Broken Window Theory


It’s called the “broken window theory”. 

A few years back I was introduced to this theory when I read Malcolm Gladwell’s classic book The Tipping Point and it is based on a great biblical principle of what to do when faced with a problem that seems insurmountable or odds that appear overwhelming.

Gladwell tells about an urban area where violent crime, drug dealing and prostitution ruled the streets. No one knew where to even start in addressing the out of control situation. So it was suggested that they begin by fixing the broken windows. Most viewed the suggestion akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic as it took on water and listed ever more perilously on it’s side. Nevertheless…the repair of the broken windows seemed to send a message that anarchy is no longer the rule of the day. And that small start had a domino effect that actually substantially lowered crime rates.

Thus “The Broken Window Theory”…big goals can be reached with small starts. Politicians had a big goal: reduce crime. They started small: fix broken windows. Sometimes God does the biggest things with the smallest starts. Sometimes 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish feeds thousands. Sometimes a boy and his slingshot turn the tide of a whole war. Sometimes a banquet stops a genocide. Sometimes the problem is we don’t dream big enough. Sometimes the problem is we aren’t willing to start small enough. 

So…has God put a big dream in your heart? Don’t wait until you have all you need. Start. Take what you have, do what you can and trust God for the rest. Fix a window…say I’m sorry…show up…open the account…call the counselor…ask…read a chapter in the Gospels…write a paragraph…take a baby step…just start. Sometimes a big dream without a small start is just a daydream.

What “broken window” can you go fix today?

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Deja Brew


10 Thoughts 

…or some things that passed through my mind while Jacque and I served with Molly Bail, the Director of Springs of Hope Kenya for the last two weeks.

 1. Deja Brew…”Haven’t I had this cup of coffee before?”

What happens when you pull an all-nighter in an airport at the age of 56.

2. Adjusting to a 7 hour time zone difference is like writing with your opposite hand while spelling words backwards.

 3. Grace is nothing more or less than the face that love wears when it meets those who need it most but realize it least.

 4. Be as wise as a serpent and as harmless as a dove when you find yourself face to face with a ferocious wolf in sheep’s clothing.

“By God’s grace I stood my ground and didn’t blink.”

 5. Sometimes you don’t have to know the why nor the what…you just show up and God-things begin to happen.

“I wasn’t going on this trip to SOHK with Jacque because of not knowing the why nor the what for me…the Cypress Elders felt different and sent me. They were right in doing so.”

 6. There are times when you have to jump off a cliff and build wings on the way down.

“A door of opportunity opened that felt critical to get through for SOHK to prevail…so I grabbed Molly by the hand and jumped with her in tow…building wings as the ground approaches.

 7. When other people increasingly feel  like a bother rather than a brother, it’s time for some maintenance work on your soul.

 8. Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.

 9. A soul stretched thin loses is receptors for beauty and joy.

“Spent a half day reading, reflecting and praying in the African sun as I over-looked Rift Valley…it was like a car wash for the soul!” 

10. It is rarely convenient, painless nor cost free to love widows and orphans…nevertheless this is the religion that God our Father accepts.

“I love the poor, the widows and the orphans better, deeper and more consistently when I walk where they walk, smell what they smell and seek to understand deeply their life experience.”







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I Owe God a Song

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”

 I heard two songs today…one was chirped by an African Superb Starling…the other was a sing-songy prayer offered by the sweet voices of 39 orphaned children at Springs of Hope Kenya before they sat down to eat supper.

 The Superb Starling sings because God has given it a song. Regardless of weather forecasts, food supplies or predators being in the neighborhood…it sings. And it sings for its creator who daily provides a bug here or a seed there. These children at SOHK sing because, like the Superb Starling, God has given them a song. They may not have parents (AIDS saw to that), they may not have video games nor have they ever been to Disney…but they have a song for their God who supplies their daily bread, so they sing.

 As I listened to the beautiful sing-songy prayer of gratitude from these children who have so little and then thought of the over-privileged life I lead…I silently vowed to grow in offering God a song…regardless of my circumstances.

 Come Tuesday Jacque and I begin re-tracing our steps back to Florida…prayers appreciated. Once again, we have received way more from SOHK Director Molly Bail, her staff and the kids than we have given. Guess I owe God a song huh?


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Fast or Far

If you want to go fast, walk alone. If you want to go far, walk together.

 I was introduced to this African Proverb earlier in the week and I’ve found myself ruminating on it ever since. Jacque and I are in Nakuru, Kenya working with Molly Bail and her staff at Springs of Hope Kenya orphanage. SOHK was birthed out of Cypress Meadows and today has 37 children living at the center, 23 children who are sponsored in boarding schools, a sewing center (Bagamoyo), and a tented safari camp in the works. (Bagamoyo and the camp create jobs and lead toward SOHK being more self-sustaining)

 This walk has not been without challenges, heartbreak or setbacks…and certainly it has not been a fast walk. But going fast is not as important as going far. So we are walking together: Cypress Meadows Community Church and Springs of Hope Kenya.

 Today I was reminded why we insist on going far. I got to meet two year old Mike who was found next to his dying 17 year old mother in a mud hut  surrounded by the most deplorable of conditions imaginable. Mike arrived at SOHK unable to walk or talk, malnourished, and hairless. Today he is walking, talking, healthy and has a full head of curly hair. Yea God and way to go Molly! Our walk is not done by far….but far is where we are going.

 Not sure what your walk is like these days. I don’t know all the challenges or heartbreaks or setbacks you have or are currently experiencing. I do know that if you want to go far…walk together. You, God and a few others…


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Pay Attention


The old adage goes like this: ‘Pay attention to what you pay attention to’.

 Well for the last two weeks I’ve seen this wisdom in action as Jacque and I have been up to our elbows in her beach garden. When we rolled in to the cottage her flower beds were over-grown in weeds, plants  were over-due for a pruning, and the ground over-ready for nutrients. Jacque got out of the car, looked at the flower beds, let out a long painful sounding moan…and thus I knew for the next couple of days, I would be her “garden boy”.

 Well it is amazing what a little intentional attention of weeding, pruning, and nourishment can do for a flower garden in a short amount of time. The place is now ‘Lawn and Garden’ cover worthy….(with a little help from photo-shop).

 Flower gardens thrive or wilt by the quality and quantity of attention paid to it. As do our finances, health, relationships, families, walk with God and just about everything else in life. It is not too much to say: What you pay attention to determines the direction and quality of your life. So…pay attention to what you pay attention to.

 Jacque and I leave for Nakuru, Kenya this coming Monday to serve at the amazing child care center/orphanage:  Springs of Hope Kenya. So my next note will come to you from Africa. Prayers appreciated as we have a full slate of things to “pay attention to”.



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