Reminders from Uncle Mikey

I’m laying in bed next to a very sleepy geriatric cat. That’s what I call the good life. It has nothing at all to do with what follows, but I thought I’d throw that little tidbit in for free. You’re welcome.

I’ve been thinking a lot about last night’s Kairos. It started off with a blown generator and a bunch of us sitting in the dark. That always makes for an interesting evening.

It also marked the triumphant return of Mike Glenn to Kairos as guest speaker. It felt like old times again.

He talked about how while each of us have given names at birth, we all have names that either we’ve given ourselves or we’ve been given by others. These names are usually the result of our mistakes and failures. I’m sure many of us have names that involve profanity of some sort.

The prime example is the possessed man among the tombstones who identified himself as Legion. There were so many competing voices in his head that he couldn’t find his own identity anymore.

When Jesus calls someone, He gives that person a new name. Think of Paul becoming Saul, or Simon becoming Peter. He gives us a name that describes not who we are but who we are becoming, our very best self that Jesus is in the process of bringing about.

You are not your worst mistakes. You are not the names people called you before they wrote you off as hopeless. You are not your addictions or your fears.

You are who Jesus says you are. You are Chosen, Beloved, Son or Daughter, Friend.

You have a name that only Jesus knows that one day He will reveal to you. One day, He will write it on a white stone and give it to you. Then and only then will your story make complete sense and you will see how everything in your life has led to you becoming who Jesus always meant you to be.

Thanks, Uncle Mikey, for another good and timely word. Do come back to Kairos soon.


Turn Around


I confess. I am a guy and I have a very bad sense of direction. Or as I like to say, I am directionally-impaired.

I don’t know if every guy is supposed to have a map and a compass in his head, but I most assuredly do not. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned the wrong way or just simply gotten lost.

One of the most frustrating things for me is to be going the wrong direction but not be able to find a place to turn around.

I’ve actually gotten mad because there were no places to turn around. In my head, I’m like, “C’mon! Seriously? Not even a driveway?”

I think sometimes people get trapped in relationships or addictions or bad lifestyle choices and can’t find a way to turn around. They want to be going a completely different direction but they feel like they are powerless to do anything but keep going the same direction they’ve been going.

That’s what repentance means. It means a change of mind that leads to a change in your life. It means to stop going one way, do a 180, and go the complete opposite direction. if you get on I-40 West, you’re going to Memphis.

I had a pastor use this illustration (it makes more sense if you know that this pastor is in Nashville): If you get on I-40 West, you’re going to Memphis. Every time. You can say all day long how you want to go to Chattanooga or Knoxville, but if you stay on I-40 West, you’ll end up in Memphis.

I think sometimes you just have to want to change badly enough to make that U-turn. Also, it’s essential to have people in your life who will encourage you and motivate you in your desire for change. Plus, I think without God’s help, no one can truly change. All we do apart from Christ is trade addictions or move from one bad scenario to another.

So what do you want to change in your life? What do you want Jesus to change about you?

Maybe it’s time to turn around.



I did one of those personality analysis tests and was not too surprised at the results. Basically, it turns out that I’m an idealist who wants to make a difference in the world around him. I pretty much knew that.

The test also said that I am drawn toward authenticity.

I think there are few who wouldn’t want some kind of authenticity in their lives, to be in a place where they can truly be themselves. Not only that, but a place where the people around them are just as genuine.

Ideally, the Church is just the place where that should happen.

Sadly, that’s the last place you find true authenticity these days.

These days, especially in the American Church, most believers feel they have to wear the “super spiritual, got it all together” mask and act as if their lives are perfect. Very few feel comfortable being open and honest about their struggles, addictions, and fears for fear of being judged and condemned.

That’s sad. That’s also not at all the Church Jesus had in mind when He prayed that they be united and one just as He and the Father are one. That’s not the Church portrayed in Acts as sharing possessions and helping out the less fortunate.

That’s not the kind that will draw the hurting and helpless, the kind Jesus told us to reach out to.

Pretending to be perfect is a damaging facade in two ways. First, it’s an impossible illusion to maintain because no one is perfect. Second, it creates the false image that to become a believer, you can’t have any issues or problems or sin-issues.

I think what people are looking for when they look to believers are people who make mistakes and fess up to those mistakes, who fail miserably and pick themselves up and move on, who have flaws and choose to see the good in themselves and others.

I’m praying that I can live with that kind of authenticity. I’m praying you will seek to be just as honest and real and transparent in your own lives as well.

Remember, God above all knows your deepest secrets, your utmost failures and flaws, and loves you just as you are. Not as you wish you could be or how you see yourself on your very best days but just exactly as you are when you’re feeling lowest.

That’s the kind of love I’m craving and the only kind of love that can change me into someone who can love others the same way.


Baggage Part III: Trials Turned to Gold

I’ll admit that I am addicted to comfort too much of the time. I don’t want to step outside my comfort zone too often.

But I keep thinking about the believers in Thessalonica. They only had Paul and Silas for a few short weeks. They were new converts, yet they still managed to turn their world upside down.

The big takeaway for me was how they endured persecution and ridcule, but how that endurance and trial turned into perserverance. That perserverance turned into character, which led to a hope that nothing and no one and nothing could quench.

What you’re going through will end, but your story won’t. Who better to talk to someone struggling with alcoholism than a recovering alcoholic? Who better to help someone cope with the loss of a child than someone who has walked the same road and cried the same tears? Who better to help someone deal with doubt and discouragement than you after you’ve been through a dark night of the soul when you felt hopeless and alone, but finally saw daylight at the end of your trial?

I love the quote from a movie I saw that said that only those who have lost can truly lead. Only those who have been hurt can help bring healing. Only those who know how they have messed up their lives and what Jesus save them from can truly love well and lead well.

It’s all about loving well. It’s not how religious you can talk or how well you keep the rules. It’s not about how convincingly you can point a finger at people and expose their faults. It’s about how you can be a vessel of God’s love and love people right where they are for who they are.

I’m not really good at loving well, but I’m getting better. Those rare moments when I did love well were moments when I forgot about me and let Jesus take over.

My prayer is that you learn to embrace your story, even the painful parts, and help others to find the good in their stories, too.

Above all, may we all learn to love well.

Behold, I Am Making All Things New


There’s a part on The Passion of the Christ that is not in the Bible in the strictest sense, but I think it fits. The part where Jesus falls while carrying the cross and His mother runs up to Him to help Him and comfort Him and He tells her in essence, “I have to do this because I am making all things new.” That is such a great line and it struck me powerfully tonight.

To the one who has struggled with addictions for years, He is making all things new.

To the one who keeps getting visited by the same old fears, He is making all things new.

To the one whose life feels wasted and who feels unneccesary to anybody or anything, He is making all things new.

To the one who said goodbye to a loved one and buried a piece of their heart with them, He is making all things new.

To the one who carries a broken heart that hurts more than it did when it was broken the first time, He is making all things new.

To the one who has almost lost hope that anything will ever get better, He is making all things new.

To the orphan and widow, the homeless and outcast, the unwanted and unloved, He is making all things new.

He is making everything right again. He is making all the lies come untrue.

He can make you new. Not just better or stronger, but a completely new creation. One where you get to be what you always wished you could be and dreamed about, but never thought could actually happen. All you have to do is look up to Jesus and say, “Help me. I need You.”

Celebrated this Easter the Day that made it possible for you to start over. Know that it’s never ever too late for a do-over. He never gets tired of making broken things whole, dirty things clean, and old things new. Including you.

Amen and amen.

Blessed are the pure in heart

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8).

Blessed are the pure in heart. You may be like me and think, “Well, that rules me out right there. I am not pure in heart. If you could only see inside my heart and see some of the addictions and lies and crap that I carry around, the last word you would use to describe my heart is ‘pure.'” I have good news for you. If you have trusted Christ for your salvation, He has cleansed your heart. God sees you now as if you had never sinned. You are pure in heart.

The Message puts it this way: “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.” That’s what being made righteous means– your inside world is put right with God. Then, instead of seeing fate and coincidence and random occurances in the outside world, you see God. You see His hand in everything.

Soren Kierkegaard said, “Purity of heart is to will one thing.” To stay pure in heart, it is important to not have divided priorities. Like loving God and money, or God and popularity, or God and success, or God and (you fill in the blanks). If anything competes with God for my attention, that thing must go, whether it be a possession or a relationship or a cherished dream. God is jealous and will not abide anything put alongside of Him as equal importance.

The good news is that the effort to have one focus is not a “strain and try harder”, but a “be filled with the Spirit and transformed by the renewing of your mind” event. Your and my job is to know God. To know what blesses and breaks His heart, to know what His will is for the world, and to know His Word so well that it becomes a part of you. Jesus said, “This is eternal life, that they know the Father and the One He has sent.”

Lord, I long to stay pure in heart and not wear myself out chasing in five different directions things that can only truly come from You. Be my passion, my heart’s overwhelming desire. Be so glorious in my sight that everything else fades away. Show me Your glory, and then I will be satisfied. Thank You that You have promised that one day I will see You clearly and love You perfectly.

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.

Blessed are the merciful

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7)

In the Bible, grace and mercy are many times used together. I’ve heard it put this way that grace is getting what you don’t deserve, and mercy is not getting what you do deserve. Mercy is withholding the right to revenge and giving grace instead. One of God’s characteristics is that He is merciful. If anyone had the right to exact judgment on what we’ve done wrong and how we’ve screwed up and when we’ve outright rebelled against Him, it’s God. But He in HIs grace gives us what we don’t deserve– forgiveness– and in His mercy withholds from us what we do deserve– everlasting punishment in hell.

To be merciful is to be like God. To forgive, even when forgiveness is not sought, is to be like God. Mercy is loving the unloveable. It’s easy to love someone who loves you back, but God calls us to love those who are so caught up in and trapped by fear and addictions that they are unable to love us back.

I like the Message version. It says, “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.”

If you show mercy, you get mercy. I also like to think that one of the characteristics of those who have experienced God’s grace and mercy is that they live out that grace and mercy toward others. You forgive much because you have been forgiven much. You don’t worry about the $100 worth of wrong someone did to you when God just forgave the $1 million worth of wrong you did against Him.

Brennan Manning says it best: “Our encounter with Mercy profoundly affects our interaction with others . . . . We look beyond appearances, beneath surfaces, to recognize others as companions in woundedness. Human flesh is heir to the assaults, within and without, of negative, judgmental thoughts, but we will not consent to them because God is merciful to us. We will not allow these attacks to lead us into the sins of self-preoccupation and self-defense. Swimming in the merciful love of Christ, we are free to laugh at the tendency to assume spiritual superiority– in ourselves. We are free to extend to others the mercy we have received.”

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.