Brownsville and Burnsville


Here’s an illustration that I used Sunday, hoping to show how the faults that people see in others are often their own.

There were two town in those parts of the country: Brownsville and Burnsville. By wagon they were a half-day journey from each other. There was a farmer whose field sat between these two towns.

One day this farmer was out tilling his field. He noticed a loaded wagon coming his way from Brownsville, headed towards Burnsville. Upon approaching the farmer’s land, he stopped and engaged the farmer in conversation.

Soon, the farmer inquired of his loaded wagon. The man replied, “My family is moving to Burnsville. That’s why our wagon is all loaded up.”

The farmer replied, “How did you like living in Brownsville?”

His face lit up as he said, “Our days in Brownsville were wonderful! We found the people in the city to be most helpful and courteous to us. If ever we needed anything, we could always find someone to help out. The people there were all so loving and thankful, especially the civic leaders. We found the schools to be good for our children, especially the teachers, who seemed to go out of their ways to guide our children. We loved Brownsville. The only reason we are moving is because of my job. But, there’s a new job waiting for us in Burnsville. Tell me, do you know much about Burnsville?”

“I do. I think that you will find Burnsville to be much the same as Brownsville.”

After a few more pleansantries, the man, his wagon and his family continued onto to Burnsville.

A few hours later, the scene seemed to repeat itself. The farmer was still out working his field and another loaded wagon came plodding down the road, pulled by two horses. Only this time, the wagon was coming from Burnsville and headed toward Brownsville. Again, the farmer engaged the man driving the horses in conversation. This man too was moving his family because of his job.

The farmer then asked the gentleman, “How did you like living in Burnsville.”

The man’s face soured as he replied, “We hated it. The people there were so unfriendly. They all seemed to keep to themselves, and hardly anyone spoke with us. They all seemed so suspicious of everything. The mayor is corrupt and the schools were terrible for our children. I think that their teachers actually were out to see that our children didn’t do well in school. We are glad to leave, hoping that Brownsville will treat us better. Tell me, do you know much about Brownsville?”

“I do. I think that you will find Brownsville to be much the same as Burnsville.”

With that, they parted ways.

Driver’s License

Yesterday morning, I took my oldest son to the DMV to get his license. Thankfully, he passed his driving test. Now two of my children are now able to drive legally. I have a few reflections:

– It is a joy to watch my children grow in their opportunities and responsibilities. This is the goal of our parenting.
– I can hardly believe how quickly my children are growing up and how quickly I am growing older.
– I advise you to stay off the roads.  (You have been warned.)


Our Dog Ate My Friend

My Sansa Clip is my constant companion. I have it loaded up with audiobooks, sermons, podcasts, and a little music. I listen to it wherever I can (running, biking, working, driving, etc. …). It is very helpful to me in filling my mind with good things.  In fact, I call it my friend.

Enter our dog, which we have had for about a year. For the most part, she has been quite pleasant. However, she likes to chew on bright shiny things, like DVD’s. I didn’t realize that she would also go after my mp3 player as well.  Well, she did and it has died.

The moral of the story:  when I get an iPad, I’m not going to put it on the floor.


In America we often greet people with a shake of the hands while saying, “Hello.” In Hindu lands (such as India and Nepal), the common greeting consists of placing one’s hands together (in a praying posture) while saying, “Namaste,” which means something like, “I bow to you (recognizing the god in you).”

In Nepal there is an alternate greeting that is only used among the Christians. Rather than saying, “Namaste” the Christians say, “Jaimashi,” which means “victory in the Messiah.” What a great custom! Every time Christians greet, they are reminded of the risen Lord Jesus, who has conquered death and hell on their behalf!

Perhaps something like this will catch on in America among Christians.

When the heart is willing, the feet are swift

Over the years, I have observed something. If people are excited about something, they will go to great pains to be involved. Furthermore, their involvement will be a joy. But, the opposite is equally true. If people aren’t thrilled with something, their efforts to be involved will be lackluster. They will easily create excuses for not being very engaged.

Here’s my slogan: “When the heart is willing, the feet are swift.”

Consider the example of my son, who asks, “Dad, can I play on the computer for a little bit?” And I say, “Yes.” Do you know what happens? He starts running to the computer, so that he can get on with playing. But when I tell my son, “Please go and clean your room.” Do you know what happens? Each of his feet seemingly gain an extra 30 pounds. He has a difficult time even moving them to his room.

Start observing and see if you find this to be true.

Planning to Read the Bible

There are many different Bible reading schedules that have been created. Some go straight through the Bible. Others follow a chronological order. Some have readings in different genres each day. Some read portions of the Bible (like the New Testament) several times in a year. Others take two years to read through the entire Bible.  Justin Taylor has a great overview of many plans, which you can read here.

I encourage you to find a plan that will work for you. If you get too behind, simply pick it up on the assigned reading for today and press on. Don’t be discouraged. I plan on reading using M’Cheyne’s schedule (which Justin Taylor explains). I hope to read through the entire Bible this year with my son.

Below Your Means

I recently visited Fry’s–a wildly successful electronics superstore. Their inventory is huge. Their selection is huge. If it’s electronic, you can purchase it at the store.

Anyway, I was walking down one isle and happened upon an employee kiosk, which consisted of a desktop computer with a large, old monitor. My wife and I both commented how out of place it seemed in such an up-to-date sophisticated electronics story.

They could certainly afford to upgrade their computer, but haven’t. Perhaps this is one reason why they are so successful–they are living below their means.

This is one of the many principles that my father has taught me: “Live below your means.” I thought of how many need to learn this, including our government.

Looking At Life

Someone recently noted about my blog, “Looks like your posts are probably the overflow of your regular meditations.” My friend is exactly right.

I’m doing what he who wrote the Proverbs did. “I passed by the field of the sluggard, … and behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles. … When I saw, I reflected upon it; I looked and received instruction” (Proverbs 24:30-34). I’m looking at life, reflecting upon it, learning from it, … and attempting to pass on a bit of wisdom from a Biblical perspective to you.

May we all learn to enjoy His grace.

Mercy or Merit?

There are two cards that you can play in life. You can play the mercy card. Or, you can play the merit card.

The merit card goes like this. You try your hardest to live the best life that you can. In the end, you stand before God and He rewards you (or punishes you) in accordance with the way that you went. The mercy card goes like this. You confess before the Lord that you are bankrupt and in need of mercy. You plead that God will be merciful to you, the sinner, through Jesus Christ.

The good news for those who play the mercy card is this: God will justify those who plead for His mercy (Luke 18:9-14). The bad news for those who play the merit card is this: Even the most righteous among us will be ruined as we stand before the holy Lord God, Almighty (Isaiah 6:1-5).

Which card are you going to play?