Life, Madison House

What is Privilege?

I simply don’t care about how much I have or don’t have.

I have privileges that no one can take away.

For instance, someone in high school asked me once if I was upset that prayer in school had been banned.  “No,” I responded, “I still pray everyday, on my own, in private. Nothing can stop me from petitioning God.”

In the iconic movie, Silence of the Lambs, the antagonist serial killer, Hannibal Lecter, drives home a hard to follow Biblical point that God has been communicating to mankind since Cain killed Abel:

Hannibal Lecter: No! He covets. That is his nature. And how do we begin to covet, Clarice? Do we seek out things to covet? Make an effort to answer now.

Clarice Starling: No. We just…

Hannibal Lecter: No. We begin by coveting what we see every day.


This is referred to in Scripture as the, “Lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and pride of life.”  I see something that I want, and I decide that I have to have it.  I then set in motion the steps to take it by any means possible.

The desire to have more or get more than we need is non-biblical and leads to murder, strife, theft…you get the point.

So what does God’s Word say about privilege?

The common story of Job is not lost in this.  Job who had everything and lost everything had this to say about privilege:

Job 1:21, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I shall return there.  The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.”

Essentially he is saying, “I started with nothing, I will end with nothing. Anything I am given in life is God’s, and His to give and take away.”

Or as James says, in James 1:17, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.”


Think of it this way.  If you are angry at someone else for having more than you do then ultimately, you are angry at God.

God has blessed them, and that’s not your decision what they do or don’t do with that blessing.


There’s a knock at the door, you answer it and a man is standing there.

You’ve never seen him before but he seems vaguely familiar.

“Yes?” You ask.

“Hey,” he says smiling, “I couldn’t help noticing when you and your wife were at Starbucks, earlier today, that she is a beautiful woman.  Unfortunately my wife isn’t as hot as yours,” (he holds up a picture of her) “so I’m going to come into your house and have sex with your spouse, otherwise it just wouldn’t be fair.”

You and I both know you’re not going to let him in.  Any man who really loved his wife wouldn’t give her away to a best friend, let alone a perfect stranger.  In fact this scenario seems ridiculous.

Is it?

Isn’t this what men are really saying when they look at porn and chase after other women? Or what women are expressing when they read Erotica.  The pressure wives put their husbands under to bring home more money so they can have nicer things, or the pressure men apply to their wives to have “better bodies” and “look more attractive, like so and so’s wife?”

We’re saying that the blessing God has given us in a spouse or lack thereof, isn’t good enough.

Philippians 4:19 is so easy to quote but so difficult to put into action on a belief level.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Our needs (spiritual, physical and emotional) are satisfied, (NEEDS, NOT EARTHLY DESIRES), are satisfied in a relationship with the person; Christ Jesus.

And coveting what others have (politically, sexually, financially, socially, etc.) is a sin.

Exodus 20:17, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

How has this verse been forgotten?

Looking over the fence and wanting the same privileges that your neighbors have only leads to sin.

James 3:16

“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. ”

Conversely, how has this passage been pushed aside?

Mark 12:44

They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything–all she had to live on.”

Rich, poor, whatever color, green alien blood, I don’t care; we can all give what we have to the service of Jesus.

Romans 12:15

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”

When someone has been blessed by God in any way, I’m excited for them.  I’ve been there – it’s a really cool experience to be blessed by God in a financial, spiritual or emotional way.  When people come on hard times, I feel great sorrow and try to do all I can to help.  I’ve been there – parental suicide, eating out of the garbage in Seattle, friends and kids we work with dying, and so on.

Let’s move forward with a loving Christ-like response instead of enviously longing for the same privileges as others or selfishly holding back the blessings He has given us that were meant to be shared with all.

Am I obsessed with the things that are supposed to be given unto Cesar or am I seeking first the kingdom of God?  This country will fade away as all other nations before it and end up as nothing more than a page in some kid’s history book.  Do we really want that child reading that the American legacy was about fighting over who had the most stuff or rights?

I want the privilege of being thankful despite the ups and downs of my circumstances.

I want the privilege of always responding in love, weather I agree with you or not.

I want the privilege of sharing in others pain…and their joy.

I want the privilege of being able to give without expecting anything in return.

I want to love my wife and children in such a powerful way that no financial gift could ever replace that love.

I’m going to ask myself every day:

Have I given enough?

Have I given to those in real need and not to those who greedily demand that I do so? (Pray for wisdom and discernment in this area, a lot of scams out there.)

Am I following/talking to Jesus Christ each day and seeking to use my gifts and talents for him?

You’re welcome to join me, but if you don’t…John 21:21-22. (I wrote down all the other ones for you, you can open your Bible just once.:) )











Don’t Judge…Ok, but…

We’ve all been hearing this a lot lately, “Don’t judge.”

Don’t judge what? A situation? A person? A government leader? A government as a whole?

Let’s look at judging on a normal, easy-to-determine, level.  I travel to the grocery store.   The last time I was here,  I bought Cheerios. I hated them.

They were disgusting.

I decide instead to purchase Frosted Flakes because I have determined that Cheerios simply aren’t for me.

This is a judgement call.

Ok, not what you meant?

Then let’s say you’re sitting with a group of friends and you say, “Have you had Cheerios lately? I hate them, they’re gross.”

Someone else disagrees.

“I love Cheerios,” they say. “Frosted Flakes? Now that’s disgusting.”

“Well,” you respond, “Then I hate you.”

Hmmm….that escalated quickly.

But the truth is we often determine who we like/dislike based off of what they believe, common ground, so on and so forth.

For example, I simply, on a personal level, cannot watch CNN…er…I can’t watch FOX NEWS either.  It’s not because I’m untrusting or think I’m only getting fake news.  I’m sure I’m getting some fake news and some truth from either side.  No, the reason I can’t watch is because each side is so filled with vitriol and hatred toward the other, that I end up feeling depressed and angry after twenty minutes, sometimes five.  Ugh.  What’s the line from Bill Murray in Ghost Busters? “He slimed me.”

It’s the same feeling I get when I have to hear someone else go on and on about how much they can’t stand another person at work or church; after a while you start to feel sick all over.


Here’s that section in scripture where Jesus said, “Don’t judge,” in it’s entirety instead of as a media soundbite that’s spewed out right before someone proceeds to tear down another person they hate…for judging them.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
“Do not give  dogs what is holy, and do not throw your  pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”

If Jesus is saying that we’re not supposed to judge anyone ever, then who in verse 6 are the “dogs” and “pigs” ? Is it a judgement call that I should be careful around the people in verse six and not give them my life savings, or the care of my children?

If I’m not supposed to judge ever, then how will I, in verse 5, “see to take the speck out of my brothers eye”?  Wouldn’t I have to make a judgement call in order to do that?

You can’t carelessly read the first section of this verse and use that as your creed for life.

Here’s an example:

We own a Nintendo Switch and my kids love playing on it.

But…there are stipulations that go something like this:

“You kids can’t play on the Nintendo Switch unless you’re willing to share it.  Set a fifteen minute timer per turn so that each one of you gets an equal turn.  Keep an eye on each other to make sure that none of you go over fifteen minutes.  Also, I certainly don’t want to hear any complaining about someone taking an extra long turn from the very person that always cheats and takes extra long turns.  Also, if so and so comes over, make sure you put the Nintendo in a safe place, because even though we love and care about them we know they get sticky fingers when it comes to cool technology.”

Now, did I, in this paragraph say, “You kids can’t play on the Nintendo Switch.”  Yes, yes I did. But it’s certainly not all I said, and when read in it’s entire context, makes perfect sense.

Have you read your whole Bible, more than a couple times or for five minutes each morning?  Are you aware of how many times God/Jesus calls down judgement on someone, or someone in authority calls down judgement on someone else?

Jesus called the Pharisees a “pit of vipers,” and “whitewashed tombs full of dead man’s bones.”

He said of Judas, “It would be better for him if he had never been born.”

Are these judgmental statements?


So lastly, who is in a position to judge?  A teacher will tell you it’s in their classroom.  A manager will say it’s their business.  The police will say it’s their jurisdiction.  Parents will say it’s their children.  Read Romans 13. (C’mon. I’m not going to put every verse down  for you! If you’re reading this, then I’m sure you know how to read – there is a “Bible app  for that.”)

Why does judging have such a negative connotation?

It’s only negative when the Judge rules against your case and for your opposition.

I’m counting on God judging justly.  And if I follow Him and keep His commandments, He will pass down a very positive judgement.

In closing, the judging verse never worries me.  I’m not concerned when people quote it because it generally means they want to get away with something.   (Have you ever noticed that people who think the Bible is a joke and don’t believe Jesus was God and laugh at Christians, are the ones quoting the Bible – a book they hate and don’t agree with – whenever they say, ‘don’t judge’? Satan quotes the Bible as well when tempting Jesus in the wilderness.)

The verses that I feel the most concern over are found in Luke 10.

“And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to  inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered,  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and  your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly;  do this, and you will live.”

I ask myself three questions when a situation of judgement comes up:

  1. Am I in a position of either authority(manager) or relationship(brother) to make this judgement call?
  2. Am I seeing this correctly, or do I have a log in my own eye?
  3. If I were them, how would I want to be called out on this: the most loving private way possible, or on national TV with everyone watching?

Final Examples.

Women have tried to have affairs with me, (I’m nothing special – it happens to every guy in varying degrees. Don’t go getting all puffed up over it)  and as quietly and kindly as possible I’ve moved them along with a text or e-mail, body language,  saying in so many words, “Hey, I’m not interested.”  That is a positive judgement in favor of their husband, their children and their extended family.  And it’s a positive judgement in favor of mine as well.  A poor judgement would be to take them into my bed in secret and destroy all of the above.  It’s not a negative judgement on anyone.  It’s more of a, “Let’s get back on track serving the Lord.”

When a man comes into Madison House that we’ve never seen before and says, “I”m here to pick up,” looks down and scrolls on his phone, looks up and and says, “so and so.”  We as a staff say, “We’ve never seen you before in our lives. We’re not letting you take this kid.”  The parent shows up five minutes later and says they never sent anyone to pick up their kid.

We made a positive judgement, for that kid, his parents, and Madison House.

Luke 10:27-28 should be more frightening because it’s the two verses Jesus states as being the most important of all the laws.

Do I really love the Lord my God with everything that is in me and my neighbor as myself?

No, I don’t. And I need mercy and strength that only comes from a relationship with Jesus in order to accomplish His will.

Revelation 20:11-15. (Again, since I can only imagine that you’re reading this online, you can look it up. Google or app, it’s only a click away.)  :).













Racism: A Gospel Driven Response.

I’m walking towards Madison House.  A man is sitting on a bicycle; ragged clothing, long hair, dirty red hat.

He looks beat, mid-twenties, angry.

As I close the distance, he spots me and starts to pedal in my direction but refuses to make eye contact.

“Hey,” I say, “How are you?  Is there something I can help you with?”

He’s right up on me now and acts like he can’t hear me.

“Hey,” I say, giving him the benefit of the doubt. “How are you?”




I don’t hesitate.

“Hey man, I have no problem with you. I don’t even know you.  Jesus loves you,”

He’s past me now.

“Come back and let me talk to you about Jesus.”


He is screaming now as he rides away and is having trouble controlling his bike he is so angry, “F**K Jesus and F**k you! I don’t need Jesus you white trash MOTHERF**CKER!”


I try again to tell him about Jesus but it’s no use as he rides away continuing to scream about how much he hates me and hates Jesus.

I pray that I will have another opportunity to talk to him about Jesus.


Two days later I’m standing out on my back porch when he rides by on his bicycle.

“Hi, How’s it going?”  He looks up at me and nearly falls off his bike in shock.  Then he ducks his head, says, “Hi” and pedals off as fast as he can, eyes set, jaw rigid.  I shrug, I tried.  I guess he didn’t know that I live so close to where I work.

The next day I’m walking down a side street and suddenly he rides out of the alley, nearly bowling me over.  He sees me first and his eyes get big and round.

I smile at him and wave, “Oh, hi!” I say, “How are you doing?”

He slumps, then sighs and says, “Good, how are you?”

“I’m great! Good to see you again.”

“Yeah, you too.”  He rides away.

That was two years ago and I’ve never seen him since.  Most importantly he knows I care about him and that I love Jesus.


I could go into story after story of racism that I’ve seen in my life both to myself, my wife and kids and to other people, but it would probably only serve to make you angry depending on your point of view.

Where does the hate end? I don’t know, but I do know that no matter how much others hate me based off of one single sliver of DNA that determines the melanoma of my skin color, it isn’t enough to discourage me.

Instead, lets steer the conversation back towards the gospel.

The truth is, “Jesus Christ came into the world, and died for the sins of the whole world.” Every person of every tongue and nation.

You know it. You’ve known it your whole life. Say it with me, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16.

Did you hear yourself say that? “The world.”  God’s love is not exclusive to a race or color – you are.

We are all God’s creation. His love is an equal opportunity employer; all it requires is our repentance.

All of us have endured racism to larger or lesser extremes in our lifetime, but as the Bible states, we are “without excuse” when it comes to loving others and sharing the gospel.

It’s so easy to feel sorry for ourselves and focus on the negative, but if you really sit down and think about it you’ll also be able to come up with hundreds if not thousands of times that someone of a different race has reached out to help you when you were in need.

I know I can.

Jesus Christ said, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel.”

The Gospel by definition is, “Good News.”

And the ‘Good News’ is that, “the Light has come into the world and the darkness cannot stand against it.”

Jesus Christ is the Light of the world and he died once for ALL.

Who have you shared this truth with today?



Life, Madison House, Marriage

Everything that’s Wrong with my Spouse

There’s a mental exercise I’ve done with people that work for or with me.

It goes something like this:

Think of someone you don’t like; they bug you, you can’t explain why.   It’s just something about them that always seems to push you over the edge.  Do you have that person in mind?

It’s immediate recall for most people.

Now ask yourself this,  “When posed with the same question, who is thinking of me?  Who do I annoy, damage, push to extremes?  Who comes to work grinding their teeth knowing I’m going to be there?”

When I was in college, people had a different list.  They had a list of everything they desired in a life partner;  short, fat, thin, educated, artistic, political, social, handsome, perfect body, etc…

I would often ask people making these lists, “Whose list are you on?”

“What?”  They would look confused.

“What I mean to say is,” I continued, “Whose list would you be on? Are you the same level of excellence that you’re demanding from another person?”

And this is the heart of most marital problems: we want something from the other person that they are unwilling or unable to give us, and it pushes us apart.

With this in mind, early in my relationship with Kimberley and into our marriage, I started making lists.

Lists of everything that Kimberley did well.  If the Woman at the Well and Solomon taught us anything, it’s this: that no matter how many people of the opposite sex you blow through like used Kleenex, it will only leave you unsatisfied.

Satisfaction only comes in marriage when you give sacrificially instead of expecting unconditional love and surrender.

Here’s a list of Kimberley’s recent rights:

She is always honest.  She is kind in her honesty.

She admits her mistakes.  I’ve never met a more humble woman.

She loves children and homeschools our own four while working alongside me in a part-time position at Madison House, helping 200 other emotionally/spiritually needy children.

We clear every purchase with each other and always know what’s in our accounts.

I’ve always felt she was super sexy but this spring she put herself on a food/exercise program where she went from a size fourteen down to a size two….Seriously, so hot.

Every day she reads her Bible. Every day.  That’s Hot.

She did a three part, two day speaking engagement this fall at a church…And got paid to do it.

She makes birthdays and holidays extra special for myself and the kids.

She’s such a classy dresser and her skin is flawless, she looks 29…AND IS 29!!!

She is very wise. She guides me away from women with wrong intentions.

She loves Jesus before she loves me, and for this I love her the most.

When you love your spouse and focus on what is pure and perfect about them, the things that are wrong seem unimportant and are easy hurdles to overcome.  Make a list of compliments.  Make a list of things you can do to help around the house.  Lift their spirits and encourage them in the good they are doing.  It is so easy and cheap to be negative, and yet we know from experience and wisdom passed down that anything good comes from hard work and sacrifice.

Jesus loves the Church sacrificially, dying for us.  This is how I hope to love my wife, dying to self.






Chapter Excerpt

Chapter Excerpt: Executive Order 9066; February 20, 1942

The Packard Clipper shot up Nob Hill Boulevard and out toward the country. It’s white walled wheels grinding over the gravel like a king on a horse. The straight eight, under the stylish hood, blasting out exhaust. Billie Holiday crooned, ‘God Bless the Child’ on the radio. The Clipper reached the city limit, passing into orchards yet to bloom, slipping and sliding out of large potholes and the muddy pools left over from the early spring run-off of the mountains surrounding the Yakima Valley.

The sleek, black, top-of-the-line automobile screeched around a corner, rocketing onto a side road, going down a long grade and climbing back up the opposite hill, approaching a brown dilapidated barn set back in a hollow, surrounded by pear trees.

In the passenger seat a young man, handsome in a cruel way, gripped the dashboard with long fingered, almost delicate hands, whooping with exhilaration. His wavy brown hair was past needing to be cut and his angular sharp features were the spitting image of his father’s.

His father, a tall man of six feet five inches, gave the Packard more gas and threw his head back and laughed, the cigar in his mouth pouring smoke out the slight space provided by the rolled down window. He turned, narrowing his deep brown eyes, the eyes his son inherited. “You like that, Archie?” His voice boomed over the sound of the Packard’s six cylinders.

Archie nodded, his cruel eyes flashing with greed, “Is this car for me? It is after all my birthday.”

The father smiled, his thin lips curling sardonically, “A car like this awaits you, but not on this birthday. Not until you’re sixteen.”

The son’s full lips, genes from his deceased mother, made a very ugly pout, but the father slapped Archie’s shoulder, “Cheer up, you’re going to love this!”

Archie’s voice was sullen, “I wanted a car.” He would not meet his father’s eyes and focused instead on the rapidly approaching barn.

The Packard ground to a halt and father and son disembarked, walking up to the barn door that still bore the faded emblem of the family crest; a green dragon, clutching an apple. They pulled open the barn door, large enough to let out four steer abreast and stepped inside. Long ago the area had been abandoned and Archie couldn’t help but wonder what they were doing way out here in the country at a broken down old barn on his birthday.

The interior of the barn was lit by nothing more than natural sunlight pouring through a multitude of holes in the unpatched barn roof. The smell of old hay hung heavy in the air but otherwise the barn was empty of anything except some rusty unused tools and a moldy bridle hanging from a solitary nail.

In the center of the concrete floor was a sagging wooden door. Archie’s father stepped forward and leaned down, pulling on a steel handle that flashed in the light, opening the wooden trap door and revealing a set of stairs that led down into the darkness. His father turned with a twisted grin on his face and beckoned Archie forward. Archie hesitated and then proceeded, trusting his father implicitly.

The stairs descended to another floor, converging on a long dark, stone hallway smelling of mold and rot. His father pulled a flashlight from a sconce in the wall and shined it down the corridor. They marched forward.

Archie asked for no explanation, his pout gone, filled with intrigue. Then his father offered this, “When your grandfather, my father, first moved into the Yakima Valley from back east, he originally wanted to be a rancher and so he constructed this barn. Ranching turned to farming because of the demand for fresh produce but still he kept this barn intact for stabling horses to scout the orchards and make sure the work was being done properly.”

Archie frowned, “How come I’ve never even heard talk of this place or been out here?”

His father smiled slyly and turned to face his son, a wicked gleam creasing his handsome face in the light. “Because it’s also used as a rite of passage from boy to man. When I turned fourteen my father brought me here, and today,” he placed a reassuring hand on Archie’s shoulder, “today is your day to become a man and I will perform the same rite of passage for you.”

They had come to a stop in front of a large oaken door made up of three very thick looking slats. A new steel handle was attached to the door and a large deadbolt held it firmly secured. Archie’s father pulled a long iron key from his pocket and inserted its length into the lock, began to turn it and then paused. He faced his son and spoke, almost in a whisper, “You’ll recall that barely short of two months ago, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and Roosevelt and Congress declared war?”

Archie nodded but his young face was perplexed. Where was this going, he wondered?

His father smiled, a genuine smile of joy that the mystery was safe, like a magician about to impress his audience with the final act. “Well, yesterday Roosevelt signed an interment order, Executive Order #9066, stating that all Japanese immigrants inside the United States must be put into enclosed camps for the duration of the war.”

There was another dramatic pause, Archie’s father leaned into him leering and asked, “Remember this summer when you had a crush on that cute little Japanese girl that was picking blueberries with her parents out on one of our plots? The one that was about 13 years old and wouldn’t give you the time of day?”

Archie nodded, eager, his adrenaline kicking in, finally seeing the prize, tasting the victory. His father laughed at the wolf now drooling in his son’s eyes. “Tragically her parents died this winter, too old to stand the cold and food was hard to come by. We took your crush, their daughter, into one of the boarding houses, but with no family to look after her, one night she just disappeared.” He smiled in mock despair. “Lucky for you, she turned up here and I’ve been keeping her safe ever since. How fortunate that the Japanese attacked. Now she’ll be just another statistic in a country that doesn’t want her in the first place.”

His voice grew deadly serious, “Remember what I’ve always told you about the feeling of opportunity; when you sense its presence crouching you must act immediately. If you hesitate, even for an instant, it’s gone!” He snapped his fingers in front of Archie’s face for effect. Turning he grasped the silver handle, and swung open the door with dramatic flair. He handed Archie a four-inch, black handled dagger, adding as an afterthought, “Make sure you clean up the mess when you’re done. I’ll be waiting in the car.”

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