My Big Hike

Normally, my friend and I meet at Radnor Lake State Park and choose one of the trails to hike while discussing all sorts of random topics (and of course throwing in bad puns wherever appropriate).

Today, I went solo for the day. I challenged myself that I could hike both the Granier Ridge Trail and the South Cove Trail (the two difficult hiking trails at Radnor).

Halfway through Granier, I thought I’d made a serious mistake. I was wheezing like a 90-year old and it was all I could do to keep putting one sandaled foot in front of the other.

Still, I persevered. An persisted. And I didn’t give up.

At some point, my strength revived. I got that proverbial second wind. I don’t know if there’s such a thing as hikers’ high (similar to runners’ high), but I think I might have experienced that at some point.

The key to it all was that I never quit. I did take a short break on the second trail.

At the end of the day, I tallied over 22,000 steps, according to the app on my Apple Watch. That’s a lot of steps.

The old adage remains true. Every journey of 10,000 (or 22,000) steps begins with a single step. And each and every step counts, no matter how hesitant or small or feeble.

Every journey of change also starts with the smallest of steps. All God needs is the most hesitant of agreements and He can still bring about the most amazing transformations. All He’s looking for from you and I is the “I believe. Help my unbelief,”  as a good place to start.

Jesus looks at you right now right where you are and asks, “Do you really want to be healed? Do you really want the brand new world of uncertainty that comes with change and transformation?”

Oh, and yes, my feet hurt. I suppose that’s a given.


I Hate Goodbyes

I hate goodbyes.

Even though part of me knows that the ending of one thing often brings the beginning of something new and better, I still want to hold on to the old.

Even though part of me realizes that nothing on this side of eternity can last, I still want little pockets of my life to stay the same, for certain people in my life to always stay the same age and never get older. That’s probably the same part of me that still thinks fat ol’ Santa climbs down the chimney to bring me my presents.

Goodbyes are never easy. Tonight was no exception.

We said goodbye to Mike Glenn as Kairos pastor. I understand that it was time for a change. I understand that Kairos needed fresh blood and a new vision. I understand that you can’t keep doing things the same old way year after year and hope for different outcomes.

That doesn’t mean I don’t think it sucks.

People who have been out there in the dating world know how hard it is to say goodbye to relationships. Sometimes even to the dream of a relationship. It’s gut-wrenchingly hard to say goodbye to loved ones who pass away, like aunts and uncles and parents. I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like to say goodbye to your child.

The part that I keep holding on to when unexpected (and sometimes unwanted) change comes is that there is no goodbye in God’s love for me. There is no end to that enless love that won’t let me go. It even holds on to me when I’m doing everything in my power to let go of it.

I can’t envision a scenario in any future where goodbye will ever be an easy word to say. I don’t want to ever get used to saying goodbye.

I know when it comes to my Abba Father and His unconditional extravagent love for me, I never will.



Changes 2.0

Once again, I find myself facing changes that I’m not ready to face. But then again, when am I really ever completely ready for changes when they happen?

Next week is Mike Glenn’s last week as Kairos Pastor. It still doesn’t seem real. I can’t begin to imagine Kairos without Uncle Mikey. But starting February 16, it will be a reality to which I’ll have to adjust.

I’ve had friendships that ended because the other person moved away or simply drifted out of my life. Even now, I wish I could go back and do things differently for some of them. Still, life moves on. Maybe our paths weren’t meant to stay parallel forever. Maybe God has something different and better for the other person that neither of us can see right now.

I’m reminded once again that the only constant in this life is that everything will change and nothing will ever stay the same.

Well, not exactly.

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is the constant in a world of change.

That’s what I’m holding on to when I face new circumstances. It’s what I cling to when I feel like I have nothing solid to hang on to in my life.

So beside death and taxes, one more thing is sure. Jesus will fulfill all His promises in and through me. I can count on that.

With that in mind, I can look forward to the future with great confidence. Kairos is in good hands with Chris Brooks. I am in good hands with Jesus. There is no mistake, no tragedy, no loss that Jesus can’t redeem and transform into something way better than I or anyone else ever dreamed possible.

That’s a good thought to send me off to sleep tonight. I hope it will be for you as well.


Thanks, Uncle Mike: The Sequel

I heard out of your own mouth tonight that you are stepping down from Kairos soon. I’d heard it from other people recently, but even so, I couldn’t quite believe it even when you were the one saying the words.

I thought I’d say a few words to you, since I most likely won’t get to say them to you in person.

Thank you for being faithfully devoted to the Kairos ministry and to all of us who have attended over the years. We see how biblically wise you are. We also see how honest and vulnerable you are at times, making us feel like it’s okay to struggle and have doubts, even if you’re a senior pastor of a megachurch with several campuses.

I for one am a better person because of you and Kairos. I like myself a lot better than when I first started attending Kairos way back in 2006. I understand more of my Abba Father’s love for me and am learning how to define myself by that love and the voice that calls me His Beloved.

I learned how to take a few minutes in the middle of my hectic day and be still and have a moment or two of prayer. I learned that confession is not beating yourself up, but admitting that I acted out of fear instead of faith, of owning my sin and calling it for what it really is. I learned that I-40 West will take me to Memphis every time (even if I’m only going to Jackson). I learned that Oreos are your kryptonite and that a mostly clean glass of milk is still dirty.

I and many others saw how much you loved your parents, your wife, and your sons. That more than anything has probably helped strengthen many of our marriages and families.

I can’t imagine Kairos without you. I keep saying how much I like change and I’m always ready for it, but when it actually happens, I find I’m not so fond of it. Sometimes, I wish I some things could stay the same.

But I think I’m ready for what God has next for Kairos. I’m excited for you and what God has in store for you next. Plus, I’ll always think of you whenever I pick up a Henri Nouwen book.

Anyway, thanks for allowing God to use you in helping me become more like Jesus. I and the rest of those you’ve touched through Kairos will never be able to repay how much you’ve blessed us all.



But you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
        of the clans of Judah, are no poor relation—
    From your people will come a Ruler
        who will be the shepherd of My people, Israel,[b]
    Whose origins date back to the distant past,
        to the ancient days” (Micah 5:2, The Voice).

For some of you, this time of year is the time when you feel the most insignificant of all. You just happen to be scrolling through your Facebook feed and you see all the exciting events and parties that your friends are having that you weren’t invited to.

Maybe you end up sitting alone on your couch on Fridays and Saturdays because no one thought to ask if you had any plans for the weekend.

It’s easy to feel like you don’t matter to anyone. You are not alone. But you matter to Someone.

You’ve been invited to celebrate a birthday. Not just any birthday. This is the birthday of God-turned-fetus-turned-newborn wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.

The first evangelists of the blessed event were smelly shepherds. If anyone could feel like unwanted outsiders, it would have been them. Their occupation didn’t lend itself to a lot of socializing.

This year, Jesus invites you to celebrate His birthday. You don’t even have to bring anything– just you. It doesn’t even matter if you cleaned up and straightened up. All He’s asking is that you show up.

There’s not a single person in the Bible who found significance before God called them. Your significance ultimately isn’t in where you live, what you do for a living, or who you know. It’s Who knows you. It’s Who chose you.

At The Church at Avenue South, Aaron Bryant said that God is drawn to the insignificant, off-the-radar people.

Look at where God chose to introduce Himself to humanity. It wasn’t Rome or Jerusalem, but backwater Bethlehem via a peasant couple surrounded by barn animals and some of those aforementioned stinky shepherds.

God was (and still is) saying that all lives matter. Every life has significance. Simply being created in the image of God gives you incredible significance.

Just remember that when you’re sitting in the dark staring at your cat. You matter.



“I’m not there yet, nor have I become perfect; but I am charging on to gain anything and everything the Anointed One, Jesus, has in store for me—and nothing will stand in my way because He has grabbed me and won’t let me go. Brothers and sisters, as I said, I know I have not arrived; but there’s one thing I am doing: I’m leaving my old life behind, putting everything on the line for this mission. I am sprinting toward the only goal that counts: to cross the line, to win the prize, and to hear God’s call to resurrection life found exclusively in Jesus the Anointed. All of us who are mature ought to think the same way about these matters. If you have a different attitude, then God will reveal this to you as well. For now, let’s hold on to what we have been shown and keep in step with these teachings” (Phil. 3:12-16).

One thing that I keep learning and re-learning is that you can’t keep doing the same old things in the same old way and expect new results. You can’t keep doing things the way you’ve always done them and expect change.

The old definition of insanity holds true: doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result.

Growth in the Christian life is a matter of discipline drenched in grace. You supply the disciplines and the effort and realize that even then, it’s only grace that brings about the real change.

Without grace, you can grit your teeth and lace up those old bootstraps and work for all you’re worth and still be the same old you.

It’s all grace. Even the desire from within to change is because of grace.

Let’s make 2016 different because we no longer belief that maturity and growth come through the osmosis of sleeping with a Bible under our pillows. Let’s train ourselves to be not the same old people we were in 2015, but people who will diligently hunger and thirst after Jesus and His words, no matter what.

The end.


The Right Answers

“There is great joy in having the right answer, and how sweet is the right word at the right time!” (Proverbs 15:23, VOICE)

I can’t believe that yesterday was October 21, 2015, the day Marty McFly jumps to in the movie Back to the Future Part II.

Some of the movie’s predictions came true.

There are flying hoverboards (just not as prevalent as in the movie.

There are flat-screen TVs and 3D movies (just not of Jaws 19).

OK, so the fashions never came to pass. Neither did that 80’s-themed cafe.

Most disappointing of all, the Cubs got swept out of the playoffs, ending that prediction’s chances of coming to pass. I really would have liked seeing that one fulfilled.

Am I where I thought I’d be at this point 30 years ago? Probably not. Honestly, I don’t even remember what I thought about my 40-something year old self, if I thought about it at all.

Maybe I thought I’d be firmly settled into a career. I do have a full-time job (finally), but I think any notion of working one place for a couple of decades and retiring with a pension is as extinct as those self-drying jackets with those adjustable sleeves that Marty McFly wore.

It seems anymore that nothing is permanent, nothing is for certain, and that the only constant is that things will constantly be changing. Most likely when you’ve just gotten used to everything the way it is.

Then I remember that God is forever the same.  Jesus is unchanging yesterday, today, and the rest of the days after that for as long as there are days, and beyond even that.

Oh, I almost forgot. Tomorrow’s Friday. That’s one thing that won’t ever get old for me. That’s the closest thing to a constant that I can think of. That and sleeping in on Saturday.


Hey Y’all, It’s Fall!

“There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! “(Romans 5:3-4, MSG)”

Today, September 23, is officially the first day of fall, or as those who prefer the pronunciation po-tah-to call it, “autumn.”

Whatever you call it, I love it. I love the brisk air and the leaves changing colors. I love bonfires, hayrides, and all things pumpkin spice.

Even more than that, I love that fall signifies change before winter comes. Change can be scary, but in God’s economy all change eventually leads to something good, due to the fact that He works all these things together for good for those who love Him.

I personally can’t wait to see what God will do next in my life.  I can’t wait to see what God will do next in the life of The Church at Avenue South. I can’t wait to see how He will stir up His Church all over the world to even greater deeds of love and sacrifice.

Even when the circumstances look as bleak as the tree limbs barren of leaves, we do not lose hope. We know that the same God who kept His promises throughout the history of the Bible and through the centuries won’t fail to keep them now. That’s a fact.

So bring on the mid-60’s temps. I’m ready. I’m also ready for flannel and jackets. I’m ready for hot dogs and s’mores over an open fire.

Bring it all on.


Listening to Your Fears Again

“‘Hush!’ said the other four, for now Aslan had stopped and turned and stood facing them, looking so majestic that they felt as glad as anyone can who feels afraid, and as afraid as anyone can who feels glad. The boys strode forward: Lucy made way for them: Susan and the Dwarf shrank back.

‘Oh, Aslan,’ said King Peter, dropping on one knee and raising the Lion’s heavy paw to his face, ‘I’m so glad. And I’m so sorry. I’ve been leading them wrong ever since we started and especially yesterday morning.’

‘My dear son,’ said Aslan. Then he turned and welcomed Edmund. ‘Well done,” were his words. Then, after an awful pause, the deep voice said, ‘Susan.’ Susan made no answer but the others thought she was crying. ‘You have listened to fears, child,’ said Aslan. ‘Come, let me breathe on you. Forget them. Are you brave again?’

‘A little, Aslan,’ said Susan” (C. S. Lewis, Prince Caspian).

Everyone has fears.  Everyone.

Your fears may tell you that you’re not good enough– and never will be.

Your fears may tell you that people would never want to get to know the real you– and if they did, they wouldn’t like it.

Your fears may tell you that you can never change– and that it’s too late to try anyhow.

Everyone has different kinds of fears, but they all have one thing in common. All that fear is based on a lie. As a pastor once said, FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real.

Fear leaves out Christ. Fear doesn’t add God into the equation. Fear says that it is totally and completely up to you and that you’re not adequate to the challenge.

That’s partially true. You by yourself are not adequate for the challenge. But the God in you is. And He hasn’t left you to face your fears alone. He has provided a way out and a way through.

Let your fears lead you to the faith that leads you to worship, remembering that God has been faithful in the past and will not fail to do so in the future.


Full Moon Thoughts

Tonight was a full moon. Apparently, that’s when the crazies come out. Or maybe that’s when people’s tendencies to act crazy go into full gear. Or so I’ve heard.

For me, it was very calming to see the full moon in the night sky. I suppose it’s because I know I’m looking at the same moon that was up in the sky when I was little.

So much in this life is transitory. So many people I thought would be around for a long time have gone AWOL. So many loved ones aren’t here at all anymore.

Even the places I love don’t stay around, i.e. Borders and all those record stores in the malls.

But seeing that moon in the sky tonight reminded me that God is my constant. He’s the one that stays the same while everything else around me changes, while I myself am changing.

That’s the thing I’ve learned. Even if I could go back to a happy place in my childhood and find it’s still the same, it’s not the same because I’m different. I’m not the same as I was as an 8-year old. Hopefully, no one as an adult is exactly like he or she was as an 8-year old.

It’s comforting to know that God will always be the same. He will always love me the same (perfectly and unconditionally), He will always think of me the same (as His beloved), and He will always treat me the same (working all things together for my good and giving me only the very best).

For a while, clouds obscured the moon, but after a while they drifted away. Sometimes, God gets obscured by those pressing anxieties in my life. It gets difficult to find Him when there’s so many things clamoring for my attention.

The good news is that after the anxieties subside and those things move on, God remains.