The Bunny

We have a bunny. Well, actually, we don’t have him so much as he has us. i saw him in the yard last week, the day after Easter. Interesting timing . . .

We’ve known this bunny, sort of, for more than a dozen years. He took up with us so many years ago and we’d see him sitting out in the yard frequently back then. He’s grown, of course, into quite a healthy fella. i call this bunny “him” because “his” behavior is decidedly male.

See, the circumstances surrounding the bunny taking up with us are such that, i think you’ll agree he has to be a masculine bunny.

A friend was looking at our front yard one day and told us she had just the thing we needed. She left and returned in a while with a little concrete bunny about the size of a football. We nestled the little bunny under a holly bush near the front steps. “It” looked comfortable there.

It wasn’t long until we noticed that nearly every eveningĀ a live bunny would appear sitting right beside the concrete bunny under that bush! We thought it was hilarious and imagined “conversations” between the two. We figured these chats probably followed a similar pattern to those of Br’er Rabbit and the Tar Baby of Uncle Remus fame. The real bunny probably spoke in frustrated tones about how the concrete bunny NEVER spoke. Not giving up, Real Bunny kept coming back every dusk, sitting right beside “his” friend. i admired his determination. It seemed as though he had set his cap for “her” (Concrete Bunny), and would not be deterred.

So, it was good to see him back last week. i’ve noticed him hopping around near the Leland Cypress trees in the side yard. Windy has seen him too.

i have to say, though, the sight of Real Bunny has saddened me in a way. His relationship with Concrete Bunny must leave several things to be desired. For one thing, it’s the need to be known that he must be missing. Concrete Bunny may show some interest, but that interest can only exist in Real Bunny’s mind. It can’t be real. Isn’t that sad? It means that this gentleman bunny, romanticized in our memories, is leading a sadly delusional existence.

Oops. i’m afraid my real sadness is that Real Bunny has shown me something about my own life. About how i set my affections, all too often, on things that aren’t real. i hate it when that happens. Today i’ll seek what’s real out there, and get in touch.

Real Bunny, thanks, i think. i wish you a deep life full of real relationships. If possible, i’d love for you to know your Creator.

i’ll leave some food for you by the redbud tree this evening. Take care; we’ll have heavy rain today. Peace!

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A friend of mine

Several years ago, before marriage, i lived in South Carolina, as i’ve mentioned before. Through some friends i stumbled onto a small, non-denominational church that i found to be really cool. One of the best parts was that the pastor and his young family lived in the same apartment complex in which i lived.

i got to know Mike Baer and his crowd pretty well. Frequently we’d go for walks together, he and i, and yack about life and ministry and about following the daily call of Jesus of Nazareth. We always tried to jsue names like that for Jesus…Jesus the Savior, Jesus the Carpenter, the Healer, the Prophet, the Priest, the King, or whatever best illustrated the current way in which we were relating to Him. i learned so much from Mike. He taught me the value of knowing the scriptures–that it is these that bear witness to the person Jesus. Mike’s confidence in the consistent presence of Jesus Christ was contagious. But one thing i’ll never forget is this . . .

One day we were out walking, and his little girls were toddling around us. Somehow, i got around to asking one of my favorite questions: “Mike, what are you doin’?” He asked me to explain the question, so i said something like “What are the big things you are called to, and are you doin’ those things?”

He didn’t blink. He looked me right in the eye (he could see through a person) and said, “Three things: First, I’m getting to know the Lord; second, I’m getting to know my family; and third, I’m teaching our congregation to pray.” Then he added a fourth: “and, I’m preparing for future ministry.”

He went on to say that these were the things he sensed God saying would make him most valuable to the Kingdom. A man who knows Jesus as a person, who knows and loves his family, and who can teach others to pray, is probably someone God will use for a lifetime.

i noted that he didn’t say that one of his goals was to reach our Island home for Christ. He wasn’t trying to stamp out abortion in our time. He wasn’t even trying to get republicans elected! (we laughed about that one).

So, lots of mornings, when we pray for you, i remember Mike Baer–whom God is still using, and am thankful that he was humble enough to see that the greatest cause in the life of at least one of Jesus’ boys, was to teach some folks to pray. i was fortunate enough to be one of them.

Blessings to you, friends. We’re mentioning your names into heaven each morning, asking God to put you in the way of His great Mercy and Grace. Peace! — mike

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Something to which i aspire

In the late 80’s we were involved in the oldest, continuously run Young Life Club east of the Mississippi. No pressure there–we only thought “Don’t mess this up” every time we walked into that high school. Until . . .

…one day we heard about a lady in that town who had been praying for Young Life 8 hours a day for 30 years. She prayed for leaders, staff, high school folks, etc., no kidding, for 8 hours a day.

One of my mentors taught us that we had to develop a capacity for prayer–meaning, we have to pray a lot to prepare ourselves to pray a lot. The school i was attending prepared missionaries for the field, and prayer was the primary tool.

How did that lady pray 8 hours a day? Well, i think she knew the Person to whom she was praying very well. She loved Him and enjoyed being with Him. And, she told me once, He loves me loving Young Life. So, this is my fellowship with Him, talking with Him about Young Life.

i’m convinced she is the reason we couldn’t mess it up at that high school–heck maybe she’s the reason folks laughed at dumb skits and came to club and camp.

Anyhoo, some of you have headed off to colleges & universities, and some are still in high school. We’re prayin’ for you. In some cases we know what to pray, in others we just pray your name. Not 8 hours every day, but every day, several times a day. We’re probably not the disciples that woman in Knoxville was, but we do enjoy the time with Him on your behalf. i hope that might encourage you…like the friend at midnight, we’re knocking on the door for you . . .

Have fun, and be careful out there. Blessings!–Mike

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What this is about

It must be something like 29 years ago that i, as a fairly new believer, got involved in leadership of a youth group at Hilton Head Island. No single church or official group, this was an Island-wide thing. Before we knew it there were 80-ish high school folks at a real live Bible study every Sunday night, meeting in the home of the couple that led the thing. That level of excitement and commitment lasted for more than two years… dozens of folks met the Lord. It was cool . . .
Years later we looked back at that and asked the question, “What made that work?” Was it good teaching? I mean, we’d all had better . . . Was it relationships? Well, sure that helped, but we’d all been in ministries that depended upon relationships. Then we found out that one woman, wife of the teacher, prayed for every one of those 80 folks, and all of us leaders, by name every morning.
We determined that her prayers created “an umbrella of Grace” that we lived under. We all agreed, that was the difference.
So, Windy and i don’t do much right, but we want to do this. In ten years we want to look back and say, “We’ve been prayin’ for __________________ (fill in your name) every morning for 10 years.” An umbrella of Grace.
And that’s what this is about! –mike

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Garden Talk

i was talking with my garden the other day . . .

Gardeners are thinkers, i think. You know how some folks say they do their best thinking in the shower? These people are not gardeners. Gardeners also take showers, but they have another space for thinking. In the garden space, the thinking is conversational.

So, i was talking with my garden the other day. A gardener talks with his garden, not just to his garden. The garden, it turns out, has plenty to say. “I’m like your life,” my garden was saying to me. “In so, so many ways.”

“i’ve read stuff like this before,” i said. “It’s overdone, in fact. i’m not gonna have a cliche relationship with my garden, okay?”

“No problem,” the garden replied. “But, you gotta admit that all this soil preparation has you thinkin’ about yourself, right?”

“Why?” i said. “i mean, just because this tiller and i have pulled like four miles of pine roots out of you today doesn’t mean that i have any inkling that there are embedded rootlike attitudes and secret sins that have a similar hold on me!” Under my breath, “cliche.”

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