Senses Bread

Today’s Word: ‘senses’ as in… we have five of them: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch.

Someone recently asked me about my earliest experience with smell. Honestly, this goes way back. I was born in Pensacola, Florida on April 22. Seven months later my dad, a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy, received orders to Morocco, Africa where we would live for three years. When we arrived, our temporary home for the first few weeks was the Hotel Mamora. Early each morning the hotel staff would prepare breakfast carts with a dizzying selection of breads. Along with deeply aromatic coffee with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon, the “stewards” as they were called, would roll the breakfast carts up and down the hallways of the hotel providing in-room service to the guests.

This was the place where my senses began to really develop. How could they not?

There were warm cinnamon rolls, fresh coffee cakes and date loaves. There were baskets of krachel, a type of sweet roll made with green anise seeds, sesame seeds, and orange flower water; Harcha, a semolina based pan-fried bread; and kesra, a flatbread similar to focaccia, made from a mix of barley and semolina flour and anise seeds.

And then there were the cardamom croissants.

To this day, to this very moment I can go into my kitchen, stick my nose in the cardamom or catch a waft of bread fresh from the oven and be transported back to the Hotel Mamora.

In the ancient book of Psalms we’re invited to “taste and see” God’s goodness, to have a rich, flavorful moment with God’s grace and mercy. A bit later in the same book we’re reminded that these same words of grace are sweet; even sweeter than honey in our mouths.

Senses: we’ve got five of them. When we pay attention to just one of them, all kinds of amazing things happen. Just think what happens when we’re paying attention to the other four!




Unknown Tomorrow RoadToday’s Word: ‘unknown’ as in… stepping into the unknown is something we’re all doing together.

I’m often reminded that we’re all right on the edge of something challenging, spectacular, risky, marvelous, dangerous, thrilling, hopeful, costly, and wonderful all at the same time. And yet, we have no idea what it is. Actually we do, but we don’t.

Hang tight. I can explain.

The “it” of course, is tomorrow. That much we do know. But the “it” of tomorrow is always unknown. And it’s unknown because not one person on the planet has been to tomorrow yet. What about time zones? You ask?

I know, right?

Nancy Lee and I got on a plane in Minneapolis on a Thursday night, flew a long, long distance and finally arrived in Sydney, Australia, many, many hours later… yesterday.



I digress.

Aside from clock and time hoopla, the entire human family is traveling together on a floating ball of beautiful dust, dirt, rocks and mostly water, hurtling through space at 67,000 miles an hour in a Milky Way Galaxy that’s 100,000 light years across in the same direction: into the unknown. We could be afraid, but we’re not. We’re not afraid because we’re all in this together; you’re going there with me and I’m going there with you.

But even more than that, the ancient scriptures remind us often that the Creator of all that is seen and unseen has already cut a groove, cleared a path, forged a way forward into the unknown of tomorrow and invites us to step into tomorrow with confidence.

So let me ask you: how can we move ahead in ways that make life more generative for everyone? How can we move into the unknown together in ways that help people thrive in their daily lives? What are the thriving rhythms that you practice that help others dance into the unknown? How can we help one another experience life, and more life as we move into tomorrow?

Let’s not make how we respond to these questions part of the unknown.



Travel~image courtesy of Michael Tompsett

Today’s Word: ‘Travel’ as in… I’ll be traveling to Africa in eight days.

It will be an epic journey … just getting there—physically getting there, to say nothing of making our way home again will be the journey part. The epic part will be meeting new people and connecting with familiar friends. The kids, parents, pastors, teachers, drivers, cooks, interpreters, coaches, doctors, nurses, and friends… all of them brothers from other mothers and sisters from different misters. And through the process of meeting and listening, connecting and learning, sharing and celebrating, this beautiful globe that we all share together will somehow mysteriously become just a tad bit smaller.

All of this brings me back once again to Kent Nerburn’s poignant challenge to get out there, to go beyond, to explore, stretch, wonder and risk. Here’s what Kent writes:

“This is why we need to travel. If we don’t offer ourselves to the unknown, our senses dull. Our world becomes small and we lose our sense of wonder. Our eyes don’t lift to the horizon; our ears don’t hear the sounds around us. The edge is off our experience, and we pass our days in a routine that is both comfortable and limiting. We wake up one day and find that we have lost our dreams in order to protect our days.”

So for the next few days of preparing for all that is about to unfold, let’s think together about what it means to thrive as we travel into the unknown with our senses tuned and sharpened for wonder, and let’s anticipate at least one new experience every day so that we can truly break out of our familiar routine. Maybe then we can experience life beyond our wildest dreams.



PodcastToday’s Word: ‘podcast’ as in… a fresh episode of the Rhythms Podcast is posted and ready for you!

Navigate to for one more trip through “Generosity.”

I went back into the studio and cranked out some thoughts from last weekend’s gathering: “Change For Change… Impact of a Generous Community.”

I’ll share four stories about wild generosity and how $45 dollars of gas in the tank cost me $2.95; why a gift of $40 million dollars to erase student loans for 400 graduates is NOT about the money; how a local fast food chain with a commitment to doing things without hamburger modeled what it looks like to be a generous community; and how a little girl’s “I love you” rendered a word guy absolutely speechless.

It’s about how generosity ultimately leads to being grateful.

It’s all there in Episode 13, “Grateful” and it’ll kick all kinds of things loose for you!



GusToday’s Word: ‘death’ as in… I was 12 years old when I had my first near-death experience.

I was with my dad in a school gymnasium. Bleachers. Metal chairs. Basketball hoops. My dad leans over and says,

“Someday every in here will die.”

Did not see that one coming. He didn’t mean it as a gloomy thought; wasn’t trying to scare me or shock me. He just wanted me to have some inkling of what the ancient text from Ecclesiastes might have meant: “There is a season and a time for everything under the sun.”

So as a 12 year old I was introduced to the issue of death in a direct way. I had questions about my own death.

How and when would it happen? Where would I go? What would that be like? Would people miss me?

There weren’t many answers and still aren’t, and that’s okay. There’s a bit of mystery that’s actually good to dwell in. What wasn’t a mystery was the good news that come what may, I was always in God’s embrace.

My mom helped me connect the dots in a different way.

We’re standing next to Gus’s casket. She leans over and says, “Gus’s body was like a house.”

Did not see that one coming either.

She explained that for some time a man named Gus lived in that house and made it his home. The lights were on, there was movement, music, laughter, tears, joys, and sorrows. There were challenges and celebrations. Stuff broke, stuff got fixed. There were messes to clean up, disagreements to heal, forgiveness to be shared. And then the time came to move out of the house. The house was no longer useful, and Gus moved out. It was quiet. It was still. The house was empty. Everything that had made the house a home was no longer there. Just memories; wonderful, lovely, memories of life in the house. But Gus had moved out.

I asked my mom, “Where did Gus go?” She thought for a moment, smiled at me and said, “He found a new home. We all get a new home.”




GapToday’s Word: ‘gap’ as in… an in between place to breathe.

When the day takes off at the speed life (yes, you read that right, the ‘speed of life’) we tend to miss some things. We can miss a lot of things. And when we start missing things we cease to thrive.

There’s a need for some gap.

Between the larger moments of each day there is a gap.

Between appointments on our calendars there is a gap.

Between this presentation and that meeting there is a gap.

Between our conversations with coworkers and our to-do lists with our loved ones there is a gap.

And more times than we’d like to admit, we miss the gaps because we’re in such a hurry to get to that next thing.

In the words of Lewis Carroll, “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” Arrrgh!

Note to self: Slow down. Stop. Take a moment and just dwell in the gap for a moment. It’s okay right there.


The gap is actually where we’re going to recoup what we’ve lost being in such a hurry to get where we think we need to go.

But when we enter the gap and we let ourselves breathe, we discover life, and more life.

Be in the gap.



2497Today’s Word: ‘2497.43′ as in… the extravagantly generous outpouring of “Change for Change” this past weekend at Prince of Peace!

My goodness… responding with so much generosity, hundreds of you “dug deep” and pulled change out of your pockets, wallets, and purses, and then went to your vehicles and scoured the cubbies, nooks and crannies for more change to bring change to the lives of others!

How inspiring!

And then that all got multiplied three more times! You all went so bananas, so bonkers!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The total gathered for the express purpose of living into the possible reality of “there was not a needy one among them…” was $2,497.43.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Now here’s the deal: If you know someone in need, please call us. We’re ready for you.

If you are in need, please call us – and I know it will be tough to call, but please call. We’re ready for you.

We’ve been blessed not merely to be blessed. That’s not blessing.

We’re blessed in order to be a blessing to others. That’s the blessing.

Well done, good and generous servants! Outstanding!

Say it with me now: