If you’ve ever felt that you were not enough for some people — not tall enough, not thin enough, not rich enough, not good looking enough — then know that to Jesus, you are enough. You are enough because He says you are enough because He died for those like us whom the world calls worthless to make us priceless.

A Compelling Life

“A day is coming when 10 men, people from every nation speaking every language will grab the cloak of a Jew and beg him, ‘Let us come with you because we have heard the True God is among you and we want Him to save us, too‘” (Zechariah 8:23, The Voice).

How cool would it be if we lived in such a way that our friends, family, and neighbors were grabbing the sleeves of our shirts and begging us to take them to the God we love and serve? How amazing would it be if the most compelling argument for God was how we lived out His goodness and mercy from day to day?

I’m not saying that we should preach the gospel at all times merely by actions and never using words. I’m saying that our gospel conversations would be more meaningful if we lived them out as well as verbalized them.

The 1st century world was drawn to the early Christian faith by how they loved each other. They didn’t cancel each other when one of them fell into sin or failed. They forgave each other and kept each other accountable and loved each other into wholeness and repentance.

People are desperately seeking hope and peace. They are looking for real answers. The world around us is angry with us as believers, not because we’re too different, but because we’re not different enough. In too many cases, we’re the same. How can they believe our message if we don’t live it ourselves?

But a compelling life is a life lived with singleness of purpose. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about letting Jesus be everything and in everything letting Jesus be known.

May that be our prayer — to live in such a way that people are drawn to love the God we love as much as we do.

The Cross Is Everything

I saw an article where a church in Texas completely burned to the ground last Friday. Just about everything was lost — with the exception of one lone cross standing in the smoldering ruins of what once the Balsora Baptist Church building.

That spoke volumes to me. How many times have you and I come to points in our lives where we have nothing left to cling to but Jesus? How many times have we watched as every other crutch and support we leaned on in times of turmoil got kicked away until all that was left was the Cross?

The cross as a mere pieces of wood nailed together means nothing. But the cross as a symbol of Jesus dying in our place and conquering that death to give us everlasting life means everything.

Whenever our hopes get dashed and our desires fail, we find out that all we really needed all along was Jesus. As the old saying goes, you don’t find out that Jesus is all you need until He’s all you have, and then when He’s all you have, He really is all you need.

One Thing

I was talking with a friend earlier today. As we were chatting, something I learned a long time ago came to mind. Well, actually two.

In terms of relationships, learn to give yourself grace. You will mess up. You will say the wrong thing. You will do the wrong thing. Sometimes, what you do and say will be taken the wrong way. Still, you can give yourself permission to fail from time to time because you’re still a work in progress. God’s not done with you yet.

Also, when you’re dealing with someone else whose behavior seems mysterious and sometimes hard to accept, remember there is always one fact about that person that if you knew it, it would completely change how you saw them. They might be going through traumatic loss. They may have just emerged from an abusive relationship. In other words, give them the grace of the unknown.

Above all, be kind. Always. Harshness never accomplishes anything productive or benefits anyone. Love people the way Jesus has loved you — expecting nothing in return and with no strings attached.

Help Me, Lord

“The fact is, I need God to help me love God. And if I need His help to love Him, a perfect being, I definitely need His help to love other, fault-filled humans. Something mysterious, even supernatural must happen in order for genuine love for God to grow in our hearts. The Holy Spirit has to move in our lives” (Francis Chan).

Boy, ain’t that the truth?

I need God to help me love God? Spot on.

I definitely need God to help me love others, especially when they fail to meet my expectations. I’m sure they need God’s help to love me when I do the same.

Sometimes, I need God to help me love me. I’m sure you’ve been there.

The fact of the matter is that I need God all the time at every moment in every possible way to live a life to God and for God. Even my obedience to God is fueled by the power of God working in me.

That power only comes when I am surrendered and available.

To an Unnamed Friend

I’m writing these words with the full knowledge that you will most likely never read them, and that I will most likely not get the chance to say them to you in person or otherwise, so I am sending them out into the universe as a kind of benediction.

I would love to be friends with you if you want, but I’m content even if you don’t. I’m very much grateful either way.

I thank you for your kindness and for being nice to me. Forgive me for thinking there was anything more to it than that. I see now that you have no room in your life for me and I understand completely, so I release you from any and all expectations of friendship. I release you from feeling you have to make time for me in the midst of your hectic life.

You will be going away soon. I hope that even if you don’t remember me that you will remember these words: that you may think your going is just a change of scenery, but in God’s eyes it is a calling and a ministry to which you go.

I’m thankful to have known you and I carry the memory of you deep in my heart as I pray for you daily. I will continue to remember you in my prayers as often as God brings you to mind, knowing that greater things are still to come and greater things are still to be done in the city to which you are going. I hope to keep up with you on social media as you grow into your new season of life.

You are truly a blessing to all who know you. May you go forth in grace and peace to love and serve the Lord. May God’s favor be on you now and always.

My Yes Is on the Table

“Christian maturity is the distance between God’s call and your capacity for obedience” (Derek Webster).

A friend pointed out something interesting related to this quote that I had never thought about. You know how far away a storm is based on the amount of time between the sound of thunder and the appearance of lightening in the sky. In the same way, you know about a person’s spiritual maturity based on the time lapse between God’s call and their response of obedience.

It tied in very well to the sermon from today. Basically, the gist was being available for whatever and wherever and whenever God calls. It’s saying to God, “My YES is on the table, no matter what.”

Something the guest preacher asked that stuck with me: “Is your life interrupt-able?”

What that means is that can God break into your routines and schedules to call you to service? Are you available and is there margin in your schedule to make room for gospel conversations and serving others? Could you uproot your life if God asked you to go overseas or across the country or even on the other side of town?

I think the key is spending time with God to learn the cadences of His voice, so that when He calls, you will recognize One calling and respond in obedience. May we all have such a heart for God.

Further Saturday Randomness

I’m tired again. I recognize that what I’m thinking isn’t as clear as what goes through my head after a good night’s rest and a good cup of coffee. The key is not that I have weird thoughts when I’m tired, but recognizing the thoughts as weird.

Maybe that’s a bit of what it means to take every thought captive. Maybe it’s recognizing that they aren’t healthy and they aren’t from God. God is not the author of confusion nor of thoughts that stir up anxiety within us.

If you catch yourself thinking those unhealthy thoughts, maybe the thing to do is to take them to God and say, “I know this isn’t from You. Either take it from me or help me to see Your way of thinking in this.”

Also, it helps sometimes to speak God’s promises against these thoughts. Speak them out loud. Name all the verses that show God’s faithfulness. Claim every one of them. Then rest.

Random Friday Nothingness

I’m weary. I can honestly confess that it was a long and weird week. Today’s highlight was the freakishly quick arrival of a rainstorm that left the office without power for about 90 minutes. One minute the sky was looking a bit cloudy and rainy, and the next the rain was practically blowing sideways.

I notice that when you’re tired, your thoughts are more difficult to manage. Over the years, I’ve seen that when I’m weary and ready for bed, my thoughts tend more toward the negative about circumstances and people. That’s usually when I thought I had messed up with friends and they were never going to speak to me again, but after a good night’s rest, all was right with the world and we were fine.

I will never forget the adage that I learned a long time ago. Your thoughts and feelings will lie to you at times, so you go with what you know. You hold fast to God’s promises, contrary to what those thoughts and feelings are telling you that feels so right in the moment.

What helps for me is to go eat a good dinner, walk around one of my favorite places (downtown Franklin), and buy some vinyl. That always cheers me up a bit. And now to bed, and now to bed.