What Would Your Groundhog Day Be?


I was browsing through Netflix looking for something to watch and I ran across a movie I hadn’t seen in a while– Groundhog Day ,starring one Mr. Bill Murray.

It’s one of my favorites (though honestly when I first saw it I got a bit annoyed with its premise and would have been very happy to not hear “I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher for a long, long, long time).

The premise (for those of you living under a rock who haven’t heard of the movie) centers around a weatherman who gets stuck in Punxsutawney, PA in a time-loop where it’s always February 2 a.k.a. Groundhog Day. No matter what he does, he always wakes up in the same bed with that same Sonny and Cher song playing on the alarm clock radio.

That got me thinking. If I could relive one day over and over– and got to choose that day– what day would I pick? What day would you pick?

I might pick a day from one of my memorable vacations growing up (especially the ones in Gatlinburg)

. Or maybe one of the family reunions or Christmas Eves where everyone I loved was in the same place.

I’m guessing you’d pick a day based on who would be there. It wouldn’t be that day that you made your first dollar (or your first million). It probably wouldn’t be the day you got that bonus or that promotion or that raise.

In the end, it won’t be all the awards and certificates that we are asking for. It will be those closest to us, those whom we want to share one last word of blessing, to say “I love you” one last time.

For me, I wonder if reliving those moments might take away some of the magic, kind of like watching the same program over and over. After a while, it wouldn’t mean as much or be as special. Maybe it’s better that I can carry those moments in my memory.


Where My Trust Is Without Borders


I think I’ve alluded to this in previous posts, but I am currently unemployed. I haven’t worked since January. There have been times, some of them very recently, when I wondered how I was going to pay my bills. That’s a scary place to be.

Then I sang a song during the 11:11 worship service at Brentwood Baptist Church. It spoke of keeping my eyes above the waves and walking out on the water to wherever God calls me to where my trust is without borders.

I honestly never thought until just now that that’s where I am. When you utterly reach the end of your resources, you find out where your faith and trust lie. You really understand that old cliched saying about never knowing how much you need God until He’s all you’ve got left.

So many can’t find jobs. So many probably have felt worthless and useless and unemployable. Like no one wants or needs what they have to offer.

But as I sang those words, a sweet peace came over me. My faith will be made stronger and I will know more deeply than ever how near my Savior is to those who cry out to Him in desperation. As weird as it sounds, the butterflies are still there. My stomach still feels tied up in knots. But I also know it will be okay in the end. No, more than okay. I will end up EXACTLY where God wants me to be and all this will totally have been worth it to get there.

So as much as I sound like a broken record, I’m still thankful for my life. I’m grateful for waking up this morning and living another 24 hours. I’m thankful for the best family and friends a guy could ever ask for who have stuck with me through good and bad, thick and thin (and through all sorts of other overused phrases like these).

Sometimes, faith really is believing when common sense tells you not to. It may not always look courageous. Sometimes, it may look like barely holding it together and summoning every ounce of strength to not quit on God. It may be praying the most honest prayer ever recorded in history: “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief” and making it through the next five minutes.

All I know is that I have never seen God forsaking His own. I have never seen their families abandoned or left wanting (my paraphrase of a Proverb). I haven’t seen God fail me or let me down or let go of me.

I do still believe, Lord. Help my unbelief. Amen.

I’m Offically As Old As Elvis


Well, ok. The secret’s out. I’m really not 39 (again). I’m 42, the same age as Elvis was when he passed (no pun intended).

I had a great birthday. It started out with a fantastic lunch at Loveless Cafe with my mother. I even got in a nap (one of the few perks of being unemployed). I even got my taxes done. It was a great day.

It was another day where I chose to focus on the positives instead of the negatives. I chose to be thankful for all that I have instead of lamenting all that I lack. Like a job. Or money.

But I still have my wonderful family. I still have some truly amazing friends (to which I say thank you for all the Facebook birthday well-wishes). I have good health and a good God who always takes care of me.

I have the laziest (and most companionable) cat in the world. She celebrated my birthday the way she celebrates most days– with a marathon nap.

As I’ve mentioned before, a birthday is a way of celebrating survival, of making it through another year. I know I’ve talked about knowing too many people who won’t get to see their 42nd birthday, but it’s true.

Life isn’t something you should ever take for granted. It is a gift. Every day of it is a precious, once-in-a-lifetime gift that will never come again. So live it well.

By the way, I’m still accepting all forms of payment and gifts for said birthday. Just kidding. Sort of.

A prayer for My Future Wife in 2014



You know how tired I am from waiting. You know how weak my faith is and how unstable my belief can be.

I’m still holding onto that mustard seed-sized faith, clutching it with everything I’ve got, with all my heart and strength and soul and mind. I want to rest tonight not in Your promises or provisions, but in Your person, Your character, in You.

Lord, I’m still believing in the miracle that some woman will fall in love with me and want to spend the rest of her life with me. It seems impossible sometimes, but then I remember the words of a pastor: what seems impossible to me isn’t even remotely difficult for you.

I’m praying you will be with her tonight and envelop her with your peace and surround her with your everlasting arms. May her joy be full as she rests in you, completely comfortable in who You’ve made her to be and in Whose she is– Yours.

May she cast aside every hindrance, every distraction, every clamoring voice, and run only after You, her true heart’s desire. May she keep a single-minded focus on Your Son, Jesus, and not fall into the lies and deceptions that tell her she is not enough.

May you bring her into my life, but not until the time that both she and I are ready– and not a moment sooner. Help her faith not to falter and her trust to remain stedfast and secure in You only.

Help me to be the man who can win her heart and guard it until the day you ask for it back. Help me to become the man who will help her to unveil all the beauty and wisdom and lovingkindness you have placed in her so she will become all that you created her to be.

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief. And hers, too.


If It Hadn’t Been for Those Meddling Hypocrites!


For some odd reason today, I thought about the movie Annie Hall and a great line. Woody Allen’s character says something to the effect of: “I wouldn’t want to be a part of a club that would have me for a member.”

Then I thought of all those people who stay away from church because of all the hypocrites. So here are my thoughts on that.

First of all, if you never went any place where there were hypocrites, you’d be at home alone in the dark with your pet ferret. You’d never go anywhere for fear of running into one of those hypocrites. You might even have a hard time looking in the mirror, because . . .

That’s right. You’re a hypocrite. So am I. We’ve all pretended to be something or somebody we’re not from time to time. We’ve played the calm dispassionate part when we’re falling apart and screaming on the inside.

Society teaches us to be hypocrites, to never let our true selves out but to only show what is culturally acceptable and normal. You can be yourself as long as that fits a certain cookie-cutter mold.

If there’s anyplace where you can be you, it should be the Church. If there’s a place where you can let your guard down and admit your hurts and flaws, it should be in the midst of the body of Christ.

Churches aren’t perfect because Christians aren’t perfect. As the old joke goes, if you find the perfect church don’t go there because you’ll ruin it with your imperfections.

Church is about doing life together and figuring it all out together. And if you’re not getting anything out of it, maybe that means you’re not putting in your fair share. Isn’t faith about more than just receiving? Isn’t there the part of giving and losing yourself?

I’m glad I’ve found a church where I feel like I belong, where I matter, where I can be a part of what God is doing in the world. I hope you find a place where you can feel like family, too.



In ye olden castle days, stewards were the ones who took care of the finances and property management of the castle and surrounding village. The stewards didn’t own any of it, but they took care of it as though it were their own.

Most people, when they hear a preacher bring up the word “steward” or “stewardship,” automatically think, “Uh-oh. Here comes another sermon on tithing.”

Stewardship is about money. But it is so much more than that.

The truth is that nothing you have really belongs to you. The earth and everything in it, including you, belong to the Lord.

Your money? It really belongs to God.

Your career? Also God’s.

Your spouse? Ditto.

Your children? Not yours.

When you make Jesus Lord of your life, He takes over ownership of all that you call yours. But when you think about it, everything you have is really a gift from God anyway.

Your money and your ability to earn it come from God. He created you with unique talents and gifts to be able to start a career and earn a living.

Your spouse and your children? They belong to God, not you. God has entrusted them to your care and expects that you will present them back better than when He gave them to you.

It’s humbling when you realize you’re not the king of your castle. Even more so when you realize you don’t even own your own castle.

May we all remember that we are stewards of what really belongs to God. May we take good care of what– and who– He has entrusted into our care so that when He comes, He can say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

The Not-So-Super Bowl


Yes, I know. Super Bowl XLVIII was two days ago. Yes, I watched it. Well, most of it.

If you watched it, you probably know that it wasn’t exactly a nailbiter. There was no thrilling finish. In fact, you might say the contest was basically over when the Denver center snapped the ball over Peyton Manning’s head. The Broncos never recovered after that.

To be more specific, I watched the game right up to the point where the Seattle Seahawks scored to make it a 36-0 game. At that point, I turned off the game and watched a couple of episodes of Twin Peaks, which were much more dramatic and suspenseful than the game ever thought about being.

I’ve never seen a team play worse than the Broncos did in that game. I’ve never seen a team so demoralized as those players in orange and blue.

Even the commercials (in my opinion) weren’t all that great. There were a few that I liked, but mostly they were like the game– overhyped and underperforming.

I do think it’s better to watch a game like this with friends or family or a combination of both. It’s good to have a few board games handy in case the game gets out of hand (sorta like this one did).

I’m glad I’m not a Denver Broncos fan. I’d be really depressed right about now. I’m not really a Seahawks fan either. I just wanted the game to be close and for both teams to play well. As it turned out, it appears somebody forgot to tell most of those Denver Broncos there was a game that night.

As I get “mature” (a nice way of saying “older”), I find that I prefer a good movie to a sporting event. I don’t know why. I just do.

I do however hope next year’s Super Bowl is a bit more competitive. At least make the commercials fun to watch.


A Really Good Question


While I was house/dog-sitting at a friend’s house, i was channel surfing. I ran across a program that was just getting started on TBN.

Normally, I avoid that channel like the plague, but the program featured Max Lucado, one of my favorite authors, so I gave it a shot. As it turns out, I did indeed choose wisely.

Max spoke on Joseph of Old Testament fame losing everything he had– possessions, family, reputation, freedom. He was literally looking up from the lowest point in his life at one point.

Then Max asked a profound question: “What do you still have that you cannot lose?”

Maybe you’ve lost your health. Or a job. Maybe it was a spouse. Or a child.

Maybe you’ve lost your reputation.

Whatever it is, there’s one thing you can’t lose. Your destiny as a child of God. Because God looked down on you at your very worst and said, “I choose that one. I want him. I have great plans for her.”

Your identity isn’t lost when you lose everything. You are still God’s. He still loves you and still has your name tattooed on His hands and on His heart.

Joseph was faithful to His destiny and God rewarded him. And so he will reward you. Maybe not in this lifetime, but you can bet there is nothing you’ve lost that won’t be restored a thousandfold over.

I love how Max said that our lives aren’t the dashes between our birth-dates and death-dates. They’re more like a grain of sand on the beach of the eternity of God’s stedfast love. I like that.

Maybe I should watch TBN more often.

When You Grow Up


I’m sure you’ve been asked this inevitable question at some point in your formative years. At some point in grade school or high school or college, someone asked you this:

“So, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

There’s a few things wrong with that question.

First, some people take longer than others to find that supreme calling. Some are well past grown up and still haven’t decided what they want to be yet.

Second, the likelihood these days is that you won’t spend 30-40 years in one job at one place. You’ll more than likely have several jobs and more than a few careers. Anymore, people change jobs every 2 years and most will change careers at least once.

You are not defined by what you do for a living or how much you make at your job. No matter what society or your friends or your family tells you.

You are defined not by what you do or who you are but by Whose you are. If you belong to Jesus, that’s how you’re defined from now on.

Your identity doesn’t crumble when you get laid off or (perish the thought) fired. Your identity rests securely in the person of Jesus.

You are Forgiven, Paid For, Forgiven, Child of God, and (my personal favorite) Beloved. You could probably think of a few more names associated with being in Christ.

So on those nights when you don’t feel particularly special or like you matter, remember Jesus paid the ultimate price for you because He believed that you were worth it.

Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive


Sometimes, life will hand you lemons. You could make them into lemonade, but without sugar and water to go with it, your lemonade is really going to suck. Or you could freeze those lemons and throw them at all those people who really annoy you. Just a thought.

Maybe it’s a friend who really disappointed you and wasn’t around when you needed them. Maybe it’s a long work week where you seem to have not only two left feet but two left hands as well. Maybe it’s just a general sense of discouragement at where you find yourself compared to so many others.

Here’s the cure. Focus on the good things in your life, or as the old song says. accentuate the positive.

Here are some of my positives which may or may not inspire you to find your own (or you could just steal mine if you like):

1) I woke up this morning and got out of bed and got dressed and went to work. It may not seem like much, but I know a lot of people who didn’t get that privilege today.

2) I greet on Tuesdays at Kairos (a young adult worship experience) with some of the most amazing people, each of whom I am blessed to know and to call friends.

3) The three C’s essential to any early morning– coffee, chocolate, and caffeine. All three are marvelous.

4) I can pull out my Bible (or pull out my iPhone or my iPad and bring up my Bible app) and instantly be encouraged and motivated and strengthen at any time of day or night.

5) Instead of lamenting about how far I am from where I need to be, I can celebrate how far I’ve already come and who I am now versus who I used to be.

6) If I look through eyes of faith, I can always find blessings and joys stashed throughout my week and choose to live out Eucharisteo in every moment.

7) No matter how bad my day may suck, it will never last more than 24 hours. No matter how bad the week seems, it will never have more than 7 days. And that includes Friday and Saturday.

8) My cat Lucy is always happy to see me when I come home and loves to tell me how her day went. Ok, not really. She’s more the silent type, but still her presence is a great comfort to me.

9) I love seeing how my nephews and niece are discovering this great big world and their place in it. They are becoming who God made them to be and I love the previews I get of what that will look like.

10) I have my favorite places that always make me happy: my corner of the couch in the morning, downtown Franklin, serving at Kairos and Room in the Inn, and being around my family and friends.

Joy is a choice that I must make every single day. If I want my life to matter and if I want the people I live with and work with and play with to see a difference in me, the only way is me living out of joy and gratitude and thanksgiving at the never ending goodness and mercy and steadfast love of God.

And there’s those three C’s.