarism

The topic of sermonic plagiarism keeps coming up – a product of the internet and podcasting age, no doubt. Here’s yet another article on the subject. I guess when The Wall Street Journal gets involved, it’s news!

Most public speakers and preachers “borrow” material at some point. We’ve all done it – even if only when we were new to speaking and more influenced by the thoughts of others more than our own interpretations. For some of us, something that we’ve read or heard is meaningful to us and seeps into our mind and heart becoming expressed in a sermon or talk – this is mostly good. For others, preaching unattributed material is a way of life and work.

It is surprising to me that there is not more uniformity regarding the ethics of sermon plagiarism. I find myself agreeing with Thom Long that, “Every minister owes his congregation a fresh act of interpretation,”and “To play easy with the truth, to be deceptive about where the ideas come from, is a lie.”

Tony Dungy – Super Bowl Winner

I love Tony Dungy!

And am so pleased that this man of deep faith, integrity, and character has reached the pinnacle of his profession. As I told my wife earlier tonight, “I like to see good things happen to good people.” I’ve followed Dungy since his days as defensive coordinator in Minnesota and was sorely disappointed when he was fired from Tampa Bay, only to see the team he built go on to win the Super Bowl the next year. I first heard about “All Pro Dads,” an organization dedicated to helping fathers father better, from Dungy, who was then the head of the organization. Our family hurt for his last year when his son – suffering from depression – committed suicide. Through it all, Dungy has faced life with character, righteousness, dignity and admirable sense of self.

Here are some paraphrases of things he said during his press conference after the Super Bowl that make him a great man.

1. This win doesn’t validate anything (for Peyton Manning). Great players are great players regardless of whether they win the Super Bowl.

2. God doesn’t care about who wins and loses (in football); it’s about the journey.

3. This should prove that a black coach can do it and a Christian coach can do it.

4. This proves that you can coach football, be a Christian and do it the right way. You can respect people AND be successful.

5. Whatever you do, God has prepared you for it.

What a good man. The NFL, and the world, could use a lot more like him.

A Lesson Learned – Out of the Mouths of Babes

Here’s another video for you all. Sorry the audio doesn’t match the video. The Japanese to English dubbing was hard to do.