Being Good Stewards

“But as certainly as God created man in His image, He first created the earth. With the same care He designed  sixty thousand miles of blood vessels in the human body, He also crafted hydrangeas and freshwater rapids and hummingbirds. He balanced healthy ecosystems with precision and established climates and beauty. He integrated colors and smells  and sounds that would astonish humanity. The details He included while designing the earth are so extraordinary, it is no wonder He spend five of the six days of creation on it.

So why don’t we care for the earth anywhere near to the degree we do our bodies? Why don’t we fuss and examine and steward creation with the same tenacity? Why aren’t we refusing complicity in the ravaging of our planet? Why aren’t we determined to stop pillaging the earth’s resources like savages? Why do we mock environmentalists and undermine their passion for conservation? Do we think ourselves so superior to the rest of creation that we are willing to deplete the earth to supply our luxuries? If so, we may very well be the last generation who gets that prerogative” (Jen Hatmaker, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess).

It really bothers me that people will go out of their way NOT to recycle. It may seem like such a small detail, but I think it’s a symptom of a lackadaisical disregard for the planet we live on.

We are called to be stewards. So why then do we act so often like consumers and users instead? If we honor God by honoring His creation, do we dishonor Him when we abuse and disregard what He has made?

What are we telling our children about the value of creation when we don’t take care of it and waste its resources?

I’m asking these questions because I am trying to figure this all out for myself. I don’t want to be another of those who are wasteful because they believe that our earth’s resources are unlimited.

At the end of the day, I’m thankful for grace that is greater than any of my wastefulness and greed and selfishness. I’m thankful for grace greater than any of my sin.



My Creed (A Work in Progress)


Note: I don’t intend this to be in any way universal or a replacement for any of the historical creeds that have served the Church so well down through the centuries. I do think it’s a good thing to formulate your own beliefs and to be able to summarize all that you believe. It’s vitally important to KNOW what you believe and to be able to explain it to someone else. So here goes:

I believe God created the heavens and the earth and called it good.

I believe God created male and female and called it very good.

I believe the woman was deceived and the man soon followed after and sin entered the world.

I believe in that moment, death entered the world.

I believe that God became one of us and came to dwell among us.

I believe He died in my place for my sins so that I might live with Him.

I believe He rose again to defeat death once and for all.

I believe He offers rest to the weary, hope to the despairing, and life to all who call on His name.

I believe that whoever calls on His name will be saved from death to eternal life.

I believe He is returning soon for His own.

I believe in the end, Love wins.

Thank you, Chris


“God of love,
we thank you that Chris is in your gentle and loving hands,
far from the cruelty, violence and pain of our world.
When the trouble was near,
we could not understand how you seemed
to remain far away.
And yet it is to you we turn;
for in life and death
it is you alone whom we can trust,
and yours alone is the love that holds us fast.
We find it hard to forgive the deed
that has brought us so much grief.
But we know that, if life is soured by bitterness,
an unforgiving spirit brings no peace.
Lord, save us and help us.
Strengthen in us the faith and hope that Chris
is freed from the past with all its hurt,
and rests for ever in the calm security of your love,
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thank you, Chris.

Thank you for being a good son, husband, and father.

Thank you for leaving behind a legacy of undying love and unquenchable faith.

Thank you for inspiring me with the way you lived out your faith even in dying, to the very last moments when Jesus called you home.

Thank you for your words of encouragement to me and thinking of me when what you were going through was a million times worse than anything I’ve faced.

You’ve inspired me to be kinder and more patient with those in my life.

You’ve reminded me to hug my friends and family as often as I can and to say, “I love you” whenever I get the chance.

You’ve compelled me to not take tomorrow for granted, but to seek forgiveness and reconciliation today while there is still time.

I and so many others are better people and more in loved with Jesus for having known you.

I know at this moment Jesus has you tightly gripped in a great big ol’ bear hug as He whispers in your ear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Attaboy, Chris!”

Thank you, Chris.

” I know your life
On earth was troubled
And only you could know the pain
You weren’t afraid to face the devil
You were no stranger to the rain

Go rest high on that mountain
Son, your work on earth is done
Go to heaven a shoutin’
Love for the Father and Son

Oh, how we cried the day you left us
We gathered round your grave to grieve
I wish I could see the angels faces
When they hear your sweet voice sing

Go rest high on that mountain
Son, your work on earth is done
Go to heaven a shoutin’
Love for the Father and Son” (Vince Gill)

Things I Love 28: ‘Cause It’s The End of The World As We Know It . . . And I Feel Fine

island hammock

“When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places, let joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows. How can this not be the best thing for the world? For us?” (Ann VoskampOne Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are)

I think part of joy is being okay with not knowing the answers or how any given story within the Greater Story will end. It’s having peace in the midst of so much that remains unresolved and unexplained. And if that doesn’t work, eat a cookie. That always makes me feel better. So here we are coming down to the last few blogs of the series, starting at #801.

801) That a colossal and epic fiasco such as King David could be called later “a man after God’s own heart,” proving that what matters isn’t so much how big your failure was, but how great God is to turn even that into something praiseworthy and good.

802) The avocado lime ranch dressing I had on my Cobb salad tonight at Chick-fil-A.

803) The fact that Aslan a.k.a. Jesus isn’t safe but He’s good.

804) The amazing illustrations by Alan Lee in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit commemorative editions.

805) When in the middle of an already fantastic Buddy Miller/Jim Lauderdale/Patty Griffin concert they brought out Robert Plant to do a few songs. Only in Nashville.

806) Walking in downtown Nashville at night in the rain.

807) How the love of Abba Father for His children will never come to an end.

808) Looking through old high school and college yearbooks.

809) The Neverending Story.

810) When my church celebrates those rare couples who have been married 50 years or longer (and how much collective wisdom is in one room at one time on those nights).

811) Thinking about a particular song and then hearing it on the radio.

812) Tuesday nights.

813) Nights that turn into mornings, friends that turn into family, dreams that turn into reality, and likes that turn into love (borrowed from a Facebook post).

814) The episode of Friends with the couch– “Pivot! Pivot! Pivot!”

815) Reading through the Catholic Bible in 2013 (or as I like to call it, The Director’s Cut of the Bible).

816) That if I love God with everything and love my neighbor as I love myself I fulfill the Whole Law.

817) That Jesus already fulfilled the Whole Law in my place and traded His perfection for my poor efforts.

818) Heaven being described as that feeling you get on the first day of summer break from school and knowing that feeling will last forever.

819) The neverending possibility of God breaking through into my life at any moment.

820) Cheese crackers.

821) Having a car with 127,000 miles on it.

822) Being left-handed (at least when it comes to writing and eating).

823) The way Mike Glenn used the lyrics to a Jackson Browne song so effectively in his sermon last Sunday.

824) Marvin the Martian and his tennis shoes always wanting to blow up the Earth.

825) Not being married to any of the Kardashians.

826) The occasional scary movie.

827) Everything Elvis ever recorded at Sun Studio.

828) Johnny Cash’s autobiography (the one called Cash).

829) The way my cat looks at me sometimes as if to say, “Seriously, dude?”

830) The recent fact I learned that every face you dream about is of someone you’ve seen before, even if only for a fleeting moment.

831) Mustard-sized faith that moves mountains.

832) Just about all the movies Tom Hanks made in the 80’s.

833) Always having a second chance because of Jesus.

834) The movie Clueless.

835) “The Living Years” by Mike + The Mechanics.

Another prayer from Henri Nouwen (with my own commentary added)

“I pray tonight for all who witness for you in this world: ministers, priests, and bishops, men and women who have dedicated their lives to you, and all those who try to bring the light of the Gospel into the darkness of this age. Give them courage, strength, perseverance, and hope; fill their hearts and minds with the knowledge of your presence, and let them experience your name as their refuge from all dangers. Most of all, give them the joy of your Spirit, so that wherever they go and whomever they meet they will remove the veil of depression, fatalism, and defeatism and will bring new life to the many who live in constant fear of death. Lord, be with all who bring the Good News. Amen.” (Henri Nouwen)

As the old saying goes (or maybe a new one that I just made up), when you can’t think of anything original, borrow and steal from smarter people than you. Actually, this prayer of Henri Nouwen’s is my prayer, said better than I could ever say it on my own, for my friends who are going out and making disciples of all nations, starting in Nashville and ending up in the uttermost parts of the earth. You inspire me to want to do a lot more than I’m doing right now.

Who knows what God has in store for me or you or anyone? I’ve learned that whatever it is, it’s usually way different than what we thought it would be, and way better. So go with it. Jesus calls us to die every day to our rights and desires and dreams and hopes, so that we can live in God’s greater dream for us. As Oswald Chambers wrote, “Trust God and do the next thing.”

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.

Some thoughts about worship

Jesus didn’t die for our good works or good intentions. He didn’t die to make good people better. Or for that matter to make bad people good. He died to make dead people come alive. He died for our dark places, our wicked deeds. He came to take our blame and our shame and give us His perfection. Jesus died to make us worshippers.

John Piper says in effect, Worship, not missions, is the purpose of His people. The reason that missions exists is because for so many peoples, worship does not. People can’t worship a God they don’t know. People can’t worship a god made in their image that is too small to save or love or rescue anybody. Redeemed people worship a real God. Really when you look at it, missions and evangelism are both forms of worship– declaring the great worth and works of God to all peoples.

Worship is Romans 12:1-2, offering our bodies as living sacrifices. In the Old Testament, part of worship was offering sacrifices like bulls and goats. Since Jesus did away with the old sacrificial system, what we bring as our offering of worship is ourselves. Worship is giving to God our bodies, our souls, our true selves. Worship is giving back to God what was already His and acknowledging that He owns it all, including us.

Worship is James 1:27. When we give to the widow and the orphan, we give to Jesus. Whatever we do for the least of these, we do for Jesus. Jesus didn’t choose the popular or strong or wise; He chose the throwaways of the world, the lepers, the outcasts and the abandoned to be His worshippers. Worship also means keeping yourself unstained by the world, to be set apart and different. Worship is either a 24/7 lifestyle or it’s nothing at all.

Worship is taking your two loaves and five fishes and watching Jesus turn it into a meal for thousands. When we give what little we call our own to Jesus, He takes it and not only blesses the multitudes, but gives back to us more than we can contain.

Worship means to kiss, to adore and to sacrifice. It is saying that God is supremely worthy of all of me. It means I will give my life away on a daily basis for the Kingdom of God. It means that every breath is a praise and every thought a prayer.

Honestly, after all this, I still don’t really know what worship is. I’m not very good at it. Or I should say I am not very good at worshipping the right thing, i.e. Jesus of Nazareth who died on the cross and rose triumphantly from the grave and has all authority in heaven and on earth, including authority over my life.

In the New Testament, when people worshipped, they fell on their faces. In the book of Revelation, the apostle John fell on his face before Jesus as a dead man. That’s what I pray for: to die to everything else, to fall on Jesus, and live to Him, with Him and for Him only.

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.