I went to Macy's this morning and bought my semi-annual load of shirts. Buying is not therapy for me, shopping does not bring me incredible pleasure. Malls make my skin start to break out in hives. Headaches. I twitch alot. You get the picture. It's not pretty.

So with only just a few days left while in the US, I decide that I will shop for 15 minutes and buy all the summer shirts I will need. One trip, one store, kinda minimize the damage.

Anyway, I buy under $100 of shirts and t-shirts, but that means 5 t-shirts and 2 polo shirts. This is where the problem kicks in - no room in the suitcase, so I will have to do some pretty quick shuffling and rearranging of the gear. Some stuff will not make the return trip, some will get stuffed in a duffle bag acquired just for this reason.

The picture that I envision is kinda what Paul is teaching in 2. Cor. 6:12 - You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.

The times in my life that following Jesus gets messy and complex - that is not a Jesus thing, that is me trying to shove more baggage into the case than it was designed for. Picking up things that are nice, but just get weighty. When I start to notice that I don't have the freedom I was experienced - that is 2. Cor. 6:12 - and that is not on someone else, that is all on me.

On Thursday and Friday we spent the day with our good friends Mike and Sandy Garman, who pastor in Paso Robles, CA. They loved on us by taking us to Carmel, CA - we golfed, ate, slept and wondered around the sites in Monterey and Carmel.

What I found out that is that pastors have a commonality that we need to share with one another, lest we come to the conclusion that we carry thoughts and struggles that are unique. Mike is a good man, who is good for my soul. I am always challenged and refreshed.


It was an hour drive from our overnight stay to a breath-taking scenic wonderland: Yosemite. This national park hosts some of the most beautiful scenery that you can comprehend.


While this will not be an exhaustive list, decades of ministry have illustrated that there are diverse circumstances in life, but at the end of the day, there are common denominators why people end up with ruined lives. Without a lot of comment, here are some of the things I've observed:

  • Ignores consequences - never deal with the root of an issue, deal only occasionally with the fruit that continually crops up.
  • Avoid anything painful. Sacrifice is to be avoided at all cost.
  • Make personal happiness (above anything else) your goal in life.
  • Never relinquish control.
  • Only do things you completely understand.
  • Convince yourself that you can compartmentalize - you are a good person in most areas of your life and that certainly outweighs any deficiency.
  • Never let light shine on the secret area of your life.
  • Depression, self-pity, emotional struggles entitle you to avoid personal responsibility.

If you intend to end up a train wreck, pick at least one of these and defend it with all your might.

Any others I might have missed?

Our time in Tokyo was short and sweet. We were not on the first standy-by flight from Manila to Tokyo, so we did not arrive until 8PM. Transfer to Tokyo on a bullet train and still we were not at our hotel until 10PM after clearing customs and passport checks.

The weather was not even close to tropical, but did remind us of home in Germany. As a matter of fact, Japan is the only other country that rivals the dedication to having things as tidy and clean as in Germany.

What we saw we enjoyed thoroughly. Manicured gardens and the imperial gardens in downtown Tokyo, a little shopping district, a temple and a tea ceremony.