Here’s a little sign seen frequently along freeways, parks, and other public places in Tucson, Arizona.

While vacationing in Tucson last spring, we discovered the Sweetwater Wetlands, a hidden place whose amazing life and beauty depend upon water reclaimed from Tucson’s sewers. The wetlands became our favorite observation spot for wildlife. (See post,

Sweetwater Wetlands

  This year, we found another place that depends upon this recycled water. It’s called Christopher Columbus Park, the centerpiece of which is a  man-made lake with an island and sandy beaches. It is stocked with fish for the local fishermen. The lake is home to several species of ducks and geese, cormorants that perch on the island to dry their wings, and many species of song birds.

Christopher Columbus Park

Some of the reclaimed water is pumped from the Sweetwater treatment facility into deep basins from which it filters down to recharge the water table.  Eventually, it is drawn up through wells and used to irrigate roadside landscaping and other public places. The purple signs show us where this water is used.

Reclamation Pond with Resting Ducks

Earlier generations told their children, “Waste not, want not.” Today we are again learning the value of reclaiming materials we used to discard. Our house’s sturdy deck planking is made from recycled milk cartons. In places, we drive on road surfaces containing ground-up tires. Garbage companies compost food and garden waste to make new soil.

But the most amazing reclamation project of all history got underway when Jesus came to seek and to save those lost in the garbage of sin. He paid a huge price…his own life…for all that refuse. When he burst out of the tomb on Easter morning, he held in his nail-scarred hands the gift of new life for all who believe in him. He’s still offering this gift to all us wrong-turn people who waste and ruin our lives.

He promises to reclaim us and our experiences, good and bad, and help us become who he intended us to be. That’s the Good News of Easter!

Reclaim: Verb
    Retrieve or recover (something previously lost, given, or paid); obtain the return of

    Redeem (someone) from a state of vice; reform.

Heaven Is for Real

In 2003, not-quite-four-year-old Colton Burpo nearly died from a misdiagnosed burst appendix. Even after emergency surgery, doctors didn’t expect him to live. . . but he did. Several months passed. One day his parents asked him if he remembered the hospital.

Yes, Colton remembered the hospital. “That’s where the angels sang to me,” he stated, matter-of-factly. Time seemed to stop for his parents as they took this in. More questions. More matter-of-fact answers. “Jesus had the angels sing to me because I was so scared. They made me feel better.”

“You mean Jesus was there?”

“Yeah. I was sitting in Jesus’ lap.”   

Colton went on to describe what his parents had been doing in separate parts of the hospital while he was under anesthesia during the surgery. . . things he had no way of knowing. Over the next year or so, Colton dropped many such bombshells, which his father wrote down in the simple words of his little boy, astonishing things that matched Scripture in the smallest detail; things that Colton could not have known unless he’d actually experienced them.

Colton also had met Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, and the angel Gabriel, who stands in God’s presence. He spent time with “Pop,” the great-grandfather who died thirty years before he was born. He recognized Pop as a young man in a photograph he’d never seen, and announced, “No one wears glasses in heaven,” because no one is old there. Most precious of all to his parents was his meeting with his sister, who was waiting for her parents to get to heaven to name her. She told him she died while still in Mommy’s tummy, and God adopted her. They had never told him about the miscarriage; they had never known the sex of the lost child. There were lots of kids in heaven, Colton told them, and Jesus wants people to know that he really, really loves the children.

Since I read Heaven Is for Real, what awaits us there has come to life for me. I, too, have a child without a name awaiting my arrival. My parents, young again, are there, along with dozens of friends, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and other loved ones.

Colton said that the first one we’ll meet there is Jesus, the one who died so we can go to heaven. I can’t wait to see Him face-to-face.

For a look at the book, or more about the Burpo family, go to