Saturday, November 10, 2012

Phoenix Story

I'm not usually one to introduce myself to total strangers in public restrooms. And end up exchanging emails with them for that matter. But let me start at the beginning.

I mentioned in a prior post that my family has a history of going to a family camp / conference center in the Adirondacks called Camp Of The Woods. COTW is full of happy memories for my family, as Janie & I would, for several summers in a row, load the kids into the car and head there to spend a week with Janie's sisters and their respective families. The place was full of relaxation and cousin-ish fun and we adults would be able to hear daily chapel messages, so our souls were refreshed as well.

We did this for many summers until Janie's diagnosis of breast cancer back in 2004. Even after the surgery and treatments that would continue off and on for the next six years, Janie never felt up to going back to Camp. And frankly, after she died in May of 20120, I didn't really have the heart to spend a week there either. 

me on the left
Fast forward to this past summer, 2012. Becca had taken a full-time staff position at none other than Camp of the Woods for her summer break, so I knew this would be the year that I would try to stay for a few days for a visit. I should mention that I had been to COTW in the early 70's when I was little, so between my early childhood memories and my own family's history there, for me, Camp is a place soaked in memory and nostalgia. 

Now I had heard that Charles Price, whom I had known as a teen, (read what I said about him here) was going to be the speaker during a particular week in August, so I arranged a couple of days for Carly, Daniel and I to stay at a little cabin called Mohawk. Mohawk is, I think, the very last property at Camp still left un-renovated, so it still has the crooked, creaky floors and the tacky 1960's-ish lamps and furnishings and a certain musty-woody smell that easily transports me right back to 1971. It's wonderful and in a way I regret that Camp is renovating at all, though I understand that

Thursday, October 11, 2012


On October 11th, back in 1965, the world became a better place. I know most folks think of the 60's as tumultuous times, and they were, but truly, the world became a better place because Janie-Lynn Brown was born October 11, 1965. It was a good life. She grew up and gave to the world around her. She gave and gave and gave. She loved God and gave His love to all she came in contact with. 

I know that I sound like I'm memorializing her all over again - we did that back in May of 2010 - but how does one talk about her and not praise her? She was the best of the best.

I thought it would be good, in light of this being her birthday, to post the text of what I shared at her memorial celebration. I hope as you read it, you catch a tone of joy that was there that day as we sent her on her way, so to speak. Yes, there was great sadness - we miss her so much! - but also joy. She was a joyous person...her joy being rooted and grounded in her life with God begun here on earth and now come to fruition as she has been with Christ 'face-to-face' for two and a half years now. 

Thanks to all of you who continue to pray for us - we are truly blessed. I pray you are blessed as we remember Janie this special day.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

God In The Shutters

So at least we know who to blame. According to, it was the Ancient Greeks who invented the window shutter, that HORRIBLE-TO-PAINT device that does nothing but 'decorate' modern houses and make teenaged boys of the 1980's miserable for their entire summer. Obviously, the Spartans had something to do with the invention - to aid in their austere, grueling, cruel training regimens. 

Spartan Drill Sergeant, very loudly:
You are to scrape every last bit of paint soldier! I want to see absolutely NO PAINT left on even one louver on that shutter! I want to see two coats of oil base primer on them with absolutely NO DRIPS and I want two gleaming black finish coats of paint on ALL SIXTY FOUR SHUTTERS! Do you understand, maggot?!

Newbie Spartan cadet:
Sir, yes sir! Thank you sir may I have another!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Nostalgia Is Great, Actually

When my cousin and best childhood friend, Erik, would come visit, we'd sleep in the living room on the pull-out bed stored in the sofa. You know, the bed with the bar that runs across your back like Ben Hur had when he got arrested and taken to the Roman slave ship. The bed with the bar that disfigures you like Quasimodo by morning. That bed. The cool feature of this particular model was that the head end could be locked in a semi-upright position so one could read a book like the people in those Craftmatic Adjustable Bed ads. I remember all of this very well because I spent hours - hours! - lying awake while Erik snoozed next to me, him having dropped off pretty much immediately. Children shouldn't be insomniacs. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

This Momentary Marriage

What an outstanding couple.

John Piper says about them, “I tremble with the glad responsibility of introducing you to Ian & Larissa Murphy in this video. Tremble, because it is their story and so personal. So delicate. So easily abused. So unfinished. Glad, because Christ is exalted over all things.”

You can read more of their story here, here and here. I would guess there may be even more from the Murphys, so you may want to subscribe at the Desiring God website.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Time has traveled on since May 8, 2010. Today is the second anniversary of that awful, amazing day when Janie Booth's family ushered her into the waiting arms of her savior. It's weird trying to recall to my memory every aspect of the day. Parts are so vivid, and I'm sure I'll never forget them; other specifics and details have faded some, which I'm told is normal.

Pastor Dave told me that when you lose a loved one, it seems to take two of all the special days of the year before you really begin to feel more like a normal person again: two birthdays, two wedding anniversaries, two Thanksgivings, two Christmases, and, perhaps most significantly, two anniversaries of the day of their death. I'm not sure how normal I am (I'll leave that to you all to decide haha), but I thought it would be good here on this second anniversary of Janie's home-going, to make a special post.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Matt Chandler - God Is For God

I wanted to say that this is the best Matt Chandler Sermon ever...but really, it's just typical Matt Chandler. Strap on your seat belt and click play!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Song In The Night

I predict that in about 11 seconds, you are going to say, "wow, Chris, that's heavy."

Have you ever had a night where a heaviness is so near and the phantoms of fear come up so close that the darkness is almost tangible? You toss and turn. A panic comes on. You get up and pace and try to shake it off, but you're just plain afraid.

I would guess that everyone has had a night panic at least once.

There seems to be something extra scary about being afraid in the middle of the night. Maybe it's because lacking a visual connection to the stuff around us, we have a frightful capacity to fill in the blackness with all kinds of phantasms conjured by our fearful brains.

There is a powerful weapon against the terrors of the night. Janie used to wield this weapon a lot. She utilized it to get settled when fears seeped in from behind the window shades and from under the dresser. Her fears about cancer. Her fears about the welfare of the kids and me when she would eventually die.

And the weapon's name?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

What Did Jesus Christ Look Like?

What did Jesus Christ look like?

Well, first of all, he was white, or black, had blue eyes, was skinny and had good hair. He walked around in a white bathrobe with a blue prom sash over his shoulder and wore epic screen-printed tee-shirts and Birkenstock sandals and, evidently, glowed. He carried a lamb around and placed his hand on the tops of little children's heads. I understand He also played baseball and football in the backyard with some of the kids in the 'hood.

If I spend too much time thinking about

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Don’t Rent That Clown Suit Just Yet…

This is from The Blazing Center blog, which is maintained by a father-son pastor duo from Pennsylvania.

Don’t Rent That Clown Suit Just Yet… 

by Mark Altrogge

We’re funny creatures, us humans.  We ask our heavenly Father to provide for us then we try to figure out how he’s going to do it.

We pray, then our wheels begin to turn.  Let’s see, I could get a second job.  I could sell my signed Justin Bieber poster on eBay.  I could rent a clown suit and do kids’ parties…

And when we can’t see how he will be able to answer our prayers, we worry.  Our fertile imaginations construct all kinds of “what if’s” in our mind.  What if I don’t have the money to pay my tuition?  Then what if I can’t get a loan?  And I have to get a job flipping burgers?  And what if I don’t make enough doing that and I have to start living under a bridge and turn to a life of crime?  And then get caught and put in prison next to an axe murderer?

Worry is essentially us trying to figure out the future.  Or how God will work in the future.  And when we don’t see how God can do it, we get fearful.  If we can’t see exactly how he’ll provide, or deliver or heal us,

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Walk

Now that the Janie's Christmas Stocking project is done, I thought I'd add one more thing from Food For The Hungry
The Walk from Food for the Hungry on Vimeo.

"If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit." Galatians 5:25

You don't need to wait till the next Janie's Christmas Stocking project to bless needy people in the world. You can make a change all through the year by sponsoring a child...or giving to one of FH's many ministries. I don't want to "guilt" anyone into doing anything, but I am asking those who are feeling the tug, who are tired of resisting and are ready to follow God in this way, to follow through and commit to parting with some of your money. I know the video said that throwing money at the problem may just kick it down the road, but, well, if we can't personally go and walk with the needy, why can't we financially back those like FH that are?

This passage jolted me this morning, though I've read it a thousand times: "Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Jesus is calling us to invest in non-material things - peoples' hearts and souls - by spending a material thing: money. Have you ever sold something of yours so you could give it's "value" to charity? I haven't.

I think I'm going to give it a try...I'm starting with my kids' old gaming systems and I'm only half-way kidding! I wonder what else in my basement I can free myself of?