Thunderbeard and Lightning

shocking bolts of grace

Thunderbeard and Lightning Has Moved !!! December 3, 2009

Filed under: NEW SITE — thunderbeard @ 9:36 pm



Talking Animals November 30, 2009

Filed under: creation — thunderbeard @ 10:33 pm

Polar Bear

It has become a Thanksgiving tradition for our family to go the Cleveland Zoo.

I have some mixed emotions when I visit the zoo.

The Cleveland Zoo is pretty amazing. It’s got to be one of the best zoos in the U.S.

I mean…

Any zoo that has a Polar Bear and a Grizzly Bear has got to be one of the best.

Look at that bear!!! I love bears.

But I always feel a little sorry and sad for all these wild animals kept in cages.

I have a deep longing to be friends with these great creatures.

Not all of them, but most of them.

This last time in Cleveland I had a special moment with a beaver.

I can’t remember ever seeing the beaver in action, but this time was different.

I call him Beavis now.

His home is behind glass and as he swam up out of his pond, and walked over to the glass…

I was right there to greet him.

Beavis was looking me right in the eyes with his two-toothed smile.

Two inches away from my hairy smile.

(He probably named me, Butthead.)

He clawed hello to me on the foggy glass, then walked away as other people came to catch a glimpse.

And I named him.

Because we met face to face.

And he is awesome.

It was too up close and personal to even get a picture.

Have you ever thought about why it is that we love the idea of talking animals and being friends with them?

Think of all the movies and shows that involve talking animals.

We want so bad for it to be true.

And I don’t think that desire comes from our fallen nature.

I think it speaks to the way things once were before The Fall.

And the way things will be will be when all of creation is renewed.

But for now…

We and the animals will have to be content.

Knowing that one day the God-Man-Lion-Lamb will forever set us free from our cages.


Give me your Worried Shoes November 24, 2009

Filed under: music,poetry — thunderbeard @ 4:16 pm
Tags: ,

Sometimes I worry, and I don’t even know I’m worrying.

Worry is like that most of the time I guess.

I knew something was wrong with me the past couple days, but I couldn’t figure out exactly what it was.

I knew it had something to do with seeing my Mom again this week…

With Dad missing.

And finding out yesterday that my best friend might be facing cancer…


But today this song “Worried Shoes” came on my playlist.

And I realized how much I was worrying about things.

Because I always want to be in control.

And when the clouds come in

I forget there is a sun.

But the Son never stopped shining behind the clouds.

He’s always there whether I realize it or not.

And He loves to take off my worried shoes.

“Worried Shoes”

I took my lucky break and I broke it in two
Put on my worried shoes
My worried shoes

And my shoes took me so many miles and they never wore out
My worried shoes
My worried shoes
oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo
My worried shoes

I made a mistake and I never forgot
I tied knots in the laces of
My worried shoes

And with every step that I’d take I’d remember my mistake
As I marched further and further away
In my worried shoes
oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo
My worried shoes

And my shoes took me down a crooked path
Away from all welcome mats
My worried shoes

And then one day I looked around and I found the sun shining down
And I took off my worried shoes
And the feet broke free from there
I didn’t need to wear
My worried shoes

And then I knew the difference between worrying and caring
‘Cause I’ve got a lot of walking to do
And I don’t want to wear
My worried shoes

-Daniel Johnston

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Guilt and Shame November 22, 2009

Filed under: faith,Jesus Christ — thunderbeard @ 4:00 pm

How would you answer the following questions:

Do you live with a simmering sense of guilt?

Do you consistently feel inadequate?

Are you overwhelmed?

Are you afraid to take on new challenges?

Do you avoid people?

Are you defensive when corrected?

Do you assume you know other people’s motives?

Do you feel like you’re being set up by God?

My answer is…


To all of them.

Today at church the sermon was once again about the good news of Jesus Christ.

Sunday after Sunday we gather together to hear our elders preach the same thing.

Sounds boring, huh? But it’s exactly what preaching should be.

It’s exactly what we need from our pastor/shepherds – to point us to The Good Shepherd.

This morning we were taught from the Old Testament book of Judges, chapter 13.

This chapter is awesome.

Manoah and his wife, the parents of Samson, get to see the angel of the LORD.

From the text it seems that this is a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus.

Jesus gives them a promise, and then Manoah and his wife offer him a burnt offering in faith.

This is what it says.

Verse 15 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “Please let us detain you and prepare a young goat for you.” And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “If you detain me, I will not eat of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the Lord.” (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord.) And Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that, when your words come true, we may honor you?” And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the Lord, to the one who works wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching. And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the Lord went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground.

The angel of the Lord appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord. And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.” But his wife said to him, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these.”

I should die. But in Jesus Christ, I have an answer to my sin, and guilt, and shame. He became my burnt offering. Through faith in Christ I can gaze upon the glory of God and believe His promises are sure.

The Apostle Paul put it this way in Romans 8.

Verse 31 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”

This is what I need to hear every moment of every day.

It is only this kind of grace that can free me from my guilt and shame. This grace fuels holiness.

If holiness begins with me just doing “righteous deeds” as my way to earn God’s favor…

Well, then I have just eliminated grace altogether.

And without the grace of God…

I would never be saved.

*I know I’ve been posting songs by these guys a lot lately, but their music just continues to blow me away.

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7 years old November 18, 2009

Filed under: childhood,fatherhood,poetry — thunderbeard @ 6:51 am
Tags: , , ,


Missing teeth.

Who needs meat.

I have eyes and ears

To feed on life.

Let’s go fast.

Let’s rocket blast.

I can climb the rope

To the top of the gym.

Tickle me.

Wrestle me.

You be the monster again, Dad.

Just the pretend kind.

I don’t like REAL monster Dad.

I am seven.

And I remember everything.


November 18, 2009


In Loving Memory November 16, 2009

Filed under: art,dad,death — thunderbeard @ 7:55 pm

Dad's face

I never thought I would tattoo my Dad’s face on my body, but…

Here it is.

I know many people think tattoos are wrong…

I do have a biblical theology behind my tattoos, but that is for another blog.

I like this drawing for several reasons…

It’s old-fashioned. Dad was old-fashioned.

It’s cartoony. Dad was a character.

It’s puzzly-looking. Dad was puzzling.

And it’s mouthless. Not only does it enhance the beard, but I also liked Dad best when he listened.

I added “Since 1950” because he was born that year…

And this is not the end.

Thanks to Troy for the drawing. You can read his story behind it here. (I did the mirror-image because Dad parted his hair on the other side, and I also wanted to get it on my left leg.)

And thanks to Wade for the tattooing. Thank Jesus for great friends.

*Here is a picture of Dad with our firstborn, Noa (Dad’s beard was getting pretty white by then). I think it is the first time he got to hold him. Noa will be 7 on Wednesday. We miss Grandpa.


Grieving November 15, 2009

Filed under: dad,death — thunderbeard @ 9:10 am

The past month was a blur, but sooner or later reality begins to sink in. And when you aren’t ready for it, it hits you the hardest.

I thought I was ready for it. When it comes to losing someone you love…

I don’t think you can ever be ready for it.

I think a lot about death. I don’t like death, but I know that death is real. I know I could die at any moment. And I knew that Dad was going to die of cancer. We all had 3 years to prepare…

But you can’t know what it is going to feel like until it actually happens.

While I was in Michigan, I experienced a peace beyond all comprehension. I could almost feel God surrounding me with grace and peace through that time.

But this last week, I cried a lot. Sad thoughts constantly entered my mind. Every song I heard was reminded me of the pain of death.

In case you’re wondering, I really do believe that Dad is doing just great right now. I believe that he is in heaven with Jesus Christ. I’m not grieving about any of that. But there are many reasons to be sad.

This is why I grieve…

I grieve because my Mom is a widow, and I can’t be there to comfort her or take care of her.

I grieve because my oldest son’s birthday is this week, and he won’t ever get to hear Grandpa sing to him again.

I grieve because I don’t know if I’ll ever hear my Mom laugh that way again.

I grieve because I was just getting to know my Dad, and now he’s gone.

That stuff hurts.

Savior Jesus, we need you. Our debt is too much to bear.

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