Thursday, November 8, 2012

Am I Really Living Longer?

Exercise is good. Sedentary is bad.

Hardly a headline grabber, but that's the result of a new study.

A whole bunch of really smart people, including researchers from Harvard Medical School, discovered that 150 minutes a week of exercise adds about 3.4 years to your life. The sound bite is that even those who are "husky" will live longer if they exercise. Less flabby exercisers more than double the extra years.

As a husky person who does his two and ½ hours of weekly exercise, please let me clarify.

It's not that you live longer.

It just seems longer.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dear John

Most communications I receive begin the same way, “Dear John.” Whether digital or paper, personal or business, there is some standard greeting.

Sometimes it reads “Dr. Beukema” or “Mr. Beukema” or “Occupant,” but you get the idea.

This week, I received newsletters from two different organizations varying from the pattern. One organization is Christian, the other is the secular, and both began with the same wording.

“Dear [insert name].”

I’ve never felt so special.

Has someone ever encouraged you to read John 3:16 and insert your name? “For God so loved [insert name]…” It’s no mass mailing mistake. 

He did.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cereal Choices

On my way home from an evening meeting, I texted Amy that I was stopping to buy some granola. A light dinner made a snack desirable.

Wandering the aisles, it took me a few minutes to locate the cereal. I picked up the most appealing looking granola. The label revealed ingredients of twigs, sawdust, and a high calorie count. For comparison purposes I grabbed a box of my childhood favorite. It had 50 less calories.

At home, the logic of my decision seemed lost.

“Don’t you know these are empty calories!”

I enjoyed my giant box of Cap’n Crunch anyway.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bill Nye Attacks

Even if you aren’t a creationist, Bill Nye’s  comments are outrageous.

I don’t mean his characterization of a creationism worldview as “crazy, untenable, and inconsistent.”

The illogical charge Nye makes is that if a percentage of our population denies evolution, “it holds everybody back.” Appealing to our status as intellectual world leader, Nye says: “If you want to deny evolution and live in your world that's completely inconsistent with the world we observe, that's fine. But don't make your kids do it. Because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future…engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.”

Nye’s argument is that we will not be able to advance, as long as some do not embrace evolution.

That is irrational. If it had basis in truth, how did we get where we are today? Creationists have not prevented our innovative and scientific advancements throughout history. In fact, it is from this worldview that much advancement has sprung.

Why is Bill Nye the bias guy?

Monday, August 27, 2012

An Anniversary Miscalculation

Our oldest daughter and son-in-law presented us with a thoughtful anniversary present. They’ve already given us an amazing grandson, with another grandson on the way. This generous gift is for a great dinner, at a high-quality restaurant, to celebrate our years of marriage.

The present was inside a lovely card. The front of the card is pictured above.

25 Years Together!

This was a surprise. Only after our daughter bought the card and brought it home, was the glitch discovered.

Her husband asked, “Wait, how old are you?”  

“I’m 27…”


It’s our 30th anniversary. It only feels like 25. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My Walk in the Park


First vacation day.

Searching for quiet.

Hiking in a National Park.

Boaters, fishermen, walkers.

Quarter mile mark…yelling children.

Half mile mark…“Gracie!”

“Gracie” a loose pit bull, furiously barking, tail-wagging, hackle raising.

Standing still, I let her slobber on me.

Indifferent owner arrives with muzzle.

Mile mark…campers in conversation.

Travel the stream-side trail.

Lean against a tree and listen.

No other voices.


Rain drops scatter through leaves.

Course reversal.

Getting damp.




Trail becomes muddy stream.

Low visibility.


Emerge from trail.

Everyone gone.

Slosh between parking lots.


Thunder rattles the windows.

Even God shatters my silence.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

All the Stuff I Can Do Now the Olympics Are Over

  • Go to bed before 11:30.
  • Stop trying to figure out the rules for handball.
  • Feel sorry for all silver medalists (“You’re the #1 loser, no one lost ahead of you.” Seinfeld)
  • Be amazed at how Russia used to be the arch enemy, and now I kind of like them.
  • Start training to fulfill my personal Olympic dreams in Brazil.
  • Celebrate that we have more medals than China, even though they have all our money.
  • Wait for NBC’s delayed broadcast of the opening ceremony.
  • Watch my Mr. Bean videos.
  • Wonder at a guy with no legs running faster than I drive.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ask the Right Question

Paul Capalbo tells about a class of first-graders touring their local newspaper. They were captivated by the noisy operation of the enormous printing press, churning out the daily paper. Leading the children to a quieter area the guide asked if anyone had questions. One girl asked: "Why do cats and dogs fight?"

A fair question, but not exactly relevant.

Many times we ask the wrong question. That may be one reason we don’t get answers. We ask: What is God doing to me? Why did God do this? When the best question is: What does God want me to do?

Housework and Other Lies

I love this book title: Mistakes Were Made (but not by me). The book reports that when husbands and wives are independently asked what percentage of the housework they do, it goes like this:

Wives say, "Are you kidding? I do almost everything, at least 90%."

Husbands say, "I do a lot, about 40%."

The numbers differ from couple to couple, but the total always exceeds 100% by a wide margin. Each spouse remembers in a way that enhances his or her contribution.

Over time, we come to believe our own self-centered lies, and we let those lies shape reality.

Tell Me the Truth

The closer our relationship…the greater your responsibility to speak truth into my life.
·   I will never get better if you don’t tell me the truth.
·   I may never realize I was wrong if you don’t tell me the truth.
·   I will be convinced you agree with me if you don’t tell me the truth.
·  You lose an opportunity to grow if you don’t tell me the truth.
·  You haven’t shown me love if you don’t tell me the truth.
·  My sin will probably get worse if you don’t tell me the truth.

Ephesians 4:25 “speak truthfully…we are all members of one body.”

Exploding Church

Colliding personalities and agendas can be noisy and negative, yet the church produces incredible energy.

Tim Savage writes: "The energy of nuclear fusion is insignificant compared to the power welling up within a local church. When members of the local church pour out the love of Christ into each other, a dramatic series of 'explosions' takes place, reaction upon reaction, enough energy not just to electrify cities of neon lights and microwave ovens, but, more importantly, to bring spiritual light to a world dying in darkness."

I miss the mushroom cloud of evidence when I’m focused on building the reactor.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

936 Saturdays

936 Saturdays with your child before age 18. A sobering number. Time already seems fiber-optic fast. Our youngest just turned 18. All 936 are in the past.

One website suggests parents put 936 marbles in a jar. “Every Saturday, throw one away. You’ll never get that day back.”

What a terrible approach.
It communicates the day is lost no matter what you’ve done with it.
It promotes selfishness. “I’ve only got so many marbles.”

I’ve got to fight my tendency to live selfishly, on Saturday or any other day. In reality, I have no idea how many marbles are in my jar. God’s only given me today.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Green Light of Fidelity

We are navigating the lure of pornography, the message of “Friends with Benefits,” the routine of married sex, the culture of adultery, the preoccupation with lust, and the basic inability of men and women to understand each other.

It’s crucial to see fidelity as more than a stop sign, but a green light. After turning away from the other woman, strip club, or porn, cheaters often don’t turn toward the spouse. “I’ve stopped doing anything, so I’m faithful.” But complete fidelity means you have an ongoing captivation with your spouse. “May you ever be captivated by her love,” Proverbs 5:19.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Happiness or Marriage?

Some believe you must choose. Happiness or Marriage?

In the article When Overachievers Divorce, medical professional Erica says: "I believe marriage is challenging and efforts should certainly be made to stay together…but not at the expense of our own happiness."

What if that rationale was applied to parenting? “Kids are worth keeping, provided we are happy with them.”

What if that was the approach to caring for aging parents? “We should help mom in her declining health, but not if it interferes with our happiness.”

It amazes me that anyone could make such a self-centered argument.

How selfish.

How short-sighted.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Three Poor Substitutes for Application

Instead of applying Scripture, here are some things I do instead.

Insight. I listen, read, study, and gain understanding into God’s word. Amazed by incredible new information, I walk away satisfied with insight. Even effectively teaching it to others means nothing until I obey.

Rationalization. Coming up with reasons, excuses, and extenuating circumstances for why I haven’t applied truth is second nature.

Emotion. I can react to Scripture with comfort, hope, happiness, blessing, or conviction. But unless and until I change, I haven’t applied truth. It’s just an emotional charge that drains like a battery. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

My Hipster Fail

I read 10 steps on becoming a hipster. Looks like I won’t make it.
  1. Be the right age. (Not even close)
  2. Date other hipsters. (Immediately vetoed by my wife)
  3. Be educated. (Yes!)
  4. An early adapter. (Undecided)
  5. Make what’s old new again. (Check my closet)
  6. Listen to independent music (My playlist: Springsteen, U2…)
  7. Carefully careless grooming. (It looks like I don’t care, but I do)
  8. Get the lingo. (I’m pulchritudinous)
  9. Hone your irony and sarcasm. (my humor is made entirely of iron)
  10. Grow your own food and turn vegan. (I don’t even cook my own food, except when I grill steaks)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dirty Water

While traveling in Thailand recently, a cab driver handed me a water bottle. The label had a lovely picture of flowing springs. I was thirsty.

The bottle wasn’t sealed. It looked okay, but I couldn’t trust the source. And when I saw a quarter inch of sediment at the bottom, I left the bottle in the cab for the next customer.

Source is important. That’s why Inspiration matters. What is the source for the Bible? Peter says it didn’t originate with humans. It was from God. (2 Peter 1:20-21). From God, through humans, by the Spirit. There’s no better source. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Four Signs of Hypocrisy (from Genesis 38)

 1.       I put myself in situations that make obedience more difficult.
(Going places and doing things that only lead closer to temptation)

2.       I make promises I don’t intend to keep.
(Such as: “I’ll pray for you;” “I won’t share this” or “…in sickness and health, till death us do part.”)

3.       I make excuses for my sinful choices.
(“God knows I’m weak;” “Everybody’s doing it;” “There are way worse things;” “No one will know.”)

4.       I condemn others without a trial.
(Judging and accusing without hearing all the facts; feeling superior; not showing grace; not considering your own sin)