Blog #1,161


I still write these blogs as reminders to myself of how good God’s been to me. I am so very forgetful and prone to wander, prone to leave the God I love, prone to return to broken cisterns of doubt and fear.

I write about grace so much because I love it so much, and I love it so much because I’ve needed it and found it at just the right times. Left to myself, I can very clingy and needy, very co-dependent, and self-absorbed. I am an approval-addict. An affirmation junkie.

But that grace of God found me. And it did not leave me where it found me. I found that Jesus’ amazing love for me makes me loveable. I discovered that it’s more than okay for me to be myself. It’s the best form of worship I can offer. Just me loving being me. Me refusing to be conformed to what everybody else says I should be, to what the media tells me I need to be to matter.


I will never stop telling the story of how Eucharisteo forged my miracle, how a lifestyle of joy and gratitude and thanksgiving opened my eyes to manifold blessings and allowed me to open closed fists to receive more of God’s riches.

I am blessed. Even if I never have a six-figure salary. Even if I am ever more the friend and never the love interest, the guy girls want to marry. Even if I never get another blessing or another visible reminder of God’s presence.

Here’s to 1,000 more posts to remind forgetful me of how good my life is and how great God is. Here’s to all of you who keep encouraging me, challenging me, and blessing me in ways I will never be able to repay.

Thank you.


Saturday Night’s Alright for Slacking


I did nothing tonight. Hard as it is to believe, I spent this Saturday evening in front of the idiot box with a very sleepy cat/therapist named Lucy. This jetsetter, this man about town, actually had a quiet night.

And the world didn’t come to a screeching halt.

Do you ever wonder that people forget about you the moment you leave the room? That when it comes to priorities, you’re not high up on anybody’s list? That ultimately you don’t truly matter to anyone?

Sure, I’ve felt that way some nights. But I know this.

There is never a moment that goes by where I’m not in God’s sight, on His mind, and engraved on His hands and on His heart. He loves me completely, unconditionally, unwaveringly, every second of every day of eternity.

God loves you the same way. God loves each person as if they were the only person who had ever lived and could receive the fullness of Love itself.

That kind of love meets you where you are but does not leave you that way. It can’t help but transform the beloved into the image of the Lover. You become most like what you love most. Always.

I can’t say that staying home was my first choice. Or even on my list of top twenty choices.

But here I am, thankful even on a slow Saturday night that I have everything I need in the world right here. Finding the joy on nights like this really does transform how you see the rest of your life. Giving thanks for the small things makes room to receive the greater things.

I think I’ll sign off in a bit here and go do some actual reading of an actual book, with actual pages that turn and everything. How novel.

May you know in full (or as fully as a finite human can comprehend the infinite) how much your Abba really does love you at every moment, whether you feel it or not.

That’s all for now.

A Good Night for a Homecoming


It was a good night for a high school homecoming game. It seemed more than a bit surreal to be at Beech High School on their homecoming night, but you couldn’t ask for better weather.

The home team won. Barely. The game was probably more suspenseful than it needed to be, as the Beech Buccaneers kept letting Gallatin back in the game. All that matters in the end is that the home team won and lots of good memories got made.


I was purely a spectator. I didn’t know anyone at the game save for the handful of folks from my community group. I was feeling a bit weary and disconnected, so I did my fair share of wandering alone through the masses there to celebrate one of the truly great and time-honored rites of passage still left sacred in our society.

I was a bit saddened by the regret of one blog I wrote about a friend some months ago that caused a strain on our friendship. I’ve since deleted the post, but it’s still not the same as it was (and may never again be). If I could go back in time, I’d tell myself not to write that blog. It’s one thing I wish everyday that I could go back and undo.

But enough of that. I got over it. I saw a very strange but creative halftime show by the Beech High School marching band. Apparently, it was themed around the M. Night Shyamalan movie Signs, but all I saw were little green men and women scurrying around a fake cornfield and playing eerie movie music. Kudos for creativity, but not so much for making sense.

I made a new friend (Rachel), had some very salty Powerade, witnessed a great game, and hung out with some amazing people called the Green Hills Community Group.


It’s funny how at times I remembered exactly how I felt as a 17-year old during my high school homecoming game. All the uncertainty, fear, doubts, insecurities, and joys came rushing back. But I saw it all through (hopefully) wiser 41-year old eyes.

I hope to do the high school homecoming game thing again, but hopefully not after putting in 40 hours of work in 4 days and hopefully more rested.

God is just as good to me at 41 as He was when I was 17. It’s nice to know some things never change. Even when I’m 64, that same God will be with me and for me and love me just the same He did when I was in high school and like He does now.

Alone But Not Lonely


I was literally sitting in the dark on the upstairs patio at Frothy Monkey. One friend has been AWOL from my life for a while now, another moved to Cookeville today, and yet another was instagramming about how much fun she was having with friends listening to music at Franklin Mercantile just down the street.

And I sat alone in the dark.

And I was okay with it.

Sometimes, it’s good to be alone. In fact, it’s more than good. It’s necessary. You can never really effectively be present in a crowd if you can never be alone. You only hear your true name and your true identity in those times of aloneness.

It took me embracing those times of being alone to hear that I am my Abba’s beloved and to know that I belong to Him and He is very pleased with me.

I tried to message my friend to find out if she was still in the area and got no response. So I walked over to the Franklin Mercantile only to find I had missed everything. The crowd, including my friend, was gone.

I was still okay.

That used to be a recurring nightmare of mine. I’d find my friends had all left me suddenly or that I was just a step or a second too slow and would just miss them.

But tonight, I knew I wasn’t alone. Those Strong Arms that hold me up in the day and in the crowded places are just as able to carry me through the dark places where I am alone.

You can only hear your Abba singing over you when you’re alone. You can never truly appreciate God as a refuge and stronghold and place of rest in a crowd, but in those times when no one else is around.

I pray you can embrace being alone as much as you cherish being with family and friends. May you learn to love the dark, for that is where your Father will whisper precious promises to you that you will come to cherish more dearly than anything you can find at any other time.

Things I Love 12: Tested And Approved by Lucy The Wonder Kitty

island hammock

Lucy is in my lap, approving  whatever I type. Of course, she can’t read, but if she could, she would add her own comments (most of which would not be fit to print in a family-style blog such as this one). So I’ll take her silence as either approval or extreme sleepiness.

The list commences with #264 (I think).

264) Ice-cold water to quench my thirst on a humid summer day.

265) A long walk alone under a full moon at night (as opposed to all those moonlit walks during the day).

266) That I’m finally at a place where I’m comfortable alone or in a crowd.

267) Planned spontaneity.

268) That I’ve come to the place where if I never see a certain person ever again (and at the moment it appears very likely to be the case), that I will be glad for the friendship; I will miss her, but my life will go on.

269) Those quiet moments of peace where God speaks into my silence.

270) That with God, every day is a day to look forward to.

271) Reading collects out of The Book of Common Prayer and seeing my own prayers expressed better than I could ever put them.

272) That this blog site has spell-check so that I can appear smarter than I really am, i.e. that I can actually spell.

273) That I really don’t have to be friends with everyone or have everyone like me to be content.

274) That everything will be fine in the end, and if it’s not fine, it’s not the end.

275) Good lines from good movies (like the one I just referenced earlier).

276) Chocolate bars with bacon in them (it sounds gross, but tastes divine).

277) All of my quirks

278) That I have to show my driver’s license to prove that I really am the age I say I am.

279) That even though Jon Acuff might have more readers for one blog than I’ve had for all my 1,000+ blogs combined, that I have touched and impacted lives that wouldn’t have been touched and impacted had I chosen not to write a blog.

280) That I can use bad grammar, and bad punctuation, in my blogs, if I so, choose.

281) Those rare times when the Church is known for what it’s for rather than what it’s against.

282) That I can learn something from anybody, no matter what their philosophical, theological, political or social beliefs and regardless of whether or not they have the same worldview as mine.

283) That hamburger from The Pharmacy with bacon, ham, and a fried egg (10,000 calories of deliciousness!)

284) That the last spoken words from Jesus in the Bible aren’t a condemnation but an invitation.

285) When I talk into a box fan and make my voice sound like a robot.

286) That being grown-up doesn’t always mean having to be mature all the time.

287) That the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.

288) The way my cat Lucy hovers when she goes to the bathroom.

289) Not knowing all the answers (or even all of the questions).

290) A perfectly made and perfectly thrown paper airplane.

291) That I saw the actual Batmobile from the campy 60’s TV show tonight in downtown Franklin

292) That this list will continue– maybe tomorrow, maybe not. You’ll just have to tune in tomorrow to find out. Same bat time, same bat channel.




I was feeling burdened about some issues, so I stepped inside one of my favorite places on earth, St. Paul’s Espiscopal Church, a very old church building located in the heart of downtown Franklin. Being in that place always brings me peace and I can be still and silent and just be.

I pulled out one of the kneelers and got on my knees and unburdened myself before God. I let it all go. I don’t know if it will work out like I want it to or not, but I do know that I felt a peace about it for the first time in a while. Then I simply listened.

It may have been the creaky floorboards settling, but to my romanticized imagination, it sounded like echos of past worshippers. Ghosts of people who came to this place and found their own peace.

I felt that I was not alone. Not because of ghosts, but because I knew that God was there with me.

I know now that I have to let my situation go. I can’t fix it. As much as I try to “help” God out, I would only make things worse. So I have to back off and let God do what only God can do. It’s completely in his hands now.

I don’t know how long I knelt there, listening to the noises around me. I left my phone in my pocket the whole time.

I love the fact that God didn’t wait until I got my act together to come to me. He found me, broken as I was, and is loving me to wholeness. Even though I sometimes still live out of fear and doubt, he never once has abandoned me. In those times I felt most alone, he was closest of all.

That’s what I love about God. Every other religion is about how to get to God, but Christianity (not the religion, but the relationship with Jesus Christ) is about how God came to us and found us before we even thought about looking for him.

I’m so glad he found me.


That Ol’ Emmaus Road



In the story in Luke 24 about the two disciples walking down the Emmaus road, a question probably comes to mind. How could they have not recognized Jesus walking beside them, conversing with them, the whole entire time? I mean, wasn’t he the focus of their lives for three years? How could they have been so blind?

But then I think I understand. Sometimes deep grief and pain can keep you from really seeing what and who is around you. Sometimes, you just get too wrapped up in your own problems and anxieties to really pay attention to where you are.

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

Maybe you feel alone and abandoned as you walk your road. You may not realize it, but Jesus is silently walking beside you.

Maybe you feel like you need to clean up your act and get your life together so you can be “good enough” to meet Jesus. You may not be aware of it, but Jesus is already where you are, waiting on you to recognize him, drop your pretenses, and come running into his arms.

It’s interesting to me that the moment those two disciples recognized Jesus was in a moment of worship. They broke bread, like they had done earlier in the week with Jesus, and suddenly their eyes were opened. True worship does that. It helps us to find Jesus and understand that he was already with us all the time.  After all, he wasn’t the one lost and needing to be found. We were.

So maybe all you need to do is cling to the promise Jesus gave that he would never leave us nor forsake us. Maybe you need to reach out your hands in faith to find his own reaching toward you. No matter where you are or what you’ve done, no matter how badly you’ve messed up, Jesus is always ready to receive you again. He’s never stopped loving you or pursuing your heart.

I think that qualifies as the best news ever.

Immanuel: For All Those Times

Immanuel is God with us, in the flesh, walking alongside of us, sharing our burdens and joys and sorrows, even now. The Kingdom of God isn’t just some faraway pie-in-the-sky somewhere-over-the-rainbow place for when we die, it’s the presence of God in our midst at this very moment.

For when you’re at a party and you feel alone in the crowd, unnoticed and unwanted, Jesus is there with you.

For when you’re interested in someone and just realized that they aren’t the least bit interested in you in the same way (and probably never will be), Jesus knows what you’re feeling.

For when you feel like you’re not that high up on anybody’s priority list and they’d probably rather be hanging out with their cooler, artsier friends than you, Jesus chose you because he wanted you, not because you were all that was left. He picked you.

For when you’re in a season of trial and your friends seem to be growing more distant and less friendly, Jesus is still the friend who sticks closer than a brother. You realize that they’re too busy dealing with their own pain to fully notice yours and know the same Jesus who is with you in your pain is with them in theirs.

For when you have a story to tell but no one is listening and no one seems to want to hear it at all, Jesus, the one who wrote your story and knows it by heart, is listening.

For when you’ve come to the absolute end of your rope and have completely run out of hope, Jesus is right in front of you, saying “Just take one more step toward me. Just give me the tiniest bit of what’s left of your faith, and I’ll get you through.”

For when you can’t tell the lies and fears from reality, when you know what you’re thinking isn’t true or even sane but think it anyway, Jesus is still the Life, the Truth, and the Way. He’s still your life, your ultimate truth, and the way for you to get back home.

You’ll find one day that you can be in a group and not have to have the attention all the time.

You’ll find one day that when that someone you’re interested in finds their true love, you can sincerely rejoice for them.

You’ll find one day that the place God brings you to was worth all he brought you through and you’d go through all of it again to be at this amazing new place.

You’ll find one day that you can’t hear the lies anymore and the fears disappear as you grow in God’s love and learn to hear his still small voice speaking to you.

Even then, he is still Immanuel. God with us. God with me. God with you.

Even the Lone Ranger Had Tonto, Right?

I hate watching nature shows that come on Discovery or the Animal Planet. There. It’s out there. I admit it for the whole blogging world to know.

The part I hate is when a cheetah or a lion separates a gazelle from the herd and. . . well, I can’t bring myself to describe it.

You feel bad for the gazelle, starting off the day with such high hopes and ending up on someone else’s dinner menu. Not the best way to go.

But I think about how so many believers do the very same thing. We allow ourselves to get cut off from fellow Christians, to get isolated with no one to keep us accountable or hold us in check. We have no one to offer empathy and encouragement. Then we fall.

The trick of the enemy is to get us alone. He knows that whenever two or more are gathered together he has no chance, but when he gets one of them alone, his odds go up dramatically.

You know the drill, right? Either you get cocky and think you don’t need anyone else or you get embarrassed at how low you’ve sunk and can’t bear to let anyone see you like this. Or maybe you think no one really cares so why bother?

I’ve believed all of these lies at least once at some point and I bet you have, too, because sometimes the lies just feel easier to accept. The truth is hard when it goes against what we feel to be true.

You and I both need someone in our corner to encourage and stir us on. We also need that one person who has permission to ask the hard questions and steer us back when we’ve drifted off course.

No man is an island, as the saying goes. There is no such thing as Lone Ranger Christianity (at least not any that I’ve found in the Bible). And didn’t even the Lone Ranger at least have Tonto (not to mention his trusty horse)?

Something Good to Remember on a Monday

Matthew 5:1 says, “Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.”

I’ve read past that a thousand or more times. I’ve rushed past those words to get to the Sermon on the Mount, the good stuff. But I think I’ve done myself a disservice by not paying attention to this verse, particularly the first three words: “Seeing the crowds.”

Did you catch that? He saw the people who came to see him. He didn’t see bodies. He saw faces lined with pain. He saw heartaches and anxieties and unrest. He saw people just trying to get through the day.

Just as he sees you and he sees me.

Do you ever feel unnoticed? Do you ever post on facebook and no one responds? Do you ever comment on someone else’s post and he or she responds to everyone else but you?

Do you often feel invisible in a crowd? Has the thought ever crossed your mind that no one would miss you if you were suddenly not there? Or like George Bailey, do you think the world would be better off if you’d never been born?

You may not feel like anyone knows you or the secret shame and pain you carry. Jesus does.

You may think that you don’t matter to anyone. You matter to Jesus.

You are not alone. You have an advocate, someone who is on your side, who fights for you, who roots for you, who won’t abandon you in the dark or in the storms. His name is Jesus.

I didn’t come up with this, but it’s still true: if you had been the only one lost and in need of a Savior, Jesus still would have gone through every bit of the cross just for you. He loves you that much.

If your Monday’s been awesome, that’s great. God rejoices with you. But if your Monday was horrible and couldn’t end soon enough, this promise still holds true.

This is from a ragamuffin who needs daily reminders of the goodness of God as much as anyone else. God is faithful, even when it seems he is absent. He is good, always.