28 January 2010

Photo Break ...

My friend Leigh de Armas is a great therapist and wonderful photographer. Her photos always make me think, laugh, or smile ...

Bullets & Butterflies has posted on some weighty topics lately ... and will do so again soon. Sometimes it's a good idea to take a break, breath in the beauty of our world, and relax.

Today, we do that through the lens of Leigh's camera ...

I wish someone would call, and report back
if Genesis Wildlife ever found the owl?

... Father, we thank You for everything You have given us. Help us open our eyes to the beauty of Your creation, help us slow down, and guide us to allow time in our day to take it all in. Above all teach us to love each other. In Jesus name we pray ...

25 January 2010

Devil's Playground

"I've been to the edge. There I stood and looked down."
- Van Halen

"It reopens my wounds. But I never want them to heal
completely, because I never want to forget."
- Susan Kelley

One of the occupational hazards of being a therapist is that you gain insight on a little secret. Namely, things are worse in the world than many people suspect. Police officers know it. Social workers know it. Some journalists and some pastors know it, too.

Without a doubt there is beauty in our world. But like I wrote in an earlier post on trust, these are islands and occasional subcontinents in an ocean of heartache.

We reach out for love. We desperately stretch out our hands for inner peace. But left to our own devices, these desires seem to float just a fraction of an inch beyond our fingertips.


In the book of Matthew, just before Jesus sends out his disciples, he tells them, "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

I love this verse. Throughout scripture Jesus tells us the world is not as it should be. He knows many suffer. He knows you suffer, too.

But, because He loves us dearly, because we are His children, He has come to fight for us, to tip over tables for us, to literally bleed for us, and to rescue us. ... And, He is sending out His disciples to do His work.


In Daytona Beach, there is an area I call, the devil’s playground. Here human suffering is an open wound. In the middle of the devil’s playground is the Daytona Outreach Center (D.O.C.), led by two of Jesus' disciples, Ray and Susan Kelley.

From time to time I visit the D.O.C., and never leave without asking Ray to pray for me.

Prostitutes, drug dealers, addicts, homeless people, and too often their children, surround the Daytona Outreach Center.

Ray and Susan were once inmates of the devil's playground as crystal meth addicts. That was before Jesus rescued them.

Ray and Susan are not Jesus-is-my-boyfriend type Christians. They are battle-scarred, former hostages of the enemy, who now belong to Jesus Christ.

Ray and Susan could have returned to the peaceful existence of suburban living or moved out to the country. They could have taken normal jobs or went back to school. Instead they rejoined the battle. They returned to the devil's playground, this time as disciples of Jesus Christ.

The kind of peace the world talks about is an illusion, a lie. Lasting inner peace is only possible through Jesus Christ. But until He returns, the battlefield is active and real.


Please watch this video about my friends Ray, Susan, and others at the D.O.C. ...

21 January 2010

To the stranger I will never meet

In the early fall of last year I met Kari Cobham at a Daytona Beach, tweet-up. Kari hails from the southern most region of the Caribbean. She is a hard working journalist who seems to love her profession, and a talented writer. Check out her blog A mi ver.

To the stranger I will never meet:

I didn't want to get up this morning, step into clothes, rise into the winter sun. But there were birthdays to prepare for and stories to be chased.

I sped off from the store, helium balloons bobbing in the back seat, thinking about my next interview 35 miles away. At work, I printed background documents to read and ran off to grab lunch on the way. That's when I noticed my wallet was gone.

The searching went on for no more than five minutes, in my car, upstairs at my desk. Things were just getting frantic when the phone rang. My neighbor. And I just knew.

You found my wallet in the middle of the street, checked the address on my license, and brought it straight to my doorstep. I wasn't there when you knocked so you left it with the neighbors.

Sometimes it's easy to lose faith in the good when one writes about crime and hears about death like I do all the time. They call it the Mean World Syndrome. But I always imagine that life is an interesting, tragic journey of intersecting paths, and today, yours crossed mine.

I don't know your name--you didn't leave it--so I can't tell you "thank you". But, thank you. I'm glad there are people like you in the world. And I'm glad we met.

Be blessed.

Kari Cobham

18 January 2010

American Made

A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave. - Mohandas Gandhi

Twelve years ago in Nashville, Tennessee, I listened to an elderly African American woman, a guest lecturer from predominately black Fisk University, speak about America at predominately white Belmont University.

Her invitation to speak was significant because it was the first year Belmont relented and agreed to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

I’ve forgotten the woman’s name, but one thing she said changed my worldview, profoundly.

She stepped onto the speaker’s platform, grabbed the corners of the podium, and from behind her bifocals slowly surveyed the students from both universities ... then she said: "African American history is
American history … "

In the context of the rest of her speech, she was saying that all Americans, white Americans, too, have a claim on the Civil Rights movement.

What she said meant I could listen to Martin Luther King, Jr. speeches with pride and not with a slight tinge of shame. It meant I could resist the urge to be defensive. It ultimately meant I had an alternate heritage I could claim, if I chose.

The Civil Rights movement was not a movement for African American rights. It was a movement for Human Rights. And we are all human, right?


It is well known that Dr. King predicted his death shortly before his assassination.

Below, listen to an excerpt from his last speech, listen to how he talks about his Creator, look at his eyes, look at how he collapses in his chair at the end of the speech.

What you will see is American history,
it is our history, it is your history, too.

12 January 2010

Solitary Man

The world is full of empty promises. Lust is ultimately the opposite of faith. We need each other, we are part of the puzzle, but we will learn to love each other only after we learn to surrender to the love of Jesus Christ ...

04 January 2010

Just Look

"Just take a look at what God has done for me tonight."
- Homeless man in Port Orange, Florida

My friend, Mike Ellis, runs a cold weather shelter. Here are some notes from his blog Mike In Progress...

When temperatures dip to 40 degrees or colder First United Methodist Church in Port Orange, Florida opens its door and provides dinner, breakfast and shelter to the homeless. This season we've opened the church two times. It looks like we'll be open again this weekend. Below you'll find some of the things I've seen at the homeless cold weather shelter.

A tweep from Twitter crocheted scarves for every homeless man and woman.

A couple of days before Christmas, a homeless man led a homeless choir as they sang "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" to all cold weather shelter volunteers.

Another tweep from Twitter made phone calls and found 30 cots so that the homeless could sleep comfortably.

A homeless man gave up his spot at the shelter so that his girlfriend would have a warm place to stay.

Tweeps from twitter brought blankets, backpacks, socks and medicine for the homeless.

A homeless man stopped me and with tears in his eyes said,
"God bless you and your church for keeping us warm for tonight."

I gave a woman a warm coat and she responded as if I had given her one million dollars.

A young man found a homeless person in a parking lot and drove him to the cold weather shelter. The young man made sure his homeless friend was comfortable and then drove home to find a couple of needed items.
The homeless man cried as the young man came back to the shelter and gave him a pair of pants and a bible. I remember the homeless man saying, "I don't deserve this. I don't deserve this."

A tweep from Twitter talked, listened, looked into the eyes, sat down with and entered the world of almost every homeless man and woman.

Volunteers unselfishly donated and shopped for food, prepared and cooked meals, served food, passed out socks, washed dishes, stayed up all night and sang songs.

One of our volunteers brought her daughter to help. This young girl poured dressing on salad and hugged each homeless man and woman.

Last night as I was leaving the cold weather shelter a man walked up to me. He said, "Sir, do you have room for one more person tonight? I don't have a warm place to stay." I took him into the church and found him a place to sleep. As he was lying down he said,
"Just take a look at what God has done for me tonight."