Nothing Shall Be Impossible

I can hardly believe it. The Nashville Predators are headed to the Stanley Cup Finals.

This is like a movie script for one of those inspirational films like Rudy or Remember the Titans. I don’t think you could make up something as unlikely and improbable as this.

I confess. Halfway through the NHL regular season, I had given up on these Preds. I wasn’t sure they’d make the playoffs, much less do anything when they got there.

When I found out their first round opponent was the Chicago Blackhawks, I said we’d be lucky to win one game at the most.

Never have I been happier in all my life to eat my own words. I’m thrilled that I was not only wrong, but way off.

I’m still dreaming of the Press bringing the Stanley Cup back to Music City. That would be awesome for the city of Nashville as well as for professional hockey and the NHL. It might not be realistic, but then again, them being in the finals wasn’t either.

Maybe this is a God-wink for some of you to never stop believing in the impossible. Truly with God all things are possible. Or, like one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite pastors, with God, what seems impossible to us is not even remotely difficult for Him. Not even close.

Keep believing. Keep pursuing that dream. Keep praying for that loved one. Keep pulling yourself up out of bed every morning and making each day a new start.

Above all, keep trusting that God’s promises are truer than your circumstances or your feelings or your gut instinct or anything else or anyone else who tells you differently.

The old saying goes something like this: if it is to be, it is up to me.

I like this version a lot better: if it is to be, He is up to it!



The Ultimate Longing 

“For all my wanting, I don’t have anyone but You in heaven. There is nothing on earth that I desire other than You. I admit how broken I am in body and spirit, but God is my strength, and He will be mine forever” (Psalm 73:25-26 VOICE).

Ultimately, that’s it. No matter how you are at the moment or how well you think you’re doing, the real victory is living out of God’s strength instead of your own.

Every desire of mine, whether I acknowledge it or not, finds its ultimate fulfillment in God.

I see more now that all those unfulfilled desires and unrequited dreams really all were longings for what only God could grant.

Even when I got exactly what I thought I wanted at the time, it always turned out to be less than satisfactory because a thing can never deliver the true joy and happiness that God can.

That’s my prayer for you– that you understand more deeply that when a longing is denied or a dream gets dashed to pieces, that the deepest yearnings at the heart of those desires are all rooted in the person of Jesus.

May you find that God is more satisfying and gratifying than anything and everything this whole world has to offer. You find true contentment when you finally grasp that God Himself with nothing else added is enough.

That’s what Lent is truly about– abstaining from good things to find joy in the best things and making room in your heart and soul for God to speak and breathe and inhabit.

I’ve managed to make it through one whole day without any social media and I live to tell the tale (even if there was a little bit of withdrawal). If I can do it, I know you can.



I’m Still Here

“You’re not a failure until you stop trying. If you have no other testimony you have this one: ‘I’m still here'” (Joyce Meyer).

Winston Churchill once said that success is never final and failure is never fatal, but it is the courage to continue that counts. Aside from some very impressive alliteration, there’s some good truth here.

So hooray for all of you who made it out of bed this morning when you felt an overwhelming desire to sleep in and give up on the day.

Hooray for all of you who adhere to the old motto that faith is believing when common sense tells you not to, or as the author of Hebrews puts it, it’s the “assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen (Hebrews 11:1, The Voice).

Hooray for those who doggedly adhere to that faith through trials and doubts and who have never given up on God because they know God has never given up on them.

Hooray for those who still dream after so many previous dreams have been dashed to pieces and who keep longing after their desires have been countlessly delayed and denied.

Hooray for those who persevere in the midst of pain and suffering while wearing a smile through it all.

Hooray for those whose only victory today might be the declaration “I’m still here.”

Not only will your endurance lead to a reward, you are leaving a legacy to those who follow to not give up.

After all, Advent is all about how waiting on God’s best is always always worth it.


Contentment Isn’t Just for Cows

“I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am” (Philippians 4:12-13,  The Message).

Contentment is the new counterculture. It flies in the face of every ad and billboard and commercial that screams that in order to be happy, you need to buy this one thing or eat at this one place or drink this beverage. Contentment says no thanks, I already have enough. Contentment is a radical idea. If you really want to annoy people, especially the ones who always seem to be in a hurry, practice contentment. It’ll drive them nuts.


I’m content because I’ve learned that God is enough. It’s true that God plus everything you’ve ever dreamed of is really no more than God plus nothing else, because all your deepest desires and dreams find their ultimate fulfillment in the person of Jesus.

Contentment comes from realizing that the best things can’t be bought or sold or even possessed. They can only be appreciated and loved and cherished. They aren’t even things, but relationships and people and memories. You are not the sum of your possessions and your wealth but of your relationships and experiences and memories.

If you want to be radical, learn to be content. It’s definitely the least stressful way to live that I can think of (aside from being comatose, which I imagine is fairly stress-free).

“Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you” (Lao Tzu).

Unquenchable Hope

Maybe what you’re looking at a week into the new year are the ashes and crumbs of what’s left of your hopes and dreams.

Maybe you’ve 99% given up on anything ever changing in your life.

Maybe you need to hear this right about now: your God is the God of the never impossible and the never hopeless and the never finished. There is no such thing as too difficult for this God.

Look at Golgotha. If any dream seemed dead and done for, it was what laid inside of that tomb for three days.

If Jesus could overcome that grave and that death and that hell, there is absolutely nothing in your life that you are facing right at this moment that He can’t and won’t overcome. Nothing.

Maybe what you need is an unquenchable hope built on  an undefeatable God.

It’s never too late to start hoping and dreaming again.




If/Then Vs. No Matter What

A lot of people have an if/then kind of faith. It goes something like this:

If God allows me to experience the fullness of the American dream, then I’ll keep believing.

If God grants me a spouse and children, then I’ll keep believing.

If God sees to it that my children follow in my footsteps and my faith and never disappoint me, then I’ll keep believing.

If God blesses me financially and lets me live comfortably, then I’ll keep believing.

That’s probably what most American Christians believe, although few would be brave enough to confess it.

This is biblical faith:

I will keep believing, no matter what.

If I never get married and have children, I’ll keep believing.

If I never get to where I can live comfortably, I’ll keep believing.

Even if I watch as each of my dreams die, even if God never does one solitary thing more for me beside saving me and granting me this life abundant, I’ll keep believing for as long as He grants me life.

The prophet Habakkuk put it this way:

Though the cherry trees don’t blossom
    and the strawberries don’t ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
    and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the sheep pens are sheepless
    and the cattle barns empty,
I’m singing joyful praise to God.
    I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God” (Hab. 3:17-18).

If/then faith says that you need more than God, that He isn’t sufficient in and of Himself. It might work for a while, but it eventually falters when the hard times come.

No matter what faith says that God alone is, has been, and will always be enough. It keeps believing, keeps hoping, keeps trusting through any and every circumstance (much like what Paul talked about in 1 Corinthians 13). That kind of faith not only lasts, but it keeps you going.

I choose to believe no matter what.

The end.




A Good Psalm

I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness
    in the exuberant earth.
Stay with God!
    Take heart. Don’t quit.
I’ll say it again:
    Stay with God” (Psalm 27:13-14).

Don’t quit. Stay with God. Take heart.

Those are good words that we’ve all needed at certain times and seasons.

Maybe you were stuck in an endless cycle of job applications and interviews and were beginning to feel like you were unemployable.

Maybe you were in a rocky patch of your marriage and you were beginning to wonder if it was even worth it to stick it out.

Maybe you were wondering if you’d ever find someone who’d think you were worth pursuing (or maybe being pursued by you).

Maybe you’re still there. Maybe you feel like you’ll always be there, seeing your dreams at a distance, always just out of reach.

Stay with God. Take heart. Don’t quit.

Don’t give up on God and especially don’t give up on the you that you’re becoming through this whole process. Don’t give up on the process itself and how it will ultimately be worth it in the end. More than worth it.

One thing I’ve learned and one thing I know is that God is faithful. Always.


A Sure Thing

“People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, Steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don’t quit. Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing” (Isaiah 26:3, The Message).

That’s a good reminder for us all. In the Lord God we have a sure thing.

Jobs come and go. Relationships come and go. But God is a sure thing.

Those 401Ks and IRAs? Not so much.

When you’re feeling beat up and the week isn’t even over yet, remember that God is a sure thing.

When those people you counted on to be there suddenly aren’t, remember that God is a sure thing.

When you feel like the last of your hopes and dreams has turned to dust and ashes, remember that God is a sure thing.

When fear and anxiety won’t let you sleep at night and all you can thing about are possible worst case scenarios, remember that God is a sure thing.

When you have to say a last goodbye one more time to someone you love, remember that God is a sure thing.

Everything else will pass away, but not God.

Because you belong to God, you are secured forever, because God is a sure thing.



Going Home

winding road

“Going home is a lifelong journey. There are always parts of ourselves that wander off in dissipation or get stuck in resentment. Before we know it we are lost in lustful fantasies or angry ruminations. Our night dreams and daydreams often remind us of our lostness.

Spiritual disciplines such as praying, fasting and caring are ways to help us return home. As we walk home we often realise how long the way is. But let us not be discouraged. Jesus walks with us and speaks to us on the road. When we listen carefully we discover that we are already home while on the way” (Henri Nouwen).

That’s what really matters in the end.

I’m headed toward my real home and Jesus is the one who’ll help me get there.

This journey is where Jesus walks with us and speaks to us. In fact, Jesus Himself said that knowing Him is the journey. He said that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

He didn’t say that He knew the way.

He didn’t even say that He was an expert in the knowledge about the way.

He said He is THE way.

There is no other way because no other god ever took on human flesh and became one of us. No other god willingly laid down his life for us in order that we might escape the punishment we deserved.

Sometimes, the way seems long and hard. Many of us sometimes feel like we will never get to the place we want to be or become the persons we feel we should have been all along.

Rest easy, my friends.

Jesus promised that even though the road was narrow and few find it, He would be there.

Jesus promised that His yoke would be easy and His burden light.

Jesus promised that He would finish that great work He started in you.

He promised to never leave or forsake you.

When Jesus is with you, you truly are already home while you’re on the road home.


Two Years Later

mexican coke

I haven’t really thought much about it lately, but then I remembered tonight that it’s been over two years since I had my last carbonated beverage. Or my last Coke, as we call them down South.

My last of those was on April 28, 2012. At the time, I simply wanted to see how long I could go without one. I didn’t envision it going on this long, but somehow, I’ve managed to avoid those fizzy drinks.

I still have dreams where I catch myself drinking a Coke. The dreams seem so real, except for the part where I don’t realize I’m drinking a carbonated beverage until I’m halfway through. That part’s a little sketchy.

Maybe my next goal will be to give up gluten. Or at least bread. I confess I love me some bread, especially the rolls at O’Charleys, so I can’t imagine having the willpower to stay away from those.

Yet at one time I didn’t think I could live without my carbonation, especially those Diet Mountain Dews in the morning. Now I don’t even miss them. Plus, I drink more water, which is always a plus. I guess I’d say to you that you can do more than you think you can, especially when it comes to restraint.

I’d say just go for 24 hours and then see what happens. You might just surprise yourself.