There is always something to outgrow!


I was watching an old “Leave it to Beaver” television show the other day and a phrase struck me, because it applies to me.

Beaver (the little 9 year old boy), was having to deal with a fear in his life. His mother said to the father (Ward), “But he is 9 years old, he should be past that (fear) by now”. To which the father replied, “No matter what your age, there is always something you have to outgrow.”

When I heard that it immediately touched something inside of me, because I understand the principle as applied to my life. I remember being a young man in my late teens and thinking, “I’ll be glad when I am older and don’t have to have all of these struggles.” Of course I had no idea what life was about at that time. My “Big” problems then are insignificant as I look back on them.

One of the things I have learned through the years is life is all a matter of faith. It’s what you believe… what you really believe… that directs your thoughts, decisions and actions in life. It is our faith structure in our lives that determines what is really important to us at any given instance. And once that faith structure is in place, (most of the time), we don’t face the problem of deciding at the last moment whether an action, a decision, a stand we take, is right or wrong in our life.

Now having said that, I know that is a “Great Generalization,” because as the father in the television show said, “No matter what your age, there is always something you have to outgrow.”

Each of us have some level of faith, some greater than others, not everyone is the same in this area. That’s why one of my favorite passages is Mark 9:22. In this passage a man is asking Jesus for help, explaining about the problem his son having with seizures. Look at what happened as he explained: “The evil spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can. “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

I kind of like this modern paraphrase of this section of scripture that says, “If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!”23 Jesus said, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers,” (MSG). This sounds kind of like the Star Wars character Yoda speaking to Luke Skywalker doesn’t it, he said, “There is no try… there is only do or do not.”

I wish I were that mature and that my faith was that strong all of the time, but it’s not. I know that God has a plan for my life and that he is in control, but some times I let a little doubt creep into my heart. Because, “no matter what your age, there is always something you have to outgrow.” The problem is that some choose to stop growing. Some choose to pull back in their shell of safety and comfort and not grow to be what God intends for them to be. I’m still struggling and I’m trying my best to grow into what God has in mind for me. I believe, God, help me to overcome my unbelief.

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When the lights went out…


Traveling is not always easy is it? Sometimes the roads are bumpy, sometimes their crooked, sometimes they are full of potholes and sometimes they are just dark, unknown and full of unexpected things.

I was thinking about Christmas in past years and remembered one in particular. It had been a great day; we had spent the entire day involved in Christmas. We began by getting up early and preparing food for our family gathering. We traveled to my folks place and spent a great day together with our family, but were looking forward to heading home and getting some rest.

We were driving down a two lane state route road, I was driving about 55 mph, and suddenly the headlights of the car just went out. I could hardly believe it was happening, in fact at first I didn’t know just what had happened, I admit I had felt just a little bit of panic. I messed with the switch and the lights flashed back on for a second and then went out again. Cars were coming towards us flashing their lights telling us “to turn your lights on dummy, don’t you know no one can see you.” I wanted to shout back, “I know my lights are off, but there is nothing I can do about it.” I began to look for a place to pull off the road and happened to have the presence of mind to turn on my emergency flashers. We finally got off the road and called for a tow truck, made it home about 10:30 p.m. safe and sound.

If you want to be reminded of the importance of light, try being in a position like that without any. Christmas traditionally is a holiday of lights, lots of lights, and the more the better. Maybe there is a reason why…

The apostle John writes in John 1:1-5, “In the beginning God expressed himself. That personal expression, that word, was with God, and was God, and he existed with God from the beginning. All creation took place through him, and none took place without him. In him appeared life and this life was the light of mankind. The light still shines in the darkness and the darkness has never put it out.”(Philips Translation)

This passage is talking about the coming of Jesus Christ the Son of God. He is the light that shines into the world dark with sin and it has not, nor will it ever be put out. I know that sometimes it seems like you are driving down the road of life full tilt in utter darkness. Churches, friends and family are seemingly saying, “What’s the matter with you, don’t you know you need light?” You know they are right and you may be tempted to shout back at them, “I know you are right, but I don’t know what to do about it.”

The problem is really much like the problem with my headlights… as far as my car, the repair shop replaces a switch which had burned connections. Perhaps for you and your life you may have a connection problem also. What I am saying is that you may have the same problem as my headlights. That problem will leave you in the darkness until you make the right connection, a solid connection with the source of light, Jesus Christ.

Why not start out the New Year right, with a connection to the light that shines in the darkness and the darkness has never put it out. You can’t drive safely down the road of life with out the proper lights can you? John said, “In him appeared life and this life was the light of mankind. The light still shines in the darkness and the darkness has never put it out.” Perhaps it’s time to make that New Year’s resolution to make sure you have the light of God in your life. Reach out and touch Him through His Word every day and you will have light in your life.

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A DAY OF REMEMBRANCE – Thoughts of Christmas


Recently we remembered Pearl Harbor Day, when we remembered the deadly attack that brought us into World War 2. I was not a holiday, it was a day that as President Franklin Roosevelt said, ” December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy “. It was a terrible day for our country and our world. My then 18 year old father, (a Navy Seabee) had a stop over at Pearl Harbor on his way to Guam. I asked him about it a few years ago and he wouldn’t talk about it, he said he would rather not think about it or remember it.

It was a terrible day, yet on that same day a few years later my little brother was born. In fact he has two sons who were born on the same day. So, it became a day to not just remember, it became a day to celebrate.

I was thinking about this in regards to the Crucifixion of Christ. It was a terrible day also, a day which lives in Infamy even 2000 years later. Luke recorded some of the events in this way: In Luke 23:44-46: “It was now about the sixth hour, (about noon) and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.” (ESV)

You know the whole story, but an event like that is one you would, (and will), never forget and quite honestly I would rather not relive it. But that’s not the end of the story either is it, because three days later our Savior Jesus Christ rose from the dead, so it also became a time to celebrate!

Of course as our world turns to thoughts of Christmas, some even think of our Savior and his birth. What is important for us to remember is that without His birth, there would have been no death, no resurrection, so salvation.

God reminds us through the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 53:5-6: “But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on Him the sins of us all.

So, when you are singing, “Oh, Little town of Bethlehem” this season, remember it was the birth that it was just the beginning of God’s Plan for our Savior. A day that looked like it was ending in Infamy, but ended up with Rejoicing!

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Another fork in the road


I’ve always tried to look at life as a road to adventure; you never know where the next branch in the road will take you. However right now, I’m beginning to wonder when the road to adventure became a maze I seem to be traveling through. At times I feel like the guy that said, “I thought I saw a light in the tunnel (of life), but it turned out to be a train heading towards me.” In other words, life often doesn’t take us where we expected to go or in the way we expected to get where we are right now.

At times we are tempted to just give up on the journey. After all we have paid our dues; put in our time; done our duty and all of those other catch phrases we might choose to use. I was reading a fiction novel awhile back and read a line that has stuck with me. The author said, “A man doesn’t just do what he wants, he does what he must.”

That’s a lesson which has been lost on much of our world today. What makes success? Often it is doing what you must, not what you want! What makes a hero? Again it is doing what you must, not what you want. What makes you successful in your relationship to God? Sometimes it is doing what you must, (What you know you should do); even when it is not what you want to do.

The problem is for most of us have is to learn to love what you know you should be doing. I never implied it would be easy because it’s not! It’s a daily struggle to take as the poet said, “the road less traveled,” the road that the world avoids because it’s hard and sometimes bumpy.

I often don’t care for The Message, which is a paraphrase, not a translation of the bible, but I thought it captured the essence of the struggle the Apostle Paul was going though in Romans 7:17-25. He wrote there about the same struggle we face today: “But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.”

The answer to the problem is Jesus Christ. It seems appropriate that in the next chapter (Romans 8:28) Paul writes these words, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”

May God grant you the road, not less traveled, but perhaps less bumpy! But the bottom line is that “A person doesn’t just do what they want, they do what they must.”

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Thankful for the Right Thingss


This is the time of the year when our society shifts its focus to giving, but a major part of our focus is upon being thankful also. We just celebrated our Thanksgiving Holiday, but I don’t believe that being thankful ends with just that one day.

We are just about to celebrate Christmas as a nation. Millions of dollars will be spent on gifts for others. (I was surprised this week to hear a report that the average pet owner spends $62 on gifts for their pets. Don’t tell our dog; she is happy with a dog biscuit!) Giving is a good, even a great thing, but the people I talk with seem to spend more time being thankful for what (and who) they have than with what they expect to get.

Now I understand that sometimes, (especially for the younger folks in our lives), it is harder to separate what is really important. One of our fondest remembrances is of our oldest son Kirk when he was about 4 years old. At night we always knelt down beside his bed and prayed before he went to bed. One night he was saying his prayers and he said these memorable words, “God, thank you for Grandma, because she gives me everything I want”.

Now that is a cute and memorable happening from the life of a child, but how does that translated into our lives today? Could it be that we, each of us, need to focus more upon the giver than the gift? Is it possible that we sometimes forget to be thankful for the right thing? James reminds us in James 1:17, “Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, (the father of lights), who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” (NLT)

To paraphrase our young son perhaps we should say, “Father, I’m thankful for you, because you give me everything I want.” And, if that is not true, could it be perhaps, that we want the wrong things. James also cautions his readers in James 4:3, “And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong, you want only what will give you pleasure.”

If you want happiness and contentment this holiday season instead of stress and resentment, let me encourage you to focus on the right thing, not the gift, but the giver. As my friend Bailey reminds us continually we can be content everyday. In fact check out her blogsite, it will give your day a lift. (

Russ Lawson

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You just never know…. Even at Christmas…


I have seen in movies and read in books the concept of death being the final great adventure. It is the ultimate trip into the unknown. Perhaps it is, but it something you never know when it will arrive. I haven’t faced that in my unexpected adventure just yet, but I have dealt with the results for many, many people.

In truth, dying is one of those things you just can’t preplan. Honestly, we try to plan every aspect of our lives, don’t we? When is the last time you asked someone to do something that they didn’t have to check with their calendar, daily planner or cell phone? We plan our days almost down to the minute we plan our weeks so that they are filled from the time we get up to the time we finally go to bed each night. We know what is going to happen and in what order it is to happen in our lives. Most of the folks I know plan their vacations a year in advance, just to make sure they get those days off and can get the accommodations they desire.

Here we are not planning for Christmas. We have bought or are planning on buying the perfect gift for all of those special people or pets in our lives. We have our Christmas parties planned and know who’s house we will be at and in what order we will visit them as well as how much time we allot to be in that particular home. OK, maybe you personally don’t do those things, but I actually do know some folks who do.

The problem with all of those plans is that death has never been informed of them. This past week (two weeks before Christmas), the mother of a dear friend died. They hadn’t planned on flying to a distant city to sit in a funeral home with a bunch of other people, but it happened. They quickly rearranged their schedules and did what was important, saying good bye to that special person in their lives.

Jesus tells a very well know story in Luke 12:16-21, read the words once again: “And he said to them, in a story, The land of a certain man of great wealth was very fertile: And he said to himself, What is to be done? for I have no place in which to put all my fruit. And he said, This I will do: I will take down my store-houses and make greater ones, and there I will put all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have a great amount of goods in store, enough for a number of years; be at rest, take food and wine and be happy. But God said to him, You foolish one, tonight I will take your soul from you, and who then will be the owner of all the things which you have got together? So that is what comes to the man who gets wealth for himself, and has not wealth in the eyes of God.” (BBE)

My friend shared that at the end of the funeral service for her mother the preacher shared a very deep and meaningful thought. He said, “For some of you here this is good bye, for others of you here it is just saying, I’ll see you later”. When death comes to you or one of your loved ones, what will it be for you?

“A Prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it”. Proverbs 22:3

My Unexpected Adventure Blog:

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Another Branch In The Road


I woke up this morning with a new book outlined in my mind. Now maybe your mind doesn’t work that way, but mine does. I got up and jotted down an outline and have started the writing already. In fact I have started working on a new website with similar information and hope to have that up in a few days. What book? What idea? Well, I am in the process on creating a page that deals with “Health, Hope and Herbs”! It is my goal to have the book written by the end of the month.

I hope to share my journey and help you better understand how to find Health and hope through the use Herbs. Of course this is not a short journey, nor is it one that ever ends, it is part of My Unexpected Adventure, but hopefully we will be able to make this journey with hope as we travel the road of life together.

In this website and book I hope to share My story, information on herbs and supplements and resources for you to learn more on your own.

So, I want to ask something of you. Will you help me stay on track, keeping my nose to the grindstone as they say, encourage me, ask questions and perhaps even offer to proof the finished product.

We are all in this adventure called life together, let’s do the best we can to help each other end well.

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And the Adventure Continues….


All of our lives are part of our adventure; it is a continuing experience, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. But where does this adventure or maybe the spirit of adventure begin in our lives? OK, admittedly you might say, when we arrived kicking and screaming from our mother’s womb, but I don’t think that is something we have the ability to remember, so where else?

For me, I can remember back quite a ways into my youth and the spirit of adventure was always surrounding me. Did we take great trips or go to fascinating places? No! If fact we only went on one vacation in my entire youth and that was with an aunt and uncle to a lake.

The world (and family), which I grew up in challenged us to see great possibilities. I grew up making my own adventures, setting my own challenges. We lived a few miles from a state park and a few buddies and I would hop on our bicycles and head for the park and spend the day. We would be army rangers hunting for the enemy, we would be explorers trekking through the jungle, and we would march and climb and hike and run and go anywhere our minds could take us. Life was always an adventure.

As I grew older the nature of the adventures changed. I fondly remember spending summers on my Aunt and Uncles’ dairy farm milking cows, bailing hay and plowing fields. I remember when I was about 14 my uncle telling me to take his huge flat bed farm truck out in the field and learn how to drive it. Also him putting me on tractors and having me drive wagons full of bailed hay to the barn. One of the highlights was the Friday night adult softball games in town, snow cones and ice cream. Then up at 4 a.m. to milk the cows all over again. No, I don’t imagine that at the time everything I did (like mucking out the barn), seemed that great, but now I realize they were all part of what grew the spirit of adventure in me.

The trick is you see, not to let life put a stop to your adventure. All of life is an adventure if we choose to see it that way. Our adventure has continued, across the United States, through Cameroon and Kenya Africa and back to our origins in the central United States. Where will the adventure end; well, I’m not sure, but I’m not ready for it to end yet.

What’s stopping you from continuing on your adventure? Maybe it’s time to stop and think about that and once again find that Spirit of Adventure in you life…. If you would like to see more of the adventure take a look at our book Living the Dream, our life and adventures in Africa.

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It’s almost Christmas and we did it again….


I don’t know if you ever thought of the Holiday Season as an adventure or not, but often it is. On Monday we did something we had never done before. Our 10 year old grand daughter’s choir group was ask to sing at a tree lighting ceremony here in our community. So we went out in the cold weather with her and a couple of hundred other grandparents and parents to experience this event. It was cool to see the excitement of all of the kids and their families as they let their talent shine before others. There is always a new leg of the adventure of life waiting for you if  you will just take time to see it.

We faced yet another challenge (part of dealing with the adventure of life this week also. I don’t know about you, but money is tight with us this season. So, we decided that it might not be wise for us to send out Christmas cards. Lots of our friends have already made this decision, so we thought maybe we could do it too. Well it didn’t work out so well for us.

You see the problem is that we really enjoy sending cards as well as receiving them. So, we began by making a list of a few of our closest friends we would send cards to and it just grew from there. Now our list is up to around 70 names, but we did save some money. My wife loves to make greeting cards and she is especially talented and creative in that area. Her creations are not just cards, but each one is an individual work of art, one friend told us that they were framing one of her cards! (As you can see I am somewhat proud of her skill and creativity). I joined in and in a few days we had most of the cards completed, signed and addressed. It still was a somewhat overwhelming task as she not only makes the cards, but also makes the envelopes for the cards. We were able to deliver a large part of them by hand to our local congregation, but still mailed quite a few.

A few of her cards…

Why would we do that, why go to all that work, make all that effort? When I was talking with my mother yesterday she said something that gave the perfect answer. She said, “Christmas is not about giving gifts, it is about letting people know you care, it is about relationships.” For us, with each card we sign we remember those to which we are sending the card. The cards were not expensive, but they were, each and every one, created with love and with the purpose of letting folks know that we are thinking of them and that they are special to us.

Now I know that Christmas as much of the world sees it, is not found in the bible, but the birth of our Savior is. That is what Christmas cards and giving gifts reflects isn’t it? It is about sharing something of yourself with those you love. Not because you have to or because it is expected of you, but because you want to share just a small part of yourself with others.

Jesus said it this way in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Sometimes that is accomplished with just a note … or even a Christmas card. So, how are you doing in sharing the love of Christ?

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