Man Lessons


My father-in-law passed away this week.  He welcomed me into his family almost 32 years ago. As I look back at the character that I was then, he should have busted my head and sent me on my way. I guess he saw something in me that could be redeemed. I’m so glad that he did.

Dave Haynes taught a lot of men a lot of things by the life that he lived. Among the things I learned from him were:

How to work hard. Dave exemplified hard work. He was an over-the-road truck driver who could do most any kind of work. I worked alongside him on cars, construction projects, plumbing and pretty much anything that needed to be done. As a former Marine Sargent, not many could keep up with him, even into his seventies. He put us young guys to shame with his strength and stamina.

How to love family. Dave was crazy about his kids and grand kids. He was committed to them and would fight for them if necessary. I’ll never forget him laying on the floor, (sleeping after a long haul in his truck) while his grand kids climbed all over him. They were never a nuisance to him – he loved every second of it. He was the ultimate family man.

How to stand strong for Christ. Dave had incredible faith. He knew the Bible very well, and memorized major passages of Scripture. He was very bold with his faith and was never ashamed to share it. He loved to debate (and was always right). Dave was an incredible leader in his church, serving faithfully up front as an Elder and behind the scenes in many capacities. My in-laws, Dave and Mary stood by my wife and I as we fought the battle of our lives – when our 4 year old was diagnosed with cancer. They prayed and fasted with us and were there for us when our little girl went to heaven. These are things one can never repay.

How to be generous. Dave co-signed for our first home.  He paid me generously for work I did for him. He gave us gifts at the holidays. He bought a thousand meals in restaurants. He always had someone in his home, feeding them a meal. He was a truly generous man.

How to love his wife. Dave’s wife of 59 years passed away nearly four years ago. A part of him died when Mary did. He went on with life and even remarried but those of us who knew him best saw him begin the dying process the day Mary died. This was not giving up – Dave never quit one thing in life. He simply knew his place – at the side of Mary Lou. Today they are together.

Dad wasn’t perfect but he taught me a lot about being a man. I probably would have picked up most of what I learned from other sources. But it was a blessing to be able to watch him and learn from him. I am grateful for his life. He is greatly missed.

Don’t Give Up On Justice


Don’t give up on justice (even when it doesn’t come)!

But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” Amos 5:4 (NIV)

We don’t need another Martin/Zimmerman commentary. Apparently we could use a primer on hoping for justice. In light of the recent verdict, and the resulting turbulence, I’ve heard so many people comment that they have simply given up on the idea of true justice in our world. This is a dangerous position to assume. If we lose hope of the possibility of justice, our morality will deteriorate, and quickly.

How to keep justice alive:

  • Understand that only God can be truly just and we can’t expect humankind to behave like Him.  We are the same people who crucified Jesus, how dare we think that we will treat one another any better? We must have a realistic expectation. It has been this way from the beginning – people have been mistreating one another since Cain murdered his brother Abel in Genesis 4.
  • We must be redemption oriented. We have to work to provide a way to heal what has been broken. We must work toward wholeness, though it is slow in coming.
  • Forgiveness must be offered even when justice is refused. Lack of forgiveness turns to bitterness which turns to destruction – both of the victim and the perpetrator.
  • Have a Kingdom of Heaven mentality. Until we get to glory, all of this will continue. Look beyond today to what will come. This is hope that lasts, in spite of prevailing injustice.
  • Practice it. Justice must be for all, including you and me. Treat other people with equity and respect and humility. This is the Spirit of Christ at work within us.

Don’t give up on justice; it’s attainable, even if only by a few. And God alone knows justice – we can count on Him to make all things right one day.  Fix your hope on God!