Sunday, October 30, 2011

Down a peg or two

So recently I had the privilege of having a new friend come into my life… let’s call them M. Initially, this person began to grow dear to my heart because of how well I felt M understood me. I think that is still true.

But as I have gotten to know M better and better, they have trusted me enough to let me get close to them too. It has truly been a great pleasure of my life watching M question, struggle, learn and grow.

Do you ever have one of those experiences where you think you are helping someone but, as it turns out, it is really you who are learning the lessons?

I have a confession. A real one. When I talk to people about God stuff, I often get caught in this trap where I begin to think that this person needs me.

But as I have gotten to know M, and I have spent time and energy helping them sort out issues, my prayers began to change from asking for specific things. I no longer ask Him to answer a specific question, quench a specific thirst or fill a specific hunger.

Rather, I have been asking that this person simply discovers their need for God. And that God would arrive.

See the real thing I have been learning is that it doesn’t matter how much I can do for someone because, in the grand scheme of things, there is nothing I can do help recover what was lost.

The most significant I can do in life is simply to point people towards Christ.

I could spend 24 hours a day talking to M about God, but the truth is that M doesn’t need me… M needs God.

I need God.
More than air.
More than water.
More than answers.

Consider me humbled. Lesson learned.

"For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." -Matthew 23:12

Friday, October 28, 2011

The F Word

It’s a tough topic.

Seriously, just my mention of the word probably stirred some intense emotions inside you.

Let me get to the point… then explain.

I think the most destructive mistake in life is not forgiving.

If we are to love others, we must forgive them first. Right?  Forgiveness must always be love’s first act. I don’t think we can love until we forgive.

Forgiveness can’t just be some leverage we use to manipulate people into apologizing to us. Forgiveness can’t be withheld based on our feelings.
Forgiveness needs to be offered regardless of whether or not it is asked for.
Forgiveness needs to be an extension of who we are.

Forgiveness is so important to God that He bases our salvation on it. He instructed us pray, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

We are to ask God to forgive us just as much as we forgive others.

So take a look in the mirror with me.         Enough said?

But here is the other side of the coin. Since forgiveness is love’s first act, as soon as we learn to be people of forgiveness, we can be free to love.

I think if we take an honest look at the times we withhold forgiveness, we will see that deep down we want to forgive that person. But sometimes the hurt is too much for us to let go of. Or sometimes we feel they don’t deserve it. Or sometimes we feel they should ask for it.

But God doesn’t do any of those with us right?

He loves us while we were still sinning. See Nathaniel and the Fig Tree.
He loves us when we don’t deserve it… He chooses us. See John 15:16
He loves us when we don’t know how to ask. See Matthew 18:1-5

Let it go. Forgive so you can be free to love.

Watch that.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wait a minute...

Woody Allen said that 90% of life is just showing up.
The same is true about prayer.
The most important thing about prayer is beginning.

But I find that most often, when I prayer for others, is that they will simply be happy, really, truly happy.

I say truly happy because there is no way to be truly happy unless you are truly good. And there is no way to be truly good unless you are close to God, since He is the source of all goodness.

You won’t be happy without God.

So where is God?


Our spirits need emptiness and silence. We need to create space in our minds and hearts. Intentionally. Just like the famous Inn in Bethlehem. We need to continually be creating space for God to come.

So if you want to change you life… create silence. Seriously.

Intentionally take one minute out of each day to be completely silent. Not a second, or a moment. But one full, sixty-second minute.

When you feel the most crazy, hectic and anxious, deliberately do nothing for a minute.

Start with silence. Show up to the silence.
90% of prayer is just showing up.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


It has taken me 25 years, 4 months and 7 days but I have finally reached the mountaintop. I have accomplished two great things.

The first is that I have discovered a hobby that I truly enjoy; writing. I started because I needed to learn to stop bottling things up. I have continued. Some days I write whatever is rattling around in my brain. Some days are deep thoughts and some days are not. Some days I just copy from others. But the thing is that every night I write. And I like it.

The second thing that I have accomplished is…..

Hilarious! Hey wait… is that really what I look like? Also, I don’t want to live forever.

But seriously, I hit a milestone… my 1000th page view. Whoever you are that reads this have taken the time to read my writings 1000 times.

Thank you for the comments. Thank you for the conversation. Thank you for the encouragement. 

I appreciate you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Road Less Traveled

So I have been reading the book Wild at Heart. It is a book about discovering the secret’s of a man’s soul. The section I read recently was about how manhood is bestowed from a man to a boy.

It speaks about how every boy needs to have a specific moment (or moments) when he is faced with a great challenge and he is specifically told that he has what it takes to overcome.

So it wasn’t until several days after I had read that section of the book did it actually hit me right in the heart. So let me tell you a story.

When I was in 7th grade I lost a good friend. He decided life was not worth living. Justin took his own life. I still don’t like to say it. I often wonder what he would be doing now had he not made that choice.

I remember hearing rumors at school.
I remember coming home from school to find my youth pastor waiting for me.
I remember knowing immediately that something had gone wrong.
I remember playing basketball in my driveway.
I remember going to a gathering at church.
I remember hugs, tears and a whirlwind of indecipherable activity.
I remember it sinking in that Justin wouldn’t be there.

I don’t remember anything about his funeral.
But I remember going to the cemetery for the graveside portion.

But I now know that one of the most important events of my life occurred between the service at the church and the gathering at the cemetery.

See, Justin’s father asked me to be a pallbearer.

We all know that no parent should ever have to bury their child. I would like to add that no 12-year old boy should ever have to carry his friend’s dead body.

I think that is when it really sunk in. I felt like it was wrong that I was even asked that. But I felt like it was wrong that I should have to answer such a question. Simply because there is something so backwards about death. Life was flipped upside down and there was no reversing the effects.

But here is the most critical part. I remember looking at my parents after getting bowled over with the question. They told me that it would be an extremely difficult task but that I had their permission and that I possessed the strength to overcome it.

I had permission to grow and had the strength and courage to carry the weight of my dead friend’s casket. 

As I grasped the bar that ran the length of his casket, I remember feeling the weight. But I remember thinking it was so heavy that I really didn’t make much of a difference if I “carried” it or not. It almost felt like a mere formality at the time. I now know that is false.

See the ceremony may actually have been serving two purposes. Obviously, Justin made his choice and was placed in the ground. But death does not have the final word.

See the truth is that while we were carrying an irrevocably dead boy to his grave, a man was being born at the very same time.

Read that again.

The thing is that it took 13 years for me to realize it but God began healing that pain right then. It wasn’t just covered with the Band-aid of time. But He has healed and He has redeemed. And it is not done yet.

I did have what it took to carry the weight. I still have what it takes to carry weight. But it is no longer simply my parents believing in me, but I am a man who believes in myself.

“Behold I am making all things new.” –God

Monday, October 24, 2011

Puh Puh Puh Peachy

My day was filled to the brim with frustration. Frustrate- to make efforts pointless, worthless or nullified.

So what do you think caused me to feel so frustrated today? It doesn’t matter! I don’t know why I asked then…

I was crabby because I felt like I was putting so much effort and extending grace (it was just self-righteousness apparently). I mean, why don’t they ever just see how much I am doing and appreciate it? Yeah, I can be a real peach sometimes.

Okay so here is the thing. Isn’t it funny how one bad thing can completely take over our mental atmosphere so that everything we see is tinted? And yet we have 10,000 good things in our day that we don’t even notice.

I think if I were the Giver of those gifts, I might feel frustrated.

I don’t mean for this to be a “count your blessings” blog… but, instead, a reality check.

So, in all reality, what does life look like?

Can frustration even match up with sunlight? Or trees? Or beaches? Or snow? Or pie? Or giraffes?

What is given to you throughout the day? What is given to you?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Everythings & Nothings

Thank God for everything. Everything.

Forgive everything. Everything.

Be ready and willing at every moment to die, to love everything. Everything.

Be a realist. Live in reality. Therefore, love God as he really is: Everything.

Hold back nothing from Him. Nothing.

Fear nothing but the loss of Him. Nothing.

When you have nothing left for yourself, you will have nothing to fear. Nothing.

Having God, you have everything. Everything.

Don’t even contemplate promises. Adulterate nothing. Nothing.

How much time each day should we spend praying? 24 hours. Everything.

Peter Kreeft, Before I Go, Letter XLIV

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Letters Part One

Dear friends,

From day one, I can’t imagine life without you. I am who I am because of you. You have always loved me, accepted me, pushed me, believed in me, challenged me and raised me into the person I am today. The most I could ever do would be to honor you by honoring God. My life wouldn’t be the same without you.


Dear friend,

You are my strength. You make me better. You are more than any dreams I could have. You make me proud. You make me courageous. You are the reason for my integrity. I could not ask for more. My life wouldn’t be the same without you.


Dear friend,

Thank you so much for the years of teaching me to always change. I would still be in the box if it weren’t for you. I would think the same, act the same and comfortably sit right in the middle of complacency. My life wouldn’t be the same without you.


Dear friend,

Thank you so much for the many fun stories that I will always share with you. Honestly, we can’t go five minutes together without creating a story which I can’t wait to share with someone else. But above all of the great times, you have been along side me as I have grown, healed and become a new person. My life wouldn’t be the same without you.


Dear friend,

Thank you so much helping me develop a new love for people. You accept me for who I am and have trusted me enough to let me know the real you. You have truly inspired me to love my wife with my entire heart and yet also invest myself in others. I am at my best when I give to others. My life wouldn’t be the same without you.


Dear friend,

Your strength, grace, mercy and determination are beyond inspiring. You are a true Saint. My stomach churns to think how much you live for the sake of others. The losses of your life continue to transform yourself and others into a grace-bearer. My life wouldn’t be the same without you.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Together We Will Go Far

So Staci and I and two very dear friends went today to watch the movie Courageous. Yes it had a slightly below-par acting at times and some lines that made me embarrasses to be associated with church, but I thought it had a great message regarding manhood and fatherhood. I am sure more thoughts will come out of that on another day.

One word to describe me right now; tired.

But there are worse things than that. It was a wonderful 36 hours. Why do we come back from vacations more tired than when we left? I think that’s why a friend of mine takes occasional “stay-cations”.

I have no deep thoughts today. I am finishing Madea’s Family Reunion and then watching Kitchen Nightmares before I go to sleep.

I struggle with taking time for myself. I know any human needs it, but I would rather not waste my few years on earth focusing on myself. I would rather focus on others.

Again, if I love until it hurts then there can be no more hurt, only love. I think that’s how Mama T said it.

As the McDonalds commercial says, “The simple joy of a sweet connection.”

My only problem with that is that it is a great joy found in a sweet connection. I love the wide variety of people in my life. I love them for their differences and I love them for their similarities. At the end of the day, they are just people. But I love them.

I love the people in my life.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Every Dog Has Its Day

Times away give us space to rest, relax and look at our lives. Today is one of those days for me. Staci and I took off on a miniature one-night getaway to actually spend some time together. So we are resting, relaxing, swimming in pools and looking at our lives.

I can only speak for myself, but I like my life. I think I honor my wife. I think I am a pretty decent person. I think I care about other people. I think I live within my means. I think I honor my parents. I think I am a quality brother. I think I am a good friend to others. I think I tackle the issues of life. I think I make pretty good sweet tea.

All in all, I think I am a pretty good guy according to most people’s standards.

But what about God’s standards?

He is not a God who looks at my school loans, prioritized schedule or sweet tea.
He is not a God who looks at the outside stuff.
He is a God who asks if I do what He asks.
He is a God who looks at the inside stuff.

Oh dear, oh dear. The inside stuff is the stuff I am really working on because I want to inside stuff to match the outside stuff. No wait. I want to outside stuff to match the inside stuff.

So, from the inside out, I am really trying to love others. Not just do the right thing, but love others.

“I have found the paradox; that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” Mother Teresa

I often wonder what God and I will talk about on Judgment Day. Will I still like my life?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

this is not titled "Lion, Tigers and Bears"

I am not sure what to think. I got a hit on my blog that was linked to me from a website about a fake picture of an internet hoax regarding Osama bin Laden. I am not sure what to think.

There are a lot of things that come to my awareness in any given day that often leaves me not sure what to think. Usually these are nonsensical things. Sometimes it is just the unexpected. Sometimes it is foolishness and stupidity.

Who cares what I think? You do. You’re reading my blog.

But I don’t need to have a thought or an opinion on everything. I don’t need to know what I think every time something weird happens.

But I am always striving towards growth. I do know what I think about that. I need to be growing. However, it is impossible to be comfortable and be growing.

“If we’re growing, we’re always going to be outside of our comfort zone.” John Maxwell

It comes from that weird characteristic of mine where I can no longer stand to be mediocre. I don’t want to waste life. I am insisting on going for the greatest I can be.

“If man’s hunger proves he inhabits a world where food exists, my desire for Paradise is a good indication it exists.” C.S. Lewis

I insist that there is satisfaction. I insist there will be a final word. I insist that wrongs will be made right. I insist we aren’t just worm food when we die. I insist Paradise exists. I insist that it is important.

And if it is important later... It is important now.

I know what I think about that.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Snap, Crackle, Pop

“Birds sing after a storm. Why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight remains to them?” –Rose Kennedy

How fitting after a day full of storms. Hail. Lightning. Thunder. Wind. It’s a storm!

Okay so I love storms. And when I say love, I mean love. I just love the way the air feels right before the storm arrives. I love the way the energy fluctuates as the storm comes, hits and goes.

The only thing I don’t like about storms is that I am always sad to see them go.

I am really, really weird. Because the same is true about the storms in life. When a challenging circumstances comes to an end, I want it back. I love challenge. I love to be pushed. I love the way I grow in times of trial.

I am really, really weird. Because the “sunlight” that I see is the growth I sense in myself.

I think that is what redemption means to me. That the storm itself is transformed into sunlight. The darkness is what brings the light. The pain is where the healing comes from.

So whether it is storms of the sky or storms of the heart, I love the air afterwards.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gasping for air

I have been on this miniature journey through my soul recently that has led to this point; I want to learn how to need God. Rather, I want to learn how to know that I need God.

We all know what happens when we stop breathing. But I want to learn how to need God more than air.

I have always struggled with needing God. To be honest, it doesn’t take much to tell ourselves that we can be just fine without God.

It’s true. We will be just fine. But I want more.

I want greatness. I want meaning. I want to live a life that the world will mourn when its time is over. I don’t want to be just fine.

Not for my sake… but for others.

But what I am coming to learn is that great significance will never be achieved until I learn how desperately I need God.

And I mean that. I want to know how badly I need Him. More than air? Come on….

But that is my quest.

See the thing is that if I don’t need Him more than air, then I don’t really need Him that much. But if I do need Him that bad, then I need to figure out how to fill that need.

But first things first, how badly do I need Him?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Peace Mon

So today I got to thinking about the song In Christ Alone and, in particular, the line that says, “what heights of love and depths of peace.”

I was thinking how cool God is that He can be the Creator of the highest joys and strongest loves, and yet also has the capacity to stoop to the deepest pains and hurts.

What struck me today is that peace is found in the depths. I am sure everyone else knows that but it just hit me. After all, peace isn’t needed until it gets crazy.

Jesus didn’t calm the sea until after the storm as there. Obvious, I know.

I don’t know how to put this without sounding stupid. So I will try… If love is like a mountain, I think peace is a valley.

Not so much the typical idea of a valley being a bad thing… but more like peace being the river at the bottom of the valley.

The river brings life but the river is the lowest point.
The river is refreshing but the river is always unpredictable.

It may feel everything else has the advantage of high ground but where the metaphor ends is that God’s peace at the lowest point of suffering exists to raise us up.

What we find at the lowest of lows isn’t death and despair, it is actually the depth of peace.

Heights of love. Depth of peace. In Christ alone.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Surprise, surprise!

“Human beings judge one another by their external actions. God judges them by their moral choices. When a neurotic who has a pathological horror of cats forces himself to pick up a cat for some good reason, it is quite possible that in God's eyes he has shown more courage than a healthy man may have shown in winning the V.C. When a man who has been perverted from his youth and taught that cruelty is the right thing, does some tiny little kindness, or refrains from some cruelty he might have committed, and thereby, perhaps, risks being sneered at by his companions, he may, in God's eyes, be doing more than you and I would do if we gave up life itself for a friend.

“It is as well to put this the other way round. Some of us who seem quite nice people may, in fact, have made so little use of a good heredity and a good upbringing that we are really worse than those whom we regard as friends. Can we be quite certain how we should have behaved if we had been saddled with the psychological outfit, and then with the bad upbringing, and then with the power, say, of Himmler? That is why Christians are told not to judge. We see only the results which a man's choices make out of his raw material. But god does not judge him on the raw material at all, but on what he has done with it. Most of the man's psychological make-up is probably due to his body: when his body dies all that will fall off him, and the real central man, the thing that chose, that made the best or worst of this material, will stand naked. All sorts of nice things which we thought our own, but which were really due to good digestion, will fall off some of us: all sorts of nasty things which were due to complexes or bad health will fall off others. We shall then, for the first time, see every one as he really was. There will be surprises.”

I think I have read that except about 10 times. I can’t get enough. Oh yeah, its from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.

According to a survey that just did just did of myself, the #1 complaint about “christians” is that they are judgmental. That’s a real fact. Okay, my opinion.

But seriously, how often have you heard that people are judgmental? Have you heard it said that God will judge? He is the Judge after all, right? Judgment Day?

What sort of “fairness” will the Judge use on Judgment Day? Ours?

One thing I am sure of… God will not consult American society on how to judge a human soul.

But back to that passage, I am still pondering it. I know Lewis’ writings haven’t been canonized (yet), but I really appreciate the perspective he brings to the concept of judging.

Read the last sentence of the first paragraph again. Seriously, do it now.

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48b

Okay so here is my point. If you feel like you have been blessed with a lot and have been a good “christian” for most of your life, get off your self-righteous butt and give every single thing you can because a lot is be expected of you.

If you are new to the God thing, just do what you can. Don’t worry about figuring it all our or acting perfect. Just be kind to the people around you.

Love your enemies.
Do good to those who hate you.
Bless those who curse you.
Pray for those who mistreat you.
Give to anyone who asks.
If anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.

There will be surprises when all things are seen in the end. So please help me in that journey and I will help you.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nothing Original

She says it better than I ever could dream of. So for my blog tonight, just read hers. Done.

Also, warning and apologies for those who may be sensitive to less-than-typical-Christian language.

I can't only imagine. It's gotta happen!

I have a confession. I have a passionate dislike for the word “nice”. Be nice. He is nice. She is nice. That was nice. It sure is nice of you. That would be nice.

What should a Christian look like? Nice?

Alright home slice, I will keep this concise. I’ll roll the dice...

I DON’T GIVE A CRAP ABOUT BEING NICE! And I think that I am not just being a jerk…

“How would telling people to be nice to one another get a man crucifed? What government would execute Mister Rogers or Captain Kangaroo?” – Philip Yancey

So that led to me to the question, what did they crucify Jesus for?

I admit that I couldn’t articulate it without consulting Google. Google told me that it was he claimed to be the Messiah.

Would I get crucified for claiming to be the Messiah? Probably not. Not even back then. I think people would just laugh at me. Nobody would believe me!

But I think they crucified Jesus because they DID believe him. Anyone can ignore the crazy man claiming to be god. But perhaps they couldn’t stand him because it was realistic!

So back to my nice thing. According to, the word nice means, “pleasing, agreeable, delightful.” Yuck. Pleasing. Yuck. Agreeable. Yuck. Delightful. Yuck

I guess I don’t really have a problem with pleasing or delightful. But agreeable is irritating to me. Though, being argumentative is more irritating.

But here is the point. Jesus wasn’t agreeable. He didn't come to grant wishes and fix problems.

Jesus wasn't nice… so we shouldn’t be either.

Jesus was good. Jesus was compassionate. Jesus was joy. Jesus was peace. Jesus was patient. Jesus was kind. Jesus was faithful. Jesus was gentle. Jesus was loving. 

We should be like Jesus. Imagine that. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Would you rather?

I am an emotional wolverine right now. I just want the world to go away and leave me alone. Maybe I need sleep. Maybe I need something else. Maybe I need to wrestle a bear. Maybe I need to go on a vacation. Maybe I need a friend. Maybe I need to change my attitude. Maybe I need to play guitar. Maybe I need to learn keytar. Maybe I need to watch my shows.

It all started with my least favorite subject in this world; insurance. I hate insurance stuff.

I made this comment to a friend today, “I would rather just die than have to deal with insurance stuff to get better.”       Wow. 

But seriously Andy, are you seriously letting a 2 hour insurance meeting ruin your day?

Yes. Don’t tell me what to do.

So one of the purposes of this blog is so that I can try to find some redemptive thought when I am in the middle of one my stupid rants. Ha. But here goes.

My first paragraph had the phrase “Maybe I need” in it 9 times. Really? Do I need any of those things? I mean… really? I just considered if I needed to wrestle a bear…

The answer is no. To all of those. I might want them, but do I need them? No.

So here is my attempt to start over.

I am an emotional wolverine right now. But I don’t need to know why. I don’t need any petty novelty to make me happy. I am determined to find goodness even in the middle of my crabby mood.

Do you do the same thing? Do you get flustered and then start scrambling to tuck little bits of happiness into wherever you can protect them?


I could write like 5 pages on what I am about to say but I am going to keep it to a sentence… When the crap hits the fan, it is the perfect time to stop and look to God. Not to mop the crap or to get you out of the room. But simply to know He is there and let it be.

“Sometimes there are no words. No clever quotes to neatly sum up what’s happened that day… sometimes the day just ends.” Aaron Hotchner

So here is the end. The day is over. I don’t have any brilliant thoughts or clever words. I am going to be tired and emotionally volatile. But I am going to be okay. I am okay. People I care about are okay. God is there. Here. With me. Probably laughing at me. 

I think I just smiled for a second when I wrote that everything is okay.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fast Cars and Freedom

Here is the question of the day…

When do you feel the most alive?

I can confidently answer that for you. Driving. It really doesn’t matter when or to where. But driving. If I had my preference, it would be on a warm, sunny, fall day as the leaves are changing colors with the windows down and the wind blowing in my hair. And the music playing.

So today was a warm, sunny, fall day and the leaves are changing colors. And I was driving with the windows down, the wind blowing in my hair and the music was playing.

I felt like I could drive forever. I almost tried. I just felt alive. I felt like I could take on anything in life and the demons in my life refused to even touch me.

Here is the problem. As much as I love, love, love driving in those perfect conditions, that is a pretty superficial thing to feel the most alive about.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all about enjoying the simple things in life, but is really the best I can do?

So I ask my question again. When do you feel most alive?

I think I am going to try to shift my answer. I mean, shouldn’t it be something more along the lines of praising Jesus or something? We won’t get into that.

But if I look at my question, and answer, again, the times I really, really, really feel most alive is when I am simply having a conversation with someone about life. Anyone who knows me knows how I looove to ask questions.

So perhaps this is more of a letter/request to you.
1) If you already have conversations with me… thank you, bless you and keep it up!
2) If you don’t know me and I don’t know you. Let remedy that?


Sunday, October 9, 2011



Where does your treasure lie?

I mean seriously. What holds the most value to you?

What would hurt the most if you lost it?

Does your schedule reflect those priorities?

How can you schedule your priorities instead of prioritizing your schedule?

How can you make your life look like you care about the things you care about?

Where does your treasure lie?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Good News

So here is where I am at tonight… most people in America know the story of Jesus. At least in a nutshell. So I think that Christians in America should focus less on telling the story of Jesus and more on being the story of Jesus.

We should quit talking about grace as we hold a grudge.
We should quit talking about persecution as we hurt others.
We should quit talking about acceptance as we hate the people who hurt us.
We should quit talking about others as we focus on ourselves.
We should quit talking about compassion as we ignore those in need.

Call me crazy, but I would venture to guess that God is more concerned with us being the Gospel, than us knowing the Gospels.

We are supposed to be the Good News.
You are supposed to be the Good News.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Who said anything about safe?

I am passionate about church. I have a lot of strong feelings and opinions. I usually keep them to myself because alot are negative.

I think this is how I feel about church right now…

 img 1

But the thing is that I feel really excited about working in a church someday again. I think I might just be a bit unhinged right now. But I want to some day. 

See here is the thing. I think I would cause a lot of trouble. I think I would find myself shouting, shaking people and acting like a man raised by wolves.

Being passionate is perfect in a church. Being a loose cannon isn’t so much.

But I am really enjoying getting to know my crazy side. (Imagine a very devious smile as I write that) The only problem is that commandeering a bulldozer when someone locks me out really shouldn’t be a real option.

Here is what I am trying to get at: I love getting to know that other side of me. I love having to control myself. I love learning to be untame and unpredictable. I don’t want to be safe.

As Mr. Beaver says about Aslan in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, “Safe? Who said anything about safe? Of course he isn't safe! But he's good, I tell you!”

So before I let myself unleash the crazy, I need to ensure that I am good.

When I think about that chipmunk and that peanut, my first impression is that that chipmunk is out of its mind.  Now that I am at the end of this thought, I admire that crazy look in that chipmunk’s eye.

Please. Please. Please. Tell me your thoughts. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Soul's Goal- Greatness

I keep trying to take a deep breathe before I write this. Have you ever asked how someone is doing and all they can say is “numb”?  I hate that answer.

Feeling numb in the middle of a trial gives me mixed feelings. On one hand, I am glad that God, in His mercy, doesn’t allow us to truly feel the depth of the pain all at once. On the other hand, it completely breaks my heart when someone says they just can’t feel anymore.

I think those moments are exactly where Romans 8:28 comes in. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

When we love God during pain, we find His grace.
When we love God during misery, we find His hope.
When we love God during fear, we find His fortress.
When we love God during confusion, we find His clarity.

But this happily ever after isn’t exactly happy. Because suffering isn’t just some background music that can happen without us noticing. It is loud. And distracting. And consuming.

We have all suffered.

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls. The most massive characters are seared with scars.” Khalil Gibran

The key to suffering is considering it joy. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

We have all seen those heroic figured who have inspired us. (See last night’s post) But more often than not, it was suffering that got those characters into those positions.

So what pain are you fighting through? How can you trust that it can be redeemed into something marvelous? How can it cultivate a massive character?

Get ready if you are serious. A strong soul may sound like a wonderful goal. But suffering is a difficult bridge to learn to cross.

Look at suffering as if it is an opportunity to be transformed into something greater than you already are.

The sufferings that I am being blessed to be a part of are going to scar me. But, more importantly, they are going to produce something greater than the scars.

"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world" –C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

2.4 Mile Swim, 112 Mile Bike Ride & 26.2 Mile Run

Just a warning. I am mean in this post…

MAKE 10 MINUTES TO WATCH THIS VIDEO… or I won’t like you.

If this video doesn’t choke you up, I will choke you myself. You just don’t have a heart so I will fix that. If it did then we are all good.

I don’t think I should have said that. Okay, now that I am done with the threats…

I really only have one point. What if we all were that passionate about life?

What in your life can you attack with such tender ferocity that you would go far as that father?

I think we would all love if we could be that passionate. Let’s do it!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Solitary Confinement

So I just finished an episode of Law & Order: SVU where Elliot locks himself in solitary confinement for three days just so he could see how it affected his mind. I also recently watched a documentary on solitary confinement in the prison system. So I guess the topic of the day is solitary confinement.

It seems as though an isolated mind can be a curious place. And when I say curious what I actually mean is treacherous.

So I guess humans were meant to be in community. We are hard wired to be around others. We need human interaction. We need words, sounds, feelings and connection. Strange though, it seems so often that as soon as humans get together, someone ends up getting hurt in some capacity.

“Ideologies separate us. Dreams and anguish bring us together.” –Eugene Ionesco

Puzzling. When we start considering the way things should be, people splinter and fragment like broken glass. But when we consider the way things actually are, suddenly the unrefined facts of life bring fragmented individuals together.

I think I am struggling with that. I want to strive towards things being as they should. But the ideal and the actual are so far apart, I am not sure how to bring those together in my daily life.

I know the church answer. I know the Incarnation produced the personification of the ideal and the actual. I get that.

But it is me that I am struggling with. How do I bridge the gap between the ideal and actual at work?

Perhaps that is the other point of the Incarnation. We are now able to take part in the supernatural. The ideal. The indestructible.

It’s hard to imagine and believe but it seems as though God puts up in positions to BE Him to others. We aren’t merely to talk to a picture of Jesus on a wall; we are to BE Jesus to the world.

I am to BE the ideal and the actual. As best I can. Pushing hard. No excuses. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Not enough

I remember having lunch with T a couple weeks after his daughter had died. She was only 17. He made the comment that he was “okay, just wanting things to get back to normal.” He said that with a tired look in his eye. We both knew that was no longer possible.

“There’s no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

Death is one of those experiences in life that leaves you stunned. You know what I am talking about, right? There is movement and sound all around you, but you are just waiting for something to happen. Some scrap of life before the news. But everything is different.

At some point we all find ourselves in some corner looking through our thoughts and looking over our life’s shoulder. Do we stop trying or do we run like a madman?

And then time goes on. A week goes by. A month goes by. A year goes by.

So what do we do with such a tragedy? Just passively allow our busy schedules to put space between the pain and our conscious thought? No.

Who of us, at a funeral, haven’t wished for one more chance to say what we have been meaning to say? Or just perhaps we wished for an opportunity to go back and change something? As soon as death shows its face, we look at our past. We wish our time away. Like a little child who gathers up all his toys when a bully comes around, we collect and cling to whatever bit of happiness we have near us. Maybe we can find a way to grow up from our pasts instead of wish for them.

Here is my point. We should press on. Actively. Like we have a weight strapped on our backs. Towards our goals. We push forward. Perhaps many of our individual goals may be different. But I suggest a common goal as well.

“The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.” Harriet Beecher Stowe

We can’t change the past. We can’t bring people back from the dead. We can’t undo what has been done to us. The hurts happened, the pain is real and the scars will stay.

But for the love of God (literally), maybe the life and death of others can serve as a reminder to us that we don’t have forever. We only have now. That’s it. Nothing more is promised. It makes this TV show I am watching a total waste of time. Are deadlines, oil changes and relaxation necessary?

"The great irony, of course, is what we recognize in our moments of lucidity as unimportant eventually claims our entire attention, and we find ourselves wholly occupied with our wardrobes and cosmetics and careers and artifacts, knowing full well that these things are no more significant than our children's trinkets." –Thomas Howard, Christ the Tiger

I’m not suggesting that we abandon all reason. I am actually suggesting that we find a reason. Of course work, chores and leisure are important parts of life. But what is really important?

What is really, really, really important?


So make that phone call. Say what you need to say. Deal with life. Enjoy the good things. Work out the challenges. Make your life count. Figure out how to love.


Figure out how to love.

In memory of Caity Noelle Jones.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Good Thought Eleanor

I don't think I have ever felt this tired in my life. You should be delighted that I am managing to sputter out these pointless words. I am pretty sure that I am wasting both of our times right this second. That kind of uselessness and waste should be commended. Stop. Okay.

I do have to say this much. When I get really tired, my brain always drifts to the pains in my life. My only guess as to why that happens is because someone wants me to despair. 

Despair- verb- "to lose, give up, or be without hope" (

I find it pretty interesting that giving up and being without hope mean the same as losing.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

So tonight I am not going to face any of the specific pains in my life. I will not try to figure out answers. I will not try to talk things out.

Tonight I am going to win. I will win because I am going to refuse to despair. I refuse to give up hope. I refuse to give up. 

Who told you life isn't worth the fight? So I am going to fight even though I have zero energy. 

Nope. I won't just settle for mediocrity. I am going to be needed in this fight called life.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Bump On A Log

I don’t think I have much to say today. I have spent most of the day sitting on my butt while watching The Office, Kitchen Nightmares, The Doctors, a documentary on solitary confinement and then a ton of college football. I am enjoying my homemade sweet tea. I have taken two naps so far today. I plan to take another.

This is what I look like on a day off. A useless blob.

I do have to confess a certain indulgence of mine. Actually two. Salt & Vinegar Chips. And scouring travel sites for vacation ideas and deals.

Usually like once every few weeks I get this overwhelming urge to travel. Anywhere. North, south, east or west. Planes, trains and automobiles. Boats. It doesn’t matter. Once the itch to go starts, it ends in two ways; 1) I travel 2) I get all moody and depressed. The second happens a lot more often than the first.

I can fly round trip to Korea for $860 right this second.

Las Vegas. New York. Orlando. Hawaii. Ft. Lauderdale. San Diego. Philadelphia. San Francisco.

Yellowstone. Yosemite. Banff. Rocky Mountain. Glacier. Everglades. Ozarks. Denali. Grand Canyon. Zion. Bryce.

That’s just the United States.

Central America. South America. Europe. Asia. Africa. Australia.

I legitimately looked into being a travel agent a while back considering I do it anyway. Either that be a spokesman for the Snickers commercial.

I think I could do better than the garden gnome or William Shatner.

I don’t really have a good reason to be writing this other than I am feeling that itch again.

Anyone want to offer Staci and I an all-expense paid vacation? That would be lovely…